Preparing for Tummy Tuck: Do’s and Don’ts

Published on

Tummy tuck surgery in SacramentoIf you feel nervous or anxious in the weeks leading up to your tummy tuck, you are not alone. Many patients — particularly those who are undergoing elective cosmetic surgery for the first time — experience pre-surgery jitters. As Sacramento plastic surgeon Debra J. Johnson MD often tells patients, “Inflicting torture on yourself is always frightening!” But the results will certainly be worth it!

Planning and preparing for your operation can focus that nervous energy and help you feel more in control. Read on as Dr. Johnson shares her top do’s and don’ts for tummy tuck preparation.


Do get a medical evaluation if your doctor requires it.

Preoperative requirements vary by patient, according to age, health and the chosen procedure.

Dr. Johnson may ask you to undergo a medical evaluation to gain insight into your overall health, or to obtain clearance from your primary care doctor before surgery. This is usually required of patients with other pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes or other serious illnesses. This ensures your safety during and after tummy tuck.

Do eat healthy and stay active.

Maintaining your weight through healthy lifestyle habits will set you up for tummy tuck success. Improving your “core” strength with regular abdominal exercise such as crunches, planks, Pilates, and yoga will make your recuperation less painful and your healing more rapid.

Do reduce your alcohol intake.

Consuming alcohol in the week before surgery could put you at risk of anesthesia complications or blood clotting problems. Avoid alcohol while you are taking post-operative pain medication, as the combination can increase your risk of wooziness and falling.

Do get your home in order.

Making a few simple preparations ahead of time can alleviate worries during the week of your surgery. Visit the pharmacy to pick up any prescriptions, and grocery shop for pantry essentials. Maybe do some food prep for easy meals. Set up a recovery zone, either in your bedroom or near a comfortable recliner, where you can rest and relax. Stock your recovery zone with entertainment options and other essentials, such as your cell phone charger and tissues.


Don’t take blood-thinning medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen, as these can increase your risk of bleeding and bruising.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is safe. Some herbal medications, vitamins and supplements are also off-limits, as they may increase the risk of bleeding. Make sure Dr. Johnson has an up-to-date list of your current medications, vitamins and supplements and follow her instructions for discontinuing certain medications or changing your dosage.

Absolutely no smoking!

Smoking or vaping tobacco, or using other nicotine products such as gum or patches before surgery puts your health and safety at risk. If you use tobacco products, you are at a higher risk of complications during and after surgery. Tobacco users will be asked to quit for at least three weeks before and after surgery. Your urine will be tested on the day of surgery, and if positive for nicotine, your surgery will be cancelled. Don’t let this happen!

Don’t ignore your health.

If you notice any signs of illness such as coughing, fever or a sore throat in the days leading up to your procedure, immediately reach out to our team. We will not perform any surgery on a patient who is not in perfect health. It  is much safer to postpone your procedure until you are feeling better.

Don’t be too shy to ask your surgeon questions.

If you have a question about your pre-operative instructions, the day of surgery or the procedure itself, do not hesitate to reach out to Dr. Johnson. She wants you to feel fully prepared.

Contact Us Today

To speak with Dr. Johnson or a member of our surgical team, please call or email our Sacramento practice today.