Although surgery preparation in the weeks before your tummy tuck surgery may seem overwhelming, if you plan your steps and create lists for supplies and tasks, this will significantly lower your stress levels. Doing so helps you focus on relaxing and healing, not worrying, which can only enhance your recovery. Plus, you are sure not to forget anything! The last thing you need on your surgery day is having to stop at the pharmacy and wait in the car while your caretaker rushes around searching for a forgotten item. These tips, along with your own surgeon’s instructions, should definitely help you avoid that inconvenience.
Having experience with plastic surgery is definitely a benefit in the planning process as I wasn’t always so thorough. Thankfully my surgeons and their staff helped guide me along in the process when I had my first few procedures. It certainly is a lot easier now. Truth be known, I have a storage container with plastic surgery recovery items alongside my various holiday decoration storage boxes. Also several Restylane and Juvederm coldpacks ready to go in my freezer. ;)
Although the little details won’t make or break your experience, they can assist in providing you with better comfort and less overall stress.
Outlining Your Tasks & Timeline
Although your surgeon will provide you with many of these instructions, these lists were compiled with the help of real patients and reviewed by their (and my) surgeons for accuracy. They are provided for you to cross-reference or add to your own lists, and not intended to replace the advice of your surgeon. Please speak with your surgeon before changing or adding anything to your recovery protocol.
- Medications & Supplements To Avoid Before Surgery: There are many medications which may interfere with your body’s ability to clot normally. Others may interfere with the anesthetics during your surgery. Also, just because it’s an over the counter pain reliever (OTC), or that a vitamin or homeopathic may seem “natural” and not a prescription drug, they can still interfere with platelet formation, whether not enough (blood thinning) or too much (thickening). Be sure to ALWAYS divulge every possible medication, supplement or homeopathic that you consume even if it has been in the last few weeks. This list is a partial list and does not imply that you should quit taking any prescription medications, it is just a sample list of the medications which may cause problems so be sure to let your surgeon and anesthesiologist know about it.
- Pre-operative Shopping List: Making a list of what you will need for your surgery will help cut the stress significantly. Items you will purchase will include your prescriptions, your compression garments, bags of frozen peas, various wound care supplies, and a host of other items which will certainly make your recovery go more smoothly.
- Preparing Your Recovery Area: Preparing your recovery area in advance will ascertain that you will have all the necessary items within reach. An area for your medications, a cellphone charger, laptop and laptop charger, Kleenex, bottles of water, a digital thermometer, a medication time chart, a plastic pail in the event that you become nauseated, etc.–details do, indeed, matter when you aren’t able to move around as well as you normally can. This list is rather extensive and is only meant as a suggestion, although some items are obviously necessary. Preparing this area in advance will definitely allow you to have time for yourself to prepare emotionally and relax, as well as will let you know which supplies you may be lacking, if anything.
- Emotional Preparation & Reminder Checklist: Undergoing surgery, requires mental preparation and patience. Preparing yourself in advance will help you keep your emotions in check after your procedure, when you will need it most. A good support system is such a huge plus. If you don’t have good support at home, please visit our Tummy Tuck Discussion Forum. We’ll make you feel right at home! We do NOT have the mentality that you “deserve” to be in pain because you “chose” to have a cosmetic procedure. That is nonsense, you’ve been taking care of the family unit and everyone else for how long now?? You deserve to be queen for a while and you deserve to feel good about your body again.
- Surgery Day Instructions Example: This list helps you know what to expect and how to prepare your vehicle for the ride back home (if you are not staying in a recovery center). This list provides basic instructions as well as tips from experience.
- Helpful Tips and Suggestions For After Your Surgery: This list is quite extensive, although you should have your own surgeon check over it before you follow anything outside his or her specific recovery protocol. Many of the tips are from the collective experience of other tummy tuck patients.
- What To Do In The Event of An Emergency During Recovery: Your surgeon should provide you with a list of symptoms which may indicate an emergency, this list is an example and was given to me by my own surgeon. You should definitely run it by your own surgeon to ascertain that he agrees. Serious complications are rare, but it is better to be prepared.
- Preparing For Your Post-operative Appointment: Your follow-up appointments are very important. They provide your surgeon with feedback on your physical recovery and your emotional state and satisfaction. Your first post-operative appointment will usually be for drain removal which may or may not coincide with your suture removal. Your second will be a follow up on your recovery and to gauge how your results are coming along. Depending upon how invasive your surgery was (skin only versus muscle repair, or considerable tissue removal) your surgeon may require you to come in more or less frequently. He or she will let you know. Regardless, it is good to have your list of questions, complaints or concerns outlined with full documentation of anything out of the ordinary so that you will remember to bring it up at your appointment.
Even after reading this article, you still might feel overwhelmed. But I know you are also excited about your procedure! With the help of these printer-friendly guidelines and tip sheets, which also includes a section on how to prepare for your consultation or what to ask your surgeon if you are still in the early stage of your tummy tuck journey, it will be a lot easier.
To view the checklists and download the PDF files, please see our tummy tuck preparation page: http://tummytuckinfocentral.com/preparation.htm Or visit our website http://www.TummyTuckInfoCentral.com to start the Tour To Tummy Tuck Surgery, for info on the beginning to the end of your abdominoplasty procedure. Our website includes before and after photos of tummy tuck patients, a board certified surgeon locator, patient journals, a tummy tuck discussion forum and more! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to contact me.