Also known as abdominoplasty, tummy tuck is an extremely popular cosmetic surgery, which many people opt for to make their stomach firmer and flatter, usually after exercise and dieting fail to produce the desired effects. Consultant plastic surgeon Mr Aftab Siddiqui is here with a comprehensive, two-part guide on this procedure.
In part one of this guide, Mr Siddiqui takes through the reasons people undergo this procedure, what to expect beforehand and pre-surgery tips.
Why is tummy tuck done?
Tummy tuck is commonly performed on patients who are having trouble with excess fat and/or skin around the abdomen after weight loss or pregnancy. Aging and having certain body types can also lead to bodily changes which influence people in their decision to have this surgery.
Dos: What to do before your tummy tuck
- Make sure you have a strong support system: Having family and friends who can take care of you is vital as abdominoplasty requires a substantial recovery period.
- Stay in contact with your doctor: Before the procedure your cosmetic surgeon will ask you about any relevant health information and lifestyle habits in order to establish the best course of action. After the operation, you should contact your surgeon if you experience pain in your torso or have any concerns or doubts.
- Maintain a healthy diet: It is recommended that patients begin a high protein diet at least a month before the procedure, and continue it for a few weeks after the surgery with the guidance of a nutritionist.
- Pay close attention to your health: Discuss any health issues that appear before your surgery including colds, infections or boils.
- Refrain from smoking: The use of tobacco can impede healing and increase the possibility of surgical complications.
- Maintain a stable weight: If you’ve been following a crash diet or any other drastic weight loss measure, you should stop for as long as possible before the procedure.
- Avoid alcohol for at least a week prior to surgery: Alcohol can alter the effects of anaesthesia and affect blood clotting, so it’s important to refrain from drinking before and a few weeks after surgery.
- Avoid herbal medications, supplements, detox teas and diet pills: They interfere with the blood clotting process and can also negatively effect blood pressure.
- Avoid anti-inflammatory medication: Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil and similar medications increase bleeding, so should be avoided, particularly post-surgery.
If you are taking any medication, consult your doctor on whether it is safe to continue taking it during the surgery process.
When should you avoid an abdominoplasty?
Women who hope to have children should postpone tummy tuck until they have finished bearing children. The abdominal muscles are tightened during abdominoplasty and pregnancy can cause them to loosen and separate.
How is an abdominoplasty done?
This surgery is performed under general anaesthetic and usually takes between one and five hours. If you are having the procedure at a hospital far away from where you live, you might want to stay at a hotel overnight. If you do decide to go home, its important that you have someone to drive you home and stay with you for at least the first night post-surgery.
The three main types of abdominoplasty are:
- Complete abdominoplasty: The most comprehensive of abdominoplasty procedures, this is performed by the surgeon making the incision at the waist line and cutting, shaping and manipulating the skin, fat and muscle as required. The length of the scar is determined by how much extra skin there is to cut away, while another incision is made around the belly button in order to detach it from nearby tissue. In some cases, drainage tubes are inserted under the skin and removed after a few days.
- Partial or Mini-abdominoplasty: This type of tummy tuck takes up to two hours and is usually performed on patients with less extra skin to be removed, which means they can be done with shorter incisions. The skin is separated between the incision line and the belly button, which usually remains unmoved.
- Circumferential abdominoplasty: This option is for those with unwanted fat on the back as well as the stomach. This procedure can be performed as either a complete or a partial tummy tuck and aims to improve the bodily profile from all angles. Your surgeon may recommend that your wear an elastic bandage or something similar after surgery. They will also tell you the optimum way to sit and lie down with as little pain as possible.
Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck procedure?
Tummy tuck is generally only recommended for those who:
- Have no underlying health conditions
- Are at a stable weight (with excess skin)
Most surgeons will not perform a tummy tuck on:
- Smokers: Nicotine narrows blood vessels, reducing blood flow, so smoking must be avoided for at least six weeks before surgery and during the recovery period.
- Patients with a high BMI: Having a body mass index (BMI) of over 30 increases the risk of complications from surgery.
Many patients ask whether it is necessary to lose wight before surgery. While there is no definitive answer to this, you should be within 10-15 pounds of your ideal weight. Patients can expect to lose a small amount of weight during the procedure.
Click here for part two of this article series, where Mr Siddiqui discusses the risks, rewards and recovery process to consider before undergoing this operation.
You can request an appointment with Mr Siddiqui by visiting his Top Doctors profile and requesting an appointment.