Are sit-ups not giving you the taut tummy you want? If you have too much excess skin or flab in your abdomen that does not respond to diet or exercise, it may be considered a ‘tummy tuck’. Your doctor will call it ‘abdominoplasty’.
This surgery helps to flatten your abdomen by removing extra skin and fat, and tightening muscles in your abdominal wall. It is not the same as liposuction, although you might choose to get liposuction along with a tummy tuck surgery.
This is major surgery, so if you consider it, you should know the after facts before you decide whether to go forward.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Overview
A tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgical procedure to improve the appearance of your abdomen. A cosmetic surgeon generally performs it.
During a tummy tuck surgery, the excess skin and fat are removed from your abdomen area. Connective tissue in the abdomen or fascia are tightened with sutures. Your remaining skin is then repositioned to create a toned look of your abdomen.
A tummy tuck surgery can boost your body image. Hence you might choose to have a tummy tuck if you have excess fat around the area of your belly button or a weak lower abdominal wall. You can achieve a firmer and smoother abdominal profile after the procedure.
A well-toned and flat tummy is something you may strive to have by practicing exercise and weight control. When exercise and weight loss programs do not work, many people opt for a tummy tuck surgery.
Why Do You Need a Tummy Tuck Procedure?
The ideal candidates can be both women and men for this type of surgery. Women who usually get their skin and muscles stretched due to multiple pregnancies may find this surgery extremely beneficial.
A tummy tuck surgery is also perfect for you were obese before and have managed to lose the extra weight. But unfortunately cannot get rid of the excess layers of skin that hang off of their bellies.
There could be a number of reasons you might have excess fat around your belly. Poor elasticity of the skin or weakened connective tissue in your abdomen area. These include:
- Significant changes in weight in a short time.
- After multiple pregnancies.
- Undergone abdominal surgery, such as a C-section.
- Due to aging.
- Your natural body type.
A tummy tuck procedure can remove loose, excess skin and fat, ultimately tightening the weak fascia. The procedure also helps in stretch mark removal and excess skin in your lower abdomen below the belly button. However, if you have stretch marks outside this area, a tummy tuck will not correct those stretch marks.
You would be surprised to know that a tummy tuck can be done in combination with other body contouring cosmetic procedures, like breast surgery. If you had fat removed from your abdomen as part of liposuction, you might decide to have a tummy tuck. This is because liposuction removes tissue just under the skin and fat but not any excess skin in your stomach area.
Who is the Right Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?
Just note that a tummy tuck is not for everyone. Your doctor might caution against the treatment if you:
- Plan to lose a significant amount of weight in the future.
- You might consider future pregnancy.
- Have a severe chronic condition, like heart disease or diabetes
- Have a body mass index that is more than 30.
- If you are a smoker.
- If you had a previous abdominal surgery that caused significant scar tissue.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Before and After?
Before the Surgery
Your cosmetic surgeons will usually ask you to keep away from some habits for a successful tummy tuck procedure. For example, you might be asked to quit smoking for at least six weeks before the procedure. Why? Because smoking drastically slows down your healing process. In addition, the habit might become a cause of complications during or after your surgery.
Furthermore, your surgeon might also suggest:
- Get a medical evaluation done through different lab tests.
- Might prescribe medications to adjust present medical conditions.
- Avoid aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs before the procedure.
During the Surgery
During the surgery, your surgeon will tighten up the loose abdominal skin with sutures. The incision is generally done along the bikini line so that it is hidden. The shape and length of the incision vary according to the amount of excess skin in the abdominal area that needs to be treated. If you want a better contour, your surgeon might also add the liposuction procedure. You might have to stay for a night in the hospital.
The primary four steps involved are:
- Making the incisions.
- Repositioning and trimming.
- Repairing and suturing
After the Surgery
After a successful tummy tuck procedure, your surgeon will inform you about the healing process. Detailed instructions and how to take care of the treated area and incision. A few of the Information provided by your surgeon include:
- If any drains occur and how to take care of them.
- The various post-surgery symptoms you might have.
- Potential complications if any.
- How to cope with pain around the surgical area.
You need to avoid indulging in any strenuous physical activities consciously. All because to prevent pressure on the abdominal area as the surgery will take some time to recover.
Try to keep the incision area covered with dressing for maximum protection against further complications and any infections.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Aftercare
Whether you opt for a partial or complete tummy tuck, the operated area will be stitched and bandaged. It is very important to follow all your surgeon’s instructions on how to care for the treated area post-surgery.
The bandage used will be a firm, elastic band that promotes proper healing. Your surgeon will also instruct you on the best positions while sitting or lying down. All this is done to help ease pain and allow faster healing.
Within one day, you should be up and walking. Your surgeon will suggest you start walking to prevent the formation of blood clots. You need to take prescribed pain relievers and antibiotics as they would to help ease any discomfort and reduce your risk of infection. Your doctor might have placed surgical drains for up to two weeks.
It generally takes six weeks for the initial recovery phase of a tummy tuck procedure to heal. During this period, you might need several follow-up appointments with your doctor. Why? To check on how your incision is healing and if there are any further complications.
During this time, you should cautiously avoid any position that involves bending backward or abdominal extension, which might put too much tension on the incision. You should also hold back any strenuous physical activity or exercise till the time you get your doctor’s approval.
Tummy Tuck Risks and Safety
A tummy tuck surgery poses several risks including:
- Fluid accumulation beneath the skin. It is also known as seroma. The fluid, called serum, does not always build up right away. If there are drainage tubes left in place after surgery, it can help reduce the risk of excess fluid. Your surgeon might also remove fluid after surgery using a syringe and needle.
- Poor wound healing. This can pose a problem at times. Sometimes areas along the incision line heal poorly or start to separate. In such scenarios, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics during and after surgery to prevent an infection.
- Unexpected scarring. You need to keep in mind that the incision scar from a tummy tuck is permanent. But it is generally placed along the easily hidden bikini line. The visibility and length of the scar vary from person to person.
- Changes in skin sensation. During a tummy tuck, your surgeon repositions your abdominal tissues. It can affect the nerves in the abdominal area and infrequently in your upper thighs. You might feel some reduced sensation or numbness in these areas. This usually reduces in the months after the procedure.
- Tissue damage. During a tummy tuck procedure, fatty tissue within your skin in the abdominal area might get damaged. If you smoke, it will increase this risk. Depending on the size of the treated area, tissue might heal on its own. Or it might require a surgical touch-up procedure.
Like any other type of surgery, a tummy tuck poses a risk of infection, bleeding, and an adverse reaction to anesthesia. But these could be part of any major surgery.
If your excess skin and fat are removed, strengthening your abdominal wall, a tummy tuck procedure can give your abdomen a more toned, tight, and slimmer appearance. Tummy tuck results are usually long-lasting if you try maintaining a stable weight.
Generally, most individuals love the new look after they have undergone this treatment. However, you might not feel like your normal self for months after the tummy tuck surgery. You have gone through a tremendous amount to make this happen.
It is indeed a big commitment – physically, emotionally, and financially. Therefore it becomes very important that you follow a proper diet and exercise to maintain your new look.