What is a tummy tuck?
Tummy tucks surgery, or abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure which removes excess fat and skin from the belly area. It also can repair or restore weakened or damaged muscles resulting in a flatter firmer stomach.
The most common reasons for an abdominoplasty include: aging, previous surgeries, significant fluctuations with weight and genetic issues. You should not get a tummy tuck as an alternative to weight loss or exercise. Tummy tucks will not reduce or reverse the appearance of stretch marks.
Ideal candidates for abdominoplasty:
- must be in good health
- have excess weight in the midsection
- loose or drooping skin in the abdominal region
- have a realistic expectation of the outcome of the procedure
- are willing to make a serious commitment to a health diet and regular exercise routine
- already be close to your ideal body weight
You should not consider a tummy tuck if you are a smoker, plan to have children, are getting the procedure simply out of pressure from someone else or have a medical condition that may be compromised by this type of surgery.
Meeting with your plastic surgeon
If you are considering a tummy tuck you need to meet with a plastic surgeon to discuss how to prepare for the procedure, what to expect, which type of surgery you will need, and how to recover from the surgery.
There are several types of tummy tuck surgeries, but the most common are a complete abdominoplasty in which the surgeon will make an incision across your abdomen from hipbone to hipbone and then contour the muscle, tissue and skin. A partial, or mini, abdominoplasty, usually performed on those with fatty deposits located below their navel, is less invasive and will not be as time consuming.
Your doctor will advise you to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet before your procedure as this might aid the healing process. You need to disclose any medical history or issues to your doctor as well as any drugs you are taking, prescription, over the counter or recreational, as you may need to stop taking some of these before surgery as well as during your recovery.
You will experience pain and swelling after the surgery. Your doctor will help with pain management, including any prescription pain meds. The soreness could continue for months after the procedure and you may experience fatigue, bruising and numbness as you are recovering. There will be scarring, which will fade over time, but never disappear completely.
The following complications are rare, but as with any surgery, there are risks such as infection, blood clots and bleeding. You are at a higher risk for these if you suffer from diabetes, circulatory problems or liver, lung or heart disease.
Recovery time will be at least six to eight weeks and you will need to limit strenuous activity. You might need to take off from work during this time to allow for proper recovery. It will take some time to recover, but you will be pleased with the results once you are fully healed.