There’s no surprise that tummy tucks are one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures with both men and women. According to one survey, 32% of men and 22% of women cited their abs, or lack of, their least favourite body part. It’s probably because your stomach says much about your health, diet, lifestyle and experiences – and it’s right there in front of you, clearly visible in the mirror or when you look down.
Over time, normal physical changes, such as weight fluctuations, childbirth or the ageing process, all conspire to change how the tummy looks and most of us find it difficult to reclaim our youthful shape through diet and exercise alone. Women of a certain age can find it particularly challenging – when oestrogen levels drop, women stop storing fat on their hips and thighs and start accumulating it around the middle.
The tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is popular because it’s so effective at restoring a sculpted waistline, smoothing the stomach and tightening the abdominal muscles for long-term, highly satisfactory results. But, like any elective surgical procedure, you should approach with caution and be fully informed before making the decision to go ahead. Here are five things we think you should know when considering a tummy tuck:
This is not a weight-loss procedure
A tummy tuck is not a quick fix for losing weight. During an abdominoplasty, our plastic surgeons will tighten weakened stomach muscles, remove excess skin and sculpt the waistline with liposuction if required, but most patients will only lose a few pounds after surgery. We recommend you are at or close to your ideal body weight to ensure we produce the very best results we can.
Prepare for downtime
It is important that you’re fully prepared for the initial recovery period. You’ll be fatigued, sore and very swollen and it can take two to three weeks before you’re feeling more like yourself. Any pain and discomfort should be easily controlled with over-the-counter painkillers. Make sure you’ve arranged for someone to help out with childcare and household chores and avoid any strenuous activities for at least four to six weeks.
Healing can take a long time
Full healing after a tummy tuck can take up to a year – results will start to become apparent after a month or two as swelling and bruising subsides, but you should be patient as there will still be residual swelling and the scar will take many months to flatten and fade. You may even have temporary numbness and it can take weeks and months for sensation to return.
Maintaining your results will take effort
A tummy tuck can deliver a smoother, flatter stomach and more defined waist and results can be permanent – as long as you commit to maintaining them. Avoid major weight fluctuations which can stretch the skin and abdominal muscles again. If you’re planning future pregnancies, you may wish to postpone your surgery until a later date.
You will be left with a permanent scar
During a tummy tuck, a long incision is made across the abdomen, stretching from hip to hip. While our highly experienced plastic surgeons, Mr Alex Karidis and Mr Mark Ho-Asjoe, are renowned for their stitching techniques and ensure the incision is placed where it can be well concealed, you will be left with a permanent scar. We can show you before and afters so you can have a clearer idea of what to expect before you make the decision to go ahead.
For more advice, call 020 7432 8727 to arrange a consultation at our London tummy tuck clinic.