Abdominoplasty, also known as tummy tuck, removes excess fat and skin and, in most cases, restores weakened or separated muscles, creating a smoother, firmer abdominal profile.
A flat, well-toned abdomen is something many of us struggle with when training and managing weight. Sometimes these methods cannot achieve our goals.
People with normal body weight and proportions may also develop a protruding abdomen or are loose and sagging. The most common causes of this include:
● The pregnancy
● Previous surgery
● Significant weight fluctuations
Who Are the Best Candidates for a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is suitable for healthy men and women.
Women who have had multiple pregnancies may find the procedure helpful in tightening the abdominal muscles and reducing the skin.
A tummy tuck is also an option for men or women who were once overweight and still have excess fat or loose skin around their stomach.
Who Shouldn't Consider Having a Tummy Tuck?
If you are a woman planning to become pregnant, you may want to put off the tummy tuck until you are done having children. During surgery, the vertical muscles are stiffened and future pregnancies can separate these muscles.
Are you planning to lose a lot of weight? Then even a tummy tuck is not for you. A tummy tuck should be a last resort after trying everything else. It shouldn't be used as an alternative to weight loss. Instead, in order to lose weight you might look into surgeries such as gastric sleeve or gastric balloon.
You should also consider the appearance of the scars after abdominoplasty. You can discuss the location and length of the scar with your doctor before surgery.
How To Prepare for a Tummy Tuck
The first step is to choose a surgeon and see him for a consultation. In this meeting, you will discuss your goals and the following options:
● Complete abdominoplasty: The surgeon will cut the abdomen from hip to hip, then reshape the skin, tissues, and muscles as needed. The surgery will involve moving the navel and you may need drainage tubes under the skin for a few days.
● Partial or mini abdominoplasty: Mini abdominoplasty is often performed on people whose fat deposits are located below the navel. During this procedure, the surgeon may not move the navel, and the procedure may only take two hours, depending on the case.
If you smoke, your doctor will ask you to stop smoking at least two weeks before surgery until two weeks after surgery. Simply cutting down on smoking is not enough. You should quit smoking completely because smoking makes complications more likely and delays healing.
Don't try a crash diet before surgery. Consume complete and balanced meals. A healthy diet can help you heal better.
Tell your doctor about everything you take, including prescription drugs, herbal remedies, and other supplements. Your surgeon may ask you to stop taking certain medications for a period of time before and after surgery.
Before surgery, prepare your home. It will need:
● Ice packs
● Loose and comfortable clothing, very easy to put on and take off.
● Handheld shower head and bath chair
You will also need someone to drive you home after the tummy tuck. If you live alone, you will want someone to stay with you at least for the first night. Make a plan for it.
How Is a Tummy Tuck Performed?
This can take anywhere from one to five hours. Depending on your case, you may have to spend the night in the hospital.
You will be given general anesthesia, which will make you "fall asleep" during the operation.
You will experience pain and swelling in the days following the surgery. Your doctor will prescribe pain relievers and tell you how to best control the pain. You may have pain for several weeks or months.
You may also experience numbness, bruising, and fatigue during this time.
As with any surgery, there are risks involved. Although rare, complications can include infections, bleeding under the skin flap, or blood clots. You are more likely to have complications if you have poor circulation, diabetes, or heart, lung, or liver disease.
You may experience insufficient healing, which can lead to larger scars or skin loss. If it's healing badly, you may need a second surgery.
Abdominoplasty leaves scars. While they may fade a little, they will never go away completely. Your surgeon may recommend some creams or ointments to use after you are completely healed to help with the scars.
Take Care of Yourself After Surgery
Whether you are undergoing a partial or total abdominoplasty, the operated area will be sutured and bandaged. It is very important that you follow all the surgeon's instructions on how to take care of your dressing in the days following the surgery. The bandage used will be a solid elastic band that promotes good healing. The surgeon will also explain the best position to sit or lie down for pain relief.
You will need to severely limit strenuous activities for at least six weeks. You may need to take up to a month off work after surgery to ensure proper recovery. Your doctor will advise you on what you should or shouldn't do.
Return to Everyday Life
In general, most people like the way they take care of this procedure. However, it can take time. You may not feel like yourself for months after surgery. Diet and exercise can help you maintain results.