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Body Contour Surgery

Updated on December 23, 2013

How to Prepare for Cosmetic Surgery

Body contour surgery is just as serious as any other type of surgery. Just because it is generally termed "cosmetic" doesn't mean the risks are any less. Contour surgery generally follows an extreme weight loss due to a surgical procedure. The importance of taking a few preparatory measures is vital to a healthy physical, as well as mental outcome.


What is Body Contour Surgery After Weight Loss

Body contouring is a type of plastic surgery created to address specific abnormalities or irregularities in the shape of your body. These kinds of procedures are designed to restore the body's contour, skin tone, and proportion.

Following a significant weight loss, just about any part of the body can be affected. The type of abnormality is generally outside of what traditional plastic surgeons contend with. For those people who have lost more than 50% of their excess weight, body contour surgery will remove significant portions of excess skin and sagging fat—this will probably include tightening the underlying tissues and liposuction to remove fat deposits.

Body Surgery Gone Too Far

Preparing for Contour Surgery

Today we will be discussing a few important issues surrounding preparing for body contour surgery. All of which can help you know what to do before hand, how to be ready for the big day, and dealing with the aftermath of having body surgery.

What You Think Really Does Matter!

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Before Having Body Contour Surgery

A positive approach to having any kind of surgery plays a real role in how you will respond to the follow-up events. Here are seven things to take into consideration when planning for Contour Surgery:

7 Things to Expect Before Having Plastic Surgery

  • Medical Evaluation and Clearance
  • Nutritional Concerns
  • Medications You Will Need
  • Medications and Supplements to Stay Away From
  • Autologous Blood Donation
  • No Smoking, No Alcohol
  • Hygiene and Hair

Medical Evaluation for Body Contouring Surgery

Lab Tests For Cosmetic Surgery

Your Plastic Surgeon will need to get several routine tests and evaluations completed prior to you having surgery. You may even be referred to your regular primary care Doctor, who will get these tests ordered for you. Your doctor will then send any results to your plastic surgeon.

CBC Blood Test For Cosmetic Surgery

The complete blood count (CBC) test is the most common test used to find anything abnormal in your blood. A CBC includes thirteen tests stemming from, blood cell counts to platelets counts to assure the blood is healthy enough and will have the important capabilities of clotting and healing following your procedure.

5 Tips for Recovering After Cosmetic Surgery

  1. Have thick sanitary napkins on hand to help absorb fluids from drain sites.
  2. Clean your house completely before having surgery; you won't be up to cleaning for at least a couple weeks. Get family and friends (or hire a housekeeper) to help you post-op.
  3. Make sure you have entertainment, like books, puzzles, music, TV and remote, set-up before having the surgery.
  4. Plan on wearing loose fitting comfortable clothing for a while.
  5. Make sure you have easy to reach communication. Put a bell, intercom, or a telephone right next to you on the night stand for easy access.

CMP Blood Test For Cosmetic Surgery

Another test your surgeon will likely order is a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP). This test consist of fourteen different tests that your doctors will use to make sure that your organs are all in functioning condition. This test looks at electrolyte deficiencies, which keep your heart and body parts working properly. This tests will also measure your nutritional status.

Coagulation Health For Cosmetic Surgery

This is pretty self explanatory, but this test will measure how well your blood clots (coagulates). Basically a bleeding time check is done, this specifically determines the ability your blood has to clot. This is very important to know so prolonged bleeding is not encountered during or after contour surgery.

Vitamin and Mineral Levels For Cosmetic Surgery

If your weight loss is due to bariatric surgery, particular vitamin and mineral amounts may require review. Most important are vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and folate acid following a gastric bypass.

ECG or EKG For Cosmetic Surgery

The Twelve lead electrocardiogram (EKG) will determine your hearts electrical activity. Your doctor will be looking for problems with your heart rhythms, and past heart attacks. This is a really easy (not scary or invasive) test to undergo. Twelve leads are attached to the surface skin on your chest, where the heart gets monitored and reported by 'listening' to the electrical functions passed through the leads. An EKG unit will measure the current your heart beat creates and then provide a printed form for your physician to decipher.

How Long Does Cosmetic Surgery Take

Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
2 - 5
Body Lift
As many as 8
Breast Lift
1.5 - 3.5
Breast Reduction
2 - 4
Buttock Lift
Thigh Lift
Upper Arm Lift
Face Lift
2 - 3

Information derived from American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)

Chest X-rays For Cosmetic Surgery

This is done to provide information to your doctor regarding problems with lungs and heart.

Mammogram For Cosmetic Surgery

When the patient is a female over the age of forty, a mammogram is required to make sure that a full year prior to breast surgery has resulted in cancer free breast evaluations.

Extra Evaluations For Cosmetic Surgery

Depending on how well you do on the standard test, you may require extra evaluations to look deeper into any negative results the test discovers. Your doctor will want to make certain your heart, lungs, blood, and organs are healthy enough to withstand the rigors of body contour surgery, and the demands of recovery that follow.

Nutritional Concerns with Body Contour Surgery

Nutrition After Cosmetic Surgery

Following any surgery, it is vital that your body can manage the processes that accompany nutritional efficiency. You need good nutrition to heal. As with bariatric bypass surgery, how your body processes food changes significantly. You will be required to take nutritional supplements for the rest of your life. Even with the supplements, serious deficiencies can occur with certain vitamins, minerals, or protein absorption. Regular check-ups to assess your nutritional health must be treated as a lifelong commitment.

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Medications You Will Need After Body Contour Surgery

Usually a week before your surgery, your doctor will prescribe the medications required once you go home. I highly recommend having these filled and waiting for you upon arrival home following your procedure.

Pain Medications For Cosmetic Surgery

Some people can make it just fine with over-the-counter pain medications, but these folks probably have an unnatural pain tolerance. You should expect to need pain medications for a week following your surgery—and longer in some instances.

Antibiotics For Cosmetic Surgery

Today we hear much about the bad things antibiotics can do to the health of our immune systems; this is not the time to make a stand against these medications. Following body contour surgery, you will likely have a drainage tube or two, which can easily become infected (these are technically controlled surgically created open wounds). To prevent infection, your surgeon will prescribe antibiotics to keep you protected against dangerous infections. You should definitely follow your doctors orders!

Sleeping Aids Following Body Contour Surgery

For some people, a prescription of sleeping pills may be given to assure good sleep for the first couple of nights you are home. Be certain to only take these as directed, especially when you are also prescribed pain medications.

Anti-Nausea Medications After Body Contour Surgery

Some people have a predisposition to nausea following any kind of surgery. You may be given medications to curb this simply as a precautionary measure. Vomiting can present any number of unexpected problems following a procedure.

Stool Softeners After Body Contour Surgery

Because some narcotic medications (such as pain relievers) have a history of causing constipation, you will probably be given a stool softener for the first week or two after your surgery. Straining to evacuate your bowels can be painful as well as bring further medical concerns if you pop a stitch or worse.

Medications and supplements can effect you during, and your healing after surgery.
Medications and supplements can effect you during, and your healing after surgery. | Source

Medications and Supplements to Stay Away From After Having Cosmetic Surgery

Your plastic surgeon will need to know about any medications and vitamins, minerals, contraceptives, herbs or any natural supplements you're taking. Even those "natural" substances can bring complications when having surgery. They can cause reactions to anesthesia, or even increased bleeding risk during your operation. You will most likely be directed to stop taking aspirin and ibuprofen—while pain relievers with acetaminophen (Tylenol) are usually acceptable, but check with your doctor.

(See Tables below for medications and supplements to avoid.)

Autologous Blood Donation Prior to Cosmetic Surgery

What is a Autologous Blood Donation

If your red blood cell count is good (not anemic) you can be a autologous blood donor. What this means is that you can donate your own blood to be used during your own surgery. This is a really good way to assure no incompatible reactions occur, and that an infectious disease is not transmitted (transmission of infectious disease due to a blood transfusion is VERY rare these days, but can still happen) during transfusion. Autologous Blood Donation means you will be donating your blood within one month of your surgery. You may not require a blood transfusion during surgery, but should a situation pop up, it is always good to know that you have taken precautionary measures.

What About Smoking and Drinking Before and After Body Contour Surgery

Smoking and Healing Before and After Surgery

If you are a smoker, STOP SMOKING six weeks before you have surgery. This also means stay away from second-hand smoke. It is essential that you avoid any nicotine intake whatsoever—smoking, gum, patches, pipe, cigars, cigarettes, chew, etc.. Smoking has a tremendous negative impact on healing. One of its many ill effects on healing and the body, is the fact that it causes small blood vessels to shrink; resulting is less oxygen—vital for healing—getting to the surgery site. Smoking can also increase the risk associated with your lungs and anesthesia.

Alcohol and Healing Before and After Surgery

As with nicotine and smoking, it is important to avoid drinking alcohol the week before your surgery, and in some instances even longer. Alcohol thins the blood, making an increase of excess bleeding likely. Alcohol can also present negative results when combined with other medications you may be prescribed, or anesthetic agents during surgery.


Hygiene and Hair Care Before Cosmetic Surgery

Hygiene Before Surgery

On the morning of, or the evening prior, you should bathe or shower using a very mild soap—your surgeon may provide you with a particular cleansing product. Do not apply any lotions, oils, creams, colognes, perfumes, or makeup to your body on the day of your procedure. Also, take off any toenail and fingernail polish.

Hair Care Before Surgery

You should NOT shave or wax away any hair in the area that you are having surgery. These aesthetic tasks can make you more vulnerable to infections. If you require shaving or hair removal in your surgery zone(s) prior to surgery, the medical staff will take care of it under sterile conditions, or in the operating room.

Herbs and Supplements to Avoid Prior to Surgery

Ackee fruit
Bitter melon
Burdock root
Carrot oil
Dandelion root
Devil's club
Dong Quai root
Fenugreek seeds
Gingko biloba
Gotu Kola
Grape seed
Green tea
Horse chestnut
Kava Kava
Lemon verbena
Licorice Root
Ma Huang
Nem seed oil
St. John's Wort
Valerian/Valerian root
Vitamin E
Willow bark
Yellow root

Information derived from J.L. Sebastian, M.D., J.F. Capella, M.D., and J. P. Rubin, M.D.

Ibuprofen Medications to Avoid Prior to Surgery

Acular (opthalmic)
Advil products
Anaprox products
Bayer Select
Dimetapp Sinus
Dristan Sinus
Indochron E-R
Indocin products
Indomethacin products
Mefenamic Acid
Midol products
Motrin products
Nalfon products
Ocufen (opthalmic)
Orudis products
Sine-Aid products
Tolectin products

Information derived from J.L. Sebastian, M.D., J.F. Capella, M.D., and J. P. Rubin, M.D.

Comments for "Preparing for Body Contouring Surgery"

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  • Amelia Aitken profile image

    Amelia Aitken 

    9 years ago from London, United Kingdom

    Most graceful hub about Body Contouring and before after precautions.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    Hi Eddy~ Thanks so much for the kind remarks, and for the up, up, and aways!


  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    Stephhicks68~ Thanks! Thought a quiz would be a fun addition to a serious topic, glad you enjoyed it! I Appreciate your support!


  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    Denise~ Thank you for sharing your lovely comments. Glad you liked the charts. Even the natural supplements we take can impact having surgery! I sure appreciate that you made it by today!


  • Eiddwen profile image


    9 years ago from Wales

    Very interesting and thnak you for sharing .

    I must award my up up and away;take care and enjoy your day.


  • stephhicks68 profile image

    Stephanie Marshall 

    9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

    Great hub, K9! Loved the quiz and this hub is filled with useful information for someone considering body contouring surgery. Rated up! Steph

  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 

    9 years ago from North Carolina

    Well researched and thorough, K9. I like the charts you provided and the herbal supplement chart is something most people don't consider when they are preparing for surgery-thanks for including that! Great hub. Makes me want to go under the knife to cut away that excess fat, haha.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    wordscribe43~ I have a perfect respect for the worthy badge of motherhood; and you having twins gets you an extra large badge! No greater accomplishment in my book exists! I sure am thrilled to see you made it by today! Life is treating me well, as I hope it is for you; thank you for asking.

    Huge HubHugs~

  • wordscribe43 profile image

    Elsie Nelson 

    9 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

    Awesome hub! I'm telling you, I needed tummy contour surgery after the birth of my twins! In fact, I still do... but alas I will wear my saggy abdomen proudly, as a badge of motherhood. Anyway, so much great information here, k9. Hope life is treating you well.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    alissaroberts~ What a pleasure to find your comments here today! Like you, my hope is that the information can help (in any way) those who are considering body contour surgery. It is a pretty intense path, but in the end, I imagine worth the efforts. Thank you for sharing your supportive remarks.


  • Docmo profile image

    Mohan Kumar 

    9 years ago from UK

    This is superb. So comprehensively done and every question answered in simple explanatory style. I loved the layout and whole hub is jam packed with nuggets of info! Awesome.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    Simone~ Thank you for the wonderful comments! Body Contour Surgery is a pretty serious ordeal, and I am amazed at the measure of will it must take to go through such a thing. After someone loses a large amount of weight, the skin can't bounce back as tightly as it should. It can become a hindrance and even a health concern if not taken care of properly. So, body contour surgery can be considered a health related procedure as well as a cosmetic one; depending on the situation, insurance, and surgeon.

    I am so pleased that you found the information interesting. I really appreciate your support, ma'am!

    Respectful HubHugs~

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    Pamela99~ You are absolutely correct, it is a very big surgery to undergo. I feel for those who have experienced this; it must take a lot of courage to follow through with such commitment! I am thrilled to see you here today!


  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    Case1worker~ I understand what you mean about the process of contour surgery being daunting. But, as you also note, following that kind of weight loss, tucking away the extra skin can complete the transformation nicely. Thank you for your kind remarks, I am grateful for them!


  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    MarleneB~ Thank you. I am glad you found the extra section on post-surgery helpful. I appreciate you sharing your comments.


  • alissaroberts profile image

    Alissa Roberts 

    9 years ago from Normandy, TN

    K9 this hub is fantastic! You have thoroughly covered every aspect of getting prepared for body contouring surgery and I know this will be most helpful to those interested in getting this kind of work done. Amazing job - voted up!

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 

    9 years ago from San Francisco

    Wow, this is a really valuable guide! Great preparation tips.

    Also, I appreciated the opportunity to read about this type of surgery. I'm accustomed to reading about cosmetic procedures that AID weight loss, but I had not thought much about procedures one might want to get after losing weight on one's own. Very interesting! Thanks for the awesome overview.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    What a wealth of information on body contour surgery. It sounds like a big surgery and the list you provided of things to avoid before surgery I'm sure will be very helpful to anyone contemplating this surgery. Excellent hub!

  • CASE1WORKER profile image


    9 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

    It seems quite daunting but I should imagine that if you have worked so hard to lose a large amount of body weight then you will put up with this just to get over that final hurdle. I have seen people on the TV who have lost a lot of weight and their skin and been in very large folds especially over the tummy- that must be very difficult for them.

    I really enjoyed this hub and was impressed by the information contained within it- well done

  • MarleneB profile image

    Marlene Bertrand 

    9 years ago from USA

    Excellent hub. It is extremely thorough. Lots of information. I really appreciate the additional information: 5 Tips for Recovering After Surgery. Sometimes, we don't think of everything beforehand, your tips really help a lot.


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