A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is an elective cosmetic surgery procedure popular in both male and female candidates who want to have a tighter and firmer abdomen. A tummy tuck procedure that is performed by a board certified plastic surgeon can considerably enhance the shape and contour of the body and create a flatter and firmer abdomen. It reshapes and surgically tightens the abdominal area to achieve a slimmer and aesthetically pleasing silhouette. This procedure restores and improves the body by tightening the abdominal muscles and eliminating excess skin and fats on the abdomen that have amassed due to excessive weight gain or loss, pregnancy, and the natural aging process. It is the best cosmetic surgery procedure that can help a person rid itself of a protruding belly and acquire a toned abdomen. It is suitable for men and women who have lost excessive weight, which usually leaves distressingly loose and saggy skin. The contour of the abdomen can be affected by different factors. Pregnancy brings a lot of joy but it can overstretch the abdominal tissues to the point where even hardcore exercising and intense dieting cannot completely remove sagging and loose skin on the belly. The uterus usually enlarges during pregnancy, which is the reason why abdominal tissues stretch leaving behind the stubborn loose skin. An Abdominoplasty can effectively correct loose and sagging skin after pregnancy and weight loss. A Tummy tuck procedure can address the following three main things: • Remove fat deposits, which may be lodged in the abdominal area • Improve shape and body contour • Get rid of excess sagging skin to improve body appearance and shape Who is a good candidate for tummy tuck procedure? It must be stressed that this cosmetic surgery procedure should not be used as a weight-loss shortcut. Before going under the knife for a tummy tuck procedure, you must ensure that you are in good health with no chronic health issues or disorders that can increase the risks during surgery and impair the healing process. If you smoke or drink alcohol, you should quit before and after the procedure. It is very important that women and men who are seriously considering a tummy tuck procedure employ natural methods of losing weight like dieting and exercising before undergoing a tummy tuck procedure. Depending on a patient’s desired results and the recommendation of the surgeon, a tummy tuck can be performed alongside other plastic surgery procedures to achieve optimal results. A tummy tuck procedure is oftentimes combined with a breast lift surgery or mommy makeover to help women correct unwelcome physical post-pregnancy effects on the body. The best way to determine whether you are a good candidate for a tummy tuck procedure would be scheduling a consultation with your plastic surgeon. Be sure to choose a board-certified and highly experienced plastic surgeon whom you can trust and also be comfortable with. Be honest with your plastic surgeon during consultation. Your expectations and goals should be realistic to enable your plastic surgeon to help you achieve the desired results. During consultation, your plastic surgeon will also conduct a thorough examination of your abdominal area before suggesting the best approach that should be used to achieve a toned abdomen. To help you make an informed decision, your plastic surgeon will show you before and after photos of tummy tuck procedure. How to choose your plastic surgeon This is a very important step before undergoing a tummy tuck surgery. Tummy tuck surgery is a cosmetic surgery which should be performed by a plastic surgeon with the required experience and special training in order for the whole procedure to be safe. Look for a plastic surgeon who can show you the number of tummy tucks he or she has performed through the years. It is very important that your plastic surgeon is board certified and allowed to practice tummy tuck surgery. A board certification assures you that your surgeon has completed the required years of training in general and plastic surgery, has taken and passed the necessary exams, and does continuing medical education to update skills and knowledge. You should also ask your plastic surgeon about the medical facility where the procedure will take place and whether your plastic surgeon is allowed to perform tummy tuck procedure in the same facility. Types of Abdominoplasty After your plastic surgeon examines your abdomen he or she will determine which type of abdominoplasty to use to avoid visible scarring. Here are the different types of abdominoplasty. Mini-abdominoplasty: involves less extensive surgical procedure and mostly used in improving the appearance of the lower belly. Good candidates for this procedure are men and women with sagging and loose skin on their lower belly. It tightens muscles in that area and gives the lower belly a firmer appearance. Full abdominoplasty: this type of abdominoplasty is usually performed when there are excess skin and fats above and below the belly that should be removed. This type of abdominoplasty gives a flatter and smoother abdomen with reduced stretch marks. Any resulting scarring can be hidden by a swimsuit. Extended abdominoplasty: An extended abdominoplasty is an expanded abdominoplasty performed when there is excessive loose skin and sagging on the abdominal area, the sides and the flanks especially after losing excess weight. It removes excess skin on the upper and lower abdomen and around flanks and beyond to give the abdominal area a tight and firm appearance. The procedure Like many other plastic surgery procedures, a tummy tuck procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Another good option that can be used is by combining local anesthesia and intravenous sedation to make the procedure comfortable. Ask your plastic surgeon about the best type of anesthesia to be used during your surgery. After administering anesthesia, your plastic surgeon will then make an incision above your pubic area running from one side of the hip to the other hip. The skin around that area will then be disconnected from internal tissues before removing excess fats and strengthening abdominal muscles using tight sutures. The other method that can be performed alongside a tummy tuck procedure to remove excess fats from your abdominal area is liposuction. After removing excess fats and strengthening the abdominal muscles, your plastic surgeon will then conclude by closing the incision to start the healing process. To prevent fluids from building up, your plastic surgeon may suggest the use of a drainage tube. This procedure can lead to visible scarring if not performed by a skilled plastic surgeon. This is the reason why it is always important for a tummy tuck patient to know the procedure and be aware of all the possible risks before making a decision to go under the knife. After the procedure, your plastic surgeon will recommend the best type of garments to use in order to ensure speedy recovery. The recovery period from a tummy tuck procedure will depend on a number of factors, one of them being the patient’s lifestyle during recovery. The extent of plastic surgery is also another factor that will determine recovery time. It is normal to experience manageable pain and discomfort within the first 48 hours following a tummy tuck surgery. How is life after abdominoplasty? Tummy tuck surgery is mostly an outpatient procedure whereby patients are normally discharged hours after undergoing surgery. Depending on the extent of a tummy tuck procedure, your plastic surgeon may sometimes recommend an overnight stay at the facility if your surgery involves extensive procedures. Recovery time from a tummy tuck procedure is usually longer compared to other types of plastic surgery procedure because it involves tightening of muscles aside from removal of fats. Your plastic surgeon will give you post-operative care instructions to guide you through recovery. Most tummy tuck patients usually take about three weeks before recovering fully. You can ask your plastic surgeon when you can go back to work and resume your daily routine. If your job is physically strenuous, you will need to be patient and recover fully before resuming work. What are the possible risks and complications of abdominoplasty? Considered as one of the riskiest cosmetic surgery procedures, a tummy tuck procedure comes with the following risks and complications. • Seroma or accumulation of fluids: after tummy tuck procedure, some fluids may build up under the skin and complicate the healing process. To prevent such fluids from accumulating, drainage tubes are normally left in place. These fluids can also be removed by your plastic surgeon using a syringe immediately after undergoing surgery. • Scarring: just like any surgery, tummy tuck procedures usually lead to scarring. However, the scars can be hidden by a swimwear making it impossible for anyone to notice any form of scarring. • Poor healing of the wound: Some patients usually experience complications such as poor healing of wounds or prolonged healing. There is also a possibility of incisions healing poorly by separating and leading to other complications. • Tissue necrosis: the internal abdominal tissues may sometimes get damaged after a tummy tuck surgery. It is very important for tummy tuck patients to avoid smoking or taking alcohol because smoking increases chances of tissue necrosis and impairs the healing process. Conclusion This procedure is performed after general anesthesia has been administered so there is actually no pain or discomfort of any kind during surgery. You’ll also be given pain medications to take for the first seven days following tummy tuck surgery. Most patients usually get discharged after a day following tummy tuck surgery. A patient is advised to avoid heavy lifting or rigorous activities after tummy tuck surgery for speedy recovery. Most patients usually take 2-3 weeks to recover from tummy tuck surgery. Just like other types of plastic surgeries, tummy tuck surgery also comes with risks and complications. There is a possibility of bleeding, infection and scarring after a tummy tuck. Infection cases are very rare especially if a patient strictly observes proper hygiene after undergoing surgery. Abdominoplasty can only reduce stretch marks to some extent but not all. If all the abdominal skin has to be removed then stretch marks can actually be reduced.