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Your 6-month guide to planning a tummy tuck


An abdominoplasty, better known as a tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure that requires careful planning and meticulous follow-up care for the best results. Knowing the steps to take before your abdominoplasty will ensure a better recovery process.

Ideally, you'll have several months in advance to prepare for your tummy tuck surgery. I recommend most individuals give themselves a full six months to prepare, giving them time to find the right surgeon, achieve or maintain their ideal weight and get a plan for aftercare in place.

Some people may not need the full six months of prep before their surgery, and that's okay. You'll still want to make sure that you've taken sufficient time to research, plan and prepare. The better prepared you are for the big day of surgery, the better your results will be. Use the information below as your guide to planning your tummy tuck.

4-6 months before surgery

As soon as you start thinking about a tummy tuck, it's time to get serious about your diet and exercise habits. Eating well, drinking more water and staying active should be your focal point. If you smoke, start the process of quitting and limit your alcohol intake if you drink. These two factors can affect the way your body heals and fights off infection. Stress management is also a good thing to implement as chronic stress can affect your health and immune response.

In this timeframe, start doing your research and locating plastic surgeons for consultations. Look for board-certified plastic surgeons with experience in the tummy tuck procedure and plenty of before and after photos of abdominoplasty patients on their website.

4 months before surgery

By this time, you should be closing in on your ideal weight and fitness level. This is going to help the surgeons you talk with to evaluate your candidacy for surgery and also puts you in a good position to recover quickly. Around 4 months before you want to have surgery, you should begin scheduling consultations and meeting with your top-rated plastic surgeons. In many markets, the best surgeons are booking out three to four months in advance, and sometimes even longer. During this time, you will need to decide on the best surgeon. You should feel comfortable discussing your goals, expectations and concerns, as well as feel confident that their recommendations align with what you envision.

3 months before surgery

During your third month of preparation, after you've selected a surgeon and booked surgery, you should be scheduling leave from work, making arrangements for child and animal care and setting up your support system to help with transportation and care during the post-surgery recovery phase. This is something you and your surgeon should discuss and prepare for. By now, you should completely quit smoking. You are continuing with your health and wellness regimen and hopefully feeling great about life and excited for the transformation ahead.

1 month before surgery

The last few weeks before your surgery should be used to stock up on supplies needed for recovery and finalizing the details of your procedure. Staying as comfortable as possible in the initial stage of recovery is going to be your ultimate goal for home care, so now is the time to begin assembling your supplies. Your surgeon should provide you with a list of supplies to buy. Some extra supplies that people have found to be useful and aid in the recovery process are:

  • Extra pillows
  • Gauze pads
  • Comfortable clothing and underwear that is easy to remove
  • Ice packs and over-the-counter medication for discomfort
  • Compression clothing if prescribed

Create a meal prep plan to make and freeze food for later. Eliminating the worry of what to eat is going to reduce stress, keep you from grabbing unhealthy foods and help you maintain your new improved eating habits. On the day of surgery, dress comfortably and make sure you've followed the pre-surgery checklist your surgeon provided. You should have time to check in with your surgeon on the day of your procedure, so if you have any last-minute questions, make sure to bring those along too.


The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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