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tummy tuck/abdominoplasty

Tummy tuck/abdominoplasty

Abdominoplasty or "Tummy tuck" is a cosmetic surgery procedure used to make the abdomen thinner and more firm. The surgery involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen in order to tighten the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall.

 

It's not the same as liposuction, although you may choose to get liposuction along with a tummy tuck.

 

Who Are the Best Candidates For a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is also an option for men or women who were once obese and still have excess fat deposits or loose skin around the belly.

Women who have had several pregnancies may find the procedure useful for tightening their abdominal muscles and reducing skin.

 

Who Should Not Consider a Tummy Tuck?

If you're a woman who plans to get pregnant, then you may want to postpone a tummy tuck until you're done having children. During surgery, your vertical muscles are tightened, and future pregnancies can separate those muscles.

Are you planning to lose a lot of weight? Then a tummy tuck also is not for you. A tummy tuck should be a last resort after you've tried everything else. It should not be used as an alternative to weight loss.

You should also consider the appearance of scars after a tummy tuck. You can talk about scar placement and length with the doctor before the surgery.

 

How to Prepare for Tummy Tuck Surgery

The first step is to choose a surgeon and see him or her for a consultation. At that meeting, you'll talk about your goals and the following options:

 
  • Complete abdominoplasty. The surgeon will cut your abdomen from hipbone to hipbone and then contour the skin, tissue, and muscle as needed. The surgery will involve moving your belly button, and you may need drainage tubes under your skin for a few days.

  • Partial or mini abdominoplasty. Mini-abdominoplasties are often done on people whose fat deposits are located below the navel. During this procedure, the surgeon most likely will not move your belly button, and the procedure may only take up to two hours, depending on your case.
 

What are the complications and side effects of a tummy tuck?

 

As expected, you will have pain and swelling after surgery. Your doctor can prescribe a painkiller if needed, and will instruct you on how best to treat the pain.

Soreness may last for several weeks or months. You may also have numbness, bruising, and overall tiredness for that same time period.

As with any surgery, there are risks. You may have an increased risk of complications if you have poor circulation, diabetes, heart, lung, or liver disease, or if you smoke. Complications can include:

  • Scarring
  • Hematoma (bleeding)
  • Infection
  • Seroma (accumulation of fluid)
  • Poor wound healing
  • Loss of skin
  • Blood clots
  • Numbness or other changes in sensation
  • Risks related to anesthesia
  • Changes in skin color
  • Long-lasting swelling
  • Fat necrosis (death of fatty tissue located deep in the skin)
  • Wound separation
  • Asymmetry (unevenness or lopsidedness)
 

How a Tummy Tuck Is Done

 

This surgery can take anywhere from one to five hours. You may need to stay overnight in the hospital, depending on your case.

You will get general anesthesia, which will put you to "sleep" during the operation.

 

Taking Care of Yourself After Surgery

 

Whether you're having a partial or complete tummy tuck, the area that's operated on will be stitched and bandaged. It's very important to follow all your surgeon's instructions on how to care for the bandage in the days following surgery. The bandage used will be a firm, elastic band that promotes proper healing. Your surgeon will also instruct you on how to best position yourself while sitting or lying down to help ease pain.

You will have to severely limit strenuous activity for at least six weeks. You may need to take up to one month off work after the surgery to ensure proper recovery. Your doctor will advise you on what you need to do or not do.

 

Return to living after a tummy tuck

 

Generally, most people love the new look after they've undergone this procedure; however, you may not feel like your normal self for months after the surgery. You've gone through a tremendous amount to make this happen. It is a big commitment, emotionally, physically, and financially. It is very important that you follow proper diet and exercise to maintain your new look.