After pregnancy or weight loss, many people are left with excess fat and skin around the midsection that won’t go away with diet or exercise. A tummy tuck procedure can effectively help a patient recover from both pregnancy and weight loss.
What is a tummy tuck procedure?
A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a procedure designed to remove excess fat and skin from the lower abdominal area. It’s also effective at restoring weakened or separated muscles, creating a smoother and firmer abdominal profile.
The tummy tuck procedure usually takes two to five hours to complete, depending on the extent of work to be done. Your surgeon will administer anesthesia and will then make an incision from hipbone to hipbone.
They will remove excess fat and skin and tighten the muscles of your abdominal wall. After surgery, you will be required to wear a compression garment in order to reduce swelling and support your abdomen as it heals.
You should plan on taking it easy for the first few days after surgery, during which time you may experience some bruising, swelling, and discomfort, which can be treated with prescribed medication.
While this procedure can dramatically improve the appearance of a person’s stomach, it also results in a different-looking belly button.
The belly button is located on the front of the abdomen near where the umbilical cord was attached at birth. During a tummy tuck, fat and tissue are removed from the area around the belly button.
If only a small amount of skin is removed, a surgeon will simply change the shape and position of the existing belly button. If more skin is removed, a new hole will be created for a belly button to be placed.
Results vary depending on how much surgery is required. Many people have minimal scarring around their new belly button after healing has occurred, but some do notice more prominent scars due to their skin type or other factors.
How long does healing take?
After a tummy tuck, you can feel bloated as you begin to recover. After two to four weeks, swelling will often subside, and you’ll be able to see partial results.
It can take up to three months for your body to completely heal and to see full results. The recovery period for a tummy tuck is between two to three weeks.
You should wait until after this process is complete to see the final results of your surgery.
Dos and Don’ts after Procedure
- Don’t lift anything heavy for about two weeks.
- Don’t sleep on your stomach for at least six weeks.
- Don’t bend over.
- Don’t sit directly on the floor or toilet seat at least for a week.
- Do walk as much as you can right after surgery. This will help avoid blood clot formation in your legs.
- Do take pain medication when you need it. Only take as needed; ask your doctor for the right dosage.
- Do go back to work if you feel able to do so between 7 to 10 days after the procedure though there may be certain restrictions depending on your job.
- Do continue with your exercise program, but wait until your surgeon and personal trainer say it is safe to do so.
When should you see a doctor?
Although it’s essential to see your doctor for follow-up visits after your tummy tuck, you should also follow up with them between visits if you have any concerns. Below are indicators you should visit a medical professional:
- You feel like you have a fever. A fever—a temperature higher than 100.4° F—can be a sign of infection.
- Your incision looks infected. Signs of an infected wound include redness, swelling, pus or drainage from the wound, and warmth in the area.
- Your incision has come apart. Your incision will look red and may be warm to the touch if it has come apart, but there should be no drainage or pus coming from the wound.
- You are experiencing pain that is not relieved with pain medication. You may need to switch to different pain medications if this occurs.
Getting a tummy tuck procedure can be part of your self-care activities to help encourage your desired confidence and physical appearance. Similar to other cosmetic procedures like Coolsculpting and Lip Fillers, a tummy tuck can get rid of stubborn fat that won’t be eliminated through lifestyle changes.