Having excess skin around your abdominal area is no fun. It disrupts a smooth silhouette and can keep the most confident of women from donning a bikini—or men from removing their shirt poolside. Instead of feeling held back by changes in your body after childbirth or weight loss, you might consider a tummy tuck (aka abdominoplasty). It can rid you of sagging stomach skin and help you fully reap all the rewards of a healthy lifestyle.
As with any surgical procedure, it’s important to gather all the data and to make an informed decision. In this post, we’ll list five critical tummy tuck facts we share with our Eugene tummy tuck patients before they book surgery.
1. You’ll need a designated helper as you heal
To achieve beautiful results, your surgeon will tighten both your skin and underlying muscles during tummy tuck surgery, and your body will need plenty of time to recoup from all of this reshaping. Following your procedure, you’ll spend a few weeks recovering, and your mobility will be limited for some time.
You will definitely need a consistent hand around the house for at least the first week; for example, you won’t be able to bend down or lift children. Choose a designated helper who is versatile enough to help you with recovery basics like creating healthy meals, taking care of kids or pets, and handling any other obligations.
Whether it’s your partner, a parent, or a friend, make sure they understand the ways you will be limited well in advance and do some planning together ahead of time. You can have them read your recovery rules, show them where all the basics are located (this may even apply to your spouse!), order a few weeks of meal kits you both like, and go over carpooling details. You can also make things as easy as possible for your helper by setting up your recovery space with everything you need at least a week before you have your procedure (that will give you time to shop for any items you don’t have on hand).
2. Long-lasting results require a commitment to a healthy lifestyle—but a tummy tuck can actually help
Tummy tuck surgery will most certainly give you a tighter, flatter belly, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be immune to the possibility of future sagging. If you experience any dramatic weight fluctuations, you risk stretching the skin again and potentially finding yourself back where you started. Because of this, we typically recommend tummy tuck surgery for those who are at a stable, maintainable weight and have a healthy lifestyle.
The good news is the energy spent to have and then recover from abdominoplasty plus the stellar results can be fantastic motivators. In addition, a 2013 study published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons showed that a majority of tummy tuck patients feel increased satiety when eating after having had abdominoplasty—and women who had a BMI of 24.5 or greater prior to having the procedure tended to lose additional weight and keep it off.
3. You’ll have a scar…but you’ll likely feel it’s worth it
While advanced techniques, scar care, and even post-procedure treatments can make a huge difference in resulting scars after cosmetic surgery, your plastic surgeon needs adequate access to achieve an optimal result. In fact, it’s impossible to perform a true tummy tuck without leaving a scar.
That being said, most patients are so thrilled with their results that they don’t mind the very thin “smile” line that can be easily hidden by underwear or swimsuit bottoms. Dr. Movassaghi keeps incisions as short as possible and closes them carefully using advanced suturing techniques to assist with healing.
During the recovery period, you can further ensure an attractive final result by following scar care instructions and never straining the area while the skin is healing.
4. Drains may sound unpleasant, but they help speed healing
Prospective patients who come in for a tummy tuck consultation often express that the drains are the part they’re worried most about—and while we understand the inconvenience and concern, post-tummy tuck drains make a huge difference in your healing and comfort.
Drains are placed to remove excess fluids that accumulate in the body, which in turn minimizes swelling and helps the body heal properly. Without drains, fluid accumulation can become quite uncomfortable and require extra doctor visits for draining.
We will be sure to explain to you and any post-op caregiver who will assist how to manage your drains well before you have surgery. Rest assured that the many happy tummy tuck patients we work with each year get through the process without a hitch and love their results in the end!
5. Tummy tuck recovery (and results) will take time
Expect to have little energy for at least a week following your surgery. You will experience redness, bruising, and swelling and feel somewhat “hungover” after anesthesia. While you will be encouraged to get up and walk around at intervals to encourage healthy blood flow, you will need rest and must avoid physical activities for a number of weeks.
Depending on your job, it’s best to plan a minimum of two weeks off to ensure you don’t strain your healing tissues and that you have time to rebuild your stamina. After about a month, most light activities should be comfortable, though you will need to avoid strenuous activity and exercise for up to 12 weeks after your procedure.
The fact that a tummy tuck involves reshaping multiple layers of tissue and muscle means it can take up to a year to see the final results of your tummy tuck. While your scar will still be noticeable at that mark, in a few year’s time it will become a faint reminder of the life-changing decision you made.
Should I have a tummy tuck?
We hope these points have been helpful to you as you consider the procedure. If you’re still wondering if a tummy tuck is a viable option for you, we welcome you to contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Movassaghi. He would love to sit down with you, walk through the process in greater detail, and answer your specific questions.