Plastic surgery has risen in popularity and prominence over the last years, and abdominoplasty is one of the most common and sought-after plastic surgery interventions. Despite this, some people still believe that the tummy tuck is a weight loss method. There are even patients coming in who think that getting rid of all excess skin and fat tissue after tummy tuck is a free pass to eat whatever they want, as much as they want because they can no longer have excess fats on their belly, ever again. Unfortunately, this is not true or more succinctly, wishful thinking! The truth is, any excessive weight gain after any type of plastic surgery, can and in most cases, will have a negative impact on the results of the surgery. Why do people get a tummy tuck? There are plenty of reasons why people undergo abdominoplasty. Among them, would be to address post pregnancy weight, to remove unsightly sagging skin at the abdomen after bariatric surgery to lose weight, and to improve the aesthetic appearance of the patient. The tummy tuck is quite a common, albeit complex, plastic surgery procedure with the intent to create a flat abdomen. It addresses the sagging, excess skin on the abdomen, as well as the underlying fat tissue. Unfortunately, some people still consider it as a simple method to lose weight. Actually, the tummy tuck surgery is a complex and efficient plastic surgery intervention developed to reshape the abdominal profile by excising the surplus skin in the area and tightening weakened muscles. Obviously, the tummy tuck surgery is not suitable for people with excessive weight but for those who suffer from an accumulation of fat and skin tissue on the abdominal area and wish to improve tone and appearance by getting rid of the excess skin and fat. Who can have a tummy tuck? This intervention is highly recommended for women after childbirth. At the same time, it is not advisable to have this surgery if you still have plans of getting pregnant, as the results of the tummy tuck are reversible. Other good candidates for the tummy tuck are people who lost massive amounts of weight and whose abdominal muscles and skin lost its firmness and elasticity. The procedure has been performed with amazing results on older people whose skin has lost elasticity, and where a contouring of the abdomen was needed. In the United States, we can see the increasing and steady rise in the demand for certain plastic surgeries. The demand for abdominal lifting procedures has been constant throughout the last few years. The abdominoplasty is certainly a popular intervention, but this doesn’t mean that the patient can go into it blindly. Understanding that plastic surgery, and especially the tummy tuck, is just a part of the solution for the problem and not the whole solution is essential to getting satisfactory results after the surgery. In sum, full understanding of limitations and having reasonable and realistic goals are keys to satisfaction. Preparing for the tummy tuck intervention A person who is going under the knife for an abdominoplasty has to meet with the plastic surgeon long before the procedure can take place. The plastic surgeon will evaluate the physical condition of the patient, the medical history, examine the quality of skin and will also ask questions about life habits such as smoking, drinking and medication intake, including natural supplements. It is important to keep in mind that in the case of smokers, the recovery can last longer and they are more susceptible to developing complications both during and after surgery. Hence, the patient should quit smoking at least two or three weeks before and after the surgery. During the meeting with your surgeon of choice, the different options available for potential patients will also be discussed. This means that it is possible you won’t need a complete tummy tuck but just a partial one. We call it the mini tummy tuck, since it only addresses the inferior part of the abdomen. Liposuction can also be used; it is actually an option preferred by many surgeons if the skin of the patient is of good quality and in good condition. In some cases, the plastic surgeon might advise you to combine the tummy tuck with liposuction to accentuate the results of the intervention. After an operative plan is decided, the patient must take several blood tests as well as an EKG. It goes without saying that in case the pre-operative tests discover any health problems or infections of any sort, the surgical intervention will be automatically postponed. You shouldn’t worry about this; sometimes even a common cold can cause the delay of the surgery. In most cases, the patient will also meet with the anesthetist in order to discuss the type of anesthesia that will be administered during the surgical interventions. Aside from avoiding medications like blood thinners (anti-coagulants) such as Aspirin, natural supplements of all types and birth control pills, no other additional measures need to be taken before the tummy tuck surgery. A special diet before the intervention is not necessary. Actually, the plastic surgeon will advise you to stop any diet that you might be on so it will not affect the healing process after surgery. How is the tummy tuck performed? During the tummy tuck, the plastic surgeon will make an incision along the inferior (lower) abdomen from one hip to the other. The second incision will be made around the navel to release it from the surrounding tissues. Then, the plastic surgeon will separate the skin from the abdominal wall on the entire surface up to the ribs in order to free up the muscles on the abdominal wall. The muscles are tightened on the medial line again. This means that the new abdominal wall will be firmer and the waist will be slimmer and tinier. The plastic surgeon will then create a new opening for the navel and reposition it. The incisions are sutured and an elastic bandage is placed on the wounds. The tummy tuck is usually performed under general anesthesia, as a local anesthetic is not sufficient for this amount of extensive surgery. The length of the operation can take up to five hours, depending on the patient’s anatomy and the amount of tissue to be removed. Weight gain after tummy tuck Just as it is with other different plastic surgery interventions, excessive weight gain after procedure will negate all the beneficial effects of surgery. It makes sense, right? The results of the surgery are permanent for as long as the patient maintains a steady, constant weight and avoid uncontrolled weight gains and losses. Any fluctuations in body weight of more than 5 kilograms can adversely alter the results of the surgery. An experienced plastic surgeon will advise you to wait for at least 6 months and up to 1 year if you want a tummy tuck after bariatric surgery for weight loss. This way you can make sure you already maintained a stable weight before going under the knife again to improve your appearance. Weight gain can also occur because of a new pregnancy. While there is no hindrance to getting pregnant after an abdominoplasty, do note that it can affect the results of your intervention. During pregnancy, the muscles of the abdomen can loosen again, despite the results of the tummy tuck. Conclusion The results of the tummy tuck are not guaranteed for life, but they can be permanent if you maintain a balanced lifestyle and a pretty constant weight. Excessive weight gain after the tummy tuck, caused by either pregnancy or just excessive eating, will negatively impact the results of the surgery. Your abdominal muscles will be stretched and weakened and sagging skin with underlying adipose tissue will recur. The tummy tuck surgery is a complex and effective intervention that can get rid of all excess skin and fat in your abdomen. Depending on the patient’s needs, it can be performed in conjunction with other plastic surgery procedures such as liposuction. The tummy tuck will tighten the muscles of your abdomen wall providing you with a firmer flatter belly as well as a slimmer, tinier waist. Make no mistake about it, the tummy tuck is not a weight loss program, nor is it a license to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Your new, flat belly is not guaranteed to last a lifetime unless you put some effort into it, too. Regular exercises and a balanced diet will help keep your weight down after your plastic surgery intervention so you can maintain the results of the tummy tuck for as long as possible.