Some people can struggle to get the extra fat off of their stomachs. When exercise and eating right hasn’t helped as much, you may decide that you want to get a tummy tuck to remove the extra fat. When undergoing tummy tuck surgery, your abdominal area is tightened, and excess skin is removed. The surgery is designed to give you a flatter and firmer stomach. There are a few things you should keep in mind before you decide to get the surgery. Here’s what you need to know about getting a tummy tuck.
- Your weight won’t decrease.
A tummy tuck isn’t a weight loss procedure. In fact, after a tummy tuck surgery, most patients will notice that the weight scale will go up after the first few weeks. The weight elevating is due to the inflammation and swelling, which causes your body to retain more water than it normally does. You should be aware that the swelling will take four to six weeks to go down significantly, and as a result, the scale will come back down to your regular weight. Additionally, the clothes you’ve been wearing prior to surgery will probably feel tighter on you because of the swelling. It’s important to be patient, because the swelling may not completely dissipate for up to six months.
- You won’t be able to stand for a while.
You’ll have multiple sutures inside of you that will be holding together the new configuration of your abdominal area. As a result of the skin being pulled tight, it will cause discomfort if you try to stand completely upright. You’ll have to be bent over for about a week or two until the skin begins to relax. Once the skin is relaxed, you should be able to stand up more again. Be aware that you’ll have a little bit of soreness in your lower back due to being bent over and spending time in bed for a few weeks. Some patients use a cane or walker during the first week to take the pressure off of their back when walking. An ideal position for you to rest in is a beach chair position. Your back should be elevated, and your hips should be flexed by placing some pillows under your knees. Feel free to use common over the counter products that can be applied to the lower back to help soothe it.
- Expect some level of pain.
It’s not unusual to experience pain in the first seven to ten days after tummy tuck surgery. Your plastic surgeon will likely prescribe you with muscle relaxants and narcotic pain medications. When you take narcotic pain medications, you’ll feel a little “out of it,” and you’ll also experience some constipation. It may be necessary to take a stool softener to avoid straining to go to the bathroom since your ab muscles will be very sore. Take your pain medication as directed by your doctor, and make sure to take it with food to avoid an upset stomach.
- Have someone ready to help you.
Since you won’t be able to stand around much the first few weeks, you’ll need someone to help you with almost everything. Among the tasks you’ll need help with include getting in and out of bed, getting washed, getting dressed, and preparing meals. As much as you may want to get back to doing your normal routine, your body needs time to recover. It’s important to relax and take it easy for a while. You should also have someone available to help assist your kids or pets with anything as well. You won’t be able to drive while you’re taking prescription pain medications, so be sure to have someone available to drive you to your appointments.
- The first shower will be difficult.
After your tummy tuck surgery, you’ll have to wait about three days before you can shower again. After the three days, as you’re taking a shower, it will be difficult for you to reach certain areas of your body due to the soreness and tightness. There are a few tips you can keep in mind to make your shower easier. Place all of your shower items and toiletries in easy to reach places before your surgery. You can buy a shower stool to sit on during your shower. You can also have a cold drink with electrolytes nearby to sip on if you feel light-headed at any point. Once you’re done showering, it’s important to get back into your abdominal binder as soon as possible to keep the swelling down.
- Be ready for emotional low points.
A tummy tuck can be a difficult process to get through. It’s because of how difficult it is that you’ll likely experience some emotional low points throughout your recovery. You may feel depressed, unattractive, or frustrated with the healing process. These emotions aren’t uncommon for most tummy tuck patients, and they’re usually temporary. Make sure your relatives or caregivers know not to take the things you say too personally during this time, and to continue to be encouraging. You can also connect with other tummy tuck patients on online forums or support groups to receive more support.
- Expect lots of swelling.
As mentioned earlier, there will be swelling after your tummy tuck surgery. The first three to five days are usually the worst of the swelling. After that time period, it slowly begins to subside. As it’s subsiding, you’ll also start feeling a sensation of itching as the nerves in the area begin working again. There are some tips you can follow to help keep the swelling down. You should keep your compression on as much as possible to reduce the swelling. You should also drink plenty of water, as it can help reduce swelling and also help your body to heal. In addition, drink a protein shake one to two times a day. The protein will help pull water from the skin into the circulation and allow for it to be excreted. Lastly, when you’re able to stand, take short walks to improve your overall circulation.
- Insurance may not cover it.
A tummy tuck surgery is considered a cosmetic procedure. As a result of it being a cosmetic procedure, it likely won’t be covered by your insurance. If the surgery helps solve a medical problem, such as a hernia repair or excess skin from massive weight loss, your insurance may cover a small portion of the surgery. In addition to the cost of the surgery, you’ll also be responsible for the cost of the prescription and other post-op and pre-op medical supplies. It’s important to have a clear understanding of how much the surgery will cost you, so you can make a decision that works best for your finances.
- Your plastic surgeon may suggest doing liposuction, too.
Some surgeons suggest having liposuction with your tummy tuck surgery to help sculpt your love handles and your waist. When your skin from your upper abdomen gets pulled down, it may result in an unnatural bulge on your hips or a lack of definition. Nonetheless, it’s a separate procedure from a tummy tuck, which means it’s important to weigh the added risks, costs, and recovery time involved. In addition to liposuction, your doctor may also discuss the possibility of getting a Panniculectomy or Bariatric surgery. Panniculectomy is a surgery that involves removing excess skin from the abdomen without any surgical intervention to muscle or fat. Bariatric surgery is a weight loss procedure where the digestive system is surgically restructured to prevent the absorption of excess calories or overeating. This particular surgery is usually done more for preventing the medical complications of obesity, rather than for cosmetic reasons.
Best candidates for tummy tucks
A tummy tuck can be a suitable procedure for both women and men that are in good health. It can be useful for women who’ve had multiple pregnancies through having their abdominal muscles tightened and reducing the skin that was stretched out during pregnancy. Men and women who were once obese can also be good candidates for the surgery, as it can help reduce loose skin or excess fat deposits around the stomach.
Women who plan to have kids will likely be encouraged to postpone the surgery until they’re done having children. Future pregnancies can potentially separate the vertical muscles that were tightened during tummy tuck surgery. Additionally, it’s not ideal for people who are planning to lose a significant amount of weight. Tummy tucks should be considered a last resort after trying all other solutions to remove belly fat, and it isn’t meant to be an alternative to weight loss.
A tummy tuck surgery can be a challenging process. Despite the challenges, it’s a helpful procedure for eliminating excess fat from the stomach, and making the abdomen look more toned and slim. If you’re interested in learning more information about tummy tucks, you can read more about the surgery at this link: https://lexingtonps.com/tummy-tuck/.