Items To Obtain Prior To Surgery
- Hibiclens soap (at any pharmarcy, Walmart, or Target in wound care section)
- Abdominal pads or gauze for after surgery
- Antibiotic ointment or Vaseline ointment
- Compression stockings (15-20 mmHg). These will be worn following surgery. Please bring on day of surgery.
- Additional Compression garments if you desire them.
- Cotton tip applicators
- Arnica gel tabs (these are on line or available for purchase in our office). This helps with discomfort, bruising and swelling after surgery.
- Absorbent pads for bed (urinary section of store). There may be oozing after surgery and these pay help protect bedding.
- Stool softener to take following procedure to aid with constipation. (Colace or generic equivalent is recommended
Two Weeks Before Surgery
• Do not take any products containing aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication or Vitamin E. Tylenol is acceptable. It is recommended to cease all herbal supplements except for Arnica, Bromelin or Tumeric.
• Refrain from all nicotine products, including cigarettes, pipe tobacco, chew or Nicotine patch. Nicotine interferes with healthy circulation and may affect the result of your surgery. It also places you at higher risk of complication when receiving anesthesia.
• Arrange a responsible driver over the age of 18 to transport to and from our office. You will be given either oral or IV sedation and cannot be permitted to drive.
- Uber, Lyft or Taxi drivers cannot pick you up following surgery.
• Please provide your preferred pharmacy information so that we can place this in our system so your medications can be sent via e-scribe.
- Your surgery is to be paid in full at this time.
One Week Before Surgery
• Do not drink alcohol for 1 week before and after surgery.
The Day Before Surgery
• You will receive a phone call informing you of your arrival time for surgery.
• DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING AFTER MIDNIGHT. (This includes water and gum chewing). Surgery may be cancelled if this is not followed. A fasting state is required in order to receive sedation for surgery. The only exception is medication, which we instruct you to take with a sip of water the morning of surgery
• Pick up your medications if you have not already done so. You will need to bring these with you on your surgery day.
• Wash with hibiclens soap the night before and the morning of surgery. Wash all areas that will be worked upon.
• Set Up Home Recovery Area. This may include pillows, blankets, books, television, and anything else to assist with a comfortable recovery
• Relax. Stay calm and get plenty of rest to avoid unnecessary stress
Day Of Surgery
• Wear something comfortable and easy to get on and off such as button up shirt and PJ’s or sweats.
• Bring your compression stockings to wear following surgery.
• Bring ALL of your medications with you to the center.
• Leave jewelry and valuables at home. Do not wear jewelry the day of your procedure.
Post Surgery Instructions
• Movement is Important. Make sure to get out of bed and be up and walking around immediately after your surgery. When lying down in bed or on the couch, make sure you are moving your legs and ankles. Take deep breaths frequently to keep your lungs clear.
• Sleep. Sleep on your back with your head and legs elevated (1-2 pillows). Since the incisions are on the front and the back it can be difficult to get comfortable. Sleeping on your side is ok too if that allows you to feel less pulling at the incision sites. Continue this for one to two weeks.
• Medications: You will be prescribed a pain medication for post-operative pain control. If your discomfort after surgery is not strong you are welcomed to take Tylenol in place of the prescribed medication. Do not take the Tylenol with the pain medication, as most often the medication you are prescribed will have Tylenol in it. Do not exceed 4,000 mg of Tylenol in any 24-hour time period. Take medication with food to minimize risk of nausea. Do not resume any herbal supplement without asking Dr. Allen prior to re-starting.
• Nausea. If you are experiencing nausea, which is common after general anesthesia as well as a known side effect of some stronger pain medications, it is advised to take the anti-nausea medication if prescribed.
• Medications to Avoid. Take only those medications approved or prescribed by your surgeon. Avoid medications containing aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen, others) for two weeks before and after surgery. These medications may increase bleeding.
• Substances to Avoid. Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine, for these will dramatically slow the healing process.
• Diet. A light low-fat diet is best after surgery. You may start a regular diet after your surgery as long as you are not feeling nauseated or vomiting.
• Hydration. Stay hydrated by drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day. Avoid alcohol for two weeks and while you are still having to take pain medications.
• Physical Activity. Do NOT remain in bed all day. Although it will be uncomfortable it is imperative that you move around and at least take walks around the house in order to facilitate healing. Avoid lifting more than 5lbs, straining, bending, or any cardio activity.
• Exercise. Light physical activity may be resumed 3-4 weeks after surgery. Remember to start easy and build back up to your previous exercise levels. At 4- 6 weeks or when further instructed by Dr. Allen, more intense exercise can be started. Just know that swelling may transiently be worse with exercise.
• Compression Garment. Expect to wear a compression garment all day and night for the first three weeks, and for a few weeks thereafter as wanted or suggested by your surgeon. The garment should fit snug but not too tight that you have trouble breathing or you develop wounds or blisters from the compression. Wear your garment at all times except for when you are showering or to wash it. This will help with minimizing swelling and help in contouring the body.
• Driving. Do NOT operate a vehicle or make important decisions until you have been off pain medications for 24 hours. Use good judgment. After being off pain medications automobile travel can be resumed, although frequent breaks are needed approximately every 2 hours to prevent blood pooling and clots.
• Showering. You may shower with assistance the day following surgery. Remove your garment. Incisions are covered with a waterproof dressing and require no attention. Replace garment after your shower.
• Hot Tubs/Baths/Swimming Pools. No tub baths or Jacuzzi until your incisions have healed, and approved by your surgeon, which is usually around 3-4 weeks. It is best to wait one month for hot tubs as they tend to have more bacteria than regular chlorinated swimming pools.
How To Take Care Of Your Incisions
• Incisions. Your incisions are covered with a waterproof dressing. No dressing changes or incision care is required. After your first postop visit, the dressing will be removed and a special scar tape will be applied. Additional tape is provided so you can continue a planned scar regimen.
• Stitches. All stitches are dissolvable. If you have any external sutures, they will be removed at your weekly follow up.
• Sun Exposure. Avoid and minimize sun exposure. Use an SPF of 30 or greater when outdoors. Even a mild sunburn can worsen swelling and irritate an incision that is healing.
• Scar gel. Scars may take up to a year to fully heal. After your incisions have completely healed and when your doctor has told you it is safe, you can begin to use silicone based gel on your scars to improve healing.
What To Expect
• Drainage. Drainage can occur from the incision sites for the first week after surgery. The drainage will be blood-tinged. You may use gauze or a light pad to reinforce post-op dressings if this occurs.
• Bruising. You can expect to have bruising on the affected and surrounding area. Most bruises will heal after about 2-4 weeks. The bruise will go from a purplish color to a yellow/green shade as it starts to resolve.
• Swelling. Swelling in lifted and all surrounding areas is to be expected for weeks and sometimes months. The swelling can improve with intermittent rest and compression garments. Exercise and physical activity can transiently worsen swelling but is encouraged.
• Itching. Itching at the incision sites and surrounding areas is normal for a few days or weeks. You may take Benadryl to help with this.
• Pain. It is normal to experience tightness, pressure, soreness, itchiness, and fatigue for several days to weeks following surgery as the body recovers.
• Range of motion. You may experience a limited range of motion for the first couple weeks depending on the extent of the body lift, especially if a tummy tuck has been incorporated. This is normal. By the second week you will gradually notice more range of motion and ability to stand more upright.
• Sensory Changes in Skin. You may feel reduced or heightened sensation in the affected areas. This is normal. You can expect return of normal sensation after a few weeks to months.
Emotional Exepectations Following Surgery
It is not unusual for patients to undergo significant emotional “ups and downs” after any type of surgery. Factors such as underlying stress, medications, and/or psychological tendencies can result in patients experiencing a “post-operative depression” that generally resolves after a few weeks. Having a partner, family member, or friend who is supportive can help with this process. Understanding the stages of emotional “ups and downs” can help patients stay calm and recover from this emotional process faster:
Phase 1: Being Out of It: Swelling and discomfort is most severe over the first few days after surgery. Pain medications also can make you disoriented and emotional.
Phase 2: Mood Swings: Having just had surgery, patients are adjusting to a sudden change in their appearance with much anticipation. The presence of bruising, swelling, and asymmetries will distort a patient’s results thereby concealing the final outcome. Mood swings (especially sadness), worry and depression are common emotions as a result. Patients may even ask, “What have I done?” or think that “I never should have done it.”
Phase 3: Being over critical: During the second week, patients will probably be feeling a lot better. The swelling and muscle cramping/spasms will be decreasing and sutures will be out. Because of anticipation, it is natural for patients to look critically at their new body worrying about symmetry, scars, and so on. At this point, it’s normal to wonder if they have achieved their goal and what they paid for. This is too soon to tell and most concerns are resolved with time.
Phase 4: Happy at last § Finally, about 3 – 6 months out of surgery, patients will probably start liking how they look and are feeling much better.