No part of the body frustrates more of us than the abdomen. As we experience weight gain and loss, aging, pregnancy, and childbirth, extra fat and skin may accumulate on the stomach. But diet and exercise can only do so much.
But a Houston tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a popular and effective surgical procedure that can trim the waistline and smooth the tummy. A tummy tuck also can strengthen and tighten the abdominal muscles, which may have been affected by pregnancy and childbirth.
Before having a tummy tuck, it’s important to understand the risks and benefits of the procedure. A tummy tuck can have impressive results, but the recovery is extensive and there are risks of complications.
Below is important information about tummy tuck safety and other important information.
Tummy Tuck Safety
If you choose a skilled plastic surgeon, having a tummy tuck is safe. However, all surgeries have risks, and a tummy tuck is an invasive procedure. The risks with a tummy tuck are higher than with other cosmetic procedures.
The most common risks with a tummy tuck are infection. The procedure involves a long incision, and it’s possible for it to get infected. This is why it’s so important to follow your surgeon’s post-op instructions.
You should keep the incision clean and dry, and follow your surgeon’s directions about when you can bathe.
The chances of additional complications increase if you have heart, lung, or liver disease, or have diabetes, or poor circulation.
The most common complications are:
- Excessive scarring
- Seroma, which may require an additional procedure to reduce
- Poor wound healing
- Blood clots
- Deep vein thrombosis
Of the more serious risks, DVT is the most common. The major risk is a blood clot can break loose from the legs and get to the lungs or heart. Talk to your plastic surgeon about the above risks and how you can minimize them.
Further, you can expect about four to six weeks of mild pain, swelling, and bruising. But if you notice these symptoms after six weeks, you could have delayed healing. Irregular healing can lead to skin loss, so be sure to talk to your surgeon right away.
You can reduce your risks with these tips:
- If you smoke, you should stop before surgery. Not smoking also will help you heal faster.
- If you have diabetes, make sure it is well controlled before surgery.
- Talk to your surgeon about all medications you take, especially anything that thins the blood.
Important Tips After A Tummy Tuck
1. Extensive Downtime Is Required
The tummy tuck is one of the most extensive plastic surgery procedures, and you’ll need weeks to recover. The procedure involves making an incision from hip to hip, and extra skin and fat are removed, with the remaining skin being tightened.
Patients should expect to rest and miss work for at least two or three weeks. During the first week or two, you will be tired, sore, and swollen. It’s also normal to have moderate pain during this period, but this will improve.
It’s essential to give your body several weeks of rest so you can recover. Also remember that tummy tuck patients need help with small children and household tasks, such as grocery shopping and cleaning. Strenuous activities will prolong the recovery process.
2. You Need To Be At A Stable Weight
A tummy tuck is an effective way to shape and tone the lower body. But this procedure isn’t a substitute for losing weight. You should be near your ideal weight for at least six months before having a tummy tuck.
Most plastic surgeons want their patients to be within 10 or 15 pounds of their goal weight before having surgery. This matters because a major change in weight can affect your tummy tuck results.
Fluctuations in weight also can stretch your abdominal tissues and you may even need a revision procedure later.
Your surgeon may use liposuction during your tummy tuck to eliminate extra abdominal fat.
3. You’ll Have Scarring
The tummy tuck is one of the most effective ways to tone the body, but you will have a long scar on the lower abdomen below the belly button.
The scar will fade after a year, but it will still be visible. Luckily, a skilled plastic surgeon can place the incision below the bikini and underwear line.
4. You’ll Have Surgical Drains
After your procedure, the surgeon will put in drains to reduce the buildup of fluid and blood. This will reduce swelling and speed your healing process.
The drains are temporary, but you will need to care for them by keeping them clean and following your surgeon’s directions about bathing and showering.
Your surgeon will probably remove the drains after seven to 10 days.
5. Healing Can Take A Year
You will not see your final results from the tummy tuck for several months. Expect considerable swelling and pain for several weeks.
But after about six weeks, you should begin to see your results. Note that you may experience temporary numbness or a loss of sensation along your incision line. This is normal and will resolve over several months.
It can take as long as a year before your abdomen fully heals, but most patients say the results are worth it. Some patients have their tummy tuck as part of a mommy makeover for even more impressive results.
Request a Houston Tummy Tuck Consultation
Interested in a tummy tuck in Houston? Please set up a consultation with Dr. Ashley Steinberg today. She’ll talk to you about the tummy tuck procedure and help you decide if it’s a good choice for you.
- 5 Things To Consider Before Getting A Tummy Tuck. (2019). Accessed at https://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/blog/five-things-to-consider-before-getting-a-tummy-tuck
- About A Tummy Tuck. (n.d.). Accessed at https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/11017-abdominoplasty-tummy-tuck
- Tummy Tuck Overview. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.medicinenet.com/is_abdominoplasty_safe/article.htm