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Questions to ask your tummy tuck surgeon

Living in the era that puts a lot of value on a well-proportioned aspect of the body, many of us have complex relationships with the appearance of our tummies. To get rid of the unaesthetic belly apron, there are plenty of options available today such as an abdominoplasty or a liposuction procedure.

The tummy tuck procedure allows patients to get rid of the excess skin and adipose tissue on the abdomen. It is not a treatment for weight loss or obesity; the tummy tuck only targets those who have a concentrated accumulation of fat on the belly also associated with skin sagginess.

More about the tummy tuck procedure

There are many reasons that can make a patient undergo an abdominoplasty. Among them are imperfections that can occur after pregnancy, bariatric surgery, or drastic weight fluctuations. With age, people tend to accumulate fat on the abdomen and the flanks, and their body shape might lose its beautiful contour due to this. Sagging skin can be another consequence, as well as the natural aging process. The skin loses elasticity with time, causing the sagginess on the stomach to be quite obvious. The skin folds that can occur in the abdomen can make it difficult to wear clothes and also can cause rashes and itchiness if the sagginess is severe.

Before discussing the tummy tuck surgery in more detail, you need to know that any important physical change that will occur after surgery (such as weight gain or a new pregnancy) will affect the appearance of your abdomen. It is essential to understand that this treatment option is not a viable substitute for a balanced nutrition and regular physical exercise. The tummy tuck procedure was created and is performed only with the purpose to remove the unwanted fat and skin tissue on the tummy. If the patient is overweight or obese before the procedure, the plastic surgeon should recommend him or her to lose the excess weight and maintain a close to normal weight for at least six months before undergoing plastic surgery. Being in good health and having a normal weight before the tummy tuck surgery will provide you with better results afterwards.

Discussing all the details about the tummy tuck surgery with your surgeon before scheduling the intervention is essential to reduce the anxiety before the surgery and eliminate the post-operative stress. Here are a few questions to ask your tummy tuck surgeon:

1. What happens during the surgery?

The patient will be under general anesthetic when the plastic surgeon performs an incision from hip to hip on the inferior part of the abdomen. After the skin and excess tissue are removed, the surgeon will reposition the navel in a normal anatomical position and suture the incisions in multiple layers. The length of the procedure is dependent on the amount of tissue that needs to be removed.

2. Can I repeat the tummy tuck after some years?

After some time, the results of the initial tummy tuck will be impacted, especially if the patient doesn’t have good quality skin. The necessity of an additional tummy tuck procedure increases if the patient will have another pregnancy or a major weight gain. However, the tummy tuck is not a procedure that can be performed every year for weight loss purposes. The tummy tuck is an invasive surgery with important potential complications, and this is why it is recommended for patients to put in the effort required to sustain the results for as long as possible instead of looking into additional surgery.

3. How painful is a tummy tuck?

Some patients experience abdominal pain for the first two weeks following the intervention. There is also a certain level of discomfort that can be increased when the tummy tuck is performed in combination with the liposuction procedure. Numbness and tension on the abdomen are also natural and will disappear on their own without any treatment within a few weeks. Your plastic surgeon will talk to you about the recommended sitting and standing positions for the first week after the surgery to avoid unnecessary pain and discomfort. Pain medication and antibiotics after the surgery will be prescribed to help manage pain and avoid infections.

4. What happens if I get pregnant after a tummy tuck?

Diastasis recti, a condition that is defined by the distention of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy, can occur again if the patient gets pregnant after surgery. The patient should also be aware that the more she puts on weight during pregnancy, the more the negative impact on the results of the surgery will be. This is why we recommend patients to monitor their weight gain upon getting pregnant after a tummy tuck surgery.

5. Where will be the scars positioned after the tummy tuck?

There is only one scar left behind after a tummy tuck, and it is positioned on the lower part of the abdomen. During the initial consultation, the plastic surgeon can show you exactly where the scar will be. In most cases, if the patient already has a scar from a previous C-section, the surgeon will use the same area for the tummy tuck. The scar will be lengthier when this happens.

6. When do the scars disappear?

The scar after the tummy tuck is permanent. It will not disappear with time, but in six months to a year, its appearance will be greatly improved. The plastic surgeon will make sure the scar is positioned in an area where it can be easily masked with underwear.

7. How should I prepare for the surgery?

Patients are recommended to give up smoking at least four weeks before the surgery date. At the same time, avoiding anti-inflammatory medication is another important consideration. Keep a light diet for a week before your intervention and avoid drinking too much coffee or alcohol. Any natural supplements that you might be taking should be stopped four weeks before the date of the intervention, as well as birth control treatments.

8. What is the final result of the tummy tuck?

A satisfactory result is a flat and smooth abdomen. Many patients ask if the stretch marks will be removed during surgery. Depending on their location, some of the stretch marks can also be eliminated (the ones that are on the lower part of the abdomen from where the tissues will be excised). If the patient has a minor sagginess and adipose accumulation, the results are excellent. If the sagginess is more severe, the surgery will still provide impressive results.

9. Can I combine the tummy tuck with liposuction?

The procedures can be performed together, and this option is usually recommended for patients who have adipose deposits on the upper abdomen where the tummy tuck won’t have an effect. Liposuction can also be performed on the flanks and lower back to enhance the results of the tummy tuck.

10. What other procedures can I combine with the tummy tuck?

For the patients who desire a more significant improvement, the tummy tuck can also be combined with breast augmentation, arm lift, breast lift or reduction and also liposuction. When the desire is to achieve an hourglass shape, the plastic surgeon should also perform a fat transfer to the hips, aside from the tummy tuck and liposuction. The fat transfer to the hips will give you more appealing curves while also accentuating the difference between the waist and hips.

Conclusion

The tummy tuck is a major plastic surgery intervention, and it is only natural for patients to have many questions about it. While researching online for answers can be a good option, it is absolutely necessary to discuss them in person with your plastic surgeon as well. The surgeon will take into consideration your particularities and desires when answering your questions, and he can also understand your fears better when talking about these issues.

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