The Night Before And Day Of A Tummy Tuck And Chest Reduction
I had my abdominoplasty and gynaecomastia surgery in March 2022. I wanted to recap what it was like the night before and the day of my surgery.
The above video was recorded 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. The hospital enforced Covid restrictions, so I had to attend my procedure alone. Moreover, I needed a negative PCR test from a swab submitted 72 hours prior to the procedure for it to proceed.
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.
Considering I had reached my leanest state and had no other commitments, I decided that now would be the right time for this procedure.
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.
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.
Due to Covid restrictions, I had to obtain a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to my operation. Following that, I had to self-isolate at home from the time of my swab until the day 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 prior to my operation, I had an appointment with a nurse at my surgeon’s clinic. We discussed the recovery process, preparation, and expectations.
A week before the surgery, I underwent a general health screening at the hospital. It was my only outing before isolating and getting the swab test.
The Night Before Surgery
The day before the procedure, the hospital confirmed my negative PCR test, ensuring the surgery would proceed.
Interestingly, my worry about the Covid test left little time or energy to stress about the surgery itself. It worked out in my favour, I suppose.
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 explained the schedule and reiterated health screening questions. Blood pressure, medication, and allergies were checked.
Next, the surgeon arrived, reviewed everything, and confirmed I was the first patient. He marked my torso to plan the incisions and scars from a standing position. Precise measurements would be taken during the surgery.
Shortly after, the anaesthetist entered, explaining his role and asking about allergies or intolerances.
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 requested to have my valuables, including my phone, wallet, and keys (although I’m not sure why I brought them), securely locked away.
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 nurse confirmed my name, the procedure I was having, and the last time I ate or drank.
We chatted about my weight loss journey during the way, keeping me calm.
A member of the operating team received me upon arrival and repeated the confirmation process.
The anaesthetist confirmed my name, procedure, and last food or drink intake.
They placed an oxygen mask on me, removed my glasses, and adjusted the gown.
I quickly became unconscious within seconds.
Waking Up After Surgery
I vaguely remember someone saying things went well, though it could have been a dream. I fully woke up around 3 or 4 PM after a 5-hour procedure.
After returning to the room, it took 2-3 more hours for the anaesthesia to wear off completely.
I woke up groggy and disoriented, with hazy memories of the day’s events.
There was mild stinging at the surgical wounds, but the pain was manageable thanks to the painkillers.
I spent a couple of hours lying there, still dazed, and managed a video call with my family once I regained some clarity.
Speaking was difficult due to a sore throat, but it was comforting to hear their voices. They checked in with the ward during my procedure, and a nurse updated them once 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 awake.
The surgeon came to see me first thing in the morning and talked through how things went.
He assured me that everything went well and assisted me in getting up. Together, we removed some of the bandages to examine the outcome.
The stitches were removed after 48 hours, but I found them unsettling and didn’t take photos.
The nurse changed again and confirmed I could leave when my family could pick me up.
By now, I felt more at ease getting up and lying down on my own, so I started moving around. I managed to use the toilet independently, pack my things, and clean myself with antibacterial wipes since I couldn’t shower.
I called my family, and they would come to pick me up in the afternoon. In the meantime, I had a relaxed morning to pass the time.
I ended up spending most of it binge-watching Downton Abbey.
When my family was en route, I informed the nurse, and she ensured everything was packed.
She provided painkillers for the next few days and explained self-care at home. She also scheduled my follow-up appointments. They were at 48 hours (for removing the additional stitches), as well as at 1 week and 2 weeks.
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, the night before, the 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.