Commonly asked questions about abdominoplasty
Commonly asked questions about abdominoplasty
Abdominoplasty is a procedure performed on patients with an unsightly appearance of the tummy caused by excess skin folds. The procedure can be indicated for patients who had bariatric surgery or lost a lot of weight as a result of a weight loss program, but also mothers who had multiple pregnancies and patients whose appearance of the tummy is affected by aging.
The tummy tuck is the only method available nowadays to get rid of the surplus of skin present on the inferior part of the tummy. When the tummy tuck is performed, the plastic surgeon can also correct other imperfections of the abdominal wall such as distended muscles or umbilical hernia. Keep in mind that this is a complex and major plastic surgery procedure and should only be performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon in an accredited medical facility. In this article, we will discuss a few commonly asked questions about abdominoplasty.
Do I need to do something to prepare for the procedure?
When it comes to undergoing a plastic surgery procedure, not everybody knows that it takes preparation. The patient needs to follow certain instructions before having the procedure. For most patients, the preparation for the plastic surgery procedure starts a month before the scheduled date.
The first thing that needs to be done a month before abdominoplasty is to stop birth control medication and to choose another contraceptive method until the procedure is performed. A complication associated with using birth control medication is deep vein thrombosis, which is the formation of a blood clot. This increases the risk of developing a complication after the procedure with potentially life-threatening consequences. In the month before undergoing abdominoplasty, the patient is advised to keep a healthy, balanced diet, rich in proteins and fibers and to avoid strict diets, as well as overeating, as these could affect the healing process and the results. To be able to heal fast, the body needs to be in top physical condition, and for this, a proper diet is required.
Anti-inflammatory medication needs to be stopped two weeks before the date of the surgery, as well as other natural supplements, as they can increase the risk of excessive bleeding after the surgery due to their blood thinning properties.
Aside from these preparations, the patient is also advised to get the house ready for the recovery period and also talk to friends and relatives about what can be expected during the post-operative period. Arranging a drive to and from the medical facility is also important as the patient won’t be able to drive after the procedure.
When is not a good time to have abdominoplasty?
The procedure is indicated for patients of different ages; however, there are indeed some cases when it is not a good time to have an abdominoplasty. Generally speaking, the procedure should be avoided if the patient is overweight or obese as the weight fluctuations that could occur after the procedure will ruin the aesthetic results. Just like liposuction, abdominoplasty is not a weight loss method, but a body contouring procedure. The procedure is recommended to be scheduled after the patient has reached a normal weight and managed to keep it for a minimum of six months, preferably more than one year.
A responsible plastic surgeon will also tell you that it is not a good time to have abdominoplasty if you plan to have more children in the future. As pregnancy is one of the factors that can cause the unsightly appearance of the tummy in the first place, the results achieved could be altered and there might be a need for revision surgery if pregnancy occurs again after the procedure.
Is the procedure painful?
It is normal for patients interested in the procedure to ask about the pain associated with undergoing a tummy tuck. The good news is that when the procedure is performed, the patient will feel no pain or discomfort as general anesthetic will be used. The patient will be asleep throughout the duration of the procedure and have no memories of the surgical trauma. After the procedure and upon the return home from the medical facility, there might be a certain level of pain and discomfort to be experienced. This is the reason why the plastic surgeon will prescribe pain medication to alleviate the pain. Generally speaking, if the patient is dedicated to following the recommendations of the plastic surgeon and avoids intense physical activities while walking with the back bent slightly forward, the discomfort and pain are reduced.
If you don’t have good tolerance to pain, make sure to tell this to the plastic surgeon performing the procedure so he can prescribe the medication accordingly. Keep in mind that you will have to get off the bed and get active as soon as possible after the procedure to avoid the risk of blood clot formation.
Wearing the girdle or the compression garments can reduce the discomfort and pain associated with the tummy tuck. Applying ice packs on the operated area might also help. Make sure to contact the plastic surgeon immediately if you experience intense pain associated with symptoms such as high fever, pus coming from the incision site, and redness in the area as they might be the signs of infection that needs treatment.
What should I expect during the recovery period?
The recovery period after an abdominoplasty is about two weeks. This is the time when patients are advised to take off from work after the procedure. Most patients will be able to resume daily activities during the first week post-op and work after the second week, provided that work responsibilities don’t include intense physical efforts as these need to be avoided for at least four to six weeks post-op.
During the recovery period, patients can expect to be confronted with a certain level of pain and discomfort, but also other side effects of the surgical procedure. We are talking about bruising and swelling that normally occur after a procedure. Sleeping on the tummy is to be avoided during the recovery period after the tummy tuck, and patients should be very careful not to lift heavy objects from the floor for a minimum of four weeks after the procedure.
The first few days post-op are usually the most difficult for the patient, so it would be great if you could have someone to help you around the house with the chores during this time.
When are the results visible?
After undergoing such a complex and major plastic surgery procedure, it is normal to be concerned about when the results of the procedure will transpire. Immediately after the procedure, the patient will notice that there are no skin folds left on the tummy and the abdominal wall is firm and flat. However, the side effects such as swelling and bruising can make it difficult to see the aesthetic results. This is the reason why it is essential to go to the follow-up consultations with the plastic surgeon and let him assess how the healing process is going while waiting to see the first final results of abdominoplasty within three to six months after the procedure.
The scars resulting from the tummy tuck can take up to nine to twelve months to completely heal and mature. As you can see, it can take a while before you can see the final results of the tummy tuck. During the first few months post-op, patients are advised to monitor their progress, pay attention to abnormal developments as they might be signs of complications, and wait patiently. Keeping a positive attitude is also important during the recovery period. In order to sustain the result of abdominoplasty, patients need to avoid weight fluctuations and to get pregnant after the procedure in the long run.
Patients interested in undergoing a tummy tuck, as well as patients who already had the procedure performed, should know all the details associated with the procedure, the recovery plan, and the final results. In this article, we have discussed just a few of the most commonly asked questions about abdominoplasty. Among the questions that are commonly asked are the ones about how painful the procedure is, when are the final results visible, but also how to prepare for the procedure and when it is not a good time to have a tummy tuck.