Flatten Your Abdomen
What is a tummy tuck?
When you have excess flab or skin in the abdomen that just does not go away even with diet and exercise, you may want to consider a tummy tuck. This is a procedure that aims to flatten the abdomen through the removal of extra skin and fat as well as the tightening of the muscles in the abdominal wall.
Tummy tuck is a major surgery, so it is advised to educate yourself adequately before making the final decision. Choosing the right doctor to help you become aware of the treatment is also necessary. Dr. Randall Barnett at the Alpine Plastic Surgery Clinic in Salt Lake City, UT can answer any of your queries regarding the procedure.
Should I consider a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, can improve the contour of the tummy. Moreover, it can be done if:
You have stretch marks and excess flab in the abdomen that do not improve even with exercise or diet
Your abdomen has significantly changed due to pregnancy or dramatic weight loss
You feel that your abdomen is protruding and unattractive
The contour of your stomach affects your self-confidence greatly
Am I a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
Any man or woman can undergo a tummy tuck, especially when they are in good health condition.
It is important to know that a tummy tuck differs from a liposuction, which is the removal of fat deposits in the body, although your surgeon may consider performing liposuction as part of the procedure.
Women who have had multiple pregnancies and have stretched skin and muscles in the abdomen would most likely benefit from the procedure. It can also be considered by patients who were once obese and still have remaining fat deposits in the abdomen or have loose skin in the area.
When should I not consider a tummy tuck?
If you are planning to have children sometime soon, you may want to reconsider a tummy tuck until you are done with pregnancy and childbirth. If you get a tummy tuck before pregnancy, the tightened muscles may separate once you get pregnant and give birth.
A tummy tuck would also be futile if you are still planning to lose more weight after the procedure.
Take note that a tummy tuck could give you permanent and prominent scarring. You may want to discuss with your doctor on how to deal with this situation.
How do I prepare for a tummy tuck?
You may be required to stop smoking for a certain period of time. Usually, your doctor will advise you to stop smoking two weeks prior to the procedure and two weeks after. Smoking can delay healing and increase the possibility of complications.
Before surgery, it is advised to eat a well-balanced meal. Excessive dieting will not help. You will need the nutrition to heal properly.
There are also certain medications that you have to stop taking before surgery. Your surgeon will identify this during your pre-operative consultation.
How is a tummy tuck performed?
During the procedure, your surgeon may place marks on your abdomen to guide him to the location of your incisions. You are then injected with a local anesthetic and a vasoconstrictor.
The incisions are based upon different approaches, depending on your and your surgeon’s preference. It may either be full abdominoplasty, mini abdominoplasty, or extended or high lateral tension.
After the cuts are made, your muscles are repaired by loosening the skin from the abdomen to the ribcage, placing sutures in the fascia of the abdominal muscles, and tightening the muscles.
After suturing of the muscles, excess fat may be removed through liposuction. Abdominal skin is stretched and excess skin removed. The incisions are then closed using sutures, Steri-Strips, or staples.
The process varies according to the approach used.
What can I expect after a tummy tuck?
Few days following surgery, you may experience pain and swelling around the treated area. Your doctor may prescribe you with pain medications and other instructions to alleviate the pain. You may also feel sore for several weeks or months after treatment.
During recovery, you can also experience bruising, numbness, and the feeling of tiredness.
Tummy tuck poses certain risks and complications:
Blood clot accumulation
- Bleeding under the flap of the skin
- Insufficient healing
These complications are more likely to arise if you have:
- Circulation problems
- Diseases of the heart, lungs, or liver
You can also expect scars after a tummy tuck. Although they fade over time, they do not disappear completely. However, you may use certain ointments and creams to improve the appearance of scars.
How should I care for myself after a tummy tuck?
- Have someone to help you at home for at least 7 to 10 days.
- The day after surgery, walk around slowly. This is to prevent blood clots to form in the legs as well as to discourage swelling.
- Avoid doing heavy lifting for about four to six weeks.
- You may be advised to wear a compression garment to control the swelling and reduce the chances of the abdomen sagging after a tummy tuck.
- Have a follow-up check-up with your doctor five days after the procedure.
- In case of any unusual discomfort, contact your surgeon immediately.