The actual name of the procedure we commonly refer to as a tummy tuck is known as an abdominoplasty. When a person has excess loose skin in the abdominal area, they may request a tummy tuck to restore their body to what it once was before their weight gain or pregnancy. This is a common request from people who have lost a significant amount of weight or from women who have given birth to children. There are often many factors that cause the skin to become loose and flabby over time.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure where the skin is tightened over the stomach. It often restores weakened muscles, and it leaves the stomach firm, flat, and attractive.
How is a Tummy Tuck Done?
- First, the patient is given anesthesia so they will not feel pain during the surgery.
- Next, a horizontal incision is made, very low on the stomach (just above the pubic hair line), and from hip to hip. It is a curved incision which is reminiscent of a smile.
- Then the upper skin is pulled down tight and the excess is trimmed away.
- The skin is then sutured together.
- A new opening is made for the belly button.
- Finally, the incision is closed with sutures, tape, or stitches.
Preparing for a Tummy Tuck
Before you schedule your tummy tuck, your doctor will review many things with you. You may be asked to stop or adjust certain medications. You will be told to stop smoking immediately. You must be 6 weeks smoke-free before your surgery. Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatories, and herbal supplements.
Do not crash diet. This will do more harm than good, and it could hamper your recovery. Eat sensibly, but do not go on a fast, or a fad diet before surgery. Eat a healthy diet, and get your exercise while you are pre-op. Drink water and get plenty of rest
Be 100% honest with your doctor. What you think could be harmless, may in fact, cause excessive bleeding. Your health is at risk. Take it seriously. If you are unsure whether something can affect your recovery, it is critical you ask your surgeon.
Surgery is Over, Now What?
You will need to have someone drive you home, and you will need some help for at least 2-3 days. Your doctor will give you instructions on how long you need to stay off work. It is different for everyone. It depends on how invasive the tummy tuck surgery was and what kind of work you do. Follow all their instructions for the best results possible.
You will be advised on wearing compression clothing to help with swelling and pain control. You will be given lifting limits and medications to help you.
It is critical that you follow up with your doctor for aftercare. Do not assume that you are healing well because you feel better. Your doctor cannot help you avoid problems if he is not given the opportunity to examine you.