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Abdominoplasty

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

An abdominoplasty is surgery to remove fat and skin from your abdomen. This surgery is also called a tummy tuck.

HOW TO PREPARE:

Before your surgery:

  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Your healthcare provider will ask you about your health history. He will ask you what surgeries you have had in the past. If you are female, he will ask you if you have ever given birth. He may also ask you about your future plans for being pregnant. Tell your healthcare provider if you or your relatives have bleeding problems, cancer, or heart disease. Also tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had any problems with your abdomen.
  • You may need blood taken for tests. The blood can be taken from a vein in your hand, arm, or the bend in your elbow. Your blood is tested to see how your body is doing. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about any tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
  • Your healthcare provider may want you to lose weight before your surgery. Your healthcare provider may also want you to stay at your same weight. Ask your healthcare provider if a weight loss plan is right for you.
  • If you smoke, you will need to stop before your surgery. You may heal more slowly after surgery if you smoke. Smoking harms the heart, lungs, and the blood. You are more likely to have a heart attack, lung disease, and cancer if you smoke. You will help yourself and those around you by not smoking. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about how to stop smoking if you are having trouble quitting.
  • Your healthcare provider may want you to stop taking certain medicines before your surgery. Your healthcare provider may also want you to start taking vitamins and drink more water. Ask your healthcare provider if you should make any changes to your diet or medicines.
  • Your healthcare provider may want you to exercise more. Exercise may also help you lose weight before your surgery. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best exercise program for you.

The night before your surgery:

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
  • Your healthcare provider may ask you to wash your abdomen and the area around it with antibacterial soap. This soap may help fight infection caused by germs called bacteria.

The day of your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

What will happen:

  • Your healthcare provider will make marks on your abdomen. These marks will help guide your healthcare provider while making incisions (cuts). You will be taken to the room where your surgery will be done. Your healthcare provider will give you anesthesia medicine to keep you asleep and pain-free during your surgery. Your healthcare provider will cut your skin along the marks he made before your surgery. He may make cuts above and below your belly button.
  • Your healthcare provider will cut out extra fat and skin from your abdomen. Your healthcare provider may also suction out extra fat. He will then use stitches to tighten your abdomen muscles. Your healthcare provider will put thin rubber tubes (drains) in your cut to help remove extra fluid. He will also adjust the position of your belly button. Your healthcare provider will close your cut using stitches or staples. A bandage is used to cover your stitches or staples. This bandage keeps the area clean and dry to help prevent infection.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room where you can rest. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You will need to wear a support garment, which is a tight piece of clothing wrapped around your abdomen. Pressure garments help support your abdomen after your muscles have been cut. Your healthcare provider may ask you to keep your knees slightly bent. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be allowed to go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken to your room.

Waiting area:

This is an area where your family and friends can wait until you are able to have visitors. Ask your visitors to provide a way to reach them if they leave the waiting area.

CONTACT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IF:

  • You cannot make it to your surgery.
  • You have a fever.
  • You get sick with a cold or the flu.

Risks

  • You may have an allergic response to anesthesia or other medicines used for your surgery. You may not be happy with the results of your abdominoplasty. Your abdomen may be uneven, and you may still have loose skin and fat. You may have small bulges of tissue on the sides of your abdomen. Your surgery area may become swollen, bruised, or painful. Your skin may get an infection, a rash, or large scars. The skin or nerves near your cuts may be damaged. You may need another surgery to fix some of these problems. You may bleed too much and need a blood transfusion.
  • You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. This can cause pain and swelling, and it can stop blood from flowing where it needs to go in your body. The blood clot can break loose and travel to your lungs or brain. A blood clot in your lungs can cause chest pain and trouble breathing. A blood clot in your brain can cause a stroke. These problems can be life-threatening. You have a higher risk for problems if you smoke, have diabetes (high blood sugar), or high blood pressure.
  • If you do not have surgery, you may continue to have loose skin and extra fat. You may have trouble washing areas under loose skin and you may get infections. It may be hard to fit into some clothing. Call your healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about your surgery, medicine, or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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