Have you recently lost a significant amount of weight and are struggling with folds of skin around your midsection? Maybe you can’t seem to shed a stubborn belly pooch leftover from pregnancy. If these scenarios sound like anything you are currently experiencing, a tummy tuck may be in order. Also known as abdominoplasty, this surgery is designed to remove excess fat and skin as well as tighten or repair the underlying muscles to give the stomach area a more sculpted, contoured appearance. More than 130,000 tummy tucks were performed in the U.S. in 2018, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, making it one of the most sought-after cosmetic procedures.
So, how do you know if the time is right to undergo this transformative surgery? That is a question best answered by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey LaGrasso, who has assisted countless women and men in Miami, FL get tight, toned abs. There are numerous factors that should be considered before scheduling a tummy tuck. As with all cosmetic procedures, it is important to seek advice from a board-certified medical expert such as Dr. LaGrasso who can determine whether the surgery will be able to provide the desired results.
When is the perfect time for a tummy tuck?
When considering a tummy tuck, it first helps to take a look at the reasons why people opt for abdominoplasty in the first place. Life changes often prompt patients to turn to abdominoplasty, especially those that impact the appearance of the midsection. The so-called middle-age spread is a prime example of this. It usually occurs as part of the natural aging process and can prove to be particularly disconcerting for those who have long made healthy lifestyle choices, such as following a sensible diet and working out regularly. When hours spent at the gym performing targeted abdominal exercises fail to produce a flatter stomach, a tummy tuck procedure may be the most effective way for otherwise fit individuals to ditch a small roll of bothersome belly fat.
Pregnancy and childbirth can take a toll on the body as well as stretch the abdominal skin and muscles. Some female patients may experience a condition called diastasis in which the muscles spread apart. To know whether you may have this, lie flat on your back and raise your legs. If a vertical bulge appears, it can be a sign of diastasis. As a result, the abdominal muscles are incapable of repairing themselves. An experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon, like Dr. LaGrasso can determine if you have diastasis during an initial consultation.
As part of a full tummy tuck, Dr. LaGrasso will make an incision on the lower abdomen to remove unwanted, overstretched skin. Liposuction may also be employed to extract excess fat and the muscles are pulled back together, resulting in a tighter, flatter look and feel. As part of a full tummy tuck, the belly button may also be repositioned for a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.
After substantial weight loss
Following the loss of a substantial amount of weight (usually 100 or more pounds), Miami area men and women may be left with an abundance of sagging skin. Not only are these folds of skin on and around the stomach unflattering, but they also can be uncomfortable and impede movement. In such cases, Dr. LaGrasso may recommend an extended tummy tuck, which usually is performed when significant skin tightening and body contouring is required. An incision is made on the abdomen that stretches around the body to include the flanks and lower back. Excess fat and skin are removed, and the belly button repositioned before the incision is closed to create a flatter, more smooth results.
For tummy tucks, timing is everything
Here’s why timing is so important when it comes to making the decision to undergo a tummy tuck:
Patients should be at a stable weight before surgery
Although undergoing a tummy tuck can cause you to shed pounds, it is primarily performed to sculpt and better shape the body. Therefore, abdominoplasty should not be considered a weight-loss procedure. Ideally, patients will be at or within 10-15 pounds of their goal weight for up to a year before their tummy tuck surgery. Gaining or losing weight following the procedure can alter or eliminate any contours that were created. When this occurs, revision surgery may be needed to restore the initial abdominoplasty results.
Your recovery may be lengthy
It is important to remember that a tummy tuck is considered major surgery, during which board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. LaGrasso may make a sizeable incision stretching from one hip to the other. Most Miami area patients should expect to spend up to three weeks recovering from abdominoplasty. That period may be marked by fatigue, swelling, and soreness. Moderate pain is commonly experienced, especially in the days immediately following surgery. Surgical drains may be used for a week or more to prevent blood and fluid from building up as well as to minimize swelling following the procedure. In order to properly heal, a significant amount of rest is required. Patients must avoid strenuous activity for up to six weeks, which means counting on being absent from work for a period of time and lining up assistance with household chores as well as childcare.
It may take time to see results
It may be surprising for patients to learn that it could be a while before they can experience the full benefits of their tummy tuck. During the first few weeks following surgery, bruising, stiffness, and some redness are typical. However, these symptoms should resolve themselves within six weeks, which also is when your flatter, more sculpted results start to become visible. You may experience temporary numbness or a loss of sensation around the incision area, although this should improve slowly over time. A scar will develop, however it should be easily concealed by clothing, undergarments, and swimsuits. Residual swelling may be evident for up to six months post-surgery, although it may take as long as a year before the optimal results of your tummy tuck are evident.
The decision to have a tummy tuck is not one that should be made hastily. Take the time to consult with a body contouring expert such as board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey LaGrasso to learn about your options. Before the procedure, patients in Miami, FL should be at or near their ideal weight and should have plenty of time in their schedule to allow for a full recovery. Contact our office today to discover how abdominoplasty can benefit you.