When will the swelling after tummy tuck disappear?
Multiple pregnancies, weight fluctuations, hormonal disorders, sedentary lifestyle, and the natural aging process are factors that can induce skin sagginess, excess fat located in the abdomen, or even a real “abdominal apron.” These imperfections, in addition to their unsightly appearance, can sometimes cause pelvic and back pain. Cases of diastasis recti (relaxation and separation of the abdominal muscle) and umbilical hernia (protuberance in the area of the navel) can also be an indication for abdominoplasty. The procedure is frequently performed nowadays to correct these imperfections and is considered safe for the patient. However, just like any other surgical procedure, there are potential risks, complications and side effects that can occur.
A common occurrence after abdominoplasty is swelling. In this article, we will discuss the tummy tuck and when the swelling that can occur after the procedure disappear.
While abdominoplasty is often performed as a standalone procedure, in some cases the plastic surgeon might suggest associating it with other interventions such as liposuction to help the patient achieve his goals and superior aesthetic results. This is the reason why many abdominoplasties start with a liposuction.
Stages of the tummy tuck:
– Liposuction of fat deposits in excess in order to refine the flanks and the entire abdomen.
– The removal of excess skin, to treat skin distensions and proceed to a tensioning of the skin (skin lifting).
– The strengthening of the abdominal muscles to treat the diastasis recti and tightening of the muscles of the abdominal wall.
A clinical diagnosis will enable the plastic surgeon to develop the best surgical strategy. In the field of abdominal wall surgery, there is no single surgical technique and it is essential to analyze several parameters, such as the condition of the skin, if there is muscle tonus, and the amount of excess fat in the belly. After a medical examination, the plastic surgeon might recommend a mini tummy tuck, a complete tummy tuck, and even an extended tummy tuck if the skin folds are present on the flanks as well.
When the diagnosis reveals significant lesions of the skin (notable skin distention, stretch marks and/or scarring, lack of tonus), an alteration of the abdominal wall (presence of diastasis recti, umbilical hernia), and an excess of fat on the abdominal wall and possibly the flanks, the right treatment is always a complete tummy tuck with liposuction.
Anesthesia is always general, and the duration of hospitalization is often less than 24 hours, depending on the patient. Several surgical techniques are combined, and the abdominoplasty takes place in several distinct stages:
‚Ä¢ Liposuction on the entire abdomen, stomach area, and flanks. This action helps thin the abdomen and smooth it.
‚Ä¢ Detachment of cutaneous and fatty tissues to the upper border of the stomach area.
‚Ä¢ Tensioning of the abdominal muscles to treat abdominal diastasis, where the muscles of the abdominal wall are tightened.
‚Ä¢ Removal of excess skin located between the pubis and the navel.
‚Ä¢ Umbilical transposition where the navel is repositioned.
‚Ä¢ Lifting of the tummy where healthy skin is lowered to reshape the abdomen. After an incision is made on the supra pubic area, the skin and fat tissue are elevated up to the rib cage level then re-draped over the abdomen and stretched to eliminate any skin folds. The excess of fat is thus eliminated by an excision.
Incisions and scars
Like any surgery, abdominoplasty requires incisions and will leave behind permanent scars.
‚Ä¢ The first scar extends transversely just above the pubis and can be perfectly camouflaged by the panties or the swimsuit.
‚Ä¢ The second scar is circular in shape and is located around the navel (in the case of a tummy tuck with umbilical transposition).
Cicatricial maturity does not occur until one year later. It is important to avoid UV and sun exposure in the months following surgery to avoid complications such as discoloration of the scar or hyperpigmentation.
Pain and discomfort after the tummy tuck are moderate. They can be more intense when the abdominoplasty has also worked on the abdominal muscles to strengthen them with sutures. Taking analgesic medication allows the alleviation of pain and discomfort; however, the patient is advised to follow certain advice given by the plastic surgeon to avoid unnecessary pain.
Swelling after the tummy tuck
Swelling is often associated with any surgical act. A certain level of bruising and swelling is more often than not present after many plastic surgery, and liposuction and tummy tuck are not different.
The swelling will become visible within the first few days after the procedure when the body will start the healing process. This happens because during the surgery, the tissues were sectioned and this might cause a lymph blockage that can last for weeks or even months if the procedure was complex.
However, aside from the swelling that is normally present on the operated area, the patient might also notice a swelling of the pubic area and even the upper part of the thighs. This is also normal, and there is no need to worry as it will subside in time without additional treatment. However, there is an important recommendation when it comes to swelling after the tummy tuck. The patient must wear compressive garments to help decrease the swelling. The patient should also get enough rest lying down because sitting up for longer periods of time can increase the level of swelling on the lower areas of the body.
Swelling often subsides in about three to six weeks. However, in some cases, it can take as long as three months for the swelling and bruising to disappear completely. It is important during this time to follow the advice of the plastic surgeon and to wear the compression garments. Moreover, the plastic surgeon might also recommend lymphatic massages to address the swelling, but this should only be done after the incisions are fully healed. Arnica Montana supplements and gels might also come in handy to reduce swelling after the surgery. It is important to use these methods only at the plastic surgeon‚Äôs recommendation and after he gives a green light. Avoiding intense physical activities can be another factor that will help you reduce the swelling. It is important for many patients to know when the swelling after the tummy tuck will disappear as it is only possible to evaluate the final results once this happens.
The final result of the abdominoplasty is to be fully appreciable after 6 to 12 months, which is the time that all the tissues injured can heal and relax. The patient regains comfort and muscular ease thanks to the treatment of diastasis recti. Moreover, the overall shape of the patient might be improved when the final results of the tummy tuck occur.
The tummy tuck surgery has benefited from many technical improvements in recent years. General anesthesia has seen further developments, recovery time is reduced, scars are more discreet thanks to improved suture practices, and the results are often superior. The harmonious appearance of the tummy is found in its relationship with the other curves of the silhouette. In order to preserve all the benefits of a tummy tuck, it is advisable to follow a balanced lifestyle and avoid ulterior pregnancies or weight fluctuations that could cause an unsightly appearance of the tummy once again.
Swelling after the tummy tuck is often a common side effect of the procedure that will require no specific care, aside from the recommendation of wearing the compression garments. The swelling will subside in a few weeks and up to three months, and this is when the patient will start noticing the final results of the procedure. Supplements and gels with Arnica Montana might be recommended to reduce the swelling, but make sure to take them only at your plastic surgeon‚Äôs advice.