Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Tummy Tuck

How to Prepare for Tummy Tuck Surgery continued...

Don't try a drastic diet before the surgery. Eat well-balanced, complete meals. A healthy diet may help you heal better.

Tell your doctor about everything you take, including prescription drugs, herbal medicines, and other supplements. Your surgeon may instruct you to stop taking certain medications for a time before and after the surgery.

Before getting the surgery, get your home ready. You'll need:

  • Ice packs
  • Loose, comfortable clothing that can be put on and off very easily
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Hand-held shower head and bathroom chair

You'll also need someone to drive you home after the tummy tuck. If you live alone, you'll want someone to stay with you for at least the first night. Make a plan for that.

How a Tummy Tuck Is Done

This surgery can take anywhere from one to five hours. You may need to stay overnight in the hospital, depending on your case.

You will get general anesthesia, which will put you to "sleep" during the operation.

Possible Complications

You will have pain and swelling in the days following surgery. Your doctor will prescribe pain medicine and tell you how to best handle the pain. You may be sore for several weeks or months.

You may also experience numbness, bruising, and tiredness during that time.

As with any surgery, there are risks. Though they're rare, complications can include infection, bleeding under the skin flap, or blood clots. You may be more likely to have complications if you have poor circulation, diabetes, or heart, lung, or liver disease.

You may experience insufficient healing, which can cause more significant scarring or loss of skin. If you do heal poorly, you may require a second surgery.

A tummy tuck leaves scars. Though they may fade slightly, they will never completely disappear. Your surgeon may recommend certain creams or ointments to use after you've completely healed to help with scars.

Taking Care of Yourself After Surgery

Whether you're having a partial or complete tummy tuck, the area that's operated on will be stitched and bandaged. It's very important to follow all your surgeon's instructions on how to care for the bandage in the days following surgery. The bandage used will be a firm, elastic band that promotes proper healing. Your surgeon will also instruct you on how to best position yourself while sitting or lying down to help ease pain.

You will have to severely limit strenuous activity for at least six weeks. You may need to take up to one month off work after the surgery to ensure proper recovery. Your doctor will advise you on what you need to do or not do.

Returning to Daily Life

Generally, most people love how they look after this procedure. That can take time, though. You may not feel like your normal self for months after the surgery.

Diet and exercise can help you maintain the results.

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices