How long will the results of the tummy tuck last?
Abdominoplasty or the surgical removal of excess skin and underlying fat tissue from the inferior part of the abdomen is often the only effective method that patients can use to get rid of issues related to the unsightly appearance of the abdomen.
The tummy tuck is often sought after by many patients who want to lose weight and get the body they have always dreamt of; however, this is not the purpose of this plastic surgery procedure. The tummy tuck does not replace or acts as a substitute for weight loss methods such as diet and physical exercise. The only aim of the procedure is to re-contour the abdominal area after the patient has achieved or is close to his or her ideal weight.
For patients interested in undergoing this procedure, a question comes to mind: How long will the results of the tummy tuck last? In this article, we will discuss causes of the unsightly appearance of the abdominal area, the solution, and how to sustain the results for longer.
Causes of skin sagginess on the abdomen
There are many causes behind the unsightly appearance of the abdomen. They are often caused by multiple pregnancies, considerable weight fluctuations, and even something as common as the natural aging process.
When it comes to multiple pregnancies, the growing uterus can cause a condition of the muscles of the abdominal wall called diastasis recti. This means that the muscles have grown apart, loose and distended. If this condition is present, the patient won‚Äôt regain the flat and firm appearance of the abdomen, not even after giving birth and losing the baby weight. This condition can be corrected during a tummy tuck as the plastic surgeon will suture the muscles together and create a smooth and firm tummy.
Considerable weight fluctuations can also cause an unpleasant appearance of the tummy. When putting on weight and losing it, the tummy is often affected by these changes in terms of skin sagginess. The skin that used to be firm and stretched nicely over the abdominal wall will be overstretched when weight gain occurs, and there is also a possibility for stretch marks to occur. When weight loss happens, the skin won‚Äôt be able to retract on the new contours of the abdomen and will create skin folds and sagginess, especially on the lower part of the abdomen.
Even the natural aging process can affect the appearance of the tummy. The tissues get distended in time, and the skin can start lacking tonus. A sedentary lifestyle, as well as other external and internal factors, can cause the abdomen to look not very flat and firm. Depending on the tissues of the abdomen and the level of sagginess, there are different methods to correct this condition.
If the skin presents no sagginess on the tummy but there is a considerable excess of adipose tissue that has accumulated in the area and is resistant to exercise and diet, abdominal liposuction might be recommended by the plastic surgeon. However, if skin sagginess is present, even in a mild condition, the only solution is to get a tummy tuck to correct the appearance of the tummy. It is also important to mention that performing abdominal liposuction on patients with a poor skin tonus can result in skin sagginess that can be corrected with the help of the tummy tuck procedure.
When is it recommended to undergo a tummy tuck?
Abdominoplasty is practically necessary when the patient has an abdominal apron, and this means that excess skin is protruding or saggy under the belly button. This apron can prevent the patient from performing exercise and even wearing certain clothes. The inability to perform physical exercises can put a strain on the patient‚Äôs ability to lose weight, hence removing the apron is important for the future well-being of the patient. Moreover, when this apron is considerable in size, dermatological conditions can occur on the supra pubic area due to the lack of oxygenation of the tissues and the constant perspiration and friction in the area. The tummy tuck is also recommended for patients suffering from diastasis recti, even if the level of skin sagginess is not considerable.
The tummy tuck is not a weight loss method and shouldn‚Äôt be used as a substitute for exercise and diet. The procedure is recommended and should only be performed on patients who have lost weight or are close to their normal weight. A responsible plastic surgeon will advise the patient to wait between six months and a year after weight loss for the results to stabilize before undergoing the tummy tuck. This is important also in terms of sustaining the results of the tummy tuck for longer.
Stages of the tummy tuck
The process of getting a flat and firm tummy with the help of this plastic surgery procedure starts with the patient having a pre-operative consultation with the plastic surgeon. This is the time when the patient will discuss in detail the goals and expectations from the procedure and also what motivates him or her to undergo this type of procedure. The plastic surgeon will also mention the surgical plan and talk about the potential risks and complications that might occur during or after the procedure as it is important for the patient to understand and accept them before scheduling. A medical examination will also take place, and the patient will be advised to undergo a series of tests to make sure there are no medical contraindications to the procedure.
The patient should properly prepare physically and mentally for undergoing the procedure. On the surgery date, the patient should not eat for at least eight hours before. General anesthesia is often preferred for the tummy tuck procedure. Once the procedure is performed, the patient can usually return home after a few hours of hospitalization. In a vast majority of cases, if no complications occur, the hospitalization period is less than 12 hours.
When the patient returns home, the third stage of the process begins: the recovery period. The recovery can last up to two weeks, and during this time the patient should take things slowly and rest a lot to allow the body to recover from the surgical trauma.
Results of the tummy tuck
While the results of the procedure can be visible shortly after the procedure (more visible for patients who had a considerable apron), the final results of abdominoplasty should be assessed six months or a year after the procedure. During this time, side effects such as swelling and bruising will subside and the results will stabilize.
Generally speaking, the results of the tummy tuck are permanent. However, this comes at a cost. The patient should avoid all factors that could cause an unsightly appearance of the abdomen to occur once again. These include ulterior pregnancies, weight fluctuations, and a sedentary lifestyle.
The results of the tummy tuck will also be influenced by the passing of time at a certain point in the patient‚Äôs life, especially if the tummy tuck is performed on a young patient. Eating a balanced and healthy diet and exercising regularly can maintain the beautiful results achieved with the tummy tuck for a long period of time. Ulterior pregnancies can alter the aesthetic results achieved with the procedure as the muscles on the abdominal wall can get distended again or skin sagginess can occur if the skin tonus is poor.
It is important to be aware of these things before scheduling the tummy tuck. Most plastic surgeons would advise their patients to postpone the procedure until they know for sure they are done having children. However, if a pregnancy occurs after the tummy tuck, there are no other risks associated with it aside from affecting the aesthetic results.
When considering the tummy tuck, most patients want to know how long the results of the procedure will last. While abdominoplasty provides permanent results, the body will be affected once again by different factors such as pregnancies, weight fluctuations, and aging. It is important for the patient to keep a balanced diet and exercise on a regular basis to maintain the results of the procedure for as long as possible. Your plastic surgeon will provide you with a list of post-op indications that will ensure you get satisfactory results that are also long-lasting.