Abdominoplasty or a ‘tummy tuck’ is cosmetic or reconstructive surgery. It is used to tighten muscles that have become loose or split following pregnancy, or to remove fat and extra loose skin from the abdomen after massive weight loss.
It is not a substitute for weight loss or exercise. It may be possible to achieve a flatter stomach without surgery, through healthy eating and exercise, but not always. Many medical practitioners recommend that abdominoplasty be considered only after dieting and exercise have achieved the right body shape underneath.
The abdominoplasty procedure can take from two to five hours to perform.
During the procedure, the patient is placed under general anesthesia. Two incisions will be made- one from the hip bone on one side to the hipbone on the other side of the body, close to the pubic area, the other incision around the navel. The skin will be separated from the abdominal muscles.
The abdominal muscles are then pulled together and stitched into place for a more narrowed waist and firmer abdomen.The separated flap of skin is then stretched over the newly tightened muscles and excess skin is removed.The navel is reattached to a position where it looks natural. The incisions are closed and a sterile dressing is applied over the area.
Who should not consider Tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck isn’t for everyone. Your doctor might not recommend a tummy tuck if you:
- Plan to lose a significant amount of weight
- Might consider future pregnancy
- Have a severe chronic condition, such as heart disease or diabetes
- Have a body mass index that’s greater than 30
- Had a previous abdominal surgery
Things to keep in mind before going for the surgery
Before you choose to have abdominoplasty, some of the important issues to keep in mind include:
- The results of abdominoplasty are considered permanent. However, any major changes in your weight after surgery could change how you look.
- Abdominoplasty is not considered a treatment for stretch marks, although any stretch marks in the treated area will be removed along with excess skin.
- The financial cost.- Ask your doctor about any out-of-pocket costs you can expect.
- Smokers are at increased risk of complications from any surgery. To decrease the risk of these complications, try to quit smoking before having surgery.
- Consider asking another doctor for a second opinion. It is important to have as much information as possible, before deciding to have the surgery.
- You will have pain and swelling after the surgery. Your doctor will prescribe pain medicine for the same.
- You may be sore for several weeks or months.
- You may also experience numbness, bruising, and tiredness
- Complications can include infection, bleeding under the skin flap, or blood clots. You may be more likely to have complications if you have poor circulation, diabetes, or heart, lung, or liver disease.
- A tummy tuck leaves scars. Though they may fade slightly, they will never completely disappear. Your surgeon may recommend certain creams or ointments to use after you’ve completely healed to help with scars.
After the surgery
When you wake up, your incision will be covered in surgical dressing, which will need to be changed several times. Your surgeon will also provide you with a compression garment or “belly binder.”
It takes six weeks for the initial recovery phase of a tummy tuck to pass, and you’ll need several follow-up appointments with your doctor to check on how your incision is healing. During this time, you should avoid any position that involves abdominal extension or bending backwards, which may pull or place too much tension on the incision.