A tummy tuck can have a dramatic impact on your appearance and your self-confidence. Your exact level of satisfaction with the procedure will hinge in great part on your degree of preparedness for your tummy tuck and your dedication to being an active participant in your pre and post-operative care. Before committing to having a tummy tuck, you should make sure that you are mentally and physically prepared for the procedure. Below are twelve things to do before you schedule a tummy tuck:

1) Make sure that you are a good candidate for the procedure. Contrary to popular belief, the best candidates for a tummy tuck are not people who are significantly overweight. The ideal candidate for a tummy tuck is a person with these traits:

  • Excessive skin in the abdominal region
  • Weight within the normal range
  • Abdominal muscles that are weak or have lost their elasticity

2) Schedule time for your recovery. A tummy tuck is an invasive procedure that will require substantial downtime for a complete recovery. You should avoid strenuous activity and will need to schedule approximately one to two weeks off from work if you are employed. The exact amount of time will depend upon the specific demands of your job.

3) Manage your weight in the weeks and months prior to the procedure. The best results of a tummy tuck are produced with patients who are not overweight. Make sure to keep your weight in check in the weeks leading up to your procedure.

4) Check your surgeon’s credentials. When choosing a physician to perform your tummy tuck, you should seek an experienced surgeon who specializes in cosmetic surgery. Surgeons with the following credentials are good choices:

  • A member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery
  • Surgeons who have completed a fellowship in cosmetic surgery
  • An active participant in recognized medical associations

5) Make sure you have realistic expectations. A tummy tuck is not a magic procedure that will erase your body’s flaws. The goal of the procedure is to improve your body’s contour through the removal of extra skin and fat. And while you may lose a few pounds as a result of the procedure, it is important to realize that you will not experience substantial weight loss.

6) Review before and after photos. A review of before and after photos will help you develop realistic expectations about procedural results. Ask your surgeon to see photos of patients before the procedure, immediately after the procedure, and several weeks after the procedure.

7) Request references. Requesting references is a great way to increase your level of comfort with your upcoming tummy tuck. Ask your surgeon for a few names of patients who had the procedure and contact those individuals to ask them about their experiences.

8) Consider the procedural risks. While tummy tucks are often performed in an outpatient surgery center, this does not mean that there are not any associated health risks. As in the case of most surgical procedures, there are risks to consider. A few of the risks to consider are as follows:

  • Infection
  • Reactions to local or general anesthesia
  • Blood clots
  • Scarring

9) Ask questions. Before your consultation with your surgeon, sit down and make a list of every question that you have about the procedure. Be sure to include questions regarding anticipated recovery time, aftercare, medications, and expected results.

10) Educate yourself about the procedure. Learning about abdominoplasty will help increase your comfort level with the procedure because you will know what to expect. Your surgeon will typically provide you with literature and important information about the procedure. Be sure to read this information carefully to help ensure that there are no unexpected surprises following the procedure.

11) Commit to be an active participant in your follow-up appointments. Aftercare appointments with your surgeon are vital to the overall success of your procedure. Do not ignore or postpone your follow-up appointments, as they allow your surgeon to determine whether you are healing properly or require any additional medical care.

A tummy tuck can be instrumental in improving your appearance and your self-confidence. However, you must be dedicated to maintaining a healthy weight and exercising to maintain your newly contoured body. Remember that you will achieve the best results if you remain involved in your care from the moment you decide to have the procedure.