The decision to undergo tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) is one that should be made after careful consideration and research. If you’ve done your research and you’re considering tummy tuck surgery, you might be wondering what to expect. The following guide explores every step of the tummy tuck process to help you learn more about this transformative procedure.
Before Your Tummy Tuck
Tummy tuck surgery can dramatically improve the appearance of the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat. It can also repair abdominal muscles that have separated due to pregnancy and other factors. The results are very long lasting when paired with a healthy lifestyle.
The first step in considering this surgery is a consultation with a plastic surgeon. Your consultation will give you the opportunity to have questions and concerns addressed by your potential surgeon. During your consultation the surgeon will conduct a physical examination to assess your abdominal skin quality, the extent of excess skin and fat, and the degree of muscle separation.
Based on your anatomy and your cosmetic goals, your surgeon will then provide you with a customized treatment plan. This treatment plan is tailored to your body. For example,, those who only need improvement of the area below the navel may be candidates for a mini-tummy tuck. The overall goal of your consultation is to determine whether you’re an appropriate candidate for tummy tuck surgery and whether this procedure is one you’d like to undergo.
Preparing for Tummy Tuck Surgery
If you decide to undergo abdominoplasty your surgeon will provide you with pre-operative guidelines. You may be asked to do the following before surgery:
- Obtain lab testing
- Adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs that can increase bleeding
It’s important to closely follow your pre-operative guidelines. Doing so will increase your chances of having a successful outcome, and will help your surgery day go smoothly.
In addition to following these guidelines, you should arrange for a responsible adult to drive you to and from your surgeon’s clinic on the day of surgery. You should also have a close friend, family member or caregiver stay with you for the first day. Having the extra assistance at home will allow you to rest and facilitate your recovery.
How Abdominoplasty is Performed
Your abdominoplasty is carried out under a general anesthetic, and will usually begin with liposuction to remove pockets of excess fat. This will better sculpt the area and provide more pleasing contours. After the liposuction is complete, your surgeon will make an incision that goes across the lower abdomen and pubic area. This incision will extend from hip to hip.
The abdominal apron is then pulled up so that the deeper tissues can be accessed. Your surgeon will tighten and repair any separated abdominal muscles. The abdominal apron is pulled down after the muscles have been tightened, and then excess skin is removed. Any excess fat will be removed as well. The incision is then carefully sutured together. Your resulting scar will be concealed by most types of clothing, even bathing suits. Patients should not, however, count on being able to wear a bikini after having abdominoplasty.
After Your Tummy Tuck
You will need to wear a compression garment for about four weeks following abdominoplasty. This will facilitate healing and help your tissues conform to their new contours. The compression garment also reduces swelling and fluid retention. Fortunately, this garment is easy to wear under clothes and it is not obtrusive.
You will experience moderate discomfort and a feeling of tightness in your abdomen for the first three or four weeks after surgery. Most patients return to their regular day-to-day activities within three or four weeks. Exercise and other strenuous physical activity will need to be avoided for up to eight weeks, to allow the muscle repair to fully heal.
Other Things to Consider
It’s important to understand that abdominoplasty is not a weight loss technique, but it can complement the effects of a healthy lifestyle. Candidates for tummy tuck surgery should be within 25 pounds of their ideal weight. Significant weight fluctuations after surgery can negatively affect your abdominoplasty results. Pregnancy may also reverse the effects of tummy tuck surgery. Patients who maintain healthy lifestyles enjoy pleasing results from this procedure for many years.
Undergoing tummy tuck surgery may seem daunting at first, but in the hands of a qualified plastic surgeon, this procedure safely provides transformative results. If you’re ready to take the next step, contact plastic surgeon Dr. Eric Pugash today to schedule your personal consultation for abdominoplasty.