Abdominoplasty, known colloquially as a tummy tuck, is one of the most commonly requested cosmetic procedures. The scope of this procedure is tailored to the individual’s unique needs, but it always involves improving the appearance of the abdominal region. Today, our aesthetic experts at Murphy Plastic Surgery in Englewood, CO are discussing what exactly this procedure can do and who it may be right for.
What Does a Tummy Tuck Do?
Depending on the scope of the abdominoplasty, it can be used to tighten loose abdominal skin, remove excess skin, excise a small amount of fat, and improve the appearance and functionality of the abdominal muscles. Here’s a closer look at what this procedure can do for you.
Tighten Loose Abdominal Skin
One of the most commonly sought benefits of this procedure is the tightening of loose abdominal skin. If you are only concerned about the appearance of your lower abdomen, a mini tuck may be the most appropriate procedure because it only affects your abdomen below your navel.
The smaller scope of the mini tummy tuck is advantageous if you are happy with your upper abdomen because you will require less anesthesia and the procedure will be completed faster. If you are concerned about loose abdominal skin below and above the navel, a full tuck may be a better fit for you.
Tighten Loose Abdominal Muscles
A full tuck can be used to tighten loose abdominal muscles. However, tightening your abdominal muscles comes with many more benefits than a more toned physique. Often, people seek this procedure because they have suffered from a ventral hernia. In other words, their intestine or other tissue has protruded through their abdominal wall. Unfortunately, one of the risk factors for developing a ventral hernia is a history of ventral hernias.
When you get abdominoplasty after a ventral hernia, you’re not just repairing the ventral hernia. You’re also strengthening the abdominal muscles, mitigating your risk of developing another ventral hernia in the future. Also, this procedure is commonly sought when the abdominal muscles are damaged while giving birth.
Remove a Bit of Excess Fat
Abdominoplasty is also used to excise a small amount of excess fat. You may still be considered a good candidate for this procedure if you are concerned about quite a bit of excess abdominal fat. However, you should understand that only a small amount of subcutaneous fat will be excised during the course of this procedure.
If you are concerned about a large amount of excess fat, you will need to receive liposuction in addition to your abdominoplasty. Note, the location of the excess fat deposits will help us determine whether a full tuck or mini tuck is a better fit for you. If you are not concerned about excess upper abdominal fat, a mini tuck will be the best fit for you.
Remove Excess Abdominal Skin
This procedure is also often used to remove excess abdominal skin. If you only have excess skin below your navel, a mini tuck will probably be the most appropriate procedure for you. On the other hand, you will probably prefer the results of a full tuck if you have excess lower and upper abdominal skin.
During your initial consultation, we will evaluate your abdominal region to determine whether your skin is only loose or you also have excess skin. We will also evaluate the severity of your concerns to ensure this procedure is right for you.
Is This Procedure Right for Me?
To determine whether a tummy tuck is right for you, you need to come in for an initial consultation. During this consultation, we will review your health history and talk about your current health to ensure you are currently healthy enough for abdominoplasty. If we find that you are healthy enough to receive this procedure, we will discuss your cosmetic and medical goals to verify that a full or mini tuck will benefit you. Here are signs you’ll be a good fit.
You Aren’t a Smoker
Nonsmokers make ideal candidates for this procedure because one of the most important preparation instructions for abdominoplasty is avoiding tobacco use for two weeks. People who smoke regularly often struggle with abstaining from nicotine for over a dozen days. Abdominoplasty will only be right for you if you can go 14 days without nicotine pre-op and 14 days without nicotine post-op.
You Only Drink Alcohol Occasionally
Just like you shouldn’t smoke within two weeks of your procedure, you should abstain from alcohol for 14 days prior to your abdominoplasty. There are several reasons for this. However, one of the most important reasons to avoid alcohol (and tobacco products) is that such consumption elevates your blood pressure.
It is also important to avoid drinking alcohol in the weeks leading up to your procedure because alcohol is a diuretic. In other words, it results in excessive urination which flushes out crucial hydration and micronutrients. If you are dehydrated or suffering from nutritional deficiencies before your procedure, your recovery will take longer than it should.
You Can Follow All Preparation Instructions
You must be able to follow all preparation instructions to qualify for this procedure. Besides not smoking and not drinking alcohol, it is very important that you refrain from taking NSAIDs for several days before your abdominoplasty. It is also very important that you are hydrated and well-nourished at the time of your procedure. However, you should be aware that you may need to fast before your procedure.
How to Fast to Prepare for Your Procedure
If you opt for general anesthesia to keep you comfortable during your abdominoplasty, you will need to fast during the eight hours leading up to your scheduled procedure. It is crucial that you do not eat in the eight hours pre-op because your stomach must be empty. Two hours before your procedure, you need to stop drinking even clear fluids.
You Have Realistic Expectations About the Recovery Period
To be considered a good candidate for this procedure, you need to have realistic expectations about the entire process, from preparing for your abdominoplasty to recovering and seeing your final results. You should understand that if you opt for a mini tuck, your recovery period will be shorter, but your abdominal muscles will not be affected. On the other hand, you will have a longer recovery period if you opt for a full tuck.
As a good general rule of thumb, you should expect to need between one and two weeks off from work to focus on your recovery. Also, you should expect to take six weeks off from intense physical activity.
How to Speed Up Your Recovery Process
To recover from this procedure as quickly as possible, you need to make resting your top priority. Depending on the type of anesthesia you receive to remain comfortable throughout the procedure, you may feel extremely groggy for one to three days post-op. Do not resist the urge to doze off if you find yourself too tired. Ideally, you will sleep soundly through at least one full sleep cycle.
It is during the REM phase of the sleep cycle that most healing occurs. However, you will not enter the REM phase of sleep until you have slumbered for 90 minutes. Also, it is important that you sleep for at least 7.5 hours nightly. While the first REM phase will only last approximately 10 minutes, the time you spend in the REM phase of sleep increases with each cycle. If you get closer to nine hours of sleep, your final REM phase will last for around an hour.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
A tummy tuck can be used to tighten loose abdominal skin, remove excess skin, excise a small amount of fat, and improve the appearance and functionality of the abdominal muscles. Typically, it is right for nonsmokers who only drink alcohol in moderation. However, you may still qualify for this procedure even if you are a smoker if you can follow all preparation instructions.
If you are in the Denver, CO area, we encourage you to reach out to us at Murphy Plastic Surgery in Englewood, CO to schedule your initial tummy tuck consultation. We will thoroughly discuss your health to ensure you are free from medical conditions that will preclude you from qualifying for this procedure. Then, we will evaluate your cosmetic and medical procedures to determine whether a mini or full tuck is right for you.