What happens on the day of Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Surgery?

Thu 16th May 2024

If you are researching Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Surgery, you are probably wondering what happens on the day of surgery and what you should expect before and after the procedure. This article will unpack some of the things to expect leading up to your surgery, although it does not substitute for a formal consultation with Dr Dona. During your consultations, Dr Dona can answer any questions you have about the procedure and the recovery process following Tummy Tuck Surgery.

For more information or to request a consultation with Dr Dona, please send us a message using the contact form at the bottom of this article.

Preparing for Surgery

You will be provided with detailed written pre-operative instructions to make sure everything is covered.

Dr Dona will provide all general guidelines to follow, including any dietary restrictions and medication adjustments before surgery. It is recommended that you prepare loose clothes and general hygiene supplies to make you feel as comfortable as possible following your surgery.

You won’t be able to drive home after your surgery. You will need to organise a friend or family member who will be able to pick you up from the hospital and stay at home with you for the first few days during your recovery – ideally for the first week.

Last but not least, it’s important to ensure you are well-rested, get a good night’s sleep the night before surgery, and follow the fasting requirements. Most procedures require that you fast for a minimum of six hours before arriving at the hospital.

Your Stay at the Hospital

When you get to the hospital, it can sometimes be overwhelming, which is of course normal prior to any surgery. The hospital administration staff will typically require some general paperwork to be attended to before directing you to the pre-surgical check-in area. This is where you will be asked some general medical questions, including having a basic medical assessment and confirmation of your surgery. You may also have some routine blood tests taken at this stage. Following this you will be asked to get changed into a hospital gown and taken to a hospital bed in the pre-operative room where you are now waiting for your surgery.

Get ready for the surgery

After your stay in the pre-surgical waiting area, you will then be taken to your operating room anaesthetic bay – this is the room immediately outside your operating room. This is where Dr Dona will again go over the surgery and remind you about what to expect when you wake up. Dr Dona will also make tentative surgical markings on you.

The Anaesthetist will also talk to you about the anaesthetic and the medications they’ll be giving you after surgery to keep you as comfortable as possible.

What Happens in the Operating Room

You might feel a bit intimidated in the operating room (most people do). But once you are in there, your surgical team will ensure you’re comfortable and relaxed. Here’s what you can expect:

On the day of your surgery, prior to going into the operating theatre, you will see Dr Dona. Dr Dona will go over the surgical plan with you again and allow you to discuss any final questions you may have. Your anaesthetist will also meet with you before you go to the theatre for your surgery. Your anaesthetist will provide you with relaxant medication, followed by anesthesia medication, to make you feel relaxed and drift off to sleep. The next thing you know, the procedure will be complete when you wake up.

During the procedure Dr Dona will make incisions along the tentative markings that were drawn on your body, prior to going into the theatre. The location of these incisions will depend on the type of Tummy Tuck procedure performed. You can read more about the incisions and scarring after Tummy Tuck Surgery

The incisions allow for the excess skin and fatty tissue to be lifted and provide access to the abdominal wall muscles, where Dr Dona will tighten, repair and realign loose muscles using internal stitches, tightening the waistline and improving your core strength. Finally, the excess skin and its associated fatty tissue will be trimmed, and your belly button will be relocated.

You will be in a recovery room when you wake up from the procedure, with a Nurse sitting close by monitoring you while the anaesthesia wears off.  You might feel a bit dazed at first, but that’s completely normal.

Your First 24 Hours Post-Surgery

Once the surgery is behind you, now it’s time for you to focus on healing. The first 24 hours is typically the least pleasant. However, here’s the good news: this initial discomfort is temporary, and it does settle down quite quickly.

  • You’ll wake up comfortably with pillows under your knees
  • Your wounds will be stitched and covered with waterproof dressings
  • You’ll wear a compression garment for healing and swelling reduction
  • Small drains near your incision will remove excess fluids. You might have a catheter to avoid bathroom trips initially
  • You’ll have an IV for fluids and medication (antibiotics and pain meds), compression socks, and possibly supplemental oxygen for comfort and healing.

Post-Surgery Healing:  Follow-Ups & Self-care

With your surgery completed successfully without any complications, it’s time to set yourself up for the road to recovery. This would involve periodic follow-up appointments with Dr. Dona and some self-care routines at home.

You will be provided with a detailed written post-operative guidelines information sheet prior to your surgery so you will be well prepared.

Follow-up appointments will be more frequent in the first few weeks. During the visits, Dr Dona and the Nursing team at Bella Plastic Surgery will:

  • Check your incisions for proper healing.
  • Address any questions or concerns you may have.
  • Monitor your overall recovery and adjust medications as needed.

At your post-op clinic appointment, all your dressings are removed, and your sutures are removed at the 1-week stage. All our patients will need to attend multiple clinic appointments per week for the first few weeks. These are vital so our nursing team can assess your wounds and commence post-operative treatments, including LED light therapy, to optimise your healing and recovery. It also allows our team and Dr Dona to monitor your progress during that crucial early post-operative period carefully to ensure you are reaching the correct recovery milestones. Your entire appointment schedule is organised prior to your surgery day.

Compression Garment

At the end of your Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) operation, we place you in a compression garment – so basically, you wake up from surgery with your garment already on. In addition to this, we would typically provide you with an abdominal binder to wear on top of your garment during one of your early post-operative clinic appointments.

They serve several functions:

  • Controls swelling.
  • Minimise any early potential bleeding issues.
  • Provides external support for internal tightening, so the muscle tightening that is often done is further supported by external compression.

We recommend that all our patients wear these garments continuously for six weeks, only taking them off for brief periods, such as when showering or bathing.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions during your follow-up appointments. Dr Dona and the team at Bella Plastic Surgery will guide you through the recovery process and ensure a smooth journey.

Movement Matters

While you’ll need plenty of rest, gentle movement is also crucial for recovery. Dr. Dona will recommend movements to help improve circulation and prevent stiffness. Don’t worry; these exercises will start slowly and gradually increase in intensity.

When you can start working again and resume daily activities depends on your recovery rate. Most patients return to work around the 3-week mark, depending on the nature of their workload. However, any work or activities that involve significant straining is to be avoided for the first 6 weeks.

Most patients need several weeks to recover from a Tummy Tuck surgery. Hence, keeping your body in mind and listening to Dr. Dona’s advice before resuming work or your daily routine is essential.

Tummy Tuck Surgery: FAQs

Q: What are the different types of Tummy Tuck Surgery?

  • Mini Tummy Tuck: Focuses on the lower abdomen, especially the pubic region – not suitable for any concerns around or above the belly button.
  • Standard Tummy Tuck: The most common form of tummy tuck – tightens muscles and removes excess vertical skin across the entire abdomen.
  • Fleur-de-Lis Tummy Tuck: Targets extensive skin laxity vertically and also horizontal excess along the lower abdomen.
  • Open Book Tummy Tuck: The Open Book Tummy Tuck allows for a greater amount of excess skin to be removed – removing excess skin vertically and horizontal excess along the lower and upper abdominal wall. Often required for those after massive weight loss.

Q: Are there any post-surgery complications that I should be aware of?

All surgical procedures carry risks, therefore it is essential to evaluate all of the potential risks when deciding if a procedure is right for you. Whilst these are some of the potential complications associated with Tummy Tuck Surgery, a far more extensive list can be found on our TUMMY TUCK PAGE and on our SURGERY RISKS PAGE.

  • Allergic reactions from any of the medications used during or after anesthesia.
  • Blood Clots in veins.
  • Infection or breakdown of the incision site is a possibility.
  • Bleeding can occur during or after surgery..

In extremely rare cases, serious complications can lead to death

Q: Will I lose a lot of weight from the surgery? 

The first thing that any patient undergoing the procedure should keep in mind is that a Tummy Tuck is not a weight-loss procedure. You will lose only the skin and its associated fat. Any fat beyond that, and deep to your muscles (visceral fat) will remain intact. So, while some patients may experience significant weight loss from the procedure, it is not a common occurrence.



Request a Consultation with Dr Dona

Dr Eddy Dona has been a specialist plastic surgeon since 2007, and is a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. From your first clinic visit, and throughout your surgical journey, Dr Dona and his team will be there to make it as smooth as possible.
Get in touch with our clinic to request a consultation with Dr Eddy Dona

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