A tummy tuck can be a huge relief for women frustrated with the ways that there clothing fits or who are annoyed with the misshapen skin on their abdomen. But before rushing into a tummy tuck procedure, the patients should be sure that they understand what the procedure entails and how to adequately prepare for the surgery.
Once released from the surgery center or hospital, it will be hard to walk and patients will need a great deal of rest. Since you won’t be able to go to the store, consider cooking plenty of food that can be heated up in a few minutes or defrosted once you’re home. Buy plenty of basics as well – bread, toilet paper and paper towels so that you don’t run out without a means to get more.
Buy Survival Gear
There are certain bandages that you’ll need as you’re recovering from the procedure, but in addition to those buy plenty of things to keep yourself occupied in the required downtime that you’ll have when you get home. Books, magazines, movies, subscriptions and snacks are all things you’ll enjoy having close at hand once you’re lying in bed or lounging on the couch following surgery.
Bring in Help
Since you won’t be able to move very much or do much other than shuffle around following surgery, consider bringing in outside help to make things simpler for you. This is especially true if you have young children in your home.
You won’t be able to move fast or pick them up for some time, so have a friend come over during the day or ask your husband to take off work so that he can help you around the house as needed. After the first few days you don’t need to worry as much about getting help as you’ll be reasonably self-sufficient, but do take it easy and focus on recovering – not on getting to the grocery store or vacuuming.
While there’s no ideal age to have a tummy tuck or an age that is considered too old for the procedure, there are certain criteria that doctors use to determine if patients will be a good individual to undergo the surgery.
Tummy Tucks and Young Patients
Young patients are not ideal for a full tummy tuck procedure until after they have finished having children. Young individuals who are less than thirty are in the prime years of pregnancy and if they were to enjoy a tummy tuck prior to becoming pregnant, the skin would stretch considerably during pregnancy and possibly undo the work of the surgeons.
Young patients who have lost large amounts of weight or who were not blessed with solid abdomens may opt for a mini tummy tuck where scarring is less intense and the procedure not as substantial. In general, however, patients are encouraged to wait until they are certain there will not be additional children.
Tummy Tucks and Older Patients
On the other end of the spectrum, older patients are often ideal for tummy tuck procedures so long as they still have a nice bit of skin elasticity. A tummy tuck removes damaged skin and leaves a smooth belly behind where the skin was pulled, but most tummy tuck procedures also include liposuction to narrow the waistline and make the new waist blend into the hips beautifully.
Liposuction requires patients have a nice bit of skin elasticity to help draw the skin in after the fat has been removed underneath. Patients who have skin that fails to ‘snap back’ when pinched or pulled are not usually good patients for the full tummy tuck procedure, but the final determination is up to the surgeons of course.
A tummy tuck creates an amazing result as far as the flatness of the belly is concerned, but that tightly contoured abdomen has a side effect that can be unpleasant for many women. Usually as tummy tuck scar fades away to a silvery line crossing the lower body just under a swimsuit or a pair of panties. But for some women, the scar that remains after a tummy tuck is unattractive or even painful.
Removing the Tummy Tuck Scar
A tummy tuck scar can be removed or at least lessened considerably through certain procedures. Since surgeons are never sure how a scar will form, it’s impossible to know if the scar from a particular procedure will form a large red keloid result or if it will appear off center or show in a swimsuit despite his best intentions – of course some swimsuits would show practically everything, so tummy tuck patients should take care when buying a two-piece suit.
Laser Scar Removal
Tummy tuck scars can be removed through laser technology. The laser technology burns the scar away so that only a faint line or residual coloration is left. It may take several treatments for the laser scar removal to work fully and patients considering laser scar removal should be prepared to have multiple appointments.
It’s also important for those considering laser treatment to wait until the scar has had a chance to form completely. Often scars can take considerable amounts of time to fully heal and fade. The incision that creates the scar will be healed months before you may even see the dark red start to disappear. As the nerves continue to heal there may be some itching and discomfort from the scar as well. After six months to a year, if scarring remains uncomfortable and highly visible, discuss the possibility of removal with a surgeon.
A quick recovery makes the tummy tuck procedure even more worthwhile than it would be otherwise. And there are certainly ways to speed the tummy tuck recovery along.
Wear supporting clothing. There are medical items and other supportive garments that help to hold the skin and tissue in place following surgery. Not only do these support garments make your wounds heal more quickly, they also help to reduce the discomfort following surgery.
Move a bit on a regular basis. The body needs to move to grow stronger and to heal. There is a fine balance between working too hard and not working quite hard enough when it comes to speeding healing by staying active. Make it a point to move around during the day – of course, you wouldn’t want to strain yourself to do this.
Rest often and well. The body heals while you sleep, and resting is necessary to preserve strength as well. Spend most of your days resting comfortably and sleep as much as you can in the days immediately following surgery so that your body can focus on the healing process most effectively.
Eat well. Good nutrition is key for healing following surgery. Eat plenty of protein, fruits and vegetables as you rest and recovery. Be wary of foods that are traditionally gas-inducing however. Excessive gas can make your incision very uncomfortable.
Squeeze your drains as you empty them. The drains required following surgery must be emptied two or three times per day. Every time that you empty a drain be sure to give it a good squeeze as you replace the cap. This creates a negative pressure to help pull additional fluids out of the swollen surgery area.
In the last decade, the tummy tuck procedure has become even more popular. The popular procedure has experienced a growth of 86 percent – despite the lingering economic conditions that make it challenging for patients to spend thousands of dollars on what amounts to an elective surgery. The tummy tuck procedure is an invasive one, and it require dedication and careful consideration on the part of patients. There are several reasons patients choose to pursue a tummy tuck procedure.
Fatty Pockets and Exercise
For those who exercise frequently, some pockets of body fat refuse to budge even with careful dieting and exercise. One of the most common stubborn fatty pockets is the lower abdomen. The body stores fat in this area and even with sit-ups, crunches and diets, the fat doesn’t move a bit. The only way to lose the loose skin and fat for those looking for perfect physiques is to simply have it surgically removed. Those with fat just below the belly button are ideal candidates for a mini tummy tuck as well.
Pregnancy can have a very hard impact on the female body. The body changes dramatically with pregnancy and the stretched skin on the abdomen never truly goes back where it belongs following surgery. If a new mother is dealing with pockets of fat and stretched skin as well as excessive amounts of stretch marks, she can have it all removed with a tummy tuck procedure.
Even without pregnancy to stretch out the skin and muscles of the abdomen, weight gain and loss can have the same effect. When a patient gains a great deal of weight and then loses it again, the resulting body can have large pockets of excessive skin and depleted fat cells. To return the body to its correct shape, often a tummy tuck is required.
One of the least recognized, but most uncomfortable aspects of a tummy tuck are the drains put into place immediately following the surgery. These drains and tiny tubes are surgically stitched into place. The tubes help to channel fluids from the surgery site into small collection bags that must be emptied on a fairly regular basis immediately following the surgery.
Drains are used in a tummy tuck procedure to help reduce swelling and improve healing. Swelling following a surgery procedure occurs because the body produces extra fluid in a particular area or sends fluid to an area in distress. Without the drains, the incision site following a tummy tuck can become excessively swollen and extremely uncomfortable for the patient.
With the drains in place, however, the fluids that would normally build up around the incision are simply drained away into a bag to be disposed of. This reduces the swelling following the surgery and makes the surgery heal more quickly as well.
The surgeon will place one, two or three drains in the body as he finishes surgery. The drains must be emptied several times daily and will be pinned to either your waist or your thighs as they collect fluid. Before you empty the drains, you’ll be asked to measure the amount of fluid collected from each drain on a chart your surgeon provides. The bulbs on the drains will need to be emptied two or three times per day.
The amount of time you’re required to have the drains in place depends on the amount of drainage produced by your body. Once the drainage has stopped, the surgeon will remove the drains and the healing process will be speeding along. Most tubes stay in the body three to fifteen days.
The most obvious patient for a tummy tuck is the woman who is done having children. When a woman becomes pregnant, her abdomen stretches accordingly and the skin can become so distended and distorted that it won’t ever be able to return to its normal positions without some sort of surgical intervention. The skin on a mother’s abdomen is much like a balloon. When you blow up a balloon and then let it out, the balloon’s shape is distorted and even lumpy. If you stretch a woman’s abdomen past the breaking point, it will have the same appearance.
Mothers and Tummy Tucks
Once a young mother is sure that she is finished having children, her next concern should be her mobility in the house. A tummy tuck patient is unable to move more than just a few steps around the house for the first week or two following surgery. It’s similar to having a cesarean delivery, but the children you have now aren’t content to sleep in a bassinet beside you while you rest.
Mothers with active lifestyles and children that demand attention and time should consider the implications of the tummy tuck procedure and call in additional support if it’s warranted. Childcare during the day can help considerably with giving the patient time to recover, but most helpful of all is waiting until the children of the mother seeking a tummy tuck procedure are old enough to understand the patient’s need to rest.
Children who are self-sufficient and don’t require lifting or picking up throughout the day will be considerably more manageable than babies or toddlers. It’s possible for a mother to have a tummy tuck with a toddler or infant at home, but in many cases, it may be better to wait a year or two more to ensure the recovery is as simple as possible.
A tummy tuck is a procedure that makes sense for a great number of women, but it can be hard when you’re sorting through the many before and after pictures to find the images that make the most sense for your own situation. Often, the sheer volume of pictures is overwhelming. But you can use the pictures online to get a reasonable idea of what to expect from the tummy tuck procedure, however, if you know what you’re looking for.
When you’re looking at before and after pictures of tummy tuck procedures, don’t be distracted by how amazing the results are for every woman or man who underwent the procedure. Look instead for a patient who has a body type that is similar to yours. There’s no real reason to look at pictures of women or men who have a totally different body type.
A woman with a very tapered waistline will continue to have a tapered waist once the excess skin on the tummy is removed. But a woman with a wider waistline may have a flatter stomach after the surgery, but short or removing ribs along with damaged disuse, she won’t have a waist line any narrower than the one she started with.
Judging Real Results
The transformation in a tummy tuck is certainly impressive. The changes made to all different body types are amazing, and you can best judge the sort of results you’ll get from your procedure by focusing on those who are similar to you. Of course, there are other procedures that can help to change your body’s shape – implants, liposuction and body sculpting are procedures designed to exactly that. You can use the before and after pictures available online to determine how some of those changes may appear on your body as well.
Among the greatest concerns for patients seeking tummy tucks is the fear that they will not be able to get back to work in a reasonable amount of time. This is justified to a certain extent because a tummy tuck is a major procedure, but this doesn’t mean that the tummy tuck procedure will keep you away from work indefinitely. Instead, it’s quite possible to return to work after just seven to ten days following reasonable restrictions.
Restrictions for Tummy Tucks
A tummy tuck requires a wide incision across the bottom of the abdomen. It can be painful to stand straight or move much in the first week following surgery, but gradually a full range of motion returns. The drains are put in place that must be emptied as well for the first week or so, which can be uncomfortable to handle as well.
Returning to Work
But once the drains come out and you’re able to walk short distances, a tummy tuck continues to heal under your clothing so you’re able to return to work so long as you’re not standing for long periods of time or doing any sort of strenuous activity. Sitting in a chair at a desk is simple enough and by ten days following surgery you should not have any additional need for pain killers, making returning to work simple enough.
The biggest hurdle many tummy tuck patients have is getting their surgeon to agree to send them back to work. Focus on healing and resting for the time you have away from work and then arrange for your work environment to be comfortable and accommodating when you return and you should have no problems at all. The clothing you were wearing prior to the surgery will be loose enough over the midsection to hide any swelling or bandaging.
While both a tummy tuck and liposuction can help to remove fatty deposits on the body, there are substantial differences between the tummy tuck and liposuction procedures. Often the two are used simultaneously in a procedure to create a sleek and fully streamlined physique.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
In a tummy tuck procedure, the surgeon makes an incision along the lower portion of the body. The incision spans the lower portion of the body between the hipbones. Once the incision is made, the surgeon dissects the skin from the lower body and then tightens the muscles underneath the skin using special stitches or staples.
The extra fat and tissue is removed during the surgery and then the skin is pulled down tightly over the lower belly. The extra skin is then surgically removed from the body and the remaining skin is stretched and then stapled or stitched back into position. When they remove the skin and fat, it removes a few pounds from the body, but it is not a weight loss procedure.
The Liposuction Procedure
Liposuction is a procedure designed to remove excess pockets of body fat. The body fat is located in a single area and can’t be removed through diet and exercise. A pouch at the bottom of the belly or fatty pockets on the outside of the thighs is the sort of weight that can removed through liposuction.
Liposuction is a procedure designed to contour the body. Only a small amount of fat is removed in the procedure, but the resulting smoothing over the skin is dramatic. The fat cells are removed completely and that makes it almost impossible for the body to regain fat in that area, just as the removal of fatty tissue in a tummy tuck procedure results in a permanent fat removal.