Tummy Tuck Surgery (Abdominoplasty) is one of the most common cosmetic procedures because it’s a fantastic way for new mom’s to get their pre-baby bodies back!
Check out this recent pic of beautiful Top Chef Hostess Padma Lakshmi. She looks as gorgeous as ever, but she’s sporting a new pouch on her tummy… definitely the by-product of her bouncing bundle of joy. Would a tummy tuck help Padma look better at her next red carpet event? Or on the beach in her bikini this summer? Absolutely!
Got a pouch that you would love to get rid of? Check out our Top 10 questions (and answers) about tummy tucks.
1. Can I have liposuction instead?
It depends. If your pouch came about after pregnancy, chances are that liposuction won’t do you any good. Liposuction takes away excess fat, but it doesn’t do anything for stretched out skin and split abdominal muscles (diastasis recti), which are the two most common problems after having a baby. And even if you are still a little fluffy after being preggers, the answer is not liposuction… it’s losing the baby weight 🙂
2. How long does the procedure take?
A standard tummy tuck takes about 2-3 hours depending on how much damage your little one did. It could take longer if you have any C-section hernias that need to be repaired at the same time.
3. What will the scar look like?
Most women have a faint white/pink scar after it’s completely healed, but it’s a long scar. It typically goes from one hip bone across the front of the abdomen to the other hip bone. A good surgeon will keep the scar low enough that it will usually be covered by your panties or bathing suit, so make sure you discuss this during your consultation. Having a tummy tuck is a trade-off… you will have a flat tummy for sure, but you will also have a permanent scar. There is no way to perform a tummy tuck without a scar, so don’t waste your time or energy researching “scarless” procedures. Liposuction is the only alternative that would give you a smaller scar, but if you’ve been pregnant, chances are that liposuction won’t give you the results you’re after.
4. How much does it hurt?
It depends on how extensive the procedure is. If you’ve only had one baby, your abdominal muscles may still be in the center of your tummy where they are supposed to be. If this is the case, your surgeon won’t have to repair them, and you’ll have a lot less pain. Most of the time, however, the abdominal muscles do get separated during pregnancy, so it’s usually a necessary part of the operation. The more stitches your surgeon has to use to repair your muscles, and the tighter he makes them, the more soreness you’ll have after the procedure. If he has to repair a hernia as well, there’s a chance that you may need to stay in the hospital overnight to get some of the really good pain medicine through an IV, but this situation is very rare. Usually, you’ll feel like you’ve had the toughest ab workout of your life, and you’ll be fine at home with a prescription for some good pain pills 😉
5. How long until I can stand up straight?
The first thing you’ll notice after your surgery is that your tummy feels too tight to stand up straight. You’ll have to walk around like a little old lady for about a week until everything stretches a little, so be patient and give it time. Don’t force yourself to stand up straight… let you body guide you. Some of you will be standing straight in 3 days, and other will take 10-14 days to walk tall again.
6. Will I have drains?
Unfortunately, yes. Drains are a necessary part of tummy tuck surgery. There are some newer techniques available that claim to obviate the need for drains, but for the most part these techniques are still experimental. Without drains, the extra fluid from the surgery will accumulate in your nice tight tummy, and your surgeon will have to poke you with a big needle to get it out. Fluid that collects like this is called a seroma, and it’s a real nuisance to deal with if it happens. Drains usually stay in for 1-2 weeks depending on how much fluid comes out.
7. Do I have to wear a garment?
Only if you have liposuction at the same time. Most surgeons will perform a little liposuction on your sides at the same time as a tummy tuck to flatten things out just a bit more, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to wear a garment. A garment will only help if you have major liposuction that involves a large area(s) like both of your flanks, your thighs, or your back. If you have this much liposuction with your tummy tuck, a compression garment is definitely necessary for 4-6 weeks after the procedure.
8. How long do I need to take off work?
It depends on what you do for a living. If you sit a desk all day, you can probably go back to work in 10-14 days. If you have a job where you are on your feet a lot, or if you are required to lift anything heavier than a phone book, you will need a full month off work. The restriction on lifting is an important one that you have to remember for your home life too. If you have other children, or pets, you will not be able to pick them up or carry them for a full 6 weeks. If you don’t follow the rules, you run the risk of popping some stitches on the inside and ruining your new tight tummy.
9. When can I go back to the gym?
You can start back at the gym with light cardio workouts (stairmaster, elliptical trainer, treadmill, etc) after 2 weeks, and gradually advance your level of exertion over the following 2 weeks. You shouldn’t perform and resistance training (machines or free weights), or abdominal exercises, until 6 weeks after your surgery.
10. Can I have a tummy tuck if I smoke?
Absolutely not! You shouldn’t have any cosmetic surgery if you smoke, but especially not a tummy tuck! Smoking dramatically increases your risk of complications like open wounds, DVT’s (clots in the legs), PE’s (pulmonary embolus), and infection. Don’t fib to your surgeon either… you’ll only be putting yourself in harms way. Stop smoking for at least 4 weeks before having a consultation so you can be safe, safe, safe!
Nicholas Vendemia, M.D. Plastic Surgeon, New York City MAS / Manhattan Aesthetic Surgery www.ManhattanAestheticSurgery.com
Photo Credit: HuffPo
NOTICE: None of the celebrities or individuals discussed here have ever received treatment, surgery, medical advice, or evaluations from any author, physician, surgeon, or representative of this blog. All images and photos in this article represent models only. No actual patients or clients are shown.