More than ever before, most mothers who are unhappy with their bodies after pregnancy are turning to plastic surgery specialist for help. According to a survey by American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 62% of mothers would opt for a tummy tuck if they wouldn't have to worry about cost. If you have just had your pregnancy or drop weight, and the muscle, fat, and skin around the abdominal region sags, this tummy tuck guide will answer some of the most pressing questions.
What is abdominoplasty?
Tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is an invasive surgical procedure which involves removing excess skin and fat on your abdomen. The abdominal wall muscles may also be tightened to flatten the abdomen and achieve a more youthful look. This surgical treatment can be customized to one's goals. So, each case can result in a varied surgical access, recovery time, and scar length.
The actual procedure
A tummy tuck is usually done using a local aesthetic or performed with general anaesthesia. The whole procedure shouldn’t take more than five hours. Here is the process.
- The process starts with an incision from one side of the hip bone to the other end through the abdomen.
- This is followed with a second incision around the belly button area to keep away the abdominal tissue.
- From this point, the specialist will separate the skin from the abdominal wall to expose the rectus muscles. These muscles are usually stretched, and they need to be repositioned and tightened.
- The skin will also be stretched and any excess parts are removed before redraping over the abdominal area.
- Depending on the size of the skin that was removed, it might necessitate removing the belly button and relocating to a more appropriate place.
Sometimes, surgeons may recommend liposuctions to help to sculpt the waist area. When the upper abdomen skin is pulled downwards, during the surgery, it can leave out unnatural bulge on the hips, so liposuction is expected to contour the area to the desired shape.
Who are tummy tuck candidates?
Dr. Mitchell Kim emphasizes the importance of having a healthy weight and BMI before going for abdominoplasty. The ideal patients should be within 20% of their recommended body weight. Sometimes, patients are advised to lose weight before the procedure. In most cases, abdominoplasty is recommended for patients who don't intend to get pregnant again.
What to do before a tummy tuck?
The first step is to consult a qualified plastic surgeon. The specialist will advise if you fit the requirements for a tummy tuck. According to Dr. Mitchell Kim, before making any conclusion, a surgeon should look at your medical history, any allergies, or medication you are currently taking, and physical examination to assess the degree of excess fat. Generally, you should wait until you fully stabilize from your pregnancy before undergoing a tummy tuck.
Typically, insurance companies do not cover abdominoplasty because they considered it as a cosmetic procedure. The average cost of undergoing a tummy tuck ranges from $6,000 (AUD) to $10,000 (AUD).
Risks & Recovery
Tummy tuck, like all other surgeries, has its own set of risks. However, they can be minimized by choosing a certified specialist. Make sure to check the board certifying doctors as well as reviews from past patients. Besides this, you should follow all the surgeon's instructions before and after the procedure. Potential risks include anesthesia complication, infection, collection of fluid in the skin, and haematoma.
After the surgical procedure, you will most likely experience discomfort and mild pain. Patients might need some close monitoring for at least three days after the procedure. You need somebody to help you stand up or repositioning in bed.
The best news is that anyone can regain pre-pregnancy body shape after abdominoplasty. If combined with liposuction, you will see even better results. Ideally, the result of tummy tuck should be permanent. However, a significant increase in weight can have an impact on the results.
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