In this article we will talk about tummy tuck before and after surgery. First let’s find out what tummy tuck surgery is. Tummy tuck surgery, sometimes called abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic surgery procedure done to reshape muscle tissue and remove excess skin and fat while sculpting and toning the midsection. It is common among women who had just given birth and want a tummy flat again.
However, regardless of your gender, if you are looking at getting a flattered belly, a more defined waistline, and a slimmer, firmer torso that looks more attractive in any clothe, then you can consult with a plastic surgeon to determine if you are a perfect candidate for the surgery.
Tummy tuck surgery begins with your surgeon making an incision on your lower abdomen, it could be a mini-incision or an extreme incision, depending on how much fat and skin has to be removed. After the incision, fatty tissues are then pulled out, and the excess skin is then transformed into a firm, taut position. Sometimes, a tummy tuck surgery is performed with another plastic surgery –liposuction.
If you are considering having tummy tuck surgery, this article contains all you need to know about the procedure.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR A TUMMY TUCK
There are several reasons why you might want to get a tummy tuck, such as:
- Excess fat
- Poor skin elasticity
- Weakened abdominal tissues
All these could be due to pregnancy, abdominal surgery (e.g. C-section), aging, a significant increase in weight, or your natural body structure. However, whatever your reason may be, you should know that a tummy tuck surgery isn’t for everyone. Before you go in for the procedure, your doctor may caution you against getting a tummy tuck if you:
- Intend on losing a lot of weight in the future.
- You plan on getting pregnant afterward.
- Have previously had an abdominal surgery that had caused significant scar tissue
- Have a body mass index greater than 30
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO HEAL
Recovering from a tummy tuck surgery could take a year, although this is different for different people. There are different stages of recovery from a tummy tuck. After the procedure, you will feel groggy from the anesthesia, and post-op pain that will make you feel uncomfortable in your first phase of recovery. Your doctor will prescribe a pain medication to help you manage the discomfort, and consequently, you should feel better as the pain reduces.
Swelling is a natural part of healing. You should notice the incision site increasing in size for a couple of months, and since this is on your lower abdomen, this will make sitting or lying down uncomfortable also. Drains are usually placed to collect fluid and relieve pressure on your abdomen, significantly improving comfort during your initial recovery phase. Most patients feel a lot better after 4-6 weeks of the procedure and are cleared to resume their normal activities, however gradually.
WHEN DO YOU SEE RESULTS
With recovery comes results. As stated, recovery could take a year, depending on the individual, however, the result of your improved body shape appears immediately after the procedure, and becomes firmer within the 6 months after you’ve had the procedure.
HOW LONG DOES THE RESULT LAST
Tummy tuck surgery is considered to have a permanent result in that the skin and fatty tissues removed during the procedure cannot grow back. However, certain lifestyles such as continuous weight gain over 15 pounds can make the remaining fat cells in the body expand and the remaining abdominal skin loses its additional elasticity and begin to stretch. Also, weight gain could cause your body to produce new fat cells.
Other factors that could make the result of a tummy tuck temporary are:
1. Hormones: Throughout puberty, there is always a fluctuation in hormone levels. Hormones can alter the result of a tummy tuck surgery, as you are likely to gain weight at a dramatic rate if your hormone levels are unbalanced. Exercising and eating a healthy diet should help balance your hormones, but if it doesn’t, try seeing a doctor about it.
2. Stress: This puts pressure on almost all parts of your body, often causing you to eat a lot, or increasing your hormone levels, hence leading to weight gain which ultimately makes the result of a tummy tuck temporary.
3. Pregnancy: This is another factor that can make the result of a tummy tuck to be temporary, and at the same time hurt the treated area, as the stretch of the stomach muscle during pregnancy can cause further damage to the stomach muscles.
If you are unable to maintain a steady healthy weight after a tummy tuck procedure, you may need a tummy tuck revision if you want to continue enjoying the results of the procedure. However, revision surgery is a more complicated procedure, therefore, it is best if you strive to maintain a healthy weight by leading a healthy active, and stress-less lifestyle after the surgery.
HOW TO MAINTAIN THE RESULT FROM A TUMMY TUCK SURGERY
Maintaining a specific weight can be difficult, here are a few tips that might help make it easier for you:
i. Decide On Not Having More Kids: A tummy tuck surgery will not make you unable to bear kids, however, to avoid putting on extra weight from pregnancy after the procedure, it is preferable and easier if you decide on not having any more kids before you go for the procedure.
ii. Stay Active: Living an active life and getting exercise 4-5 times a week is a healthy way to burn calories, while also toning your muscles, helping you grow a stronger core, and giving your body the support it needs.
iii. Maintain a Healthy Diet: Another way to keep off gaining extra weight after a tummy tuck procedure is to eat nutritious foods, and a balanced meal including plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Generally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle after the procedure would help in keeping off the weight. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol as they can affect the long-lasting result of a tummy tuck surgery.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS FROM THE PROCEDURE
1. Tissue Damage: While your surgeon removes the excess fatty tissues, the fatty tissues deep within your skin in the abdominal area may likely get damaged or die off. However, depending on the size of the area, the affected tissue may heal on its own or require a medical touch-up. Smoking while your tissues haven’t completely healed can also increase the risk of tissue damage.
2. Scarring: Like any surgical operation, this is a common complication, however, the incision scar from a tummy tuck is usually placed along the lower abdomen so it is easily hidden, and if taken care of, it could easily fade off to a lighter scar color.
3. Slow Healing Process: The area where the incision was made sometimes will heal slowly or even poorly that it begins to separate. To prevent the risk of possible infection, you may be given an antibiotic during and after the procedure.
4. Fluid Retention (Seroma): Surgery puts stress on the body, especially as it tries to recover. Sometimes, fluid is retained in between your organs, making you feel bloated. To avoid this, your surgeon might leave drainage tubes in place after the surgery, or he might use a needle and syringe to remove the fluid.
5. Change In Sensation: While recovering from a tummy tuck procedure, you may feel some reduced sensation and numbness, after a while this disappears. The change in sensation is often due to the repositioning of your abdominal tissue during the procedure, which most likely affects the nerves in your abdominal area, and rarely, your upper thighs.
TUMMY TUCK AFTERCARE
Apart from maintaining a healthy and steady weight, there are some other things you ought to do to take care of yourself after the procedure to reduce the risk of complications. For starters, you should avoid doing any strenuous activity for at least the first 6 weeks after the procedure. You may even need to stay away from your work for a month.
After the operation, you will be stitched up and bandaged with a firm elastic band that will help promote proper scar healing. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to care for the bandage, following days after the surgery. You will also be advised on the best position for sitting or lying during your healing phase, to help ease the pain. You should adhere strictly to all instructions given to you by your doctor.
You may have tried a lot of methods to help you get rid of excess tummy fat or skin and none seems functional. A tummy tuck surgery might be the thing for you as it can help you lose excess skin and fat, and also tighten weakened connective tissues in your abdomen which could be a result of aging or pregnancy.
However, your doctor will caution you against the procedure considering certain factors such as if you intend to get pregnant afterward as that can make you add some weight which will stretch the abdominal muscles and could even make your body produce more fat, making the long-lasting result of a tummy tuck surgery to become temporary.
To maintain the results of a tummy tuck surgery, you need to maintain a healthy steady weight and do as your doctor instructs if you wish to heal fast and properly.