When people come in for a tummy tuck consultation at my practice in Connecticut, I spend a good deal of time explaining the procedure. I always want patients to be as informed as possible; I find it builds trust and helps the patient feel more confident in his or her decision making process. For those of you who haven’t had a consultation, but may be thinking about a tummy tuck, here are a few things to consider as you weigh your options.
When It’s Right for You
As for what causes a tummy to need tucking, there are 2 very common scenarios.
First, patients who lose a significant amount of weight are often left with excess skin and a stubborn paunch that won’t go away.
Second, pregnancy can have essentially the same effects on the midsection, stretching out the abdominal muscles and skin, and making a smooth, flat stomach a distant memory.
The telltale sign that a tummy tuck could make a big difference for any patient is the presence of excess skin. Patients say it can be a nuisance when trying on clothes or exercising, and that it has a real effect on their confidence.
Surgery: The Procedure & Technique
When preparing for the actual abdominoplasty procedure, my goals are simple: slim and flatten the midsection and minimize scarring. In nearly all cases, the incision is well hidden. While it does extend from hip to hip, it is placed very low on the abdomen to accommodate low-rise clothing, bikinis, etc.
In surgery, I remove the excess skin, pull the remaining skin to its new location, tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall, and reshape the belly button (creating an “inny”) in every procedure. By its nature, though, a tummy tuck is a personalized procedure. Depending on the results of your initial examination, I may also decide that achieving your best result will require targeted liposuction to contour the abdomen and flanks.
Every patient will be under general anesthesia throughout the procedure.
From start to finish, surgery will last 1 to 2 hours, and you will spend another hour or 2 in post-surgery recovery. I insert a pain pump before closing your incisions, which you may use at your discretion to ease your discomfort and reduce the amount of pain medication you will need to take.
Once you’ve spent some time in post-surgery recovery, I will clear you to go home under the care of a friend or family member.
Aftercare instructions will accompany you on your trip back home, and I strongly encourage you to follow them as closely as possible.
In the first week, your mobility will be somewhat limited as the remaining skin stretches to adjust to its new location. You won’t be able to walk fully upright for a few days. That said, for your circulation and blood flow, it’s important to do some light walking at least a couple of times per day.
After 7 to 10 days, you may gradually resume your normal daily activities — including your job, provided that it is not strenuous and doesn’t require you to be on your feet all day long.
Getting back to your normal fitness routine is a bit trickier. Broadly, you will be able to resume exercise within 4 to 6 weeks, but bear in mind that your body will still be healing. It’s always best to start slowly and gently, and listen to what your body is telling you.
For some past results, I invite you to take a look at our tummy tuck before-and-after photo gallery. Keep in mind that the incision scar will take up to a year to fully heal and mature, fading slowly along the way.
Ultimately, after your final follow-up visit, I pass the responsibility for maintaining your results to you. It’s essential to strive for a healthy diet and a regular fitness routine. If you do, you can expect your results to last for many years to come.