Tummy tuck surgery, also called abdominoplasty, is a procedure that our clients ask about frequently. The abdomen is an incredibly common problem area — it is prone to holding on to stubborn fat, and the skin in the area can become stretched with weight fluctuations or pregnancy. What’s more, it’s a very visible part of the body. If you don’t like the appearance of your stomach, you’ll probably avoid wearing two-piece swimsuits, fitted tops or low-cut bottoms. If you’re frustrated from feeling this way about your appearance, you might be wondering what it would be like to have a tummy tuck. At Dr. Clayman’s Plastic Surgery Center and Miracle Spa, we’re here to help — not only can we help you understand more about what happens when you have a tummy tuck, but our surgeons will also meet with you in person and help you find out which cosmetic treatment will be able to help you reach your goal and feel your best.
Is a Tummy Tuck Right for Me?
The best way to know with certainty if a tummy tuck is right for you is by scheduling a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area. The consultation is an essential part of the tummy tuck process — during this face-to-face appointment, you’ll discuss your concerns and your goals with your surgeon. Then, they will offer their expert opinion and suggestions to help you understand what your results might be like. This meeting helps your surgeon determine if you are a good candidate for a tummy tuck, or whether a different option might make more sense for you.
There are a few key factors that will tell a surgeon whether a tummy tuck is right for you. First, you must have the right set of concerns. A tummy tuck can help with:
- Stubborn belly fat that hasn’t responded to diet and exercise
- Loose or extra skin left after drastic weight loss or pregnancy
- Weakened, separated abdominal muscles as a result of weight loss or pregnancy
You must also be realistic and have the right expectations for the surgery. A tummy tuck cannot help you lose weight — it can’t safely address a large amount of body fat, or internal fat that isn’t located on the outside abdomen. It’s best for people who have already gotten close to their goal weight through diet and exercise, but have found that a fitness routine can’t help with the last few fat deposits or extra skin.
And finally, you must be healthy enough to undergo the procedure and recovery process. Surgeons typically require that patients:
- Are at a healthy BMI
- Are non-smokers
- Do not have a history of excessive bleeding or blood clotting
Your surgeon will be sure to cover these topics during your consultation. After this first step in the process of undergoing abdominoplasty, you can move forward with the preparations for your surgery.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Despite its friendly nickname, a tummy tuck is a relatively intensive plastic surgery. While it is entirely safe when performed by the expert hands of a board-certified plastic surgeon, it does require anesthesia and can last between one and five hours. The anesthesia will ensure you are kept comfortable and unaware throughout the procedure, and your surgeon will make sure you are not experiencing any adverse side effects before releasing you to return home.
During the surgery, your provider will make a careful incision from hip to hip, between your lower belly and your pubic area — the resulting scar is typically hidden by undergarments or swimsuits. The incision allows your surgeon to access the muscles and tissues of your abdomen. They can use liposuction to remove excess fat and can reposition your abdominal muscles and suture them into place. Then, they will cut away any extra sagging skin, and use small sutures to close the incision with your skin lying flatter over your stomach.
Once your surgery is complete, you will be moved to a recovery room until you have awakened from your anesthesia and are cleared to return home. You’ll need a trusted friend or family member to take care of any last paperwork or recovery instructions from your surgeon and to drive you home.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
Tummy tuck recovery times vary depending on each patient’s health and surgery. However, the typical tummy tuck client will feel back to normal after about six weeks, with results that continue to improve until about six months post-op. Patients with sedentary jobs may be able to return to work in as little as a few weeks, but strenuous work or exercise should be avoided until your surgeon determines you are ready.
You will likely feel tired, swollen and sore during the first stage of your recovery. There are many things you can do to help alleviate the discomfort of recovery, many of which your surgeon will be sure to suggest. Some of the most important tactics to keep you healthy and comfortable are:
- Take pain medications according to your surgeon’s instructions
- Stay hydrated and avoid salty foods to keep swelling down
- Wear your compression garment
- Use cold compresses
- Avoid activities that might cause overuse of or injury to your abdomen
- Take short walks between periods of rest to promote blood flow
- Change dressings or bandages as directed
The best thing you can do during your recovery is to listen to your surgeon and to your body. Dr. Mark Clayman and Dr. Loren Clayman at Dr. Clayman’s Plastic Surgery Center and Miracle Spa have performed hundreds of tummy tucks and have been there for their clients during the recovery stage. They know what to expect and the best ways to ensure that you heal quickly — following their guidelines carefully plays an important part in a smooth recovery. In addition, your body will tell you if something is wrong. Get rest, take breaks and ask for help when you need it; and always contact our staff if you are unsure if what you are feeling is normal.
When the healing process is complete, you’ll be able to enjoy your new, flatter stomach. This is what really happens when you have a tummy tuck — you can achieve a body that you love and feel more confident in your appearance every day. If you are interested in starting the tummy tuck process in Jacksonville, Florida, contact Dr. Clayman’s Plastic Surgery Center and Miracle Spa. Our staff can help you schedule your consultation with Dr. Mark or Loren Clayman and take your first step toward a new you. Call us today at 904-388-6110.