Tummy tuck surgery, or abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that trims excess fat and skin from the midsection to create a more cinched, defined waist area. During this procedure, the surgeon may also take steps to improve your abdominal muscles.
There’s a lot that goes into tummy tuck surgery, and you should prepare yourself ahead of time to see if you are a candidate. If it’s your first time, I suggest visiting Marksolomonmd to book your first ever cosmetic procedure appointment.
1. Who Can Have Tummy Tuck Surgery?
There are several reasons to have an abdominoplasty:
- If you have excess skin/flab around the abdomen, e.g., after significant weight loss, pregnancy, or aging
- If you suffered diastasis recti, where abdominal muscles separate down the middle (common after pregnancy)
- If you have a larger abdomen, diminished muscle tone, and/or skin elasticity
Note: tummy tuck surgery may not cause significant weight loss. Instead, it improves your physical appearance to support weight loss efforts like dieting and exercise.
2. Who Cannot Have Tummy Tuck Surgery?
Like all surgical procedures, you may not be a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery if you have an immune deficiency or bleeding disorder. These disorders can increase the risk for postoperative complications. If you strongly feel that you wish to proceed, your doctor will help you manage your regimen before surgery to reduce these risks.
Inform the surgeon about any medical conditions, including serious ailments that run in your family. Smokers may need to quit before abdominoplasty since smoking increases the risk of postoperative infections.
3. What to Expect Before Tummy Tuck Surgery
Before the surgery, you will have two or more consultations with your surgeon and choose the surgery date. On the day of your appointment, you should come in early. You will sign consent forms, get admitted, and someone will check your vital signs, then run prescribed preoperative blood tests. These tests confirm that you don’t have acute infections or health problems that can interfere with surgery.
4. What to Expect During Tummy Tuck Surgery
When it’s time for surgery, you will be wheeled into the surgical suite or operating room. Someone will place an IV line for medication and maybe a urinary catheter to release urine.
IV sedation (localized anesthesia) is recommended for minimally invasive procedures like partial abdominoplasty. More extensive surgery will require general anesthesia. If you have IV sedation, you will be awake but groggy, and there will be a drape to cover your abdomen so that you can’t see what’s happening.
Most often, all forms of abdominoplasty are performed under general anesthesia.
The procedure takes two to five hours, depending on the extent of surgery and the techniques the surgeon uses. The surgeon may insert a surgical drain under your skin to collect excess fluid, which may stay in for several days before removal.
He/she will close the incision with dissolving sutures and apply a sterile dressing to the area.
5. What to Expect After Surgery
Once you are awake, the medics take you to the surgery recovery area, where they monitor your vital signs. If you are stable, a nurse will collect some urine from your catheter or ask you to pee into a bedpan.
It will take several hours before you can get up and walk with help. At this point, you may be discharged if you are stable. Otherwise, you will stay in the hospital for continued management.
Before discharge, the medical team will walk you through your recovery journey, including:
- How to take care of your surgical wound
- How to use postoperative pain medication
- Signs of complications to look out for (and when to return to hospital)
- When to resume any suspended medication
- When to resume activities of daily living and in which order
You will not be discharged until you can safely get up, eat, move, and go to the bathroom.
You should recover fully within six to eight weeks, provided you follow the doctor’s instructions.