Long-term effects of the tummy tuck
Long-term effects of the tummy tuck
The unsightly appearance of the tummy can affect the self-image and even self-esteem of men and women alike. Saggy skin on the inferior part of the tummy is unappealing and also associated with old age or massive weight loss. This is the reason why abdominoplasty is a procedure very much in demand nowadays.
The tummy tuck is used to eliminate the excess of fat and skin tissue from the lower part of the tummy. During the procedure, the plastic surgeon can also strengthen the loose abdominal muscles and correct umbilical hernia, if present. When it comes to the tummy tuck, the surgical plan followed is dependent on the anatomy of the patient, the amount of skin to be eliminated, and the aesthetic goals to be achieved. There are multiple techniques that can be used and the optimal procedure for your particular case will be described in detail during the pre-operative consultation.
The tummy tuck can be associated with certain risks and complications and also long-term effects. In this article, we will discuss how the procedure is performed, what is to be expected during the weeks and months following the procedure, and its long-term effects.
The tummy tuck: How it’s done
Abdominoplasty is performed with the patient under general anesthesia. The plastic surgeon might need one or multiple incisions made to be able to correct all the imperfections of the abdominal wall. The main incision is positioned on the lower part of the tummy in the suprapubic area. Other incisions might be performed on the flanks and around the belly button. The plastic surgeon will bring together the loose abdominal muscles and strengthen them with sutures to create a flat tummy, then the excess of skin and associated fat tissue is eliminated and the incisions are sutured. The incisions on the flanks are necessary when the patient has skin folds in that area as well. Otherwise, unsatisfactory results might appear such as dog ears.
Dog ears are the term we use to define a specific type of unsatisfactory result after the tummy tuck when the patient has a flat tummy, but still has an excess of skin on the sides of the body, creating the appearance of dog’s ears. To correct these unsatisfactory results, an additional procedure needs to be performed.
In some cases, the plastic surgeon might recommend combining the tummy tuck with other plastic surgery procedures. The tummy tuck is often combined with liposuction and a breast enhancement procedure as part of the Mommy Makeover package. At the same time, there is another procedure commonly requested nowadays called the hourglass tummy tuck which aims to help women get the beautiful hourglass shape.
Recovery after the tummy tuck
The patient is advised to take about two weeks off from work for the recovery period. During this time, the patient will spend time in bed, but light exercises are also mandatory, even starting with the first day after the procedure. Actually, walking around the room for a few minutes every few hours is very important as this reduces the risk of developing a blood clot that could trigger life-threatening complications. However, the instruction is also to avoid intense physical activities until getting a green light from the plastic surgeon. Usually, this happens four to six weeks after the procedure.
During the first two weeks post-op, the patient might be confronted with swelling and bruising and also pain and discomfort. These are all natural side effects that can occur after such a complex procedure. Unless the pain is intense and associated with other symptoms of infection such as high fever or pus coming from the incision site, there is no need to worry. The plastic surgeon will prescribe pain medication to alleviate the discomfort and also antibiotics to be taken for five days post-op to reduce the risk of developing an infection. The swelling can be addressed and reduced by applying ice packs on the operated areas and by making sure you wear the compression garments or girdle as recommended by the plastic surgeon.
The first two weeks post-op is probably the most difficult period after the tummy tuck. During this time you will see the plastic surgeon twice for follow-up consultations. The first visit to the plastic surgeon’s office is the next day or next two days post-op. This is the time when the plastic surgeon will remove the drain tubes that were inserted after abdominoplasty and the surgeon will also make sure the healing process goes on smoothly and there are no signs of infection. You will see the surgeon again a week after the first follow-up consultation as he will need to evaluate how the cicatrization process is going.
Long-term effects after the tummy tuck
- Improved body image
There is no doubt about the fact that the self-image of the patient will be improved after undergoing an abdominoplasty and achieving satisfactory results. The final results will be visible about three to six months after the procedure, so after this time you can expect to enjoy your new flat tummy without having to see the side effects, namely swelling and bruising that can occur in the first few weeks after undergoing the tummy tuck.
- A boost of self-esteem
As is the case with most plastic surgery procedures, there is a boost of self-esteem associated with undergoing the tummy tuck. Having unwanted, saggy skin on the tummy can make the patient feel old and unappealing. When all the skin excess is gone and the tummy is firm and flat, most patients feel like they have a new lease on life and they can take on new opportunities in different venues of life.
- Enhanced overall body profile
The tummy tuck works on the abdominal wall. During the procedure, the plastic surgeon will make at least one incision on the suprapubic area that will allow him to detach the skin and fat tissue from the muscles and to strengthen the muscles together with sutures. This is the treatment for diastasis recti or distended muscles that can occur after pregnancy or obesity. When the tummy becomes firm and flat, the whole body shape of the patient can be enhanced. Superior results can be noticed easily when liposuction is combined with the tummy tuck and fat transfer to the hips. When these three procedures are performed in combination, the procedure is called the hourglass tummy tuck, and it is one of the most modern procedures performed nowadays. The results can be spectacular especially for women with unwanted fat deposits on the midline and narrow hips.
- Healthier life choices
To be able to undergo the tummy tuck and achieve good results, the plastic surgeon will ask patients to avoid smoking for a minimum of three to six weeks before the procedure and after. Most patients who manage to stay away from smoking for this amount of time before and after the tummy tuck don’t get back to smoking again.
Patients mention being inclined to make healthier life choices and take better care of their bodies after undergoing the tummy tuck. This includes exercising more often and also having a more balanced and healthy eating regimen. It is a well-known fact that the tummy tuck is not a weight loss method and the recommendation is to never perform it on patients who are overweight or obese as there is a high risk of developing complications, not to mention that the results might not be satisfactory. However, after undergoing the tummy tuck, patients with a normal weight mentioned how they became more interested in keeping fit to sustain the results of the procedure for as long as possible.
The tummy tuck is a major plastic surgery procedure that can be performed on patients who present an excess of skin tissue on the tummy, often associated with a surplus of fat and loose abdominal muscles. When the procedure is performed, the plastic surgeon will make sure to correct all imperfections of the abdominal wall to create a firm and flat tummy. There will be scars left behind after abdominoplasty, often a scar in the suprapubic area going from one hip bone to the other, but this is just a small price to pay to get the abdomen of your dreams.
The long-term effects of the tummy tuck are associated with an enhanced overall body profile, a boost of self-esteem and improved self-image. At the same time, many patients noticed that they tend to make healthier life choices after the tummy tuck is performed.