The Night Before And Day Of A Tummy Tuck And Chest Reduction
I had my abdominoplasty and gynaecomastia surgery in March 2022 and I wanted to recap what it was like the night before and the day of tummy tuck surgery and my chest reduction surgery.
I recorded the above video in August 2022, around 5 months after my surgery.
I had a lot on my mind at the time around Covid and getting ready for the surgery itself that I didn’t get a chance to really record or talk about my thoughts.
So I wanted to dial it back a bit and talk about what it was like preparing for the procedure, the day of it and also getting home so that 24-48 hour span of getting in and out of the hospital.
Before we go ahead, it is important to remember that specifics will be different for each hospital, clinic, and surgeon. When my procedure was done, the hospital still had Covid restrictions in place which meant I had to be there on my own and the procedure would only go ahead if I had a negative PCR test from a swab submitted 72 hours before the day of the procedure.
When And Why I Had My Surgery
I booked my surgery in January 2022, to be carried out in March 2022. I was lucky to get that date due to someone else’s cancellation otherwise the first available date would have been in May.
So I only had 2 months to wait and it flew by.
While many people gained weight during lockdowns and Covid, I somehow went the opposite way. I lost weight and got to the leanest I had ever been in my adult life.
For a few years before that, I had been in a stable(-ish) weight range of 72-78kg and before that, I lost around 140 pounds from my heaviest to my lightest.
So my surgery was to remove the excess skin I was carrying from that.
I figured once I had gotten to my leanest, and with not much else going on in my life, now would be a good time to get this done.
Financially, I had been saving for it myself gradually over several years. Previously I could never make it work between finances, work, life just getting in the way, and a bit of fear too. So I kept putting it off.
And then when lockdowns happened and life slowed down, it gave me the chance to think about it a bit more.
Financially I was good for it. My life was a bit dull with not much happening. I work from home. And my body was in the right condition. Plus being in my thirties, I figured that recovery-wise it would be easier and quicker while I was still a bit younger.
I’m fit, active, and fairly lean so things just kind of lined up for me.
Preparing Your Body For Surgery
Please do consult a professional for specific advice around this, but from the documentation I was provided with and other reading, generally you need to be at a stable weight for roughly 6 months before a procedure like this.
I had been in the same weight range for years so that wasn’t an issue for me.
Covid restrictions meant that I needed a negative PCR test 72 hours before my operation and then had to self-isolate at home from the point my swab was taken to the date of my procedure.
Because that PCR needed to be negative I went for overkill and started self-isolating 2 weeks before the date of my swab.
I was living with my family so I stayed in my bedroom, only came into shared spaces when no one else was around and occasionally ventured out into the garden.
And that was it.
Four weeks before my operation I had an appointment with a nurse at my surgeon’s own clinic to talk through getting ready for the procedure. We covered things like what the recovery was going to be like, how to prepare for it, and a bit more on what to expect.
And a week before my surgery, I had a general health screening with a nurse at the hospital my surgery was going to be at. This was the only time I came out of self-isolation before submitting my swab.
The Night Before Surgery
The day before the procedure was when the hospital actually confirmed that my PCR was negative so it would be going ahead.
On the plus side, I was so worried about this Covid test that I didn’t have the time or the energy to stress about the surgery itself. So I guess that kind of worked out in my favour.
It would only be one night in hospital so I didn’t need to pack much. I only needed:
- a change of clothes
- a button-up or zip-up top to change in and out of because I wouldn’t be able to reach my arms overhead
- my phone and charger
- some toiletries
- the support garment that I would need during my recovery
That is specific to me. It’s important you confirm with your own hospital or surgeon what to bring with you on the day of your tummy tuck surgery.
That was it in terms of packing as far as I can remember.
When I had gone for the health screening at the hospital, the nurse had given me a special sponge with some antiseptic in it to use when I shower the night before. So I did that.
I also needed to thoroughly clean out my belly button. That was going to be reconstructed so I needed to minimise the risk of bacteria getting in there.
So that meant a comprehensive shower and an extra clean with cotton buds.
I couldn’t eat for 10 hours before admission and I was going to be admitted at 7 AM the next day.
The last thing I ate the night before was a big bowl of oats with protein powder and peanut butter mixed in. I wanted something that would make me feel full, would take a while to break down and that would stop me from feeling hungry for a while.
You can’t drink anything for six hours either and I didn’t want to get up in the middle of the night to have a drink so I just downed a litre of water at the same time as my last meal, and that was it.
The Day Of My Surgery
I slept surprisingly well and was up very early on the day of my surgery. I had another shower with the antiseptic sponge, double-checked to make sure I packed everything I’d need and then off we went.
Going in the morning I didn’t know what time my surgery was going to be – just that I needed to be there by 7 AM and that it would take 5 or 6 hours in total.
My brother dropped me off outside, and in I went. My nerves were starting to creep in a little bit but not as much as I thought they would.
A nurse came to collect me from reception and took me to my room.
And then things moved so quickly, I didn’t have time to think about it or to panic.
The nurse went through what the day was going to look like, and what was going to happen next and then went through some of the health screening questions again.
She checked my blood pressure, asked about medication and asked about allergies.
Then the surgeon came in and talked through everything again and confirmed I was first up. He drew all over my torso with his markers to get an idea of where the incisions and scars would be from a standing position. And then of course he would do the exact measuring when I am knocked out on the operating table – which he did.
He left and then literally a minute later the anaesthetist came in, talked through what he was going to do and asked about allergies or intolerances as well.
Somewhere in between all that the catering manager came in and take my lunch and dinner order. I don’t entirely remember that bit but I did order something.
After that, I had around 10 minutes to change into my surgical gown and call my family to let them know what was happening. I also gave them the ward’s direct number in case they wanted updates.
I asked for my valuables to be locked away – my phone, wallet and keys (I also don’t know why I brought my keys).
By the way, don’t bring valuables with you, especially if you are going to be on your own. Your phone and wallet are probably fine in case of an emergency, but otherwise, I wouldn’t bring anything else.
Going In For Surgery
The next thing I know another nurse knocked at the door and was ready to take me down for my operation.
The nurse asked me to confirm my name, what I was having done and the last time I ate or drank anything.
Then she took me down. On our way, we talked about my weight loss and my experience and she did a good job of making sure I still felt calm.
Then she handed me over to a member of the operating team who again asked me to confirm my name, what I am having done and the last time I ate or drank anything.
The anaesthetist then asked me to confirm those same 3 things again. Someone then put an oxygen mask on me, another nurse took my glasses off, I could feel the gown being undone, and that was pretty much it. I was knocked out literally in seconds.
Waking Up After Surgery
I have a very vague and hazy memory of someone telling me things went well but I could have just dreamt that. I don’t think I was fully awake until 3 or 4 PM and the procedure took around 5 hours in total.
After I was taken back up to the room, it took another 2-3 hours for the anaesthetic to full wear off.
I woke up very dopey and very groggy. And things are still a bit hazy about what actually happened that day.
I could feel where my surgical wounds were and they did sting a bit but they weren’t massively painful as such. I guess the painkillers were doing their job!
I spent a couple of hours lying there dazed and I video-called my family once I got a little bit of sense back in me.
I could barely speak because my throat was sore but it was nice to speak to them. They had called the ward a couple of times during my procedure, and a nurse had called them once I was out to let them know I was done.
After that, the rest of the afternoon and evening is a bit of a blur.
I remember laying there being a bit too scared to move. A nurse came and helped me go to the toilet and that was a bit terrifying.
I kept thinking “what if something comes undone? What if one of the wounds opens?”
Of course, that didn’t happen.
The rest of the evening was a bit of a non-event. Someone brought me dinner and I started binge-watching Downton Abbey on Netflix (which by the way was something I watched throughout my recovery period).
And then the nurse who had been with me throughout the day introduced me to the night nurse.
They gave me some more painkillers and then I want to sleep a bit after that.
I slept pretty well that night in the circumstances. The nurse came in to check on me and check my blood pressure a couple of times and that was it.
The Day After Surgery
When I got up the next day I was a bit more alert and awak.
The surgeon came to see me first thing in the morning and talked through how things went. He said it all went well and helped me get up so we could undo some of the bandages and I could see what was done.
The main wounds were all covered in tape but there was an extra row of stitches on my lower chest that weren’t covered, which freaked me out a bit.
Those stitches came out after 48 hours but they did really creep me out and I didn’t take any photos of them.
After that, the nurse changed over again and she confirmed I can go at whatever time my family can come to pick me up.
I was more comfortable with getting up and lying down myself by now so I started to move a bit more. I managed to go to the toilet myself, managed to get my things packed and wipe myself down with some antibacterial wipes as I couldn’t shower.
And then I called my family and they were going to come to pick me up in the afternoon so I had a very chilled morning to pass some time.
And I just basically ended up binge-watching more Downton Abbey.
When my family were on their way, I let the nurse know and she helped me make sure everything was packed up.
She gave me some painkillers for the next few days, talked me through looking after myself at home and booked my 48-hour follow-up (for those extra stitches to come out) as well as my 1-week and 2-week appointments.
Then she just made sure I understood everything and we were all set.
When I got home, I went up to my bedroom and didn’t really leave again that day.
The stairs were manageable but because of the swelling and freshness of the wounds, I was very hunched over.
That meant my lower back started to hurt after 30-40 seconds of walking, so I was a bit restricted in the range and time I could comfortably walk.
I basically just watched more Downton.
The Rest Of My Recovery
That was what the build-up, night before, day of and coming home from my tummy tuck surgery was like. Keep an eye out for more updates as I talk more about how my recovery went in the following weeks and months and how the surgery impacted me.