Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty, Liposuction) Pre & Post Operative Instructions

Pre-Operative Instructions

  • Please advise the doctor if you are taking any blood thinning medication (e.g.
    Warfarin, Disprin, Aspirin, etc.)
  • This will need to be discontinued prior to surgery as per doctor’s instructions.
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure raises the risk of bleeding complications in all forms
    of surgery – please ensure your blood pressure is well controlled prior to your surgical
  • DO NOT take any of the following medications prior to surgery:

– Anti-inflammatories (e.g. Brufen, Ibuprofen, Myprodol, Voltaren, etc.).

– Homeopathic medications (e.g. Arnica, Rescue Remedy, St John’s Wort).

– Vitamin E (oral or topical).

  • Prepare your skin for 3 weeks before surgery with Dermalac Lotion and Vitamin A, C
    & E Body Oil from Environ.
  • Take a bath or shower with antibacterial soap (or Bioscrub) on the morning of your
  • Do not apply any body lotion.
  • Regardless of whether you are having a general anesthetic or conscious sedation –
    you should not eat or drink anything for 6 hours prior to surgery.
  • If you are a smoker – NO SMOKING for 3 months prior to surgery.
  • Bring comfortable cotton underwear.

Post-Operative Instructions

  • You will overnight at Christiaan Barnard Hospital.
  • You will need someone to drive you home after your surgery and help you for 1 – 2
  • You will need plenty of rest.
  • Decreased activity and pain medication may promote constipation, so you may want
    to add more fruit and fiber to your diet.
  • Be sure to increase your fluid intake.
  • Take pain medication as prescribed. Do not take aspirin or any products containing
  • Do not drink alcohol when taking pain medications.
  • If you are taking vitamins with iron, resume these as tolerated.
  • Do not smoke, as smoking delays healing and increase the risk of complications.
  • Be aware that there will be some sensation loss around the navel for a few months –
    do not stand too close to or lean against hot surfaces or use a water bottle on your
    abdomen until sensation has fully returned.


  • Start walking as soon as possible – this helps to reduce swelling and lowers the chance
    of blood clots.
  • Do not drive until you are no longer taking any pain medications.
  • No heavy lifting for 6 weeks.
  • Resume sexual activity as comfort permits, usually 2 to 3 weeks post-operatively.
  • Avoid straining of abdominal muscles. Strenuous exercise and activities are restricted
    for 6 weeks.
  • Return to work within 2 to 4 weeks
  • If you have a car with power steering, you can start driving after 2 weeks.

Incision Care 

  • You may shower only after your post-operative appointment (usually 4 days
  • Avoid exposing your scars to the sun for at least 12 months.
  • Always use sunblock – regardless of the weather – if you plan to go outdoors or not.
  • Apply Micropore to the incision lines for 3 months – change every 7 to 10 days. Do not
    remove the tape every day as it will cause irritation of the surrounding skin.
  • Keep incisions clean and inspect through Micropore daily for signs of infection or
  • Incision areas may be massaged through the Micropore for the first 3 months.
  • ScarScience, available from the therapists, should be applied from 6
    weeks postoperatively – over the Micropore for another 6 weeks – and then on the
    incision directly for another 3 months postoperatively.
  • No soaking in the bath while sutures or drains are in place.
  • Support garments should be worn 24/7, and only removed for short periods while
    taking a shower.
  • Sleep with a pillow under your knees and your head elevated on two pillows.

What To Expect 

  • Discomfort will be maximal in the first 3 days, improving each day thereafter.
  • You may experience temporary pain, soreness, numbness of abdominal skin or incision
  • You will have bruising and swelling of the abdomen. The majority of bruising and
    swelling will subside within 6 to 8 weeks.
  • You may tire easily for several weeks.


  • A flatter, firmer abdomen with the narrower waistline.
  • You will walk slightly bent forward and gradually return to normal posture over a
    period of 3 weeks.
  • Scars will be red for 6 to 9 months. After that, they will fade and soften.
  • The scar will be low on the abdomen and extend from one hipbone to the other and
    around the navel.

Follow – Up Care

  • Abdominal drains will be removed when draining is less than 30 ml over 24 hours.
  • Most of the sutures are buried and will dissolve in 6 to 8 weeks.
  • A support garment must be worn 24/7 for 6 weeks post-operatively.
  • ScarScience must be applied on the incision from 6 weeks post-operatively to help
    with the prevention of hypertrophic and keloid scarring. It should be used for at least 3 to
    6 months post-operatively.

When To Call

  • If you have increased swelling or bruising.

  • If swelling and redness persist after a few days.
  • If you have increased redness along the incision.
  • If you have severe or increased pain not relieved by medication.
  • If you have any side effects to medications, such as rash, nausea, headache and
  • If you have an oral temperature over 37°C.
  • If you have any drainage from the incisions or notice a foul odor.
  • • If you have bleeding from the incisions that does not stop with light pressure


Emergency Contact: 078 867 61372