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What Happens During A Tummy Tuck Procedure?

May 9, 2008
Cosmetic surgery has come a long way from the very first days the procedure was introduced to the public. Today having a tummy tuck is one of the most common procedures done to help both men and women feel better about their appearance. Also known as a an abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck is the removal of excess fat and skin in the abdomen and restoration of weakened or separated muscles that cause people to have a belly.

Many times the flattening of the stomach takes more than exercise and diet alone. If the extra has been caused by pregnancy, weight fluctuation, prior surgery, aging or heredity factors, the patient may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck procedure. This is not a suitable solution to lose weight or correct stretch marks. Women who are considering having children should wait to have a tummy tuck procedure until after they have their baby due to the fluctuation in weight pregnancy causes.

Because these procedures are based on a person's perception of themselves, a tummy tuck should be done because the patient wants to look better. They should never have surgery such as this simply because someone else doesn't like the way their stomach looks. People who are healthy, maintaining a steady weight, do not smoke, and are bothered by their physical appearance are the most likely candidates for tummy tuck surgery.

When patients decide to have this procedure, they will have an initial consultation with their doctor regarding the procedure. The doctor will collect information regarding the patient's lifestyle, their health, and what they are expecting to get out of the surgery. Patients should be prepared to discuss things such as what medications they are on, if they partake of any substance abuse, allergies, previous surgeries and more. If the doctor approves the patient for tummy tuck surgery, they will discuss with the patient things that will need to be done prior to the surgery, such as lab testing, photographs, and medication adjustment.

All patients should be aware of some of the potential risks and complications that could occur before, during, and after the procedure. The doctor will explain all of these eventualities to the patient and will ask them to sign a medical consent form stating that you understand these risks. Tummy tuck risks include, but are not limited to: scarring; infection; skin loss; blood clots; bleeding; pain; nerve damage; loss skin; fat necrosis; and persistent swelling of the legs.

Patients who elect to have this surgery will be admitted to the hospital and prepped for surgery. This could include having general anesthesia administered before being brought in the operating suite and having any hair that may be on the area being operated on removed. The patient will then be given an anesthesia that will put them in a deep sleep during the surgery.

Once the patient is completely under sedation, the surgeon will make a horizontal incision between the navel and the hairline of the pubic area. The size of the incision will be determined by how much of the tummy needs to be tucked. The surgeon will repair damaged muscles and remove any excess material, such as skin, fat, and other tissues. If the patient has weight issues above the navel, a second incision will be made to remove and repair the body.

Some extra skin will be left and literally tucked under before the surgeon closes the incisions. This helps the incisions heal in a cleaner line and leaves the patient with a firmer abdomen and flatter stomach that is directly proportionate to your actual body type. It will take close to two weeks of healing before the patient is able to stand up straight and admire their new figure.

When patients are released from the hospital, it is advised that they follow all of their doctor's instructions in order to care for the incisions, reduce and minimize swelling, and support the abdomen while it heals from this invasive surgery. They should make sure that they take the medications their doctor prescribes and any abnormalities in the incision should be reported to the doctor immediately.
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