Preparing for Abdominoplasty Surgery

Your Guide to Preparing for Abdominoplasty Surgery

Abdominoplasty is a complex surgical procedure aimed at removing excess skin from the abdominal area. In this blog, Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Michael Kernohan aims to provide you with thorough and practical advice on preparing for abdominoplasty surgery, ensuring you are well-informed and ready for both the procedure and the recovery period.

Download Dr Kernohan’s Abdominoplasty Tummy Tuck Surgery Guide

Abdominoplasty Surgery Guide

Abdominoplasty Key Features

  • It involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the abdominal region and the restoration of weakened or separated muscles
  • This procedure can help to smooth and firm the abdominal profile
  • Abdominoplasty is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program

The Importance of Preparation for Abdominoplasty

Adequate preparation plays an important role in ensuring a smoother surgery and recovery process. By being well-prepared, you not only minimise the potential for complications but can also significantly speed up your recovery time. This preparation includes a thorough understanding of the procedure itself, effectively arranging your life for post-surgery convenience, and having a clear knowledge of what to expect during the recovery phase. Such comprehensive preparedness sets the stage for a more controlled and positive surgical experience.

Setting Realistic Expectations

  • It’s essential to have realistic expectations about the outcomes of the surgery
  • Discussing with Dr Kernohan about what the surgery can and cannot achieve is vital
  • A realistic outlook can lead to greater satisfaction with the results

Mental and Emotional Preparation

  • Preparing mentally and emotionally is as important as physical preparation
  • Acknowledge any anxieties or questions you might have and discuss them with your surgeon
  • Consider talking to people who have undergone the procedure to gain insights

Initial Steps – Weeks before Surgery

In the weeks leading up to your Abdominoplasty, there are several important steps you should take to ensure you are as prepared as possible for both the surgery and the recovery period:

Scheduling Medical Check-ups and Tests

  • Visit your GP for a comprehensive medical evaluation
  • Blood tests or other investigations may be required to ensure you’re fit for surgery
  • Discuss any existing medical conditions and how they might impact the surgery

Adjusting Diet and Exercise

  • Aim for a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to aid in healing
  • Avoid extreme diets or weight fluctuations before surgery
  • Gentle exercise is recommended to improve circulation and overall health

Pre-surgery Checklist

  • Begin compiling a list of things you’ll need during recovery
  • Include items such as loose clothing, easy-to-prepare foods, and entertainment
  • Consider setting up a ‘recovery station’ in your home where everything will be easily accessible

Medication Review

  • Discuss all medications you’re currently taking with Dr Kernohan
  • Some medications may need to be stopped or adjusted before surgery
  • Be sure to include over-the-counter drugs and supplements in this review

Alcohol and Smoking Considerations

  • Avoid alcohol as it can affect your body’s ability to heal
  • Smoking can significantly impact recovery and increase the risk of complications; it’s recommended to quit or at least reduce smoking in the weeks leading up to surgery

Arranging Time off Work and Family Obligations

  • Plan to take adequate time off work for recovery
  • Arrange for help with children or other family obligations
  • Consider how you’ll manage household tasks during your recovery period

Preparing in the weeks before your surgery can significantly impact your recovery and overall experience. Taking these steps seriously will help ensure you are in the best possible condition for your Abdominoplasty.

Arranging Your Living Space for Post-Surgery Comfort

After Abdominoplasty, your mobility will be limited, and comfort will be a top priority. Preparing your living space in advance can greatly aid in your recovery and make the process more manageable. Here are some recommendations:

Adjusting Your Home for Accessibility

  • Rearrange furniture if necessary to create clear pathways
  • Place frequently used items within easy reach, avoiding the need to bend or stretch
  • Consider renting or borrowing a recliner if you don’t have one, as lying flat may be uncomfortable initially

Essential Supplies within Reach

  • Stock up on essentials so you don’t need to make frequent trips to the shops
  • Keep necessary items like water, snacks, medications, and the remote control close to your resting area
  • Ensure your phone charger and other essential electronics are easily accessible

Creating a Comfortable Recovery Area

  • Set up a comfortable area with plenty of pillows for support
  • Keep extra blankets handy as you may experience chills post-surgery
  • If your bedroom is upstairs, consider setting up a temporary sleeping area on the ground floor

Bathroom Accessibility

  • If possible, have a bathroom on the same floor where you’ll spend most of your time
  • Install safety handles in the shower or bathtub to prevent falls
  • You might want to consider a shower chair for comfort and safety

Preparing Your Kitchen

  • Prepare and freeze meals in advance for easy heating
  • Keep healthy snacks and hydrating drinks within easy reach
  • Organise your kitchen so that daily use items are at waist level

Safety Considerations

  • Remove trip hazards like loose rugs and electrical cords
  • Ensure good lighting throughout your home to avoid accidents
  • Keep a list of emergency contacts and your surgeon’s number in an easily accessible place

Meal Preparation and Diet Considerations

Proper nutrition and meal planning are critical for recovery after Abdominoplasty. Preparing in advance will make your post-surgery period more comfortable and ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs for healing.

Planning and Preparing Meals

  • Cook and freeze meals in advance to minimise effort post-surgery
  • Focus on easy-to-digest foods that won’t strain your digestive system
  • Consider soups, stews, and casseroles, which are nutritious and easy to reheat

Nutritional Needs for Optimal Healing

  • Include plenty of protein in your diet to aid in tissue repair and muscle recovery
  • Consume a variety of fruits and vegetables for essential vitamins and minerals
  • Stay hydrated with water and avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol

Foods to Avoid

  • Reduce intake of processed foods and those high in sugar and salt
  • Avoid carbonated beverages and chewing gum, as they can cause gas and bloating
  • Be cautious with fibre-rich foods that might strain your digestive system initially

Managing Appetite Changes

  • You may experience a reduced appetite following surgery; focus on small, frequent meals
  • Listen to your body and eat only as much as you feel comfortable with
  • Stay hydrated, even if you don’t feel like eating much

Supplements and Vitamins

  • Discuss with your surgeon any supplements or vitamins you should take
  • Certain supplements like vitamin C and zinc can aid in wound healing
  • Avoid supplements that might interfere with your recovery or medications


  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, as this is crucial for healing
  • Herbal teas can be soothing and a good alternative to plain water
  • Avoid alcohol, as it can impair your body’s healing process

By ensuring you have a plan for your nutritional needs post-surgery, you can focus more on your recovery and less on meal preparation. Adequate nutrition is not only essential for your physical healing but also for your overall feeling of comfort during the recovery phase.

Medication Management and Medical Supplies

Effective management of medications and having the right medical supplies at hand are crucial aspects of your recovery after Abdominoplasty. Proper organisation can help avoid complications and make your post-surgery period more manageable.

Organising Prescriptions and Over-the-Counter Medications

  • Create a list of all medications prescribed for your recovery
  • Understand the purpose, dosage, and timing of each medication
  • Set up reminders to take your medications on time

Understanding Medication Schedules and Interactions

  • Be aware of any potential interactions between your prescribed medications and over-the-counter drugs
  • Coordinate with your pharmacist or doctor if you’re unsure about medication combinations
  • Consider the impact of medications on activities like driving or operating machinery

Stocking up on Necessary Medical Supplies

  • Purchase or arrange for any recommended supplies like bandages, gauze, and antiseptic solutions
  • Have a thermometer handy to monitor for any signs of infection
  • Keep a supply of ice packs or cold compresses for swelling

Pain Management

  • Understand how to effectively manage pain with prescribed medications
  • Be aware of the signs of overmedication or adverse reactions
  • Have a plan for gradually decreasing and stopping pain medications as recommended

Monitoring for Side Effects and Complications

  • Be vigilant about potential side effects from medications, such as nausea or dizziness
  • Report any unusual symptoms or reactions to your healthcare provider immediately
  • Keep a diary of your medication intake and any side effects you experience

Preparing for Wound Care

  • Learn about proper wound care to prevent infection and promote healing
  • Have supplies on hand for dressing changes as advised by your surgeon
  • Understand signs of infection or poor healing and when to seek medical advice

Clothing Considerations Before and After Surgery

Choosing the right clothing for both before and after your Abdominoplasty is important for your comfort and to aid in the recovery process. Proper attire can make a significant difference in your overall experience.

Choosing Clothing for Surgery Day

  • Select loose, comfortable clothing that is easy to put on and take off
  • Opt for a top that zips or buttons up the front
  • Wear flat, slip-on shoes to avoid bending or straining

Post-Surgery Clothing Recommendations

  • Prepare loose-fitting clothes that won’t rub against your incision sites
  • Elastic waistbands are preferable to avoid pressure on the abdomen
  • Have several changes of clothing ready as you may need to change frequently due to discomfort or drainage

Compression Garment Usage and Care

  • Dr Kernohan will likely recommend a compression garment to support your abdomen and reduce swelling
  • Understand how to correctly wear and care for your compression garment
  • Have a spare compression garment on hand for when the other is being washed

Importance of Comfortable Undergarments

  • Invest in comfortable, supportive undergarments that won’t irritate the incision areas
  • Avoid undergarments with tight elastic bands or seams that might press against the surgery site
  • Seamless, soft cotton undergarments are often recommended

Preparing for Size Fluctuations

  • Anticipate some swelling post-surgery, which may affect the fit of your clothes
  • Have a range of sizes available to accommodate changes in your body size during recovery
  • Avoid buying expensive or new clothing until your body shape has stabilised

Nightwear Considerations

  • Choose nightwear that is easy to get in and out of, especially when you need to use the bathroom at night
  • Soft, breathable fabrics will help keep you comfortable while sleeping
  • Consider nightwear with front openings if you find it difficult to raise your arms

By thoughtfully preparing your wardrobe for both before and after your Abdominoplasty, you can ensure your comfort and ease your journey through the recovery process. Comfortable clothing is not just a matter of convenience; it is a part of your post-surgery care.

Arranging Assistance and Transportation

Arranging for help and transportation in advance of your Abdominoplasty is essential. Recovery from this surgery requires that you have support for both your safety and comfort.

Planning for Help at Home

  • Arrange for a family member, friend, or professional carer to assist you, especially in the first few days post-surgery
  • Ensure your helper is informed about your recovery needs and any tasks they may need to assist with
  • It’s helpful to have someone stay with you 24/7 in the initial recovery phase

Arranging Transportation for Surgery and Follow-ups

  • You will not be able to drive yourself home post-surgery; organise a reliable person to drive you
  • Plan transportation for your follow-up appointments as you might not be able to drive for several weeks
  • Consider services like taxis or ride-shares if family or friends are unavailable

Communicating with Caregivers

  • Clearly communicate your post-surgery needs and expectations with whoever will be assisting you
  • Provide them with a list of tasks, such as helping with meals, medication, or wound care
  • Ensure they know how to contact your surgeon in case of an emergency

Emotional Support

  • Having someone to talk to can be beneficial for your mental health during recovery
  • Encourage open communication about how you’re feeling both physically and emotionally
  • Consider joining a support group for individuals who have undergone similar procedures

Assistance with Children and Pets

  • Make arrangements for the care of children and pets, as you will not be able to lift or engage in strenuous activities
  • Consider additional help or childcare services if your usual support network is unavailable
  • Prepare activities or routines in advance to keep children engaged while you recover

FAQs about Preparing for Abdominoplasty Surgery


What should I do in the weeks leading up to my Abdominoplasty surgery?

  • In the weeks before your surgery, it’s important to focus on maintaining a healthy diet, possibly adjusting your exercise routine, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. You should also arrange for any necessary medical check-ups and discuss your current medications with Dr Kernohan. Additionally, preparing your home for your recovery period by arranging a comfortable space and ensuring you have easy access to essential items is crucial.

How can I manage my diet and nutrition before and after Abdominoplasty?

  • Prior to surgery, aim for a balanced diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals to support healing. Post-surgery, focus on light, easily digestible meals and stay hydrated. Avoid foods that might cause gas or bloating and limit the intake of processed foods and those high in sugar and salt. It’s also advisable to prepare and freeze meals in advance for ease during recovery.

What kind of clothing should I wear on the day of my Abdominoplasty surgery?

  • On the day of the surgery, wear loose, comfortable clothing that is easy to put on and take off. Choose a top that opens in the front (like a button-up or zippered top) and flat, slip-on shoes. After surgery, you’ll need clothes that do not press against your abdomen and are easy to remove, like elastic-waist pants and front-opening shirts.

How should I prepare my home for recovery after Abdominoplasty?

  • Preparing your home includes creating a comfortable recovery space with necessities within easy reach. Adjust your living area to prevent the need to climb stairs, and consider renting a recliner for comfortable rest. Stock up on supplies like water, snacks, and medications. Ensure the bathroom is easily accessible, and consider installing safety handles in the shower or tub.

What arrangements should I make for post-surgery care and assistance?

  • Arrange for someone to drive you home after the surgery and help around the house for at least the first few days. You might need assistance with basic tasks like cooking, cleaning, and personal care. If you have children or pets, plan for their care as well.

Further Reading about Abdominoplasty with Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Michael Kernohan

Medical References about Abdominoplasty