The name holds no secrets. A Tummy Tuck (or Abdominoplasty, for its clinical name) is exactly that: a surgical procedure which aims the removal of excess fat and loose, hanging skin, tucking it back together. It also restores weakened or separated muscles, tightening your abdominal profile for a smoother and firmer waistline contour.
Age, hormone fluctuations and pregnancy can have an adverse effect on abdominal muscles and the aspect of the skin. Weight loss, either achieved by diet and exercise will result in similar problems for your figure: an unaesthetic excess of sagging skin and/or a protruding abdomen, out of proportion with the rest of the body. This can be extremely distressing and affect one’s self confidence and esteem. Undergoing this procedure will definitely help to restore one’s figure and confidence.
Depending on the severity of each case, the patient may need a full tummy tuck, or complete abdominoplasty (the most common) or just a partial procedure. In the first instance, a horizontal-oriented incision will be made between the pubic hairline and navel. The shape and length of the incision will be determined by the degree of correction necessary. Excess skin and fat are removed and the weakened abdominal muscles are repaired and finally sutured. Most surgeons will make an effort to locate the incision precisely, so that the resulting scar will be hidden by the swimwear or underwear. However, if there is excess of fat and skin above the navel, an incision around the navel may also be necessary.
A mini or partial tummy tuck will be all that the patient needs if the amount of loose skin and excess fat are minor and located below the navel. In that case, just a short horizontal incision will suffice to obtain the desired results with less trauma and a reduced recovery period. Moreover, Liposuction can be used in conjunction with the tummy tuck to maximize results in removing the abdominal fat. Your doctor will advise you on the best procedure, technique and on the benefits of this added procedure.
Before Surgery: Be prepared to discuss your detailed medical history with your surgeon. A medical questionnaire will probably be requested and your doctor will make an extensive preoperative evaluation to estimate the amount of correction required. Consider and discuss the risks carefully. Although unusual, some potential complications can occur. Examples of which are bleeding, unfavorable scarring, infection, persisting swelling and pain or deep vein thrombosis and cardiac or pulmonary complications. Stop smoking and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, two weeks in advance surgery. Smoking interferes with the healing process and these drugs can cause increased bleeding.
During Surgery: The tummy tuck is usually done under general anesthesia.
After Surgery: You will be encouraged to get out of bed and do some light walking as soon as possible, to promote blood circulation. You probably won’t be able to stand fully upright until internal healing is complete which may take one or two weeks. During this period, avoid be seated during long periods of time. Apart from the bandage covering your incisions, you may be instructed to wear a support garment for a few weeks. Recovery time depends on the patient’s particulars and their overall health condition, just as much as the severity of the correction made, which could up to last several weeks. Normally, one can return to non-strenuous work after one to three weeks. Sexual activity should be avoided for at least two weeks. Swelling and bruising should be expected and may also last several weeks. Some localized numbness over the abdominal area may be experienced. Remember that total healing may take some months and that only after that period you will be able to fully appreciate the results of your surgery.
A final note: Beware of products claiming to produce miracle results, similar to the ones resulting from a Tummy Tuck without undergoing surgery. Don’t fall for scams. The only proven way to remove redundant skin and excess adipose tissue to obtain an overhaul improvement in the body contour is by surgery.