In Beverly Hills, where image is everything, more people than ever are improving their appearance with procedures such as abdominoplasty surgery, more commonly known by the name, tummy tuck. This is the plastic surgery procedure that rids your body of extra skin and fat around the abdominal area for a tauter, sexier look, when diet and exercise haven’t been enough. Instead, you’re left with flat, tight abs, as well as full confidence in your appearance. Could abdominoplasty surgery be the inside secret of fabulous-looking women in Beverly Hills?
Abdominoplasty surgery is especially popular with women after pregnancy, along with men and women who’ve lost significant amounts of weight. Whatever you prefer to call the operation and whatever your reasons, you should know the basics of abdominoplasty procedures before you venture down this path.
What Abdominoplasty Is — and Isn’t
First, let’s be clear: Abdominoplasty surgery is not liposuction, though the two procedures can be performed in concert with one another. Whereas liposuction is the removal of excess fat deposits, abdominoplasty primarily addresses abdominal muscles, tightening the abdominal wall and reducing a loose, saggy, protruding belly. A tummy tuck, despite its cute name, constitutes major surgery, and as with all elective procedures, it should be considered carefully by prospective patients.
Both men and women may cite several reasons for wanting abdominoplasty surgery. Patients who’ve substantial amounts of weight — typically, those who were formerly overweight — and still carry around loose skin are prime candidates for abdominoplasty. Women with stretched post-pregnancy skin often turn to abdominoplasty as well. In addition, heredity and aging may play into decisions on abdominoplasty.
Health Requirements and Risks
Of course, anyone considering abdominoplasty should consult with their doctors before undergoing the procedure. Even the aforementioned groups face significant caveats. If patients plan to lose even more weight, they should delay their plans for abdominoplasty. Additionally, women who want to have more children should not undergo abdominoplasty right away. Whether or not you fall into either of the above categories, you should know that abdominoplasty will incur pronounced permanent scarring, and if you’ve already had a tummy tuck, the results of subsequent abdominoplasty surgeries may be limited — yet more factors to take into account before you take the plunge.
Otherwise, abdominoplasty candidates should be physically healthy and at a balanced weight. It’s also important for potential patients to not smoke and to keep reasonable expectations. Remember: A tummy tuck is not a weight-loss procedure or a substitute for exercise. In fact, prominent weight gain after surgery may negate the effects of your surgery.
Generally, there are two kinds of tummy tucks: complete abdominoplasty and partial/mini abdominoplasty. Complete abdominoplasty requires an incision from hipbone to hipbone and is intended for patients requiring the most alteration. Patients undergoing partial/mini abdominoplasty will see smaller incisions, usually for fat deposits below the navel. Their procedures may take as little as two hours, depending on the patient’s health and physical state.
What to Expect from Abdominoplasty Surgery
Patients may be called upon to adopt certain habits before abdominoplasty surgery. Smoking is not allowed for a specific amount of time before the operation; some medications may be forbidden as well. The doctor will outline these terms in the pre-surgery consultation. Otherwise, patients are advised to eat healthy, well-balanced meals up to and following their surgery; a well-nourished body is paramount to proper healing.
The surgery itself may take place in a hospital, a medical office, or an independent ambulatory facility. For the procedure, you may be administered general anesthesia and sleep during the operation; alternatively, you may get local anesthesia and intravenous sedation. After surgery, you will be carefully monitored in a recovery area, and little drain tubes will be inserted inside the abdominal tissues to prevent the excess collection of fluids. The affected areas will also be dressed with gauze and other coverings to guard against infection. Some patients are allowed to go home after a few hours, while others may stay overnight.
It’s normal to feel pain and see swelling after the surgery; numbness, bruising, and exhaustion are expected too. However, other risks may arise, and they require extra appointments with the doctor. Though rare, infection, blood clots, nerve damage, fat necrosis, and hematoma are possible side effects of abdominoplasty surgery. If you have poor circulation, diabetes or heart, lung, or liver disease, the risk of complications could increase. In the above cases, your relationship with your plastic surgeon is especially valuable, as he or she will be the one to make sure your tummy tuck remains viable.
Recovery and results
After abdominoplasty surgery, patients are advised to be mindful of their physical activity. Short walks are recommended to promote blood circulation, and the doctor may advise patients to sleep on their back and to keep a pillow under their knees. Otherwise, strenuous physical activity — especially straining, bending, and lifting — is discouraged for at least six weeks, and some patients may be required to take a whole month off work. This is wholly dependent on your physical condition and will be determined by the doctor upon consultation.
It may be several weeks or months before the swelling subsides and you see the final results of your abdominoplasty surgery. Your incisions will also heal and fade with the passing of time, though the lines will remain. However, the scars can be concealed by most bathing suits and undergarments.
Overall, most patients are delighted with their new look after abdominoplasty, even as the emotional and physical changes settle in. Patients are strongly advised to monitor their diet and exercise to maintain their appearance. Abdominoplasty surgery requires a lot of work on both the doctor’s and the patient’s end — keep the big picture in mind to get the most out of your decision.
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Written by Uyen Phan