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5 Things To Consider Before Your Tummy Tuck


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by Dr. Steven Wallach

A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a surgical, aesthetic procedure that eliminates excess abdominal skin and fat and tightens the abdominal muscles. It improves the appearance and shape of the midsection and can address fat buildup and lax skin caused by pregnancy and childbirth, weight fluctuations, weak or separated muscles, or aging. If you’re unhappy with the appearance of your abdomen, you may want a tummy tuck. First, however, there are five things to consider before having this procedure:

1. You Won’t Be Able to Stand up Straight Right Away

Although this is a temporary condition, patients will need to maintain a “hunched at the hips” position after surgery. You should avoid standing up completely straight, because the tummy tuck tightens your abdominal muscles, removes excess skin, and pulls your remaining skin taut. You won’t be able to stand up straight for about one to two weeks while you heal.

2. You’ll Have Surgical Drains

A surgical drain is a small, plastic tube inserted at the incision site to help drain fluid after your operation. The tube leads to a small, fist-size bulb outside your body. This bulb needs to be emptied several times a day. If the fluid isn’t drained, the accumulated liquid might cause infection, pain, swelling, or fever. Additionally, without a drain, the pressure from fluid buildup could prevent the wound from properly healing. Typically, a surgeon removes it in seven to 10 days.

3. You’ll Have a Scar

Tummy tuck surgery creates a scar that extends from hip-to-hip, above your pubic bone. It has been described as having a “smile shape.” Although it will never fade completely, the scar will lose color over time until it becomes less conspicuous. Right after surgery, the scar will be bumpy and purple/red. Six months later, the scar will still be visible but will have significantly lost its red or brown color. When it heals, it will be much less obvious.

You’ll need to be patient: Although everyone heals differently, tummy tuck scars generally fade over a one to two year period.

4. A Tummy Tuck Isn’t for Weight Loss

There’s a prevalent fallacy that a tummy tuck is a weight loss procedure. However, it’s only for individuals who are at or close to the normal weight for their frame. It is designed for people who have loose, sagging abdominal skin or a bulging stomach. Although your tummy will be flatter and more slender after the surgery, the needle on your scale won’t move much.

5. It Takes Some Time for Swelling to Dissipate

Swelling after a tummy tuck takes a while to improve. You may also experience some fluid retention. Don’t be discouraged, because this is all a natural part of the recuperation process. After these symptoms resolve, your old clothes will fit better, and you can shop for new ones to display your rejuvenated physique!

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Are you tired of having a saggy abdomen that resists exercise, dieting, and healthy eating? Then consider a tummy tuck performed by Steven Wallach, MD FACS. Located in New York City, Dr. Wallach is a highly credentialed, board-certified plastic surgeon known for achieving beautiful results from tummy tuck procedures. Interested in learning more? Call today to schedule your consultation.

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