A tummy tuck — or abdominoplasty — is a cosmetic surgery you undergo to improve your abdominal shape. The surgery involves the removal of excessive skin, fats, and stretch marks. It also tightens the abdominal muscles.
The Ideal Candidate for Tummy Tuck
You will get a tummy tuck if you are fit and healthy. That said, a tummy tuck won’t be a quick fix if you plan to lose weight. You are the ideal candidate for abdominoplasty if you are close to average weight but with saggy skin.
Several other factors cause saggy skin:
- Pregnancy: The abdominal skin stretches to accommodate the fetus and may remain loose after delivery.
- C-section: The abdominal muscles are disrupted. Afterward, the scar underneath the skin and fat fails to move freely. As a result, accumulated fat pushes the skin to become loose.
- Aging: The aging process depletes fats around the skin leading to a saggy abdomen.
- Natural body shape: Some people have a natural body shape with saggy skin and belly fat.
Tummy Tuck Benefits
A tummy tuck will benefit you psychologically and physically.
Here are some of the benefits of abdominoplasty.
Reduced Stretch Marks
Once the surgeon removes the excess skin from your tummy, the abdominal area will look smoother. Since many stretch marks are on the lower abdomen (on the skin that is physically removed), a good portion of the stretch marks will be eliminated. It is important to remember that stretch marks located on areas of skin that are not removed will remain after the tummy tuck.
Tight Abdominal Muscles
Weight gain, pregnancy, and aging leave the abdominal muscles stretched and separated. The surgeon will tighten the muscles to improve your midsection shape.
Reduced Belly Fat
After achieving a healthy body weight, the abdominal area keeps some fat deposits that are hard to eliminate with exercise and diet. The surgeon performs liposuction during a tummy tuck to get a more slender appearance.
Saggy belly skin and excess fat cause embarrassment in public, lowering your self-confidence. After the tummy tuck, you get a more slender shape, improving your self-esteem.
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Process
Once you have been examined by a top tummy tuck surgeon as healthy and fit, you prepare for the abdominoplasty. First, avoid smoking to improve blood flow to the skin hence fast healing. Secondly, you should avoid herbal supplements, anti-inflammatory drugs, and aspirin because they increase bleeding.
Typically, there are two types of tummy tucks:
- Partial tummy tuck
- Full tummy tuck
You can go for partial abdominoplasty if you have a small amount of excess skin and belly fat. It involves making a large incision across the lower abdomen. Then, the surgeon separates the skin below the belly button from the abdominal wall.
Afterward, the surgeon removes excess fat and skin, pulls the skin back, and stitches it in place. Usually, partial abdominoplasty will leave a horizontal scar above your pubic area.
You qualify for full abdominoplasty if you have significant excess skin and belly fat. The surgeon makes a larger horizontal incision across the lower abdomen.
The surgeon makes another incision to free the belly button from the surrounding skin tissue. The incision can sometimes extend to the lower back if you accumulate more fat. Then, the surgeon re-aligns the muscles and removes excess skin and fat.
Afterward, a small incision is made as a new position for the belly button. This is done because the belly button’s usual hole is displaced once the excess skin is removed. The surgeon then pulls the remaining skin and stitches it into place.
Recovery and Exercise
After the surgery, you will experience bruising and swelling around the tummy area. The surgeon will leave the drains for some, but you will be guided on how to empty them. It can take up to six weeks to fully recover from the surgery.
For a better recovery:
- Wear a supportive abdominal garment to prevent fluid build-up under the skin.
- Move carefully and avoid positions that can strain the incision lines for faster healing (don’t bend the waist).
- Get follow-up appointments with the surgeon to inspect the wounds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a tummy tuck painful?
Tummy tuck surgery is performed under general anesthesia. You fall asleep, and the nerves become numb hence experiencing no pain. You will experience swelling and bruising. You will experience discomfort in the first week.
Is tummy tuck a good idea?
Yes. A tummy tuck is worth it because you’ll increase your self-esteem. Many people get impressed after six months. The belly turns flatter and slender up to one year after surgery.
How do you poop after a tummy tuck?
You’ll need a raised toilet seat after the tummy tuck. Normally, if you squat, the incision line will experience pressure, and the wounds will take longer to heal. Also, focus on a high-fiber diet for easier bowel movements.
How long do drains stay in after tummy tuck?
Tummy tuck drains can be removed within one to three weeks, depending on how fast your body heals.