Loose skin, pockets of fat, and a belly bulge plague many people who exercise consistently and follow a healthy diet. Fitness alone often cannot eliminate the effects of pregnancy, weight changes, and aging on the body. Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, helps with these frustrating issues, eliminating excess, loose skin and removing belly fat to tighten and contour the midsection.
But how do you make sure you get the best results from your tummy tuck? Here are my top five tips.
Prepare for the Procedure
Preparing for your tummy tuck can be one of the most important steps in getting optimal results. Maintain a stable weight, healthy diet, and active lifestyle to ensure you can preserve your results after the procedure. It is also essential to understand how the procedure works, what your recovery period will be, and the outcome you can expect. Preparing a comfortable, well-stocked place to recover and following your post-operative instructions are vital.
When you meet with me for your consultation, I will perform a physical exam, talk about your concerns and goals, and discuss the best options to meet your specific needs.
Choose the Right Plastic Surgeon
One of the most important things you can do to ensure you get exceptional results is to choose the right plastic surgeon. Reading up on experienced board-certified plastic surgeons can guide you to the right practice for your procedure. Tummy tucks are one of my favorite procedures to perform because, as my patients have said, “the improvements are so dramatic.”
Avoid Smoking and Drinking
Alcohol and nicotine affect your body’s ability to heal. Nicotine, including cigarettes, vaping, or even nicotine patches or gum, can reduce the size of your blood vessels, restricting oxygen flow. When less oxygen flows to your wounds, you are at greater risk for infection at the incision sites, delayed wound healing, and thicker, wider scars.
Alcohol can thin your blood and increase post-surgical swelling, slowing your healing process. Your surgeon should instruct you on how long to keep away from nicotine and alcohol during your recovery.
Avoid Heavy Lifting
Moving and staying active are essential in your recovery process; however, it is important to avoid strenuous activity during early recovery. You are likely to experience swelling, bruising, and soreness post-op. Overdoing physical activity during this time can affect your recovery. After about 2 weeks, you may begin to resume low-impact exercises like walking. It may take up to 6 weeks before you are able to engage in vigorous physical activity.
Understand Post-Operative Instructions
Your plastic surgeon will provide detailed post-operative instructions explaining how to care for yourself during recovery and ensure you achieve your best results. Depending on the extent of your procedure, you may have surgical drains in place for up to a week after your surgery. You also will not be able to walk fully upright for a few days, though taking short walks around the house is important to avoid blood clots and promote circulation. Prescription pain medication will be prescribed to help keep you comfortable. It is crucial to give yourself the time to heal and regain your strength after surgery.