A crispy shirt, a silk necktie, and a well-tailored suit, alas… but you cannot button it due to your bulging tummy! Your tummy could be the one reason why you are unable to fit into that sexy, black dress anymore! For many, the protruding tummy can spoil their look. The fat on the tummy, is a stubborn one, and may not melt away even on rigorous exercising and crash dieting.
For those who have tried all these and still struggle with the abdominal fat, abdominoplasty or tummy tuck may be a rescuer. It is a cosmetic procedure to help you attain a body that you desire for.
An abdominoplasty, commonly called tummy tuck, is a surgery that involves removing excess fat and skin from the abdominal region and tightening the muscles. As a result, the tummy appears flat and toned. The procedure also has been used to treat stretch marks on the abdomen after multiple deliveries or with significant weight loss or weight gain.
Although, the procedure helps to reshape the tummy, it is not an alternative for weight loss. If you do not maintain a healthy lifestyle following the surgery, you may gain the fat back.
Although, anyone who is healthy can opt for the surgery, the doctor takes the final call whether you are eligible. The decision to perform an abdominoplasty is based on certain factors, such as:
- History of multiple pregnancies, resulting in laxity of the abdominal muscles
- Abdominal fat unresponsive to diet and exercises
- Unsuccessful liposuction (a procedure wherein the excess fat is removed using a syringe)
- Body Mass Index (BMI) less than 40
- In addition, you should not have chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases, etc. which can interfere with the surgery.
PREPARATION BEFORE PROCEDURE
Tummy tuck is a major surgery, so, like any other surgery, it requires patient preparation well in advance.Understanding the benefits and risks of the surgery would help you in preparing yourself mentally.During your first visit, your doctor may take some photos of your abdomen (with due permission) to file in your medical record for future comparisons.
The following tips on preparation may help make your tummy tuck uneventful:
- Quit smoking to promote healing and reduce the risk for complications.
- Have a healthy and well-balanced diet.
- Inform your doctor about all the medications you are taking. These include prescription and herbal drugs.
- Follow the doctor’s advice on the medications that need to be discontinued before the surgery.
- Inform your doctor if you have history of any allergies with any medications.
- Arrange for icepacks, petroleum jelly, and comfortable loose clothing.
- On the night before the surgery, you are not allowed to eat or drink anything. The surgery requires you to fast overnight. Arrangefor someone to accompany you on the day of surgery.
The surgery is classified into three types, based on the extent of fat removal:
- Complete abdominoplasty involves giving an incision on the abdomen from one side of the hip bone to the other side. The excess fat is removed, and the muscles and skin are reshaped and sutured in place; the belly button may need to be moved to the right place.
- Partial abdominoplasty is appropriate for patients who have fat deposits in the area below the navel. It is a relatively short procedure and can be completed in an hour or two.
- Extended or high lateral tension abdominoplasty is a combination of complete abdominoplasty and a lateral thigh lift.
The tummy tuck is performed under general anesthesia. Once the anesthesia sets in, an incision is made on the abdomen from the hip bone on one side to the other side, and the excess fat and skin between the naval region and pubic hair is removed. The connective tissue overlying the abdominal muscles is tightened with sutures.The navel is then repositioned on the correct place on the ‘new’ abdomen. The incision between the hip bones is stitched togetherand covered with a surgical dressing. The surgery usually lasts between 1 to 5 hours.
Based on your recovery, you may have to stay the night at the hospital. You may have a drainage tube placed beneath the skin to help remove the fluid accumulated beneath your skin around the incision site.The operated area is closed with a firm, elastic bandage to promote healing.
As with other surgeries, there is a minor risk of infections, bleeding, and clot formation. You may be prescribed medication to relive pain and swelling. You may have soreness for a few weeks post-surgery.
The surgical incision heals with a scar, which usually fades away gradually. You may experience a diminished sensation on the abdominal area for a few months.
Following the instructions given by your doctors may help you to heal faster.
- You may be at risk of clot formation due to the surgery; starting to walk on the same day may lower the risk.
- You may find that bending forwards while walking prevents tension on the abdominal sutures; you should maintain this kind of posture for nearly a week, to give the sutures enough time to heal. Sleeping with your hips flexed also helps to relieve tensions in the future.
- Smoking is prohibited for a few weeks following the surgery, as it can reduce the blood flow to the operated area and lead to skin damage and poor healing.
- You should not engage in strenuous activities for at least 6 weeks after the surgery.
The surgery results may be long-lasting if coupled with healthy diet and exercise.
FACTORS AFFECTING COST
The cost of tummy tuck surgery is based on the type. In India, the cost of tummy tuck is relatively inexpensive than the other countries