Summary: A tummy tuck is a big decision that shouldn’t be rushed into or quickly arranged. You’re likely to love your results even more and have an easier recovery if you take the time to carefully plan your tummy tuck and get ready before having your procedure. Using a 6-month timeline gives you plenty of time to find a plastic surgeon you like and feel confident about, reach and maintain your target weight and decide if adding a complementary procedure may be right for you.

6 Months Before

This is the time to focus on healthy eating and exercise. Establishing a healthy diet and getting in shape can help you keep a stable, target weight as you begin seeing plastic surgeons in consultations and maintain your tummy tuck results for many years after your procedure. Engaging in regular exercise now may help your body bounce back during your recovery too.

You should also start researching plastic surgeons. A plastic surgeon who has undergone comprehensive testing and ongoing education to become board certified can give you both technical and aesthetic expertise in planning your tummy tuck.

4 Months Before

With 2 months of prep behind you, it’s time to get serious about the details of your tummy tuck. Pare your list of potential plastic surgeons down to a few and schedule consultations. Or, pick your top candidate and start there, then consider consultations with other plastic surgeons depending on how you felt about your first appointment. You should look for a plastic surgeon who has the skills and knowledge to do a great job on your tummy tuck but you need to feel comfortable with them, too.

During your consultation, be very honest about your worries, hopes and expectations. A tummy tuck alone may not be the best way to address your concerns. Dr. Meade may recommend a specific type of tummy tuck, adding liposuction to smooth your midsection or suggest a complementary procedure to polish your appearance.

Great tummy tuck preparation starts with planning that includes reaching your target weight, working with Dr. Meade to plan your procedure and following his post-op directions.

3 Months Before

As your procedure nears, you should quit all tobacco use, schedule at least a week off from work and line up someone to help you for 2 weeks after your tummy tuck. Be sure that your caregiver can also help with taking care of pets, children and other responsibilities while you are recovering.

Final Weeks Before

Bring any questions you may have to your final pre-op appointment and ask about what you can expect during your recovery. You should also focus on getting ready at home. Gather any supplies you may need, such as extra pillows or silicone gel to minimize your scar. Prepare and freeze meals. Buy a comfortable compression garment if recommended.

A couple days before your tummy tuck, stock up on fruits, vegetables and other fiber-rich foods to support healing and avoid constipation that could result from taking medication and being more sedentary.

After your tummy tuck surgery, your months of tummy tuck preparation should pay off with beautiful results combined with a stress-free recovery.