Before and After a Tummy Tuck? Pre- and Post-Op Surgery Questions

What can you expect from the tummy tuck surgery pre- and post-op periods? You want to prep for this procedure. But perhaps you're not sure what you need to do before or what will happen after your surgery. Take a look at some pre- and post-surgical questions that patients have.

Can You Eat Before A Tummy Tuck Procedure?

The tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is an outpatient procedure. This means you won't need to stay at a hospital overnight. But you will need anesthesia. Your surgeon will provide pre-anesthesia instructions before your surgical date. These will include when you should stop eating before your procedure. A pre-surgical fast empties your stomach and can prevent nausea or vomiting during the procedure. 

Can You Smoke Before Your Surgery?

Do you smoke? This habit can reduce blood flow, increase the risk of tissue damage, and interfere with the healing process. If you're a smoker, talk to your doctor about precautions to take. They may recommend that you stop smoking in the days leading up to your surgery and immediately after the tummy tuck. 

Can You Take Your Regular Medications?

Some prescription and over-the-counter medications are necessary. Never stop a medication before talking to your healthcare provider. Aspirin and some anti-inflammatories can increase bleeding risks. Your surgeon may ask you to avoid these types of medications in the days or even weeks before your procedure date. 

Will You Need Lab or Other Tests?

The doctor may recommend or prescribe some laboratory blood work before your tummy tuck. Test results can provide the surgeon with a full or better picture of your overall health. This can help the doctor to make informed choices about your treatment before, during, and after your tummy tuck. 

What Else Should You Do To Prepare For the Procedure?

Again, you will need anesthesia for this outpatient procedure. Even though you won't need to stay at the hospital or surgical center overnight, you can't drive yourself home from your tummy tuck. Find a responsible adult friend or family member to drive you to and from the surgery before your procedure day. 

What Do You Need To Know About Post-Op Recovery?

You will need to rest at home after your surgery. You may feel groggy or confused from the anesthesia. The friend or family member who drove you to and from the surgery (or another responsible adult) should stay with you during this time. The surgeon may insert tubes to drain excess fluid or blood from the abdomen. Follow the doctor's orders for drain care. 

As the anesthesia wears off, you may feel discomfort in the surgical area and have swelling. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, it could take a week or two for the swelling to subside and for you to feel comfortable standing fully upright. Limit your activity and take time off from work to reduce the post-op risks as you heal and recover.