Pain after the tummy tuck - Hourglass Tummy Tuck
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Pain after the tummy tuck

Introduction

Abdominoplasty is one of the most commonly performed plastic surgery procedures. The procedure is used to flatten and firm the abdomen, and it provides spectacular results by removing the excess skin and fat tissue and tightening the loose abdominal muscles. Different factors such as multiple pregnancies, significant weight fluctuations as well as other genetic factors can contribute to the unpleasant appearance of the tummy. The so-called abdominal apron can occur after pregnancies and can be impossible to get rid of even despite being committed to work out and keep a balanced diet.

This procedure often requires two incisions – one from hip to hip on the suprapubic area – and another one around the belly button which is used to reposition it. The complexity of the procedure often makes the patient wonder about the level of pain that is to be experienced after the procedure.

When is the tummy tuck recommended?

Abdominoplasty is especially recommended for women who had multiple pregnancies suffering from a distension of the abdominal wall muscles as well as the skin. In a vast majority of cases when the skin is overstretched during pregnancy, getting back to the initial shape after childbirth is difficult or altogether impossible. The procedure is also a good option for men who have suffered from obesity and have managed to lose the weight. In these cases, there is often an abdominal apron left behind after weight loss occurs. This belly apron is made out of skin folds that can cover a larger or smaller portion of the suprapubic and pubic area of the patient.

When considering abdominoplasty, it is important to keep in mind that the procedure is not a weight loss method as it doesn’t deal with the fat inside the abdominal cavity. Moreover, when traditional abdominoplasty is preferred, not even this procedure has an effect on the adipose layer on the tummy. It is true that when the tummy tuck is performed, the plastic surgeon will eliminate the excess skin together with the underlying fat tissue, but if this adipose tissue is thick, it will stay the same after the procedure. This is the reason why many plastic surgeons recommend the tummy tuck procedure with abdominal liposuction or liposuction of the flanks to improve the body aesthetics of the patient.

Abdominoplasty can include the elimination of excess skin and fat tissue from the whole abdominal area or just the lower part of the tummy. It may or may not also be combined with the surgical correction of diastasis recti, where the abdominal muscles are tightened together on the median line by using sutures.

More about the tummy tuck procedure

The length of this procedure, as well as the type of anesthesia preferred, can vary depending on the severity of each case or the necessity of performing additional procedures such as liposuction. Usually, the procedure lasts about two to four hours and the anesthesia preferred is general anesthesia.

A full tummy tuck procedure requires two incisions. The first incision is made over the pubic area and can be as long as from hip to hip. The length of the incision, as well as the shape of it, will vary depending on the excess skin and fat tissue as well as the contours of the body. This will result in a permanent scar that will look like a fine line when the cicatrization process is complete and can easily be covered with panties or a swimsuit. The second incision is performed around the navel to release it from the tissues surrounding it. The belly button will remain attached to the abdominal wall.

After the incision is made, the skin and the layer of fat are separated from the abdominal muscles and elevated towards the ribs to allow the plastic surgeon access to the abdominal muscles. If necessary, the plastic surgeon will suture the muscles on the median line to get a firmer, flatter abdomen and a smaller waist. The skin and adipose tissues lifted from the abdominal area will be re-draped and the excess skin and fat will be removed. The belly button will be repositioned in an anatomically correct position.

When the mini tummy tuck is performed, the plastic surgeon will only address the area of the abdomen that is localized under the belly button. This means the belly button will not be repositioned and only one incision is necessary to perform the procedure. This incision is often shorter than the incision necessary for the full tummy tuck.

To prevent fluid and blood accumulation, most plastic surgeons will use drain tubes. The incisions will be sutured and bandages and dressings will be applied on the surgical site. The patient is required to wear a girdle or a compression garment for a few weeks or months to reduce the edema and to help the incision heal nicely. Like any complex surgical procedure, it is possible that after the tummy tuck, the patient will experience pain, swelling, bruising and a certain level of discomfort. Most of these side effects will disappear on their own within a few days or weeks. For the pain, the plastic surgeon will prescribe medication.

Pain after the tummy tuck procedure

Each body heals differently and each patient has his own tolerance to pain. The tummy tuck is a complex procedure that requires the sectioning of a significant amount of tissues. Moreover, the incisions can be quite long and can take a while until full recovery is done.

During the first week, the patient will have the drain tubes removed. This will reduce the level of discomfort as many patients don’t feel entirely comfortable as long as the drain tubes are inserted.

To address the issue of pain and discomfort after abdominoplasty, the surgeon will prescribe pain medication. In some cases, it can be a simple analgesic while in other cases the patient might require something stronger. More than taking the prescribed medication, the patient will also need to follow certain post-operative protocol to reduce the pain and avoid additional discomfort.

How to reduce the pain after tummy tuck

1. Walk with the upper part of the body slightly bent forward

This is an important recommendation for the first few days after the procedure. In walking like this, the patient avoids putting unnecessary pressure on the incisions that could trigger more pain. Moreover, it is important that when lying down, pillows should keep the upper part of the body elevated at 30 degrees to make it easier for the patient to get off the bed when needed.

2. Avoid intense physical exercise

After the tummy tuck, it can take a few weeks to return to daily activities, even longer if they involve a more intense level of physical effort. Avoiding strenuous physical activities will help you avoid unnecessary pain and discomfort, as well avoiding other complications such as wound dehiscence.

3. Take pain control medication

The patient should take the prescribed medication according to the doctor’s recommendations. It is important not to wait until the pain increases in intensity before taking the pills.

Conclusion

The tummy tuck procedure provides impressive results in a vast majority of cases, especially for patients who had multiple pregnancies or undergone a considerable weight loss and were left with an unsightly appearance of the abdominal area. As soon as the procedure is completed, the patient will notice a difference in terms of body shape. Many patients find a source of increased self-esteem with this change. Abdominoplasty provides long-term or permanent results, with the exception of patients who put on a considerable amount of weight after the procedure. Patients should also be aware of the fact that in time, with the effects of gravity and the aging process, a loss of skin elasticity can occur.

Abdominoplasty is a complex plastic surgery procedure that involves certain side effects that will disappear within a few days or weeks, and pain is one of them. To alleviate the pain and discomfort that can naturally occur after any type of surgical procedure, the surgeon will prescribe medication that can be a simple analgesic or a stronger pill, depending on the patient’s own tolerance to pain. Following the recommendations of the plastic surgeon will also help the patient avoid unnecessary pain after surgery.

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