Do you have sagging skin on your abdomen when you sit up straight? Whether it’s due to childbirth, significant weight loss, or the aging process, you could be a good candidate for a tummy tuck. Technically referred to as abdominoplasty, this surgical procedure involves removing excess fat and skin to improve your abdominal contours.
Like any major surgery, an abdominoplasty poses some risks. These include an adverse reaction to anesthesia, bleeding, or infection. Nevertheless, during your initial consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon, they will assess your overall health condition and determine whether this type of major surgery is right for you. They will review your medical history, perform a physical examination, and discuss your expectations.
A tummy tuck can produce dramatic results, but it’s not for everyone. To qualify for this procedure, you should be at a stable, healthy weight. You should also be in good overall health. You may not be eligible for a tummy tuck if you have preexisting medical conditions like cirrhosis, uncontrolled diabetes, and advanced cardiopulmonary disease. Your plastic surgeon will also consider your expectations to make the final decision.
Ideally, you should have at least six months in advance to fully prepare for your surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, this will give you enough time to find the right plastic surgeon, achieve the ideal weight, and put a post-operative aftercare plan in place. During these months, you have to:
Quit Smoking. This is crucial as smoking can decrease blood circulation in your skin. This can slow down your healing process and even increase your risk of tissue damage.
Focus on Your Diet and Exercise. You have to drink more water, eat a healthy and balanced diet, and stay active. This way, you can achieve the ideal weight and fitness level.
Avoid Certain Medications. Some medicines increase bleeding. Examples of these are aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and certain herbal supplements. Avoid taking these if you’re getting a tummy tuck in a few months. Shortly before your surgery, though, your surgeon will prescribe medications like anticoagulants to prevent blood clotting.
Arrange for Help During Recovery. Before your surgery, ensure that you’ve talked to someone to drive you home after the procedure. Have someone stay with you for at least a couple of days during your recovery at home.
A tummy tuck usually takes between 90 minutes and five hours, depending on its complexity. Your plastic surgeon will likely perform the surgery while you’re fully asleep. The procedure generally involves making an incision in your lower abdomen, running from hip to hip. Your surgeon will remove the excess fat and skin. They will tighten your muscles and suture the remaining skin together. Many patients can easily hide the scars with a bikini.
As previously mentioned, an abdominoplasty is major surgery. This means that you’ll have to prepare for significant downtime. Your recovery period will take a couple of weeks or so. During the first few days, you will feel sore, swollen, and fatigued. It’s common to experience moderate pain. This should improve after a few days, though. You should avoid any strenuous physical activity for at least a month. It’s highly recommended to have someone assist you with childcare and household chores.
Do you want to schedule a tummy tuck consultation? Speak with Andrew Friedman, MD, FACS, today, in San Antonio, Texas.