A dissatisfaction with the appearance of the abdomen, often referred to as a “rubber tire” around the middle, is a huge motivating force for patients to book a consultation with me to discuss body contouring with both men and women. There are any number of underlying reasons why you may be carrying some extra weight in your mid-section including age, hormones, weight gain/loss, and pregnancy. While liposuction is an excellent procedure for addressing excess fat, loose skin is impervious to weight loss. If you’ve had children and/or are older, chances are that the bulging in your tummy is the result of both extra fat and loose skin. A loose abdominal wall — also known as your Core, can also play a role in dissatisfaction with your abdominal contour. A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is the best procedure for addressing this 1-2 combo. Extremely effective, it does require a more intense recovery. For this reason, I wanted to discuss how to best prepare for a tummy tuck in Boston.
Should I Lose Weight Before My Tummy Tuck?
Body contouring procedures are one of my specialties, and what I’ve found over my many years in practice is that one of the keys to a happy result is knowing exactly what to expect. This includes:
- How to prepare for surgery?
- What is the surgical plan itself?
- Best way to manage expectations in terms of recovery?
A Boston tummy tuck is definitely one of my procedures with the highest patient satisfaction rating. It is also one of the biggest, so being appropriately prepared is critical. One of the most common questions that I hear is: Should I lose weight before my tummy tuck? You want to be as close to an ideal, sustainable weight as possible before ANY elective, esthetic surgery, but especially prior to an abdominoplasty Boston. Patients who are within 10 pounds of a maintainable, goal weight do better with surgery, anesthesia and see their end results faster.
Pinchable vs. Visceral Fat
It is important to understand that there are two types of fat in the body. The first is what I like to call “pinchable” fat. This is the fat below the surface of your skin that can be pinched between your fingers and pulled away from the body. The is the only type of fat that we can address with:
- Non-invasive body contouring
- Tummy Tuck
- Mini-Tummy Tuck
The second type of fat is visceral or intra-abdominal fat. This is a deeper layer of fat that wraps around your organs, and which must be addressed with weight loss and exercise. During your initial body contouring procedure, I will conduct a thorough physical exam to determine exactly what type of fat is causing your specific issues. If it is due in part to visceral fat, weight loss will need to be an initial and critical part of your overall plan. This may take a few months or longer for some patients.
How to Best Prepare for a Tummy Tuck
In general, I recommend that my abdominoplasty patients eat a healthful diet, low
sodium and low inflammatory foods, for 2 weeks prior and 2 weeks post-surgery.
An anti-inflammatory diet is one that avoids and/or limits:
- Highly processed foods
- Simple carbohydrates
If you already exercise regularly, great. If not, I suggest taking up walking at least three times a week before surgery. It’s a simple, easy way to get your blood pumping and build lean muscle mass, both of which will help to ensure a better result. Make sure to get your compression garments prior to your surgery day and think about investing in a few extra sets. For the first couple of weeks, you’ll be wearing these 24/7 so it’s nice to have another pair for “laundry” day.
Examine your lifestyle and put plans in place to help you manage your first few weeks of recovery. If you are a mom, you will likely need considerable help with childcare. Even my most prepared moms have challenges. You won’t be driving for at least the first 10 days, and you won’t be able to lift anything over 10 lbs. for the first couple of weeks. This can be emotionally difficult for both you and your child, but awareness helps. Other things to consider are:
- Housekeeper/cleaning service
- Preparing meals ahead and freezing them
- Family members or close friends helping at home with children and pets
- Food delivery plan
Or better yet, have your friends organize a food delivery calendar. People really want to help so let them.
Post-Operative Pain Plan
Last but not least is a post-operative pain plan. Fill up any pain medication prescriptions before surgery, and accept that this is not going to be a pain-free experience, especially if we tighten your abdominal muscles. You are going to feel some discomfort in the first week or two so limit your movements, and be gentle with yourself. My patients know to expect tolerable discomfort. This is an excellent time to catch up on all those Netflix shows in your queue. And if your discomfort is extreme, I am always available. Your pain plan is discussed extensively PRIOR to surgery. There are any number of narcotic and non-narcotic options that I prescribe to help you be as comfortable as possible. Most importantly, remember that though this may not be an easy procedure, the end result is well worth it.
To find out more about a tummy tuck, or any other surgical or non-surgical procedure with Dr. Sean Doherty at his Boston or Brookline office, contact us today or call (617) 450.0070 to schedule a consultation.