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Tummy Tuck - What You Need to Know

Aug 17, 2007
Chances are, if you have recently lost a lot of weight, or have had children, you probably would love to do something about the excess skin and fat that you have around your middle. A tummy tuck could be just the answer that you have been looking for.

Tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty if you prefer the medical term, is an operation designed to take off unwanted skin and belly fat, while tightening the abdominal muscles, so that you once again have a nice flat tummy that you are proud to show off in a bikini anywhere. This is a major surgery, and does come with the normal list of possible surgical side effects, but can be well worth the risk for the extra boost to your self esteem and self confidence. This article is not intended to sway you either for or against the surgery, and should not be taken for medical advice. It is only to serve as a basic overview, and nothing else. As always, for medical advice, you should consult your physician or other qualified medical professional.

Don't think that this is weight loss surgery, as it most definitely is not. Tummy tucks are ideal for people who are in overall good physical shape, but have tummy fat they are unable to get rid of with diet and exercise. Tummy tucks are most popular with women who have had babies, or people who have lost weight and have a lot of excess skin. It is best to wait until you are finished having children before having this surgery, as the scarring can cause pregnancy complications. If you have had prior stomach surgery, such as a cesarean section, your doctor may advise against the tummy tuck, due to the old scars from those previous surgeries interfering with the procedure.

It is important that you talk to your plastic surgeon, and let him know what you want the surgery to accomplish, so that he can tell you if the tummy tuck will be a good idea for you. Going into surgery with the expectation of being super thin, may only end in disappointment for you. Your doctor will be able to tell you exactly what you can expect to look like after the tummy tuck, and then you can decide whether or not to proceed with the operation.

You need to understand that any major surgery carries a significant amount of risk, and that the tummy tuck is no exception. There are thousands of tummy tucks done each year, with a very high satisfaction rate. Make certain that you choose a highly skilled doctor, who has been doing the procedure for a number of years, and who seems comfortable answering any questions you may have.

Possible complications from tummy tuck surgery include infection, blood clots, and scarring. If you do get an infection, you will be required to stay at the hospital longer than expected for antibiotic treatment. Getting up and moving around after surgery will help lessen your risk of developing dangerous blood clots. People who smoke should stop before having surgery, as it hinders your body's ability to heal itself, making you have a longer recovery time, and increasing your risk for scarring, and complications resulting from the surgery.

At your first appointment, your plastic surgeon will go over the tummy tuck procedure he will use, and answer any questions you may have. He may do tests to make sure that you are healthy enough for surgery, and decide exactly how much fat and skin needs to be removed during the operation.

You should also let your physician know of any medications you take, both prescription and non-prescription, as they may be a factor when dealing with blood loss or in healing process.

At this initial visit, your plastic surgeon may also suggest other procedures to go along with the tummy tuck that can help maximize your results. You will also discuss details of the surgery, such as anesthesia options, (you will either be asleep, or heavily sedated with a local anesthetic given), date and location, (some surgeons will perform tummy tucks in their own surgery centers rather than the hospital) and expected costs. At this time you will also receive your pre-op instructions, it is important you follow them. Since it is considered cosmetic surgery, most insurance plans will not pay any portion of the costs for tummy tucks, but you may want to check your individual plan, just in case.

The average tummy tuck surgery can take anywhere from two hours to five hours to complete. The actual procedure depends on your own needs and your surgeon's preferences.

You may be able to go home shortly after your tummy tuck is done, or you may be kept in the hospital depending on your surgery and individual needs. You will also have to have someone that can help at home, at least for the first few days, as you may be in a bit of pain and quite uncomfortable.

Make certain you strictly adhere to your doctor's orders, both before surgery, and once you are released from the hospital. Too much physical activity after going home could result in a relapse, and another hospital stay, not to mention a whole list of possible complications. Let your doctor decide how much you should do at home, and what activities you should avoid.

You will usually return to the surgeon's office in about a week to have the surface sutures taken out. The remaining stitches will be removed about three weeks after surgery.

The length of recovery time varies from patient to patient, ranging from a couple of weeks to months. If your surgeon allows it, exercise can speed up your recovery process. It can help lessen swelling, greatly lower your risk of blood clots, and help tone up your muscles. It is important to only do the exercises that your physician approves, and not to over exert yourself.

The scars left behind from your tummy tuck may take up to a year to begin fading away. They may always be visible, but they are usually placed so they can easily be hidden by your clothing, even bathing suits.

If you continue to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen, you will probably have a flat tummy for a long time. As long as you fully understand tummy tuck surgery, and keep a realistic attitude, then you should be well pleased with the results.
About the Author
Learn more about Tummy Tuck Surgery and what you need to know as a patient. Find out for FREE at Tummy Tuck Surgery
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