What is tummy tuck surgery?
A tummy tuck, technically known as an abdominoplasty, medically falls under the category of invasive surgery. It is a cosmetic plastic surgery procedure to reshape and firm the abdomen. It involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen in order to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. Abdominoplasty procedure can be a mini tummy tuck (less invasive) or tummy tuck (significant invasive incision).
This type of surgery is usually sought by women (who are not considering having anymore children) and individuals who have abdominal fat deposits and can not shed weight by dieting and exercise. Of course, risks, cost and affordability makes a scarless tummy tuck a procedure to think twice about before plungsing into the surgery.
The purpose of a tummy tuck is to remove and then tighten lose flesh that may be the result of rapid weight loss or pregnancy. It is not to be confused with liposuction, which involves the vacuuming of fat from between the skin and the abdominal wall. With a tummy tuck flesh as well as fat will be removed surgically from your body and many stitches are usually required to sew up the wound. Normally it is not considered to be outpatient surgery and you may require at least a week in a hospital bed. When well done, the procedure results in a scarless and contoured tummy.
The physical, psychological and financial issues associated with scarless tummy tuck surgery determine the suitability of a candidate for a tummy tuck. One should be well aware of the tummy tuck before and after the procedure.
It has never been so easy, like many popular television shows make you believe that getting a tummy tuck is as simple as getting your hair done or getting a crown replaced on a tooth. However, there are several important issues that ultimately determine if you are a good candidate for this type of surgery. The three major life issues that you need to consider before electing to have this type of cosmetic surgery are your physical health, your psychological health and your financial stability.
The first thing you need to assess is your own physical health. The best candidates for this operation are non-smokers who are in good health with no history of any kind of immune compromising disorder.
You are not a candidate for this type of invasive plastic surgery if:
- You are smoker. Many plastic surgeons simply will not operate on a smoker as the habit undermines the healing of bruises and stitches. If you are smoking, be prepared to quit at least a couple of weeks before surgery and don’t plan on smoking at all during your recovery period. Smoking can cause a potential fatal skin condition called necrosis (a condition in which flesh dies.)
- You have bronchitis, emphysema or asthma. Chronic breathing disorders can cause complications under general anesthesia that could result in the need for a tracheotomy or the vacuuming of excess fluid out of your lungs.
- You are allergic or have had a bad reaction to anesthesia. Either of these conditions may result in a flat out refusal to operate from a reputable plastic surgeon.
- You have a serious underlying disease. Individuals with AIDS, hemophilia, cancer and other life threatening disorders are not good candidates for a tummy tuck or any type of invasive surgery which could put the patient’s life even more at risk.
- You bleed easily. Your plastic surgeon usually bans certain medications two weeks before surgery. These include medications such as aspirin, antidepressants or serotonin supplements. These drugs can cause excessive bleeding.
Many individuals overlook the psychological issues that sometimes accompany the decision to have a tummy tuck. They are so eager to “take control” of their body that they cannot see how this decision may emotionally or mentally affect them in the future. The ideal candidate for a tummy tuck is one that has high self-esteem, a positive attitude and no history of depression or mental illness.
Psychologically you may not be ready for a tummy tuck if:
- You have a history of an eating disorder, obsessive-compulsive behavior, depression or addiction.
All of these disorders may be triggered by the sudden change in body image that is the consequence of the surgery. If you are not tolerant to pain then you may not be happy to hear that the pain and soreness from a tummy tuck can last as long as a year after the operation. This means that you may be prescribed a lot of painkillers that could put you at risk for addiction.
- You have unrealistic expectations of the surgery.
You should also realize that a tummy tuck will leave permanent scars. Not every one just bounces out to the beach wearing a bikini right afterwards. This is because it requires a deep incision and removal of flesh. If you don’t like the look of scars and lacerations on your belly then this procedure may not be for you.
- You are planning to have more children.
As a tummy tuck involves slicing into the abdominal wall the procedure makes pregnancy in the future next to impossible.
Finally, you need to consider whether or not you will be able to afford the tummy tuck not only in terms of money but also in terms of time. Recovery time is at least a month and in many cases up to three or four months. It is not that instant as the often aired tummy tuck stories suggest. Affordable tummy tuck is but in stories, you have spare time and money reasonably to achieve that scarless and contoured tummy.
Be aware too that a tummy tuck is generally an expensive procedure that is considered to be elective cosmetic surgery. This means it is not covered by most insurance plans.
If you can’t afford it, then a tummy tuck is not for you!
A tummy tuck is not to be taken lightly. Before you make the decision to invest in this expensive and invasive procedure make sure that your expectations are realistic, that you are in good mental and physical health and that you are in an employment situation that allows you to take time off work if necessary. In all cases innovative abdominoplasty procedures are not free of complications. So realistic expectations are essential before going for the procedure.