Tummy Tuck Surgery: All You Need Know
Do you have too much excess skin or flab in your abdomen that does not respond to exercise or diet? This is considered a ‘tummy tuck’. Your doctor will call it ‘abdominoplasty’.
This tummy tuck surgery helps to flatten your abdomen by removing extra fat and tightening muscles in your abdomen. It is not the same as liposuction treatment. However, many people choose to get liposuction done along with tummy tuck surgery.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Overview
A tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgical treatment aimed to improve the appearance of your abdomen. During a tummy tuck, the excess skin and fat in the abdomen area are removed. Connective tissue in the stomach or fascia is tightened with sutures.
Your remaining surrounding skin is then repositioned. This is done to create a toned look of your abdomen. A cosmetic surgeon generally performs it.
A tummy tuck can boost your body image and confidence. Hence you might choose to have the procedure if you have excess fat around your belly button area. You can achieve a firmer and smoother abdominal profile just after the surgery.
You will always strive to have a well-toned and flat tummy. This is something you might strive to have by practicing exercise and weight control for years. When weight loss programs and daily exercises do not work, you can opt for a tummy tuck.
This is major surgery, so if you opt for it, you should be well aware of the facts before you decide whether to go forward.
According to a study, there were more than 25,000 tummy tuck surgeries performed over a span of six years. This represents about 14 percent of all procedures.
Abdominoplasty is done primarily to remove excess skin and tissue from your abdomen, to create a more smooth and firm abdominal profile.
97 percent of tummy tuck patients were women; the average age was 42 years. 65 percent of patients underwent surgery combined with other cosmetic surgery procedures. Some of these procedures include double eyelid surgery, nose job or rhinoplasty, facelift surgery and many more.
Overall, significant complications generally occurred in 4 percent of patients who had the procedure.
Why Do You Need a Tummy Tuck Procedure?
A tummy tuck surgery is perfect for you if you were obese before and have managed to shed extra weight. But unfortunately, cannot get rid of the excess layers of skin that hang off your belly.
The ideal candidate for the surgery can be both women and men. Women whose skin and muscles stretch due to multiple pregnancies may find this surgery beneficial.
There could be multiple reasons you might have excess fat around your abdomen. It could also result from poor skin elasticity or weakened connective tissue in your abdomen area. These include:
1 After multiple pregnancies.
2 Significant changes in weight in a short duration.
3 You might have undergone abdominal surgery, like a C-section.
4 Your natural body type.
5 Due to aging.
A tummy tuck treatment can remove loose, excess fat and skin, ultimately tightening the weak fascia. The treatment can also remove stretch marks in the area. However, if you have stretch marks outside this area, a tummy tuck surgery will not correct those stretch marks.
Surprisingly your surgeon can do a tummy tuck in combination with other body contouring cosmetic procedures, such as breast surgery. After you have removed fat from your abdomen as part of liposuction, you might decide to opt for tummy tuck surgery. This is because liposuction will only remove fat but not any excess skin in your stomach area.
Who is the Right Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?
The surgery is not for everyone. Your doctor might caution you against the treatment if you have the following conditions:
1 Plan to lose a significant amount of weight soon.
2 Considering future pregnancy.
3 Have a severe chronic illness, like diabetes or heart disease.
4 Body mass index more than 30.
5 If you are an active smoker.
6 If you had a previous abdominal surgery that might have caused scarring.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Before and After
If you consider having a tummy tuck, it is important to consider what the recovery will involve. Your healing will depend on several factors, including your health, age, and body weight.
It is natural to want to bounce back to normal life after your surgery. But it is equally important that you give your body enough time to heal. You will need to figure out a time frame for your recovery, so you have enough time to heal. You might also need to take a break from certain aspects of your daily activities.
The procedure in details:
Before the Surgery
Your surgeons will instruct you to keep away from some habits for a successful tummy tuck procedure. For example, you might have to quit smoking before the procedure. Because smoking drastically slows the healing process. In addition, smoking might become a cause of complications during or after the surgery. Your surgeon might also suggest:
1Get a medical evaluation done through lab tests.
2 Might prescribe medications to adjust present conditions.
3 Avoid anti-inflammatory drugs before the procedure.
During the Surgery
Your surgeon will tighten up the loose abdominal skin with sutures. Your incision will be done along the bikini line so that it is hidden. If you want a better contour of your abdomen, your surgeon might also add the liposuction treatment. You might have to stay for a night in the hospital.
The primary steps involved are:
2 Making the incisions.
3 Repositioning and trimming.
4 Repairing and suturing
After the Surgery
After a successful tummy tuck surgery, your doctor will brief you about the healing process.
Information provided by your surgeon include:
1 If any drains occur and how to care for them.
2 The various post-surgery symptoms.
3 Potential complications if any.
4 How to cope with pain and discomfort around the surgical area.
You need to avoid strenuous physical activities post-surgery. Thus preventing pressure on the abdominal area as the surgery might take some time to recover. Also, try to keep the incision area covered with a dressing for maximum protection and avoid infections.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Aftercare
Post-surgery it is very important to follow all your surgeon’s instructions especially on how to take care of the incision.
The incision area will be stitched and bandaged whether you opt for a partial or complete tummy tuck. The dress needs to be changed several times. It generally takes six to seven weeks for the initial recovery phase of a tummy tuck surgery.
When you wake up after the surgery, your incision will be covered in a surgical dressing, which needs to be changed a few times. The bandage used will be an elastic band that promotes proper healing.
Your surgeon will also instruct you on the best positions you should sit or lay down. All this helps ease pain, discomfort and allow faster healing.
Within one day, you should start walking. Your surgeon will suggest you start walking – to prevent the formation of blood clots. You should take prescribed pain relievers and antibiotics to reduce infection.
It generally takes about six weeks for the tummy tuck procedure to heal. During this period, you might need follow-up appointments with your doctor. Your doctor will check on how your incision is healing and if there are any further complications.
During this healing period, you should avoid bending backward or abdominal extension, which could put too much tension on the incision. You should also avoid any strenuous physical exercise till the time you get your doctor’s approval.
Tummy Tuck Risks and Safety
Many ask what the risks of tummy tuck surgery are. A tummy tuck surgery might pose several risks that you need to understand.
The decision to have plastic surgery is highly your personal decision. You will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals. And also if the risks and potential complications of the surgery are acceptable. Your surgeon will ask you to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and the risks involved.
These are a few of the risks:
1 Fluid accumulation beneath the skin.
It is also called a seroma. The fluid, serum, does not always build up right after the surgery. If there are drainage tubes left in place by your surgeon, it can help reduce the risk of excess fluid. Else your surgeon might remove fluid after surgery using a needle and syringe.
2 Unexpected scarring.
You need to understand that the incision scar from a tummy tuck is permanent. The best part is the incision is placed along the hidden bikini line. The visibility and length of the scar vary.
3 Poor wound healing.
At times the areas along the incision line heal poorly or even start to separate. In such cases, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics after surgery to prevent an infection.
4 Changes in skin sensation.
Your surgeon repositions your abdominal tissues during a tummy tuck surgery. It might affect the nerves in the area and infrequently in your upper thighs. At times you might feel some reduced sensation or numbness in these areas. Sensation issues usually occur months after the procedure.
5 Tissue damage.
During the procedure, fatty tissue under your skin in the abdominal area might get damaged. If you are a smoker, it will increase this risk. Depending on the size of the incision, the area might heal on its own. Or later, you might require a surgical touch-up procedure.
Before your consent your doctor will fully discuss all these risks. Hence you must address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
Like other types of surgery, a tummy tuck might pose a risk of infection, bleeding, inflammation, and an adverse reaction to anesthesia. But these could be part of any major surgery.
If your excess fat and skin are removed, strengthening your abdominal wall, a tummy tuck procedure can give your abdomen a tight, toned, and slimmer appearance. Tummy tuck results are usually long-lasting only if you try maintaining a stable weight.
Like many others, you will love the new look after the procedure. You might not feel like your normal self for months. You have indeed gone through a tremendous amount to make this happen.
It is indeed a big commitment – emotionally, physically, and financially. The least you can do is to follow a proper diet and exercise to maintain your new look.