T Nation

Plastic Surgery & Nutrition?


It looks like my surgery (hernia & ab muscle repair [tummy tuck] and breast lift) is going to happen in 2 weeks (I am so excited!) and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions regarding my nutrition during this time. Things I am wondering about...

  • nutrition leading up to surgery
  • nutrition for first few days immediately following surgery
  • food plan during 6 week recovery period when I won't be able to lift at all

Are there any vitamins, herbs, supplements, etc that would be especially helpful for recovery, scar healing, etc? I've heard some people mention arnica. I've heard some people mention bromelain and apple cider vinegar to help with the swelling I should expect over the next few months.

I think I will plan on some Metabolic Drive shakes in the first few days when I've heard my appetite will be minimal.

I won't be able to lift for 6 weeks (not even my 2yo), but should be able to start walking and some mild cardio after a few weeks (I think). My ab muscles are badly separated and my entire core will be sewn back together (yikes!).

Anyone familiar with any scar treatments, like silicone strips or maderma?

Thanks for any advice you can share!


You silly girl. :slight_smile:

Seriously though, just avoid foods/nutrients that thin your blood. Avoid fish oil supplements, aspirin, alcohol and Vit. E supplements.

These things thin your blood and could cause you to bleed excessivily, which, needless to say isn't good.


I'm no nutrition specialist, but you might wanna look into supplementing with a lot (upward of 4000 mg/day) of vitamin C to help boost collagen synthesis.


Hey Jill,

Get some nucleotides. They have been used & studied extensively in Switzerland. They have been shown to reduce the healing time from a wound or trauma by 67%.



Glutamine might help - it's been shown to help burn patients recover. Also, definitely bromelain will be good to reduce inflammation, esp. since you won't be taking fish oil (though you could add that back in after the surgery). I'm trying to think of supps that help reduce muscle loss.....


I don't want to make generalisations but this type of surgery isn't as stressful as a lot of procedures are (or predicaments that you can find yourself in, such as burns mentioned above), I also don't want to give advice but just wanted to give you these resources as you may find them useful.

American Coll of Surgeons
American Gastroentorology Assoc
American Society of Clinical Nutrition
Burn Nutrition (as it was mentioned and is an interesting site)

Good luck with it all.



Thanks for the tips so far! I will check out the nucleotides. :slightly_smiling:


I've had excellent success with cocoa butter to prevent any scarring. I started using it the day after surgery, as recommended by the surgeon, and used it till the scar disappeared.


ya and dont drink.


i'm off for the same op in september, without the boob work obviously.

getting the plastic mesh etc, the doc didn't even smile when i said "ooooh i'll be like wolverine when you've finished"

Good luck Jilly and let us know how you get on


Best of luck jill hope it all goes well. if its the same as here then you should be back qand going in no time. eat good foods dont try and cut you need the intake to heal up etc..


Pre surgery your doc should give you a list of things you should not take. Asprin, Motrin, I think a lot of vit E, ginko biloba. There was a list I got. Just things that could make you bleed more than normal is what they want you to avoid.


Hi Jill!
You might want to look over the "Nutrition vs. Injury" article I wrote as I got ready to schedule my ankle surgery. A SEARCH using "Injury" and "Lowery" should do the trick. The protein and kcal part is probably most valid to your situation but you can also see some helpful psychology throughout it.

I think it's good to keep in mind that surgeries often leave one feeling "different" physically but usually better. In my case I'm 80/20 or even 90/10 that it was worth it. Let me know your opinion (ratio) after you get functional again - a few weeks to a few months post-op.

PS Don't be afraid to ask your surgeon about scar therapy if you're interested. He can point you to some of the newer treatments that really rock. My own scar is barely visible - things aren't like they were decades ago, to be sure!

PPS Be even more patient than you initially deem necessary during recovery... and keep us posted, eh?

Good luck!!!!


Good Luck Jilly! The fact that you are pretty keyed in to your nutrition on a daily basis should make a difference. I've been under more times than I care to count and, back then, gave no mind to nutrition like I do now and I recovered just fine. The good thing is a PS is doing your procedures so your scars should look great. Best of luck. Hopefully your family and friends are supportive because you are going to need it. And its hard when you are a mom but let them help!!


In keeping with this, it'd probably be a good idea to run anything you plan to take past your doctor.


Thanks again, everybody! Yesterday I had my final consult and scheduled (and paid!) for my surgery. Only 11 days away! Knowing me, I'll be posting all about it :stuck_out_tongue: I'm excited, but nervous...


Good luck to you, Jillybop, and make sure you keep us posted on your progress.


Best wishes for a painless and speedy recovery. Try to keep the little guys from jumping full-force onto your tender belly!!!


Before and after photos would be great!


I wish you all the luck and a great recovery.