What can make the recovery difficult after a tummy tuck
The tummy tuck procedure is a very sought-after plastic surgery intervention, and there are good reasons why people want to undergo this kind of surgery. Before anything else, it is only with the help of the tummy tuck that you can achieve a flat and firm tummy, even after you have suffered from skin sagginess, umbilical hernia, and diastasis recti.
Many patients put all their faith into sports and diets to get that perfectly-shaped and flat abdomen after pregnancy or after losing weight. But despite what you might have believed before, achieving a toned look of the abdominal area is harder than losing weight in the first place. There are several reasons why the abdomen might fail in looking firm and flat, even if you already reached your ideal weight and you exercise regularly. Just have a look at the women in your gym class: of course, there will be some who will be rocking their six pack abs, but there will also be others who obviously work out on a regular basis and still don’t have a firm and flat tummy.
In this article, we will discuss the intervention performed to correct the sagginess of the abdominal area, in medical terms known as the “abdominoplasty”, and also the length of the recovery period after the procedure and what can prolong the healing.
What happens before a tummy tuck surgery?
The first step towards achieving your dream of having a flat and firm tummy is to schedule a pre-operation consultation with a plastic surgeon. During this time you will discuss your expectations and goals from the surgery, and the plastic surgeon will also take his time to assess your medical situation, current illnesses and treatments and the condition of your tummy area. The approval for a tummy tuck is made when there is a considerable sagginess at the level of the inferior part of the abdomen, or the muscles there are too relaxed. Many patients don’t understand why they need to undergo a tummy tuck when liposuction can also rid them of the fat from the abdominal area.
There is a significant difference between the two procedures. Mostly it is about their end results and how to be an eligible candidate for the intervention. When it comes to liposuction, the procedure is suggested only when the patient has a good skin tonus and presents no skin sagginess in the area. Otherwise, after the procedure, the sagginess will be even more prominent.
The tummy tuck can be performed together with a liposuction if the patient has a significant layer of fat on the abdominal area, aside from muscle relaxation and skin sagginess.
The procedure is especially recommended and performed on mothers who gave birth one or multiple times and patients of both sexes who undergo bariatric surgery for weight loss purposes. Each time our body goes through a significant change in terms of weight, the tummy area is affected. It means that if you have been overweight or obese for a long period of time, even if you lose weight, the muscles and skin on your tummy won’t get back to its initial shape and size before because they have been overstretched for too long.
What happens during the tummy tuck surgery?
The plastic surgeon may decide to start with a liposuction to reduce the thickness of the adipose layer on the tummy. Then, an incision will be performed on the supra pubic area. The skin is lifted from the belly, up to the level of the rib cage, the abdominal muscles are then sutured to appear tighter, and the skin is re-draped over the abdominal wall. In some cases, the repositioning of the belly button will be necessary. A second incision will be performed around the navel. However, both incisions that will be done during the tummy tuck are easy to mask with clothes and lingerie.
Once the plastic surgeon corrected the relaxed muscles and the umbilical hernia, the excess skin is surgically excised, and the incisions are sutured, elastic and compressive dressings are put over the surgical area. It will need to be changed periodically to avoid infections. The patient will also be left with two drain tubes placed close to the incision site. These tubes prevent the liquid and blood accumulation at the surgical site.
What happens after a tummy tuck?
Abdominoplasty has now become a very common procedure to be performed especially on women who went through several pregnancies that left a negative impact on their bodies. The intervention has a high satisfaction rate and the aesthetic results can be spectacular if the procedure is performed by a board-certified and experienced plastic surgeon. However, even if the intervention often goes very well, there are still a number of issues that seem to worry the majority of women when it comes to the post-operation period. Here are some of the things that you need to be careful with as they might make the recovery period difficult:
1. Not keeping a balanced diet regimen
When undergoing plastic surgery for aesthetic reasons many people tend to believe that once the procedure is performed, the result will be permanent and they can do whatever they want after. This is not true. In the case of the tummy tuck for example, not keeping a balanced diet regimen after the surgery can lead to a difficult recovery and it can even alter the initial aesthetic result. How can this be possible? Well, it is actually quite simple to explain. A surgical intervention is a trauma for the body; which means that the body needs time, rest, and sufficient nutrients to restore and get it back to its initial shape. If you go on a strict diet after a tummy tuck, chances are, you are making your recovery more difficult by not providing your body with all the necessary nutrients. Meanwhile, if you do the exact opposite and eat too much after the tummy tuck procedure, you will notice that the adipose layer on the level of the tummy will increase its size again, even if liposuction was performed.
Everybody knows that smoking is associated with a lot of negative health conditions, but few people understand the importance of not smoking before and after a plastic surgery. Once the procedure is completed, the body starts its healing process. For the healing to be faster and smoother, the blood plays an important role. If the blood lacks proper oxygenation due to smoking, this can lead to problems when it comes to wound healing, and it can also trigger skin necrosis.
3. Resuming work too soon
There is a time to rest and a time to work. One or two weeks after the tummy tuck are considered the time to rest. It is an active rest, and you are required to go for short walks and don’t just stay in bed watching TV all day long. However, it doesn’t mean that you are free to resume more demanding activities around the house or go back to a physically-demanding work place.
Allow your body enough time to heal because resuming intense physical activities or sports sooner than your plastic surgeon recommends can result in a difficult and prolonged recovery period.
4. Not wearing the compressive garments
Your plastic surgeon will recommend you to wear compressive garments or a girdle for at least 4-6 weeks after the tummy tuck or even more, depending on how the recovery process is going. The compressive garments are required to be used because it supports the injured tissues and reduce the swelling of the operated area. Patients who fail to wear the compressive clothing for as long as necessary will notice that their recovery period is longer and their aesthetic results are not as good as the other patients who wore the girdle.
5. Not drinking enough water
As you may have noticed, we did write water and not liquids. It simply means that drinking carbonated beverages is not really the best idea after a tummy tuck. You need to stay hydrated, and for this, the best solution is to drink water. If water doesn’t sound too appealing to you, you can also try herbal infusions, but it is recommended to avoid caffeinated beverages as they will induce dehydration that is not good for your body after a surgery.
Keep in mind that the abdominoplasty should only be performed by board-certified plastic surgeons with a vast experience in the field. If this is the case, complications are rare, and most risks can be prevented. However, it is also the patient’s responsibility to ensure that he or she will have a fast and smooth recovery period by following certain simple instructions.
Also, remember that post-operation follow-up is mandatory after a tummy tuck. In general, 4 or 5 consultations are required during the first year after surgery. The first week of follow-up will focus on the healing, scarring, and the monitoring of any complications such as wound infection, hematoma, and pain among others. Drinking plenty of water, keeping a balanced diet regimen, not over-exercising, and avoiding smoking are essential to avoid having a difficult recovery period.