Are you thinking about undergoing a tummy tuck? Otherwise known as an abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgery procedure which removes excess skin from the abdomen. Excess skin is a common occurrence after a large weight loss or pregnancy. A tummy tuck will leave you with a firmer, tighter abdomen.
As this is a fairly invasive surgical procedure, we understand that it is not a small decision to make. You may feel that you are not ready to commit to such a big surgical procedure.
However, knowing all your surgical options, being able to prepare for surgery and knowing what to expect after the procedure can help you to have a smooth surgical journey.
So how can you have the best tummy tuck?
1. Know your surgical options
There is actually more than one method for performing a tummy tuck.
Prior to undergoing any procedure, you will have a consultation with one of the surgeons, who will be able to assess your body and determine which surgical method you should undergo. Tummy tuck methods are:
- Classic tummy tuck: otherwise referred to as a full tummy tuck, a classic tummy tuck involves an incision which runs from hip to hip. This allows the surgeon to remove as much excess fat as possible, which can be located both above and below the belly button. This is suitable for those who have a large amount of excess skin which they are wishing to remove.
- Mini tummy tuck: this is the smaller version of the classic tummy tuck. A mini tummy tuck involves an incision that goes from each thigh, rather than from each hip. This procedure will remove excess skin that is below the belly button. Those who have a small bulge, a smaller amount of excess skin and wish to have a smaller scar will be suitable for a mini tummy tuck.
- Extended tummy tuck: those who are wishing to remove excess skin along the abdomen, as well as the hips and flanks, may be interested in an extended tummy tuck. This procedure will involve a longer scar than the classic tummy tuck. An extended tummy tuck is popular with those who have undergone a large weight loss or who have had multiple pregnancies.
If you have a large amount of excess skin on your abdomen, flanks and back, you may be interested in a belt lipectomy, otherwise referred to as a lower body lift.
2. Are you a good candidate?
While you may be interested in undertaking a plastic surgery procedure, you may find you are actually an unsuitable candidate. To find out whether or not you are eligible for surgery, you will generally need to attend a consultation with a surgeon. They will be able to assess your body, look at your medical history and assess what your desired outcome is.
To be a suitable candidate, you will need to:
- Have excess skin on the abdomen which you are wishing to remove
- Have stretched abdominal muscles
- Be at a stable weight
- Be a non-smoker, or be able to stop smoking prior to and after the procedure
- Have realistic expectations about what a tummy tuck can achieve
3. Find the best plastic surgeon
Before undergoing any plastic surgery procedure, it is a good idea to do some research on the clinic you are going to attend, as well as the surgeon who is going to perform your tummy tuck. For the best results, you are going to want to go to a surgeon who is registered with the GMC (for UK surgeons) and who is experienced in performing tummy tucks. You may find this information is available online, however, you should feel comfortable asking this during a consultation.
During the consultation, you may also wish to see before and after photographs. This will show the surgeon is experienced and will give you a realistic expectation about what can be achieved after the surgery. This is particularly important for a tummy tuck, as each surgeon will produce a different looking scar.
4. Prepare for scarring
Cosmetic surgeons will go out of their way to ensure that scars are as aesthetically pleasing and discreet as possible. However, this is one of the few procedures which will result in a large noticeable scar running across the abdomen. Having a big scar can often be an unpleasant thought and can cause some people to chose not to undergo a tummy tuck.
The incision will often be performed below the bikini line, so it will be as discreet as possible. Your surgeon will also be able to give you tips on how to care for the wound, so you can avoid infection or other complications which may make the scar look worse. You may also be advised of steps you can take once the wound has healed to help make the scar look less noticeable.
Remember that the scar will look worse straight after surgery. During your recovery period, the scar may look particularly large and red. However, with time the scar will fade in both size and colour and will become less noticeable.
5. Know what to do during the recovery period
You don’t need to just know what will happen during your surgery, you need to prepare for what will happen after the surgery as well.
You will experience some level of pain and discomfort following the procedure, particularly in the first few days following the procedure. You may wish to take pain medication to help alleviate any symptoms.
You will have to ensure you avoid any strenuous physical exercise in order to avoid sustaining any injuries or damaging the wound. You will need to avoid all exercise for four to six weeks.
You may be able to notice some differences after your surgery, however, it will take several months for swelling to completely go down and for the final results to be apparent.
Are you interested in undergoing a tummy tuck? This is a procedure that Centre for Surgery offers. Contact us today to find out more or to book a consultation.