Nutrition and Abdominoplasty: The Tummy Tuck @SurreyPlasticSS @KKimberRD
3rd December 2014
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An abdominoplasty, with or without liposuction targets fat cells and excess skin with a goal of making you smaller, thinner and improving abdominal contours. Results can be enhanced when a patient is aware of the limitations, and understands that when surgery stops, diet, exercise and nutrition start. Diet and exercise are a “part of” the best cosmetic surgery results.

Before surgery

An abdominoplasty is a planned procedure and therefore patients tend to be fit and healthy, carrying little implication for nutritional intervention prior to surgery. Having a healthy balanced diet will provide sufficient nutrients to maintain health i.e. eat a variety of vegetables and fruits (at least five portions of different vegetables and fruits each day) and eat a balance of plant foods, protein and dairy (filling at least 2/3 of your plate with plant foods and 1/3 with protein foods like lean meat, fish, dairy or pulses).

Will weight loss improve my outcomes?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recently identified that long-term weight loss was more likely for women whose initial Body Mass Index was 24.5kg/m2 or greater, just under the borderline for overweight. If you are carrying more than 25% of excess weight, it may be necessary to lose weight prior to surgery, however your consultant will discuss this with you and determine the optimal amount of weight loss to achieve the best result for you.

Should I be taking any nutritional supplements?

If you a following a healthy balanced diet with a balance of foods from all food groups, it is unlikely you will need to take a nutritional supplement. High dose supplements may even be harmful to your health. Taking nutritional supplements is only recommended either to correct a known deficiency or where your GP has recommended them on an individual basis.

Herbal medicines of concern in those about to undergo surgery include; Echinacea, Ephedra, garlic, ginko ginseng, kava, St. Johns Wort and valerian. It is important that you inform your consultant of any medications, supplements or herbal remedies you are taking prior to your surgery.

Should I fast before surgery?

Fasting before surgery it is now known to be associated with delayed recovery. Guidelines from the American Society of Anesthesiologists recommend consumption of clear fluids (including fruit juices without pulp) up to 2 hours before surgery, and a light breakfast (e.g tea and toast) 6 hours before the procedure. These newer recommendations improve patient comfort and reduce adverse outcomes.

After surgery

Eating and drinking after your surgery is important. Ideally it is best to eat and drink within 6-12 hours after your procedure.

Appropriate nutrition for wound healing

The most important nutrients associated with wound healing include; protein, fat and carbohydrate, Vitamin A, B Complex, C, E and K, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese and Selenium. These can all be obtained through a balanced diet.

If wanting to lose weight, restriction of dietary intake is certainly not encouraged in the first 3 weeks after surgery, as this is a vital stage for the wound healing process. On the other hand, excess energy intake can increase risk of infection and delay healing therefore you need to ensure you are not under or over eating.

An adequate intake of protein rich foods from 2-3 portions of meat, fish, eggs or pulses per day is important for wound healing. It is also important to ensure you are taking adequate amount of omega 3 fats which can be obtain through two portions of fish per week (one of which should be oily).


Following a healthy diet after liposuction is important to optimise your results and ensure these results remain.

The science behind it:

We store fat in fat cells. When we gain weight, these both gain in number and in size (hyperplastic obesity is the technical term). Fat cells produce hormones that affect our appetite. The more fat cells we have, the hungrier we can feel. Losing weight will reduce the size of the fat cells, but not the number of fat cells, whereas Liposuction will actually remove these fat cells. It is therefore hypothesized that the removing of fat cells may play a part in reducing the levels of hormones that make us feel hungry, however more scientific studies are needed to confirm this.

The two factors that affect the amount of fat cells in the body is determined by the amount of energy we burn which can be increased through exercise, versus the amount of energy we take in through food and fluid.

It is therefore important to comply with healthy diet and lifestyle recommendations post surgery in order to achieve the best results. Aim for adequate amounts of exercise as per government recommendations


Before and after surgery there are no real special dietary requirements. It is ideal to follow a healthy balanced diet, including food from all the necessary foods groups in order to ensure you are receiving the right nutrients. Remember - when surgery stops, diet, exercise and nutrition start, although adopting healthy diet and lifestyle practices prior to surgery is likely to mean these will be easier to continue post surgery.

If you are unsure whether your diet is optimal, it may be suitable to consult a Dietitian prior to surgery who can assess the adequacy of your diet. They will be able to help you set realistic and achievable goals for adopting a healthier diet leading up to your procedure. Your consultant may suggest this should they feel you will benefit from weight loss or healthier eating practices prior to surgery.

Katherine Kimber (Bsc) Hons, RD –

For more information/advice please contact Surrey Plastic Surgery Services on 0800 112 3393

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Nigel & Maggie

Member since: 10th July 2012

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