Tummy Tuck

squeezing-chubby-bellyA tummy tuck is a common cosmetic procedure that is used to make the abdomen appear more sculpted and firm. The surgery removes excess fat and skin from the abdomen and tightens the muscle underneath the abdominal wall. This helps to create a leaner look. In most cases surgery helps to restore weakened muscles to create a firmer abdomen. A tummy tuck is usually an option for people with loose skin and tissues after experiencing major weight loss or pregnancy.

Costs

The cost of a tummy tuck varies greatly. The major factor in regards to cost is the extent of the surgery. It is a highly individualized procedure and the extent of work to be done by the doctor varies greatly. The age of the patient, the patient’s health and their weight are all factors that are considered. A tummy tuck generally costs $5,000 to $20,000 in North America. There are other costs that also need to be taken into consideration including post-operative care, the cost to stay at the facility, anesthesia and medications.

Surgery

There are a variety of different procedures that fall under the classification of abdominoplasty. These operations vary in scope and cost. A complete abdominoplasty can take 1 to 5 hours. It includes an incision being made from one hip to the other hip just above the pubic area. The muscles that need to be tightened are exposed by separating the skin and fat from the abdomen wall. Sutures are used to tighten the muscle fascia wall. Liposuction is usually performed to refine and shape the abdomen. Excess fluid from the surgical site is drained and a dressing is applied to keep the area clean. A partial abdominoplasty can be completed within 2 hours. The doctor may also have to reconstruct the umbilicus (belly button) after the surgery. A partial abdominoplasty uses a smaller incision. In a more limited fashion, the skin and fat are detached from the abdomen. The excess skin is removed. A section of the abdominal muscle fascia is tightened. Liposuction is usually performed and the flap is stitched up. There are other types of tummy tuck including extended abdominoplasty, high lateral tension tummy tuck, floating abdominoplasty and circumferential abdominoplasty. Many people have combination procedures performed while having abdominoplasty including breast lift, breast enhancement or liposuction.

Health Risks

Although a relatively safe cosmetic procedure there are certain health risks involved with abdominoplasty. It is crucial to know the risks and complications of the procedure. When preparing for the procedure it is important to abide by the doctors instructions. Severe complications can occur in rare cases including blood clots, cardiac complications, infection and thrombosis. Infection can occur and is usually treated through the  proper drainage of fluids and antibiotics. Patients are advised to move around promptly after surgery in order to minimize the risk developing blood clots and other complications. Heart attack and stroke are very rare complications, but they do occur. These complications usually occur within the first 72 hours following the procedure. Skin necrosis is a complication that results in dead skin that would need to be replaced by a skin graft. It is quite rare, but smokers have an increased risk of developing it. Fluid may collect after the drains have been removed. The scarring from abdominoplasty is permanent, but will fade after time. Other health risks involved with the procedure include skin loss, loss of feeling, skin discoloration, asymmetry, pain, nerve damage, fluid accumulation, suture rupture and even death.

Recovery

Recovery depends on how extensive the surgery was. Most patients recover in four weeks, with most taking time off work and other responsibilities in order to fully recuperate. Strenuous activity is to be avoided. There is initial discomfort and minor pain that will get better with time. There may be substantial bruising as well. An abdominal binder and compression garment are often worn in order to minimize swelling and help aid in recovery. They can also aid in the repair of tissues. Patients should refrain from nicotine for at least a  month after surgery. Full recovery takes approximately 3 to 6 months. It is important to follow the doctor’s advice in order to have a smooth recovery. The doctor will want to see you again within one week. If everything looks good the doctor will not need to see you again until after three months. Depending on the surgery and how extensive the procedure is the doctor may want to see you more frequently. If you have any health concerns about your healing process call your doctor to set up an appointment.

Dieting and Natural Weight Loss as an Alternative

While procedures like tummy tucks and liposuction are undeniably effective, it’s obvious that they also carry risks and disadvantages. The listed health risks, along with the considerable recovery time and sometimes prohibitive procedure costs can turn many people off of these cosmetic procedures. It’s important to remember that natural dieting is always an option that needs to be considered. Protein high diets like the Atkins diet plan can result in fast weight loss as well as increased muscle retention through putting one’s body into a state called ‘ketosis’, which encourages the body to gain it’s energy by burning fat reserves, drastically increasing weight loss. Diet plans such as these can be a great alternative to people who have had trouble finding success on more traditional low fat or low calorie diets. Overall, traditional dieting is the safest and healthiest way to lose weight, and cosmetic procedures such as liposuction and tummy tucks should only be used as a last resort.