A tummy tuck is a form of cosmetic surgery where excess fat and skin is removed from the lower and middle abdomen to make your tummy firmer. The need for a tummy tuck (abdoplasty surgery) operations often stems from pregnancy. The stretched tummy muscles, extra fat and skin that normally lies below your belly button, is often complicated by stretch marks and an “apron” falling over a Caesarean section scar. This, along with loss of waist and fatty “love handles”, can be mended in a few ways.
The first consideration is whether you plan on having more children in which case you are limited to liposuction only. The reason for this is that a tight tummy leaves little room for baby to grow, possibly resulting in early labour, thus making a tummy tuck less desirable. The second factor is how much extra fat and skin you have. Other factors including skin characteristics, length of waist, age, scarring profile, nicotine addiction, medical problems and your preferences. A full tummy tuck/abdominoplasty tightens any muscles separated by pregnancy, cuts out all fat and skin below your belly button, and tries to limit scars to below the panty line and around the belly button.
The cuts for liposuction are five millimete slits through the skin to be able to pass a canula. A full tummy tuck has a cut like a Caesarean section, but lower and wider which is accompanied by a cut around your belly button. Many variations between these two exist depending on your particular needs.
The recovery for liposculpture is uncomfortable with a feeling of heaviness rather than much pain. With a full tummy tuck, the pain of the skin is minimal, with a numb lower tummy rather being the norm. The main discomfort is in the tightened tummy muscles which is alleviated by pain medications. The biggest inconveniences are the drains… these are unfortunately necessary. Your tummy muscles are tightened up and may remain tender when flexed, for up to a few months. You should expect about two weeks off to recover. Driving is not recommended during the early recovery stage. Walking and daily activities, however, are encouraged.
A tummy tuck has the same possible adverse outcomes as any other cosmetic surgery. These include infections, bleeding or later seromas, skin loss after too much tension and bad scarring - often worsened by smoking. Wound management protocols are available and these make a considerable difference if followed.
Your most important decision is where to get a tummy tuck and your choice of plastic surgeon. Check qualifications as many “cosmetic surgeons” may have no training. The accepted qualification is that of a plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
Becoming informed will help you and the doctor decide which procedure you should undergo. Ensure that you are clear on the possible complications and adverse outcomes.
The cost of tummy tuck procedures in SA vary and are priced according to the needs of the patient and the type of surgery. To view my prices, click here.
The fat cells that are cut or sucked away during a procedure for a tummy tuck do not return. It’s up to you, however, to adopt a new healthy lifestyle to retain your great new shape.