Your Abdominoplasty Surgical Experience

The goal of your plastic surgeon and the entire staff is to make your surgical experience as easy and comfortable for you as possible.

How should I prepare for surgery?

If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop smoking well in advance of surgery. Aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs can cause increased bleeding, so you should avoid taking these medications for a period of time before surgery. Your surgeon will provide you with additional preoperative instructions.

Abdominoplasty surgery may be performed on an outpatient basis. If this is the case, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you for at least the next day or two. When abdominoplasty surgery is performed in conjunction with medically necessary procedures such as hysterectomy or hernia repair, a short hospitalization may be required.

What will the day of surgery be like?

Your abdominoplasty surgery may be performed in a hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility or office-based surgical suite.

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. Often, a general anesthetic is administered, so that you will be asleep throughout the procedure. Abdominoplasty surgery may be performed using local anesthesia and intravenous sedation. When surgery is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. In many instances, small drain tubes will have been placed within the abdominal tissues to help avoid accumulation of fluids. Gauze or other dressings may be applied to your abdomen and covered with tape or an elastic bandage.

You may be permitted to go home after a few hours, unless you and your plastic surgeon have determined that you will stay in the hospital or surgical facility overnight.

How will I look and feel initially?

The day after surgery, you will be encouraged to get out of bed for short walks to promote blood circulation. Although you may not be able to stand up completely straight, it is best if you do not sit for long periods of time during the first several days. Straining, bending and lifting must be avoided, since these activities might cause increased swelling or even bleeding. You may be instructed to sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees.

Any surgical drains probably will be removed within a week following surgery, at which time your dressings may also be changed or removed. Depending on the abdominoplasty technique used, you may be instructed to wear a support garment for several weeks. Generally, stitches will be removed in stages over a period of approximately 3-4 days.

You will notice swelling and bruising, which is to be expected. The bruising and much of the swelling will disappear over a period of weeks. However, it may be months before all swelling subsides and you see the final result of your abdominoplasty surgery. You may also notice some numbness over portions of the abdominal area, and this may persist for several months. Incisions will initially be red or pink in color. They will remain this way for many months following surgery and may even appear to worsen before they finally begin to fade.

When can I resume my normal activities?

It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals. Depending on the extent of your abdominoplasty surgery and your general physical condition, you may be able to return to non-strenuous work anywhere from one to three weeks after surgery. In many instances, you can resume most of your normal activities, including some form of mild exercise, after a few weeks. You may continue to experience some mild, periodic discomfort and swelling during this time, but such feelings are normal. Severe pain should be reported to your doctor.

Any sexual activity should be avoided for a minimum of two weeks, and your plastic surgeon may advise you to wait longer.

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**Info provided by Dr. Sam Speron
Send mail to prplastic@yahoo.com with questions or comments.
Copyright 2003 Park Ridge Center For Plastic Surgery, SC
Last modified: 05/17/07