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Many people aren’t happy with the way their body looks in the mirror, and much of this has to do with that tricky little area called: the tummy.
Ah, the tummy. Sometimes it can feel impossible to achieve that flat and firm middle area without working out endlessly, and who has time for that?
Besides, factors like pregnancies, genetics and weight loss can create lots of loose skin, fat and stretch marks around the abs that can’t be removed by exercise alone.
There is a procedure called abdominoplasty, or a tummy tuck, which can remove this unwanted skin and tissue, creating a firmer and flatter tummy.
Many people experience a boost in confidence when they’re finally feeling happier about their body after a tummy tuck.
The first thing the surgeon will do during the procedure is make an incision along the pubic area from hip to hip (or sometimes from the navel down.) Then, the excess skin and fat is pulled down and cut away. The surgeon will leave the navel intact and attached to the abdominal wall.
This procedure can also be combined with liposuction to remove even more fat in the abdominal area. The surgery generally results in a scar across the lower abdomen that will fade over time.
Before a tummy tuck, or any type of surgery, it is important to let your surgeon know if you are on any medications, whether prescription or non-prescription, and any allergies or medical conditions you have.
Stop smoking for at least 2 weeks before the surgery. Smoking can also prolong your healing time after surgery.
You should also stop taking any aspirin or blood-thinning medication 2 weeks before surgery, as well as vitamins and herbs. All of these things can increase the chance of post-operative bleeding if you’ve been taking them prior to surgery.
Absolutely do not eat or drink anything at LEAST 6 hours before a tummy tuck surgery. And do not drink any alcoholic beverages for at least 24 hours before surgery.
Remove any jewelry, makeup, piercings, etc before you get on the surgery table. And shower the day of your surgery, washing your hair but do not apply any products like perfume or cream.
After an abdominoplasty, you will need to remain on your back with your head elevated and knees bent with a pillow underneath. This position will reduce strain on your abdominal area.
The doctors will insert one or two drains to help remove any fluids and blood that collects at the incision site. Expect a bit of pain and nausea during the first 1-2 days after surgery. The discomfort may be intense during this time, but know that it will pass.
Bruising, soreness and swelling may develop for the first few weeks following surgery.
Every person is different so the extent to which you will experience these symptoms depends on your particular body.
It is important to begin walking for short periods as soon as possible after surgery, to reduce swelling and lower the chance of developing blood clots in your legs. It may be difficult to stand straight with the compression bandages on, but try to get your legs moving for short periods anyway.
You may shower as normal after the drains are removed on day 3 or 4 after surgery. But stay away from swimming pools and bath tubs, as these can be breeding grounds for bacteria and infection in the early days after surgery.
When you get home on day 5 or 6, keep the wound clean and dry and attend to it at least twice a day. Avoid physical activities for a few weeks and strenuous activities for several months after surgery. Talk to your surgeon about what you can and can’t do during this time.
The doctor will remove your stitches after a week or so, and will give you a light surgical garment to wear for about 3 months to support the area that has been tightened.
You should feel recovered in about two weeks.
There may still be some swelling and bruising after this time, but most people are able to return to work after 4 weeks.
While an abdominoplasty is an extremely safe procedure, it’s important to be aware of the risks that are inherent to any surgical procedure.
Swelling, bruising, infection, bleeding, scarring and numbness are all potential risks, but should subside after anywhere from several weeks to 12 months after surgery, once the nerves have repaired.
The incision may heal slowly, creating some crusting and scabbing along the scar line. Follow the doctor’s instructions for taking care of your scar and make sure to follow a healthy diet post-surgery to avoid weight gain. If you gain weight after an abdominoplasty, this will stretch the skin and lead to major scarring.
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