Most people strive towards a flat, well-toned abdomen with muscular outlines and contours. However, even individuals with normal body weight often struggle to achieve a flat tummy, despite their best efforts with exercise and balanced diets.

You may develop a protruding or sagging stomach because of genetic predisposition, pregnancy, aging, previous surgeries, and sudden weight fluctuations. In these cases, traditional weight loss efforts can’t always provide the desired aesthetic results.

An abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat tissues from the abdomen. The surgeon makes strategic incisions to trim away excess skin, remove unwanted fat, and restore the weakened abdominal muscles to create smoother and firmer abdominal contours.

This article provides an overview of the possibilities with a tummy tuck, preparatory guidelines, procedure steps, and the post-treatment recovery process.

What can (or can’t) a tummy tuck achieve?

A tummy tuck is a body contouring procedure suitable for individuals close to their ideal body weight. As such, an abdominoplasty can’t help you if you’re overweight or obese.

A tummy tuck trims excess skin, removes excess subcutaneous fat tissues, and strengthens the underlying muscles. With these three steps, you achieve the ideal skin-fat-muscle proportions for well-toned and defined abdominals. However, this procedure can only remove a small volume of subcutaneous fat tissues, so it’s not a substitute for a weight loss procedure or exercise.

The positive results of the procedure can be undone through sudden weight fluctuations and pregnancy. As such, you should only proceed with this treatment if you don’t anticipate future pregnancies or sudden weight loss.

How should I prepare for abdominoplasty?

Your plastic surgeon will provide a comprehensive list of preparatory steps during your appointment. You should schedule your appointment a few weeks before the procedure, so you have enough time to prepare.

Furthermore, you must be completely honest and transparent with your doctor about your lifestyle, drug usage, medications, and other necessary details. This will help them recommend the ideal preparatory guidelines to minimize risks and side effects.

The following is an overview of some of the most common preparatory guidelines:

  • Undergo thorough medical examination and testing.
  • Stop taking anti-inflammatory medications and herbal supplements before the procedure.
  • Stop smoking a few weeks before the procedure.
  • Stop consuming alcohol a few days before the procedure.
  • Arrange to have someone help around the house after the procedure.

What are the steps involved in abdominoplasty?

Your abdominoplasty will be designed according to your specific goals and needs. The plastic surgeon will discuss the steps involved in the procedure during the consultation, so you’ll have complete clarity.

The following are the steps involved in a typical tummy tuck:

  • Anesthesia: The surgeon will perform the procedure under general anesthesia.
  • Incisions: The surgeon will make a horizontal incision in the area below the belly button, but the size and style of the incision will depend on the amount of excision necessary.
  • Excision: The surgeon will lift the abdominal skin, trim away excess skin, and repair the underlying abdominal muscles. In some cases, another incision will be made on the upper abdomen to remove excess skin.
  • Closing: Finally, the incisions will be closed with dissolvable sutures, clips, or tapes.

What’s the recovery process like after abdominoplasty?

You might experience moderate levels of pain and discomfort after the procedure, but we can alleviate that with over-the-counter pain medications. You’ll have to wear an abdominal compression garment for 3 weeks to promote recovery and healing.

Most patients can resume walking and light activities soon after the procedure, but you should avoid bending over or lifting heavy objects. You should also avoid work for 2 to 3 weeks. The complete recovery process may last for around 6 weeks, following which you can resume exercises and other activities.

You must always consult your plastic surgeon while increasing your activity levels.

A tummy tuck is a safe and effective means of achieving a firm, toned, and sculpted tummy, yielding results often unattainable with regular exercise and diets alone. However, you must select a reliable plastic surgeon with a proven track record to ensure optimal results and avoid the potential risks of surgeries.