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April 28, 2024

Diet and Nutrition Advice for Tummy Tuck Patients

Written by: Dr. Dahlia Rice. Posted in: Blog

Diet and Nutrition Advice for Tummy Tuck Patients

Tummy tuck patients often inquire about diet and nutrition advice before and after their procedures. After all, when your stomach area is undergoing a serious surgical procedure, it makes sense that you should want to ensure you’re eating the right things at the right times.

Ultimately, tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) is not a procedure that affects the internal organs or your digestive system. Still, there are some important diet guidelines you may benefit from following before and after this surgery, which will make your surgery and recovery experience safer and ideally, more comfortable and successful.

Who Should Get Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck surgery) is a cosmetic procedure that aims to remove excess skin from the stomach. It can also tighten the stomach muscles.

The excess remaining skin that a tummy tuck procedure removes is often the result of significant weight loss, making tummy tuck for obese patients and overweight patients quite common. Of course, aging, pregnancy, genetics, and other reasons can also be behind the need for typical tummy tuck procedures.

Is Tummy Tuck Surgery for Obese Patients?

When it comes to a tummy tuck obese patients are typically encouraged to lose weight before pursuing cosmetic surgery. It’s important to note that this procedure is not a substitute for weight loss.

Ideal tummy tuck candidates are those who have already achieved a stable weight and are within a healthy BMI range. Losing weight before undergoing a tummy tuck can improve surgical outcomes and reduce the risk of complications. Unfortunately, some severely overweight or obese patients may run into wound healing problems or other issues if they do not lose weight or encounter weight gain before surgery.

With that said, there are many patients who approach their own weight loss goals through either diet and exercise, a bariatric weight loss surgery (or a gastric bypass or gastric sleeve), or use of a weight loss drug such as Ozempic — and are able to then undergo an abdominoplasty very safely.

Diet & Nutrition Tips Before and After Tummy Tuck SurgeryTummy Tuck For Obese Patients

Proper nutrition plays a critical role in preparing for tummy tuck surgery and promoting optimal healing afterward. Some surgeons will provide patients video to watch, which will outline all post-surgery guidelines. Follow this if available.

Otherwise, here are some tips to get you started. Just check with your surgeon beforehand to be sure they apply to you.

Eat a Well Balanced Diet

A well-balanced diet rich in lean protein, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains can provide essential nutrients and vitamins as your body heals. At every meal, be sure to incorporate a variety of foods and avoid packaged and processed foods when possible.

Limit Sodium Intake

Excess sodium can exacerbate swelling and cause the retention of excess fluid, making you feel full, tight, and sluggish. Try limiting your intake of processed foods, canned soups, and salty items to help reduce swelling and promote a better recovery.

Increase Your Intake of Protein

Protein is very important for muscle recovery. It especially helps with tissue repair following surgery and is often recommended by surgeons. Lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes can help support wound healing and improve results.

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

Alcohol and caffeine can interfere with the body’s ability to heal properly. While caffeine can be reincorporated into your diet after a short time, it’s better to wait to reintroduce alcohol.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water each day can prevent dehydration, promote improved circulation, and flush toxins from the body.

Take Safe Supplements if Recommended

In some cases, your plastic surgeon may recommend specific supplements, such as vitamin C and others. In certain studies, select supplements have been supportive of a safe recovery following surgery.

Exercise After Tummy Tuck Surgery

At some point after around four or more weeks, your surgeon will allow you to reincorporate exercise after tummy tuck surgery. Be sure to follow these guidelines when you do:

Follow Your Surgeon’s Recommendations

Your plastic surgeon should always be your go-to resource regarding when you can exercise and how much and to what extent. Every patient is different, so do not take any online advice to heart without speaking to your surgeon first about your unique circumstances.

Tummy Tuck Chicago PatientsFocus on Low-Impact Activities

During the first few weeks following your tummy tuck, be sure you are focusing on low-impact activities that minimize stress on the abdominal muscles, arms, and upper body in general. Walking is usually the first exercise that is acceptable, and even then, it’s important to take very short walks at a slow pace.

Start Slowly

Do not go right into strenuous activities or heavy lifting when starting to exercise. Go slowly, and choose exercises that get you moving but aren’t high impact.

Listen to What Your Body Needs

Pay close attention to any discomfort you feel while exercising and be sure to adjust your activity level if needed. This will be especially true in the early stages of recovery.

Gradually Increase Intensity

You should always avoid exercises that directly target the ab muscles (crunches and sit-ups, for example). Wait to do these until after you have fully healed and received clearance from your plastic surgeon.

Until then, be sure you are easing into other physical activities slowly. And again, always check with your surgeon before trying anything new.

FAQ: Tummy Tuck Recovery

What is the recovery time for tummy tuck?

Most patients who have gone through tummy tucks need at least six to eight weeks to achieve full initial recovery. This means they are able to return to work and most normal activities, including some exercise. Removing excess skin, even with a mini tummy tuck, requires significant invasive surgery, so the recovery period will be substantial.

This will vary, however, depending on the patient. It will also depend how much excess fat and skin was removed, whether the abdominal wall muscles were adjusted to repair weakened or separated muscles, and how the patient usually recovers from surgery.

Are people happy after tummy tuck surgery?

Generally speaking, most patients are happy with their tummy tuck procedure experience and results. The recovery period can be a challenge, but the majority of patients say it is well worth the results.

What does a tummy tuck scar look like?

Tummy tuck scars are natural outcomes of the healing process following surgery. They vary in appearance, typically thin, possibly raised or recessed, with color differences from the surrounding skin.

Book a Consultation Today With Dr. Rice

Dr. Dahlia Rice is a board certified plastic surgeon and one of the top experienced plastic surgeons performing tummy tuck surgery in the Chicago area.

If you are at or near a normal body weight and would like to discuss the removal of excess skin and fat from your abdominal area, please contact our practice to schedule your one-on-one consultation with Dr. Rice.


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