A tummy tuck, also called abdominoplasty, is a procedure that tightens and smooths the stomach, giving you a flatter, toned abdomen. Most women choose to get a tummy tuck when they have additional skin and fat leftover after childbirth or extreme weight loss. (*It is important to note that a tummy tuck is not a method for weight loss, it is instead a body contouring procedure that helps to give you a new shape.*) While diet and exercise will help you to lose the weight, sometimes there are stubborn fat pockets and sagging skin that cannot be eliminated. This is where a tummy tuck becomes an excellent option for removing that last little bit of flab keeping you from fitting into your clothes.
A consultation is the first step for any procedure. The consultation is used to discuss your medical history, your candidacy for a tummy tuck and to answer any questions that you may have. The doctor will perform an exam to see if you have an adequate amount of loose skin and fat to qualify for the surgery. Your abdominal muscles will also be checked and an evaluation will be made to determine whether or not the surgery is going to be possible for you. If you have additional weight that needs to be lost or have a medical condition or habit that causes surgery to be dangerous, you may be instructed to take care of these issues before having your procedure.
There are two types of abdominoplasty procedures: a complete abdominoplasty and a mini-abdominoplasty. A mini-abdominoplasty requires a smaller incision and less time than a complete abdominoplasty. The belly button will not be relocated and fat is removed only from the lower portion of the abdomen.
Most candidates require a complete abdominoplasty to get the results they desire. During your procedure, you will be asleep under general anesthesia. The surgeon will create an incision that will run through the pubic area from hip bone to hip bone. There will also be incisions around the belly button. The surgeon will first repair stretched or separated abdominal muscles and then liposuction will be used to eliminate excess fat. Your skin will then be stretched down where the loose and sagging portion will be removed. Your belly button will be relocated and closing stitches made. Your procedure will last about 2-3 hours and could take longer depending on other procedures performed such as liposuction.
The time it takes to recover can greatly vary between patients. Some are ready to return to a light-duty job in two weeks, while others may take up to four weeks before resuming normal activity. Your surgeon will provide you with post-op instructions that should be followed exactly as written. You will be swollen, bruised and sore after surgery, and it is important to rest as much as possible. For 5 to 10 days after your surgery, you may be bent over at the waist. As your skin heals and stretches, you will begin to be able to straighten out more. You will still need to get up and walk several times throughout the day to prevent blood clots and to help reduce swelling. It will be uncomfortable, but you must do it! Your doctor will remove your stitches in approximately two weeks and you will begin to see your swelling and bruising lessen.
Just like with the recovery process, results will vary. You will not be able to really see your results until after your body has healed from the surgery. After a couple of weeks, the swelling will go away and you will be able to finally see your new body. Your results will be permanent as long as you continue to eat right and exercise regularly. Unfortunately, scarring is part of the outcome, but over time they will fade and can be covered up with panties or a bikini bottom. It can take several months, maybe even a year, before your scars begin to fade and you see the end results of your tummy tuck. Do not get discouraged! It is a slow process, but the results are worth it!
A tummy tuck can change how you think about yourself, give you more self-esteem and help you fit in your clothing better. It is a common procedure, but just like with all surgeries, there are some risks. Be sure to discuss all your past and current medical history to eliminate possible side effects. The best way to get the outcome you desire is to be proactive in making sure you are healthy BEFORE having your surgery. Contact us today to schedule your tummy tuck consultation.