The risks involved in a tummy tuck procedure
There is a reason why diets or physical exercises fail to provide you with a flat abdomen of your dreams. To get a flat and firm tummy, you need to act on three different levels. The first level is the skin; then we have the adipose layer under the skin and the muscles under that layer of fat. Certain diets will help you reduce the layer of fat, but it has no impact on the skin or the muscles. Physical exercises can help you tone those muscles, but they cannot affect your skin sagginess. When you try every possible thing imaginable, and you are still not happy with the appearance of your tummy area, then you probably need an abdominoplasty.
During a tummy tuck procedure, the plastic surgeon will remove the excess skin and fat tissues, and then tighten the abdominal muscles that might have become weak after multiple pregnancies.
Many people believe that they can choose between the tummy tuck and liposuction when it comes to reshaping the abdominal area. They often tend to go for the latter because they trust it involves fewer risks and complications. However, this is not the case. For each procedure, there is a medical indication that should be followed if you want to achieve satisfactory results after your intervention. For example, the liposuction can only be performed if there is no sagginess at the tummy and the skin has a good tonus.
In this article, we will discuss the risks involved in a tummy tuck procedure.
Abdominoplasty for a flat and firm tummy
As we have mentioned before, the abdominoplasty targets patients with an excess of skin in the abdominal area and a certain level of abdominal muscles relaxation.
During a tummy tuck intervention, the plastic surgeon will excise the skin and fat tissues that are in excess at the inferior tummy and also strengthen the abdominal muscles and then correct an umbilical hernia if it is present. The abdominal plasty allows a patient to get the flattest tummy possible. However, it often leaves a large scar at the level of the pubis (which is easily covered by lingerie or swimsuit), and its recovering period is of 2-4 weeks. The tummy tuck operation risks are greater compared to the ones after a liposuction.
The abdominal liposuction is intended for patients with little excess skin (no abdominal apron), a good amount of fat under the skin and minor or no muscle relaxation. It is quite a simple intervention when performed by a board-certified and experienced plastic surgeon. The procedure is about removing the fat between the skin and the abdominal muscles. It moderately treats excess skin (by retraction of the skin after liposuction), and finally, it does not treat at all the muscular relaxation of the abdomen. The main advantages of abdominal liposuction are the absence of scars (the scars are 3 mm long and are virtually invisible in the long run), minimal operating risks and a recovering period of only a few days to 1 week maximum. However, the disadvantage of liposuction is the result of it is less effective than an abdominoplasty.
Risks associated with a tummy tuck surgery
Each year, thousands of persons who underwent tummy tuck interventions achieve impressive surgical results and a significant improvement in their appearance. The major complications are rare, while the minor complications can easily be treated. But any plastic surgery intervention entails certain risks, and the patient must be fully aware of them well before scheduling the intervention. It is the plastic surgeon’s responsibility to talk to you about all the risks associated with the procedure and also stating the benefits of the tummy tuck during the pre-operation consultation.
The first risk that we will talk about is the one related to achieving unsatisfactory results after the intervention was performed. While the procedure has been performed with a high satisfaction rate for decades now, the risk of not getting what you want is still high, especially if you don’t choose a board-certified plastic surgeon. Maintaining the communication lines open with your plastic surgeon and choosing someone that you can trust with your well-being and the aesthetic appearance of your body are essential to the success of your intervention. To minimize certain risks, it is important to talk openly with your physician about your expectations so he can assess whether they are realistic or not.
Another risk that is associated with any surgical procedure is the one related to the anesthesia used. A lengthy procedure such as the tummy tuck will often require a general anesthetic, especially if it is combined with other cosmetic procedures such as liposuction or the fat transfer to the hips. It is also important to mention that the risks related to the general anesthesia have decreased significantly over the course of the last few years due to the developments in modern medicine techniques. At the present time is safer than ever to undergo a surgical procedure and this is also one of the reasons why more and more people are going under the knife for aesthetic purposes.
Another notable risk also is the development of an infection after the surgery was performed. Due to the size of the incisions and their placement, the patients are advised to care for the surgical wound carefully and to maintain a proper hygiene in the area. While you might read online advises about how it is not recommended to shower for two weeks after the tummy tuck or until your incisions heal, keep in mind that it is only the plastic surgeon’s recommendations that should be followed by the letter. Showering is essential for your well-being and fast recovery, just make sure to avoid using your bathtub or using very hot water while you shower. Using an antibacterial soap can also be beneficial in preventing infections. However, if you experience any symptoms such as high fever, pus coming from the surgical wound, redness in the area, or excessive inflammation, make sure to contact your plastic surgeon immediately. Infection should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible to avoid ulterior health complications.
Fluid or blood accumulations at the surgical site are also possible. They are called “seroma” and “hematoma”, depending on what caused them. If they are small in size, the recommendation is to let them disappear on their own as this will happen over time. But when it is larger in size, the plastic surgeon will probably recommend a surgical treatment to have it removed.
More severe complications such as pulmonary embolism are rare, but their treatment will often require hospitalization for the patient. It is recommended for patients who smoke to stop this habit at least 3 weeks before and after the procedure.
Scarring is unavoidable after any surgical procedure; however, the scars can be easily concealed by a swimsuit or lingerie. The cicatrization process can last up to 1 year after the surgery. During this time the appearance of the scars will change multiple times. Eventually, it will look like fine, white lines, unless complications occur. Make sure to see your plastic surgeon for the follow-up consultations to allow him to assess your recovery process and how the cicatrization of the scars is going. He might recommend using certain products to ensure for a fast recovery and less visible scars. It is important not to try to accelerate the healing of the incisions by using products, creams or strips that were not recommended by the plastic surgeon as you might develop an infection and prolong the recovery time.
Other risks are also possible after the tummy tuck intervention, but mostly they depend on your current health condition and your medical history. To understand better the risks and complications entailed by the procedure, make sure to discuss this at length with your doctor before scheduling your tummy tuck intervention.
The tummy tuck procedure is commonly performed nowadays as it can provide permanent results where sports and diets have failed. When correcting the part of the abdominal area, three aspects need to be considered: the muscles, the fat layer, and the skin. It is only the plastic surgery intervention that can simultaneously consider and correct these factors and improve the appearance of the abdominal area significantly.
During the tummy tuck, the plastic surgeon removes the excess skin from the lower part of the abdomen while also correcting umbilical hernia and strengthening loose abdominal muscles. However, there are certain risks associated with this procedure such as achieving an unsatisfactory result after the intervention, developing an infection or seromas and hematomas, and the formation of blood clots. These risks can be diminished considerably if you follow your plastic surgeon’s recommendation for post-operation care.