If you’re reading this right now, chances are you have similar goals to the 150,000+ people each year who have tummy tuck surgery to achieve a smoother, flatter abdomen—and a boost in self-confidence. Chances are you’re also determined to learn as much about the procedure as possible. Good for you! We encourage patients to educate themselves about plastic surgery, as informed patients are more likely to be satisfied with the procedures they choose.
If you’re curious to know more about tummy tucks than the typical Google search provides, read on. We’ve gathered up a few lesser-known, yet quite interesting, facts about tummy tuck surgery that may prove helpful in your decision-making process.
1. Tummy Tucks Are Not Just Cosmetic
You know that a tummy tuck can give you a firmer, flatter abdomen, but did you know that this tummy-toning procedure can actually help correct a painful condition called “diastasis recti”? This happens when the two muscles that run lengthwise down the abdomen, which are normally held tightly together by connective tissue, stretch apart to the point where they leave a noticeable separation down the middle.
This occurs most frequently post-pregnancy, but can also occur in men or women after significant weight loss. In more severe cases, this gap between the two muscles is not just unsightly, but also very uncomfortable. With only a thin layer of connective tissue encasing the abdomen, rather than a strong muscle wall, patients can experience debilitating back pain or hernias and find exercise very painful. A tummy tuck can repair diastasis recti by tightening the abdominal muscles and bringing them back into a normal position with sutures, thus removing the gap and restoring a firmer, flatter condition to the muscles.
2. Drains Can Be Your Best Friend
Yes, we said drains. It is common after a tummy tuck to go home with one or two sterile pouches connected to your incision site via a thin tube. While certainly not glamorous, drains serve an important role in facilitating the healing process. Let us explain.
During a tummy tuck, the muscles are separated from the overlying tissue layers so they can be redraped to a more appealing position. While your body will adjust to its new shape after a tummy tuck, it will retain fluid to temporarily fill any space between the abdominal muscles and the overlying tissues as they heal into place. This is a natural process, but left unchecked, fluid buildup can result in significant swelling that can strain healing incisions, cause discomfort, and impact your results.
Drains help to get rid of this excess fluid rather than forcing your body to deal with it slowly (and uncomfortably) on its own. While it may be a stretch to claim that you will like having drains, they’ll not only help you feel better but also heal faster. Drains are removed non-surgically during an office appointment about one to two weeks after a tummy tuck procedure.
3. It’s Safe to Get Pregnant After a Tummy Tuck
It’s a common misconception that once you’ve had a tummy tuck, pregnancy is too risky to consider. While we do advise our Eugene tummy tuck patients to wait until after they are finished having children before having the procedure, it has nothing to do with safety. The truth is that the body is remarkably adaptable and even surgically tightened muscles will expand normally to accommodate a growing fetus without causing harm to you or the baby.
That said, hormonal changes as well as the re-stretching of muscles and skin can leave you with the same issues that led you to get a tummy tuck in the first place. At this point, a second procedure may be necessary to once again achieve a firm, flat abdomen. The bottom line? It’s ideal to finish growing your family first, but if you do find out you are pregnant after you have had a tummy tuck, don’t worry.
4. The Earliest Tummy Tuck Patients Ended Up Without a Belly Button
The first tummy tucks were performed in the 1890s, but even at this early date, the procedure was a relative newcomer to the plastic surgery world (humans have been getting plastic surgery since well before the days of the Roman Empire). In fact, the tummy tuck as a cosmetic procedure developed by accident. Surgeons who performed umbilical hernia repairs to correct a protruding belly button would often remove excess skin and fat as part of the procedure, leaving patients with smoother abdomens and shapelier silhouettes—a rather nice side effect!
It was not long before plastic surgeons began using similar techniques for mainly cosmetic purposes, but the original technique involved a long vertical incision that took with it a patient’s belly button.Thankfully, plastic surgeons have continually improved abdominoplasty techniques and today you can expect naturally pleasing results with a scar that is easily hidden beneath a bikini bottom (and your belly button firmly in place!).
Interested in learning even more about tummy tuck surgery? Please contact us! Dr. Movassaghi and our staff will be happy to answer your questions and go over all the things you should know about abdominoplasty at a personal consultation.