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Tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty): Procedure, Preparation and Recovery

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By Jerome Edelstein, MD

If you’re the kind of person who dreads beach season because of the extra skin and fat around your belly then, you might be wondering if a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty surgery is right for you.  A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that is used to remove excess skin and fat while tightening the muscles around the midsection. Specifically, it is meant to target areas that cannot be corrected with exercise and diet.  The procedure is frequently sought out by men and women who have lost a lot of weight and have sagging skin as a result; as well as by women whose bodies have been affected in the same way as a result of pregnancy.

Women who plan to have future pregnancies and individuals who are planning to lose a lot of weight should postpone having a tummy tuck.

How to prepare for an abdominoplasty

If you are considering a tummy tuck, the first step is to have a consultation with a qualified surgeon such as Dr. Jerome Edelstein or Dr Kunaal Jindal at Edelstein Cosmetic. Your surgeon will talk to you about your goals and medical history and examine you to see if you are a good candidate for the procedure.  If you are taking any medications, including vitamins and herbal supplements, you should let your doctor know as you may be required stop taking them for a length of time leading up to and following the procedure.

If you are a smoker, your doctor will ask that you abstain from smoking for at least one month prior to the surgery. It is extremely important that you quit completely as smoking can interfere with the healing process.  If you cannot quit smoking, you should not go ahead with tummy tuck surgery  –  the risks are too high.

Prior to having the surgery, there are also several steps that you can take to get your home ready in order to help you with your recovery. These steps involve ensuring that you have ice packs in your freezer, having loose and comfortable clothing available, getting yourself a bathroom chair and having a hand held shower head.

You should also arrange for someone to drive you to and from the clinic or hospital on the day of your surgery.

The tummy tuck procedure

The operation itself can take anywhere between two and four hours depending on the individual, and it is done under general anesthesia.

During the procedure, an incision will be made in the abdomen so that your surgeon can remove excess skin and fat, and tighten the surrounding muscles. For some patients, it may be necessary to have drainage tubes under the skin during the first few days of recovery.

While complications are rare, patients do need to be aware of the risks which may include infection, bleeding and blood clots.

Recovery from abdominoplasty

Following your surgery, your doctor will prescribe medication for pain and give you instructions on how to care for your wounds. It is important to listen to your doctor’s advice and come in for your follow-up appointments.

You should keep physical activity to a minimum for at least three weeks in order to ensure that you do not injure yourself.  No abdominal muscle workouts are allowed for six weeks.

Having a tummy tuck can greatly improve a person’s appearance, self-confidence and quality of life. You must remember however, that this is major surgery and you will only get the best results by properly preparing for the operation and then by diligently caring for yourself during your recovery.

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