It’s no secret that many people desire flat and firm abs, and it’s definitely not a secret that toning your stomach can be quite the challenge after your teenage years. While some people flatten their abs and tone their stomachs with diets and exercise, some people cannot achieve the results they desire through diets and exercise. Even people of average weight wish to have a more appealing stomach because their abdomen protrudes or just has a loose and saggy look to it. Stomachs can have excessive fat and excessive skin for quite a few reasons, like aging, hereditary causes, pregnancy, prior surgeries, or even just significant weight fluctuations in the past.
In the case that someone desires flat and tightened abs, but might not be able to do so with sit ups and salads, there might be another option – a tummy tuck. The tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a plastic surgical procedure that removes most of the excess fat and excess skin. A tummy tuck will also remove the weakened and separated muscles in the abdomen area, providing the patient with a much smoother and firmer look for their stomach. Not surprisingly, tummy tucks were one of the most popular plastic surgeries for both men and women. So, for all those who wish they had well-toned abs but struggle to get them, here’s how a tummy tuck works.
How a Tummy Tuck Works:
Depending on whether it is a complete abdominoplasty or a partial one, the surgery usually takes about 1-5 hours or 1-2 hours, respectively. Some patients might have to stay overnight at the hospital, while some may be able to leave later that day. In either case, however, it is important that patients bring someone along with them as they cannot drive home from the hospital, and they should also remain under supervision for 24 hours in case of any severe complications such as blood clotting.
Step 1 – The doctor provides a patient with something to ensure comfort during the surgery. Depending on certain factors, such as allergies and prices, the patient is usually either given intravenous sedation or anesthesia.
Step 2 – The doctor will make a horizontally-placed incision somewhere between the pubic hairline and the belly button area. Although a complete abdominoplasty involves an incision from hip to hip, the specific size and shape of the incision depends on the exact amount of excess skin that the patient has and how much work is being done under the skin. Patients can also undergo a partial abdominoplasty or an extended one, which involves a shorter or longer incision, respectively. In the case of complete abdominoplasty (and extended), the doctor will make another incision to free the navel from the skin surrounding the belly button.
Step 3 – Once the incision is made, and the skin is lifted, the doctor repairs any weakened or separated muscles. In most cases, the doctors tighten the muscles with sutures. Depending on whether the patient is undergoing a complete tummy tuck, or a partial tummy tuck (a “mini” tuck), the doctor will repair different portions of the weakened and separated muscles. In addition to the muscle repair, liposuction is usually used to refine and better contour the transition areas in the stomach’s profile. The liposuction helps remove the excess fat that’s contributing to the patient’s loose and saggy stomach.
Step 4 – After the muscle is repaired and any excess fat is removed, the doctor pulls the upper skin down as if it were a window shade until the skin reaches a tight, fitting form. At this point any excess skin can be trimmed and then the remaining skin can be sutured using skin adhesive, stitches, tapes, clips, etc. If the patient is undergoing a complete tummy tuck, then the belly button will be popped through to the surface after the skin is reconfigured.
Other Things to Consider:
A tummy tuck procedure begins well before the actual surgery, and it’s important to prepare properly for the surgery. While each and every patient will have their own specific preparation requirements provided by their doctor, here are some of the common instructions: patients must quit smoking for at least two weeks before the procedure as it severely affects their healing abilities, patients must eat a whole and balanced diet for the two weeks leading up to the surgery, and patients must report any medicines they take leading up to the surgery. Always remember to follow any preparation instructions very carefully because if not, they can have significant and negative effects on the surgery.
On the other end, after the procedure, there are also very important instructions to follow. Again, the doctor will provide each patient with specific instructions to follow to ensure the best recovery for each patient and their specific needs, but there are common instructions among all patients. Patients may need to take some form of a pain relieving medicine, wear a compression garment to reduce swelling and bruising, and rest for up to four weeks following the surgery. Patients also need to avoid nicotine for a month after the surgery. It is absolutely crucial that patients listen to their doctor’s recovery instructions and keep in contact with a doctor in case of any complications.
Tummy tucks are generally very effective procedures with long term effects that can last forever as long as you maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. So, if you like your new flat, firm, and smooth stomach, then do not forget to follow any instructions carefully. Otherwise, enjoy those tight abs you have been waiting for!
Written by: Russell McBurnie