Tummy Tuck Information
Congratulations on your decision to have an abdominoplasty! This information sheet is designed to give you some general guidelines on what to expect before and after your surgery.
PRE-OP ABDOMINOPLASTY SURGERY
- Make sure you have all of your questions and concerns answered by Dr. Healy or his staff before your surgery. There is no such thing as a dumb question. We want you to have the best information available to help you make the best decisions for yourself.
- Don’t take ibuprofen, motrin, aspirin, advil or similar medications two weeks prior to your surgery.
- Make arrangements to have somebody drive you to and from the hospital/office on the day of surgery and to your follow-up appointments for the first few days after surgery. You’ll need some extra help around the house for the first several days after surgery as well.
- Pick up all of your prescriptions before your surgery date if possible. You should receive your prescriptions when you come for your pre-op visit.
- Get a good nights rest before your surgery. It’s normal to be a little nervous prior to your procedure but try to get some rest.
- Don’t eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours before your surgery time.
DAY OF SURGERY
- You will need to be at the office or surgery center at the scheduled arrival time.
- You can park at the surgery center parking garage. Bring your parking ticket to the registration desk so it can be validated.
- Check in at the registration desk at the office or the surgery center. You will need a photo ID. The surgery center fee is included in the price of your surgery. Dr. Healy’s office will pay the surgery center fee prior to your registration.
- Wear loose fitting clothing to the hospital that is easy to take off and put on.
- You will change into a gown and a nurse will start an IV.
- Dr. Healy will see you in the holding area before your surgery. Any last minute questions can be addressed at this time. Dr. Healy will do some measuring and marking on your abdomen.
- The anesthesiologist will meet you and review your health history and talk to you about the anesthesia plan.
- The actual surgery time will be about 3 to 4 hours. After surgery you will be taken to the recovery room. You will stay there for about 1-2 hours as you wake up from the anesthesia. Once you are awake, your pain is controlled and you feel comfortable you will be discharged from this area.
- Your escort can wait for you during the surgery or they can leave their phone number with the nurse and they will be called when it is time for you to go home.
- You will be sleepy after your surgery. Go home and rest. When you are lying down keep yourself in a “V” position with pillows behind your back and under your knees. Intermittently move your feet and legs around to help prevent blood clots. Take your medicines as directed.
- You can eat or drink whatever you want after surgery. You might be a little nauseated from the anesthesia (take your nausea medicine) and at the very least make sure you drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated. If you feel you need to throw-up or cough or sneeze, hold a pillow against your abdomen for support. This will help to prevent the muscle stitches from pulling loose.
- You will be placed into an abdominal binder after your abdominoplasty. Leave this on until your post-op visit with Dr. Healy.
- You will have one or two drains placed in your abdomen. You will need to record how much fluid comes from each drain. Record the amounts and bring the paper with you to your office visits. The drains usually stay in for approximately one week after surgery.
- You will need to walk around the house the day of your surgery.
- You will have some pain and this is expected. Take the pain medicine as needed. Do not drink any alcohol when you are taking the pain medicine.
- Your first post-op visit will usually be the following day with Dr. Healy. We will remove the abdominal binder and take off the dressings. You will be placed back in your abdominal binder and will wear this for six weeks.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- When can I go back to work? This depends on what type of work you do. In general plan to be off of work for 2 weeks. It may take a little longer for some patients especially if your job is physically demanding.
- When can I exercise? You can walk the day of your surgery and gradually increase your distance and time each day. You can’t do any strenuous exercise (running, aerobics, weight lifting, lifting anything over 10 pounds) for 6 weeks. Even though you will feel good after a couple of days it takes 6 weeks for the tissues to heal. When you start exercising again the key is to go slow and listen to your body. If you’re having a lot of pain with exercise you need to slow down.
- When can I shower? In general you can shower 24 hours after your drains come out. You’ll need to take sponge baths until that time. No soaking in a tub or pool for at least 1 week, after the drains come out.
- When can I drive? Usually around 1 week after surgery. If you are taking the narcotic pain medicine you cannot drive. You will be considered under the influence and could cause injury to yourself and others. Have someone else drive you until you no longer are taking the narcotic pain medicine.
- When can I have sex? Usually after 1 week. Be cautious and listen to your body. Be aware that anesthesia and the medications you will be taking after your surgery can affect the effectiveness of birth control pills. You should take additional measures to prevent pregnancy in the early post-operative period.
- What can I do to make the scars look better? Keeping the wounds clean with soap and water and just being patient is the best treatment. Once your steri-strips come off of the incision you can place paper tape (found at any drug store near the band-aids) on the incision to help it heal better. The final appearance of your scars may take up to 1-2 years. Despite what you hear and read, vitamin E does not help the scars look better and may actually make them look worse. There is no scientific proof that any of the other ointments and creams you read about makes any difference in your scar appearance.
- What are the signs of an infection? Usually you will get a fever, develop redness around the incision and may get drainage from the incision. If you feel you have an infection notify Dr. Healy’s office.
- What is a seroma? A seroma is a fluid collection at the surgical site. After the drains come out, most of the extra fluid will be absorbed by your body. Rarely the fluid will not be absorbed and will build up causing localized swelling. Occasionally a needle may need to be inserted into the seroma to drain the fluid.
- Why didn’t I lose a lot of weight with my abdominoplasty? An abdominoplasty is not a weight loss procedure. It is a contouring procedure that is designed to get rid of loose skin and tighten the abdominal wall muscles. You will probably lose a little bit of weight with this surgery but don’t expect a big weight loss.
- How often will I need to see Dr. Healy after my surgery? In general you will see Dr. Healy the day after your surgery, 1 week after surgery, 1,3,and 6 months after surgery and then on a yearly basis. Some patients may require more frequent visits depending on their post-operative course. All of your post-op visits are included in the price of your surgery.