Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Is Tummy Tuck Safe

It’s a common misconception that surgery is not safe. The truth is that most surgeries are safe when performed by qualified surgeons. A tummy tuck is an abdominoplasty procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen and tightens the muscles of the abdomen, waist, and back to improve body contour. Some people get a tummy tuck to help with loose skin after pregnancy or weight loss. It is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the United States today. The procedure can take up to two hours, depending on how much skin needs to be removed and how much excess fat needs to be removed from the abdominal area.

Right here on Cosmeticsurgerytips, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on tummy tuck complications years later, gastrointestinal problems after tummy tuck, tummy tuck risks of death, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.

Is Tummy Tuck Safe

A tummy tuck — also known as abdominoplasty — is a cosmetic surgical procedure to improve the shape and appearance of the abdomen.

During a tummy tuck, excess skin and fat are removed from the abdomen. Connective tissue in the abdomen (fascia) usually is tightened with sutures as well. The remaining skin is then repositioned to create a more toned look.

You might choose to have a tummy tuck if you have excess fat or skin around the area of your bellybutton or a weak lower abdominal wall. A tummy tuck can also boost your body image.

Why it’s done

There are a number of reasons you might have excess fat, poor elasticity of the skin or weakened connective tissue in your abdomen. These include:

  • Significant changes in weight
  • Pregnancy
  • Abdominal surgery, such as a C-section
  • Aging
  • Your natural body type

A tummy tuck can remove loose, excess skin and fat, and tighten weak fascia. A tummy tuck may also remove stretch marks and excess skin in the lower abdomen below the bellybutton. However, a tummy tuck won’t correct stretch marks outside of this area.

If you’ve previously had a C-section, your plastic surgeon might be able to incorporate your existing C-section scar into your tummy tuck scar.

A tummy tuck can also be done in combination with other body contouring cosmetic procedures, such as breast surgery. If you’ve had fat removed from your abdomen (liposuction), you may decide to have a tummy tuck because liposuction removes tissue just under the skin and fat but not any excess skin.

A tummy tuck isn’t for everyone. Your doctor might caution against a tummy tuck if you:

  • Plan to lose a significant amount of weight
  • Might consider pregnancy in the future
  • Have a severe chronic condition, such as heart disease or diabetes
  • Have a body mass index that’s greater than 30
  • Smoke
  • Have had a previous abdominal surgery that caused significant scar tissue

Risks

A tummy tuck poses various risks, including:

  • Fluid accumulation beneath the skin (seroma). Drainage tubes left in place after surgery can help reduce the risk of excess fluid. Your doctor might also remove fluid after surgery using a needle and syringe.
  • Poor wound healing. Sometimes areas along the incision line heal poorly or begin to separate. You might be given antibiotics during and after surgery to prevent an infection.
  • Unexpected scarring. The incision scar from a tummy tuck is permanent, but it’s typically placed along the easily hidden bikini line. The length and visibility of the scar varies from person to person.
  • Tissue damage. During a tummy tuck, fatty tissue deep within your skin in the abdominal area might get damaged or die. Smoking increases the risk of tissue damage. Depending on the size of the area, tissue might heal on its own or require a surgical touch-up procedure.
  • Changes in skin sensation. During a tummy tuck, the repositioning of your abdominal tissues can affect the nerves in the abdominal area, and infrequently, in the upper thighs. You’ll likely feel some reduced sensation or numbness. This usually diminishes in the months after the procedure.

Like any other type of major surgery, a tummy tuck poses a risk of bleeding, infection and an adverse reaction to anesthesia.

How you prepare

You’ll talk to a plastic surgeon about a tummy tuck. During your first visit, your plastic surgeon will likely:

  • Review your medical history. Be prepared to answer questions about current and past medical conditions. Talk about any medications you’re taking or have taken recently, as well as any surgeries you’ve had.Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications. If your desire for a tummy tuck is related to weight loss, your doctor will likely ask detailed questions about your weight gain and loss.
  • Do a physical exam. To determine your treatment options, the doctor will examine your abdomen. The doctor might also take pictures of your abdomen for your medical record.
  • Discuss your expectations. Explain why you want a tummy tuck, and what you’re hoping for in terms of appearance after the procedure. Make sure you understand the benefits and risks of the procedure, including scarring. Keep in mind that previous abdominal surgery might limit your results.

Before a tummy tuck you might also need to:

  • Stop smoking. Smoking decreases blood flow in the skin and can slow the healing process. In addition, smoking increases the risk of tissue damage. If you smoke, your doctor will recommend that you stop smoking before surgery and during recovery.
  • Avoid certain medications. You’ll likely need to avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding.
  • Maintain a stable weight. Ideally, you’ll maintain a stable weight for at least 12 months before having a tummy tuck. If you’re severely overweight, your doctor will recommend that you lose weight before the procedure. Significant weight loss after the procedure can diminish your results.
  • Arrange for help during recovery. Make plans for someone to drive you home after you leave the hospital and stay with you for at least the first night of your recovery at home.

What you can expect

A tummy tuck is done in a hospital or an outpatient surgical facility. During a tummy tuck, you’ll be under general anesthesia — which makes you completely unconscious and unable to feel pain. In some cases, you might be given a pain-relieving medication and be moderately sedated (partially asleep).

Before the procedure

There are a number of different procedures for a tummy tuck, depending on your goals and the extent of change you would like to see. During the typical tummy tuck, your plastic surgeon makes incisions to remove most of the skin and fat between your bellybutton and pubic hair in a horizontal oval or elliptical shape. Connective tissue (fascia) that lies over the abdominal muscles is then tightened with permanent sutures.

The amount of excess skin removed and the type of procedure you have will determine the shape and length of the incision. The incision above the pubic hair will be stitched together and will leave a scar that falls along the natural crease within the bikini line.

Your plastic surgeon will also reposition the skin around your bellybutton. Your bellybutton will be brought out through a small incision and sutured in its normal position.

During the procedure you might be given an antibiotic to prevent infection.

The procedure typically takes about two to three hours.

After the procedure

After a tummy tuck, your abdominal incision and bellybutton will likely be covered with surgical dressing. Small tubes might be placed along the incision site to drain any excess blood or fluid.

Members of your health care team will help you walk as early as the first day after a tummy tuck to help prevent the formation of blood clots.

You’ll likely be given pain medication. It’s normal to have swelling in the surgical area.

Drains might be left in place for several days after surgery. Your doctor or another member of your health care team will show you how to empty and care for your drains. You might need to continue taking an antibiotic as long as the drains are in place.

Your surgeon might also prescribe a blood-thinning medication for a short time after your tummy tuck.

You’ll wear a supportive abdominal garment (abdominal binder) for about six weeks after your tummy tuck. This helps prevent fluid buildup and provides abdominal support while you heal. Your doctor will explain how to care for your scar.

For the first six weeks after a tummy tuck, you’ll need to be careful when moving around. You’ll also need to avoid positions that strain your incision line — such as quickly bending at the waist — to prevent the reopening of the wound.

You’ll need to schedule regular follow-up visits. Ask your doctor how often you need to be seen.

Thinking About Getting a Tummy Tuck? What to Know Before Going Under the  Knife. - HealthyWomen

Results

By removing excess skin and fat and strengthening your abdominal wall, a tummy tuck can give your abdomen a more toned and slimmer appearance.

Tummy tuck results are usually long lasting if you maintain a stable weight.

Tummy Tuck Complications Years Later

Abdominoplasty—sometimes called “tummy tuck”—has a higher risk of major complications than other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, reports a study in the November issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Complication risk is particularly high for the large proportion of patients undergoing abdominoplasty in combination with other procedures, according to an analysis of nationwide data by Dr. Julian Winocour of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, and colleagues. They write, “Combined procedures can significantly increase complication rates and should be considered carefully in higher-risk patients.”

Database Shows High Risk of Major Complications after Abdominoplasty

The researchers assessed abdominoplasty complication rates and risk factors using the nationwide CosmetAssure database. CosmetAssure is an insurance program providing coverage for complications related to cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, which are typically not covered by health insurance.

The study included nearly 25,000 abdominoplasties performed between 2008 and 2013, representing about 14 percent of all procedures in the database. Abdominoplasty is done to remove excess skin and tissue from the abdomen, to create a smoother, firmer abdominal profile.

Ninety-seven percent of abdominoplasty patients were women; the average age was 42 years. Sixty-five percent of patients underwent abdominoplasty combined with other cosmetic surgery procedures.

Overall, major complications occurred in four percent of patients undergoing abdominoplasty—significantly higher than the 1.4 percent rate after other cosmetic surgery procedures. (The database didn’t include less-serious complications that can be managed in the clinic). Hematomas (blood collections) were the most common major complication, followed by infections, blood clots (venous thromboembolism), and lung-related problems.

Combined procedures were a key risk factor for complications. Compared to the 3.1 percent rate with abdominoplasty alone, risk increased when abdominoplasty was combined with other procedures: up to 10.4 percent when abdominoplasty was combined with body contouring plus liposuction. After adjustment for other factors, the relative risk of major complications was 50 percent higher with combined procedures.

Other risk factors for major complications included male sex, age 55 years or older, and obesity. Risk was lower when abdominoplasty was performed in an office-based surgical suite, compared to a hospital or surgical center. Dr. Winocour comments, “Surgeons often refer patients with major illnesses, such as heart disease, to hospitals, which may be responsible for this observed trend in complications.”

Diabetes and smoking—two major surgical risk factors—were not associated with a significant increase in complications after abdominoplasty. “That likely reflected Board-certified plastic surgeons’ practice of not offering abdominoplasty to poorly controlled diabetics and recommending strict smoking cessation for at least four weeks before and after surgery,” Dr. Wincour adds.

Abdominoplasty is the sixth most common cosmetic surgical procedure performed in the United States, with more than 117,000 procedures performed in 2014, according to ASPS statistics. The number of abdominoplasties has increased in recent years—partly because of the increased number of patients undergoing body contouring surgery to remove excess skin and tissue after massive weight loss.

The study adds to previous evidence that abdominoplasty carries a higher complication rate than other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures. “Although the overall incidence of major complications is low, such complications can leave a potentially devastating cosmetic outcome and pose a significant financial burden on the patient and surgeon,” the researchers write.

They draw special attention to the risk associated with multiple procedures—especially since nearly two-thirds of patients in the database underwent other cosmetic procedures combined with abdominoplasty. Dr. Winocour and colleagues suggest that some patients at high risk of complications might be better off undergoing staged rather than combination procedures.

About Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

For more than 70 years, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® has been the one consistently excellent reference for every specialist who uses plastic surgery techniques or works in conjunction with a plastic surgeon. The official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® brings subscribers up-to-the-minute reports on the latest techniques and follow-up for all areas of plastic and reconstructive surgery, including breast reconstruction, experimental studies, maxillofacial reconstruction, hand and microsurgery, burn repair and cosmetic surgery, as well as news on medico-legal issues.

About ASPS

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing more than 7,000 physician members, the society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 93 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

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