If you regularly workout and eat well, a flat stomach should be seemingly easy to achieve. But more and more people see this goal posing more of an obstacle than they imagined. For those around the Sacramento, CA, area, we at Nuance Cosmetic Surgery suggest a tummy tuck. It can deliver the abdominal shape you want so you can get out of the gym and back into the world.
What Happens During a Tummy Tuck?
The point of this procedure is to tighten abdominal muscles, remove fat, and eliminate excess skin. Once these are achieved, the belly loses its protruding appearance and is restored to a firmer, flatter state. Because men and women alike can experience stubborn fat in the midsection, whether because of weight loss or pregnancy, this procedure is ideal for both.
Depending on the extent of treatment you select, this surgery can last between one and five hours. You’ll likely spend the night in the hospital so we can monitor your progress, and then you’ll be released to begin the recovery process at home.
Weighing Your Options
This surgery generally poses three different options from which patients can choose. The first is a complete abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and is selected by those who want the most dramatic change to their appearance and/or who require extensive correction. A low, horizontal cut is made near the start of the pubic hair. This typically extends across the lower abdomen but, once healed, is hidden by the bikini line.
Excess skin and fat are then removed as needed. Abdominal muscles are also tightened, and an incision around the belly button allows us to remove tissue from that area as well. This option is ideal for patients with excess fat deposits both above and below the navel.
These require shorter, smaller incisions, and surgery focuses on fat deposits that sit lower in the abdomen. The belly button may or may not be moved, depending on your individual needs. Skin between the incision and belly button is separated to provide access to underlying fat. Sometimes this procedure is performed with an endoscope, and patients can expect it to take around two hours.
This all-encompassing procedure also includes the back, another common spot for stubborn fat pockets. The benefit is a three-dimensional improvement of your body’s contours; excess fat is taken from the abdomen, hip, and back for an overall flatter appearance.
Three Key Steps
To further break down what you’ll experience during your surgery, we have identified its five key steps:
- Muscle repair
- Excess skin trimmed
- Incisions closed
Ultimately, the incision length and shape depends on the amount of excess skin that needs to be removed. Once that skin is lifted, we work to repair weakened abdominal muscles. The skin is then pulled down and trimmed until we have a smoother, tighter contour. This skin is sutured together to close incisions, and the surgery is completed.
Points to Know
After surgery, you may be advised to wear a compression garment. This helps with the healing process, keeping newly shaped tissues and repaired muscles in place until your body regains its strength. We’ll advise you on this garment, or an elastic bandage, as well as ways to care for your incisions after surgery.
Not a Fat Loss Tool
It’s important to remember that a tummy tuck does not help you lose weight. It is a contouring procedure that sculpts and tones the abdomen. For this reason, we recommend patients already be at their ideal weights. Losing or gaining weight can undo the surgery’s effects so that you see fewer benefits or have to start over again altogether.
Although an abdominoplasty does not directly correct stretch marks, it may have some inadvertent effect on this concern. If those marks are part of the skin that gets completely or partially removed, their visibility will be significantly reduced.
Liposuction May Be Recommended
The combined effects of liposuction and abdominoplasty help contour the midsection even further. Liposuction works especially well on the love handles area, which can be hard to reach with surgery alone.
Liposuction works under the skin to remove fat. It often eliminates the unnatural bulge that forms in the stomach and provides added abdominal definition. We can discuss this further during your consultation, but be aware that it can complement your procedure allows you to make a more informed decision.
Improvements Beyond Aesthetics
After you heal, one of the first benefits you’ll notice is how different you feel in your clothes. Many patients say they no longer need to buy clothes that accommodate their midsections; they can, instead, select better-fitting shirts that show off their new contours and give them more confidence.
But this surgery offers health benefits as well. Because it strengthens your core, it can reduce urinary incontinence. In fact, nearly 60 percent of patients report improved bladder control after the procedure. By helping to tighten soft tissues that support the bladder, urethra, and pelvic floor, a tummy tuck can prevent bladder leaks, especially those induced by stress (laughing, coughing, and sneezing, for example).
Reduced Back Pain
After pregnancy, more than half of all women suffer a separation of the muscles responsible for creating a six-pack. This contributes to the post-pregnancy pooch so many women struggle with, even after they’ve shed the baby weight. During a tummy tuck, we resolve this by sewing back together the separated abdominal wall.
Not only does this repair help improve core stability, but it also alleviates back pain. Most of your body’s support comes from the abdomen; when muscles are weak or separated, the back has to compensate by working double-time. Additionally, you’ll feel less bloated and be able to engage core muscles when exercising for an even firmer appearance – if that’s what you desire.
Life Before and After Surgery
The first change you need to make before surgery is stopping smoking. Cigarettes reduce blood flow throughout the body and can increase your risk of complications. It can also impede healing. To deter from both, we recommend you stop smoking at least two weeks before and after surgery. This means stopping all products that contain nicotine, including e-cigarettes, patches, and gum.
Enjoy a Proper Diet
Eating well-balanced meals can help you manage your weight, provide much-needed nutrients, and make for a smooth recovery. Reach for fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in vitamin C. Some of the best recommendations we can make include broccoli, kale, kiwis, and guavas. Studies show vitamin C has these effects on the body:
- Accelerates bone healing
- Increases collagen synthesis
- Reduces oxidative stress
Consuming foods like salmon, walnuts, and chia seeds that are omega 3-rich can fight inflammation, another important factor in your recovery. Foods to avoid include takeout and carbohydrates, both of which have the opposite effect and increase inflammation. Also refrain from high-sugar foods, which can cause swelling, and drink plenty of water to hydrate tissues from within.
Prepare for Success
Our staff may advise that you stop using supplements and medications that can cause bleeding or bruising. These typically include NSAIDs, herbal supplements, vitamins, and aspirin. In this same vein, let us know if take prescription blood thinners.
Establish a comfortable recovery area at home so you’re free to rest and relax after surgery. You should have several comfortable outfits laid out within easy reach, a designated place for medications, and books and remote controls near the spot where you’ll spend most of your time. A hand-held showerhead and bathroom chair may also be helpful in the bathroom.
Your recovery time doesn’t pose specific restrictions, except to avoid physical activity for 10 days after surgery and limit strenuous exercise for up to eight weeks. You may also want a lighter diet for the first few days. Ideal choices include:
- Clear liquids
- Whole-grain cereals
- Raw fruits and vegetables
- Soft cheeses
Once you feel stronger, and as your normal appetite returns, you can enjoy your normal diet. However, it’s important that you continue to manage your weight after surgery. Excess fat is removed, but the remaining fat cells can increase in size if you forego healthy choices and exercise. It is therefore critical that you continue:
- Eating nutritious foods
- Controlling portions
- Incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your meals
- Curbing your intake of processed foods
Specifically, you should ensure you get enough protein and vitamin C. Options like chicken breasts, lean beef, whole grains, and eggs will help meet these needs. Remember that healthy eating should be a developed habit, not a short-term diet.
Returning to Work
The time needed for recovery will differ for each patient. It may therefore be two to four weeks before you can return to work, depending on the nature of your job. For instance, a desk job will likely need just a two-week break, but a job that involves strenuous activities – like lifting – will require more time away.
Caring for Children
A lot of moms choose to have abdominoplasty after childbirth, so we understand the concern in caring for children. One hard and fast restriction post-surgery is to limit your lifting and straining. Even a child who weighs just 25 pounds can negatively impact your results and cause swelling and prolonged bleeding.
For these reasons, we recommend you plan for full-time help with kids in the first two or three weeks after surgery. This will be especially important if you have very young children. If you have older children, you’ll likely be able to fulfill ordinary parenting tasks like cooking and driving two or three weeks post-surgery. But you’ll still need help with:
- Carrying groceries
- Walking and feeding pets
- Moving laundry
- Housekeeping chores like dusting and vacuuming that require stretching
Caring for Yourself
We will provide additional instructions on how to sit or lie to maximize your comfort at home. Shortly after surgery, you should plan on walking a few times daily to get your body moving and blood flowing. We don’t want you to push yourself, but staying mobile is an important part of recovery. Avoid showering, as we instruct, and wash your incisions carefully.
You’ll also want to wear your compression garments as instructed and take any medicines we prescribe to you. Finally, get as much rest as you need. It will help you heal in the fastest way possible and also ensure optimal results.
Say Good-Bye to Stubborn Fat
Anyone ready to say good-bye to stubborn fat should consider the many benefits of a tummy tuck. As long as you manage your weight, it provides permanent results so you no longer have to struggle against wobbles and bulges. With our team at your side, you’ll enjoy a seamless procedure and recovery. Call Nuance Cosmetic Surgery in Folsom, CA, today and schedule your appointment.