Getting a tummy tuck abroad
The tummy tuck is a plastic surgery procedure that will remove the excess skin and adipose tissue from the abdominal region, especially from the inferior part of the abdomen. The procedure can be performed with or without the reposition of the navel, depending on the complexity of each case and the amount of sagginess present. In most cases, the plastic surgeon will also tighten the loose abdominal muscles by suturing them, which creates a smoother and more firm abdominal profile for the patient.
Nowadays the procedure can be performed using several techniques and is available all over the United States and in other countries around the world. Some patients are interested in finding out what are the risks and benefits of getting the tummy tuck abroad. But first, let us have a look at what the tummy tuck entails.
Overview of the tummy tuck
When considering the remodeling of the abdominal area, many patients think they can get it with a simple abdominal liposuction, but this is not always the case. Abdominal liposuction is a good solution to get a firmer and flatter abdomen when the patient presents an excess of adipose tissue on the tummy with no skin sagginess or muscle diastasis.
The condition called diastasis recti affects the muscles of the abdominal area and creates an unsightly appearance of the tummy. The muscles have been distended and need to be strengthened surgically to create a beautiful median line again. This condition often occurs in patients who had multiple pregnancies. The muscles have been overstretched and a gap has been created between them due to the growth of the uterus.
There are multiple types of tummy tucks that can be performed. Among them are the mini tummy tuck, full tummy tuck, extended tummy tuck and the hourglass tummy tuck. The right type of procedure for each patient will be decided by the plastic surgeon after a thorough medical examination that will take place before the procedure is scheduled. During this meeting with the plastic surgeon, the patient will also find out whether he or she fulfills the conditions to be a good candidate for the procedure.
The ideal candidate for the tummy tuck surgery is a man or woman who meets all of these conditions:
– He or she is in good health and emotional condition
– He or she has realistic expectations from the surgery
– He or she is not smoking or is willing to quit smoking for at least three weeks before and after the procedure
– He or she understands the risks entailed by the procedure and accepts them.
The tummy tuck procedure is performed with the patient under general anesthesia in a vast majority of cases. This type of anesthesia is preferred because it allows the patient a great level of comfort during a procedure that could last for hours.
The procedure starts with an incision on the supra pubic area that can be as long as from hip bone to hip bone, depending on the amount of tissue to be removed. In some cases, an additional incision will be performed around the navel to allow the plastic surgeon to move it in a normal position after the skin is re-draped over the abdomen.
After the first incision, the skin and fat tissues are detached from the abdominal muscles and lifted up to the rib cage. This allows the surgeon to strengthen the loose abdominal muscles with sutures. Once this stage is completed, the surgeon will re-drape the skin and fat tissues over the abdominal muscles again and remove the excess. Sutures will be used to close the incisions. To avoid fluid and blood accumulation on the surgical site, the plastic surgeon will insert drain tubes that will stay in place for one or several days, until there is nothing draining through them.
After the tummy tuck, the patient can usually leave the medical facility within hours after waking up from the general anesthesia. However, the recovery process will last for another week or two. During this time the patient will be confronted with the natural side effects of undergoing surgery such as pain and discomfort, swelling and bruising. Antibiotics and pain medication will be prescribed for at least five days post-op. Resuming normal activities can take a few weeks after the procedure.
Getting a tummy tuck abroad
There are patients interested in getting a tummy tuck outside the United States. Often the main reason is the lower cost of the procedure that can be performed in countries like Mexico or Thailand. However, the procedure is quite complex, and it can be difficult for the patient to travel shortly afterwards.
1. Risks of lower cost procedures
When considering getting your tummy tuck abroad, you should be aware of the risks often associated with lower cost plastic surgery procedures. In a vast majority of cases, the patients have no idea who is going to perform the procedure and what the qualifications of the plastic surgeon are. Moreover, a lower cost can often be determined by the low quality of the medical services provided, the lack of proper guidance through the process of getting plastic surgery, and no follow-up once the procedure is performed.
When going abroad to have a tummy tuck, you need to consider the fact that the pre-operative consultation, as well as the medical tests to rule out potential contraindications, often happen in the same day or the day before the procedure. In other words, you might end up having the procedure despite not being the ideal candidate for it, and this can lead to life-threatening complications.
When it comes to plastic surgery, the aesthetic results achieved are as important as the patient being safe throughout and after the procedure. When going outside the United States, you have no guarantee that you will receive top quality medical care in case complications occur.
2. Returning home after the tummy tuck
Another aspect worth considering when thinking about going outside the United States for a tummy tuck is the long journey home after the procedure. In a vast majority of cases, the patient is discharged and free to leave within days after the procedure. Some patients tend to believe that a day or two after the tummy tuck they can board a plane and get back home to start the recovery period. This is not as easy as it sounds in theory. The normal side effects after the tummy tuck surgery are swelling, pain and discomfort. Moreover, keep in mind that chances are you will still have a drain tube attached a few days after the procedure. A plane ride can be an uncomfortable thing in itself, not to mention associating it with discomfort from the wound and a generally poor condition.
3. Follow up consultations
The follow up consultations after the tummy tuck should be scheduled after a week from the procedure, a month, three months, six months and a year. These consultations allow the plastic surgeon to evaluate the recovery process as well as the cicatrization process. By attending these consultations, you ensure that potential complications are noticed in time and the right treatment is prescribed. If you undergo the tummy tuck procedure outside the United States, there will be no one to monitor your recovery, not unless you are willing to travel back to the country where you had your procedure. Even if you would be able to travel, the clinics in these countries don‚Äôt usually offer follow-up consultations in their plastic surgery packages.
Getting a tummy tuck abroad might seem like a good idea, especially when it comes to saving some money, but it is often not recommended, especially considering the fact that abdominoplasty is a complex and delicate procedure that should only be performed by an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon in an accredited facility.
You can have a tummy tuck abroad but you need to stay in the area for about 7-10 days to avoid possible complications. Complications can occur during and after the procedure, and this is the reason why you should allow the plastic surgeon to monitor your condition throughout the weeks and months that will follow.
Travelling back home after getting a tummy tuck outside the United States might be a strenuous and dangerous journey, especially if the drain tubes are still in place and you need to leave the country where you had the surgery.
Nowadays, most plastic surgeons in the United States offer different types of payment methods that make it possible for patients with different economic backgrounds to benefit from this procedure.
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