Whether it’s from weight gain and loss over the years or one or more pregnancies, your abdominal area can really go through a lot. Getting a flat stomach with diet and exercise alone is pretty difficult for many people. The reason is that the skin in the tummy area becomes stretched out and loose with pregnancy or weight gain/loss. Pregnancy can also do a number on the abdominal muscles, creating a sagging pouch, even on patients who are otherwise slim.
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is one way to get a flatter stomach area. Like other types of plastic surgery, a tummy tuck is the right option for some patients, but not necessarily for every patient. If you’re considering the surgery, it’s worth learning what you can about it first, so that you have a clear idea as to whether it’s really the right option for you or not.
There Are Different Tummy Tuck Options
There are actually a few different types of tummy tuck out there. The type of abdominoplasty your surgeon recommends will depend on how much loose skin you have in the abdominal area, how loose or stretched out your muscles are, and whether you have a considerable amount of excess fat or not.
The least invasive option is known as a mini tummy tuck. The incision made during a mini tummy tuck is much shorter than the incision made during a traditional surgery. Usually, the incision made during a mini tummy tuck is very similar to the incision made during a C-section. This type of abdominoplasty is often recommended for patients who have some loose skin below the belly button.
Whether the surgery involves tightening just the skin or tightening skin and muscles depends on the patient.
If you have a considerable amount of loose skin in the abdominal area, or loose skin in the area above the belly button as well as below it, a full, traditional tummy tuck might be a better option for you. This type of surgery involves making one long incision between the hipbones. It also tightens more skin and muscle than the mini tummy tuck.
Finally, a tummy tuck might also include liposuction if there is a fair amount of excess fat in the abdominal area. The liposuction is typically performed at the same time as the rest of the surgery.
Tummy Tucks Aren’t for Weight Loss
Although tummy tucks do help eliminate excess loose skin and excess fat, and result in a slimmer appearance, they aren’t weight loss surgeries. You won’t drop a dramatic amount of weight because of a tummy tuck. If you are trying to lose weight and still have a ways to go before you reach your goal weight, your surgeon will most likely recommend waiting to schedule your surgery until you are either at or very close to your goal weight.
You’ll Need Time to Recover
Some amount of recovery is needed after any type of surgery, but the recovery after a tummy tuck can feel particularly long. You’ll want to take about two weeks off from your job and you might find that it is difficult to resume a variety of activities right after the surgery. Because of the location of the surgery, you’ll have a limited range of motion for about a week afterward.
It’s a good idea to prep your home in advance of your surgery. Have plenty of meals ready to go, pick out books to read and movies to watch beforehand, and make sure you have plenty of comfortable places to lie down.
Getting Help is a Great Idea!
The more help you have during the first week or so after your surgery, the better. You’ll definitely want to have a spouse or friend stay with you for the first day or first few days after your tummy tuck. You might find that you need help doing basic things, like making your way to the bathroom, reaching for a remote on the table, or getting food.
You’ll Be Slightly Bent Over for a Few Days
Since a tummy tuck typically involves tightening the skin and muscle in the abdominal area, it’s not uncommon for people to be slightly bent for a few days after the surgery. Standing or sitting straight up is pretty much all but impossible. This might lead to some lower back pain, especially after a few days, which you can manage with pain relievers.
You might also have to change your sleeping position. Many people find that the most comfortable way to sleep right after a tummy tuck is in a recliner, rather than trying to lie flat in a bed.
Your Results Should Last
For plenty of people, having to take so much time off from work and spending a few weeks bent like the letter “L” is worth it because the results from their surgery are so long lasting. As long as you stick with a healthy diet, don’t gain a lot of weight and don’t become pregnant again, the results from your tummy tuck can be permanent.
Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein, a board certified plastic surgeon, regularly performs tummy tucks on patients at his practice in Manhattan. He can guide you through the process of deciding if an abdominoplasty is the right procedure for you. Along with tummy tucks, Dr. Rubinstein offers patients a variety of procedures, from facelift to rhinoplasty, at Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists, PC in Newburgh, New York. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Rubinstein, call 845-863-1772 today.