Abdominoplasty, known more commonly as a “tummy tuck,” is a major surgical procedure to reduces excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. The procedure can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen. But bear in mind, it does produce a visible scar, which, depending on the extent of the original problem and the surgery required to correct it, can extend from hip to hip. If a tummy tuck can help, how it’s performed, and what results you can expect depend on the individual patient and can best be determined through a consultation.
The Best Candidate For Abdominoplasty
The best candidates for abdominoplasty are men or women who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by a large fat deposit or loose abdominal skin that won’t respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through multiple pregnancies, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal. Loss of skin elasticity in older patients, which frequently occurs with slight obesity, can also be improved.
Patients who intend to lose a lot of weight should postpone the surgery. Also, women who plan future pregnancies should wait, as vertical muscles in the abdomen that are tightened during surgery can separate again during pregnancy. Abdominoplasty can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it won’t necessarily change your looks to match your ideal, or cause other people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.
What to Expect
For the first few days, your abdomen will probably be swollen and you’re likely to feel some pain and discomfort which can be controlled by medication. Your will be given instructions for showering, changing your dressings and caring for your drains. Drains are used to prevent fluid buildup under the skin sutures and are generally dissolvable for comfort and to improve the appearance of the scar. Though you may not be able to stand straight at first, you should start walking as soon as possible.
It may take you weeks to feel like your old self again. If you start out in top physical condition with strong abdominal muscles, recovery from abdominoplasty will be much faster. Some people return to work after two weeks, while others take three or four weeks to rest and recuperate. Exercise will help you heal better. Even people who have never exercised before should begin an exercise program to reduce swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and tone muscles. Vigorous exercise, however, should be avoided until you can do it comfortably.