Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Pot Belly After Tummy Tuck

Are you one of the many women who are wondering what to do about your pot belly after a tummy tuck?

If you’ve had a tummy tuck and your belly still looks like an over-stuffed turkey, you’re not alone. Many women who have had this procedure end up with a bulge that seems to defy all logic. The good news is that there are things you can do to help.

The first thing to consider is whether or not your surgeon performed liposuction during the operation. If so, then it’s likely that your skin was pulled too tightly across the muscles in your abdomen, causing them to bulge outwards. This is called “skin redundancy” and it can make the problem worse over time as gravity takes its toll on your body.

If your surgeon did not perform liposuction during the tummy tuck procedure then it may be due to something called “adipose hypertrophy” which is when fat cells grow larger than normal as a result of trauma or surgery. This can also lead to skin redundancy because there isn’t enough space between each cell for them to expand individually without bulging outwards.

This guide discusses stages of swelling after tummy tuck and also feature pictures swelling after tummy tuck.

Pot Belly After Tummy Tuck

 pot belly is, simply, excess belly fat. Generally, fat around the stomach area that’s more than one inch thick will appear as a “pot belly”. Weak stomach muscles, when combined with excess belly fat, usually make a pot belly appear more prominent.

What Causes A Pot Belly?

Excess body fat is the result of consuming too many calories, not burning enough calories, or — usually — a combination of the two. Individuals who consume high-fat and high-calorie foods and lead generally sedentary lifestyles are likely to develop excess fat on the body, including around the abdomen, where it may appear as a pot belly. Some individuals are genetically predisposed to storing fat around their midsection. Men are more likely to develop a pot belly, as women tend to store excess fat around the hips and thighs; however, both men and women can develop a pot belly.

How To Treat A Pot Belly Without Surgery

Solution 1: Diet Changes

The first way to address a pot belly, as with any excess weight, is to address your diet. Restrict or eliminate foods that are high in calories but relatively low in nutrients, such as red meat, high-fat cheese or dairy products, and processed foods and snacks such as potato chips and candy. Opt for a diet that’s higher in fibre-rich foods and whole grains, and choose high-protein, low-fat foods such as fish, eggs, and lean meats such as chicken. Drink plenty of water, and avoid sugary beverages such as juices and sodas, and alcohol.

Solution 2: Exercise

In order to lose excess weight, it’s important to burn calories. Belly fat can be stubborn, so a fitness regimen that combines strength-training exercises that target the midsection with cardiovascular activity is recommended. Sit-ups or crunches, Russian twists, planks, and mountain climbers are all exercises that target and engage the core (abdominal) muscles. For cardiovascular activity, running, cycling, or hiking will help get your heart pumping, as will the use of exercise machines such as treadmills and stationary bicycles, or elliptical machines, which offer a great, low-impact workout for those who may have back or knee issues.

How Much Does It Cost To Remove A Pot Belly?

At SpaMedica, there are two procedures used to target the belly fat that makes a pot belly. The first, CoolSculpting, which is non-surgical, starts at $799. Liposuction, which is the surgical option for removing a pot belly, starts at $4,999.

Pot Belly Solutions At SpaMedica

At SpaMedica, we may use one of two procedures to address a patient’s pot belly. The first, CoolSculping, is a non-surgical procedure. During the procedure, an applicator is applied to the abdomen. The device will gently suck the unwanted fat up into a chamber. The temperature within the chamber is then dropped to below freezing. If the duration of the cold temperature exposure is long enough (40-60 minutes), between 22 and 30% of fat cells will permanently be removed.

The second procedure used for removing a pot belly is liposuction. During liposuction, localized fat is removed via gentle aspiration, through small, hidden access ports. Modern liposuction involves the simultaneous liquefaction (melting of the adipose), which leads to a more gentle removal of fat, as well as the contraction of overlying soft tissue. Liposuction is performed under local anaesthesia and, depending on the size of the area being targeted, takes between 1-4 hours.

8 Things You Should Know About Tummy Tucks—from Someone Who Got One

1. A Tummy Tuck Won’t Make You Drop Weight
While some patients may lose a few pounds from the procedure, Elliot Hirsch, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon at Hirsch Plastic Surgery in Los Angeles, warns that tummy tucks should be used when a patient is already at his or her ideal weight. “Tummy tucks should not be thought of as a weight loss procedure, but rather as a contouring procedure,” he explains. Also, while tummy tucks can’t directly address stretch marks, since the abdominal skin is pulled downward, any stretch marks may be moved, lowered, or potentially removed if they are part of the lower excess skin.

2. There Are a Few Different Types of Scars
Your scar size and location will depend on the type of abdominoplasty you need. For a traditional tummy tuck like I had, the scar will be from hip-to-hip and most doctors will do their best to ensure that the scar is hidden under the bikini line. You will also have a scar around your belly button, because it’s actually relocated (!) during the procedure.

For patients who need just a small amount of skin removal and muscle tightening, a mini tummy tuck may be an option. “A mini tummy tuck is one in which there is a very little amount of skin excess, usually below the belly button, and the incision leaves a scar a little longer than a C-section scar,” explains Luis Macias, M.D., a double board-certified plastic surgeon at Marina Plastic Surgery in Marina Del Rey, California. 

Patients who are interested in a tummy tuck after significant weight loss or weight loss surgery can expect a large upside down T scar across the abdomen. That’s because in these types of patients, “there is horizontal skin excess as well as vertical—it extends up the midline of the abdomen,” says Macias. 

3. It Isn’t Cheap and Insurance Likely Won’t Cover It
According to the ASAPS Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank statistics, the 2015 national average was $5,891. Typically, a tummy tuck is considered a cosmetic procedure and is not covered by insurance. If you are having a hernia repaired or if the surgery solves another medical problem (such as excess skin from massive weight loss), some insurances may (key word: may) cover a small portion of the procedure. And beyond the cost of the surgery itself, you’ll also need to be prepared to spend money on prescriptions and other pre-op and post-op medical supplies.

4. It’s Important to Do Your Research Before Choosing a Surgeon
Finding a qualified plastic surgeon can be trickier than you’d think. First, while the terms are often used interchangeably, a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon are not the same thing. Likewise a doctor may claim to be “board-certified” by a board that isn’t recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), a recognized agency approving medical specialty boards since 1934. The ABMS only recognizes one plastic surgery board—the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Here’s why this all matters: Legally, any licensed physician can offer “cosmetic” procedures. The doctor might be a dermatologist or gynecologist or a general practitioner, but since there is no nationally recognized cosmetic surgery medical board, any doctor could claim to be a cosmetic surgeon. Many likely have gone through some training and some may be very capable surgeons, but if they are not certified by the ABPS, they are not plastic surgeons. In addition, some surgeons are also certified by the American Board of Surgery, making them dual board-certified. Doctors may also be members of other plastic surgery related associations, academies, or societies, but these memberships should be secondary to ensuring they are ABPS-certified.

5. Don’t Freak Out if Your Surgeon Recommends Liposuction, Too
Mine did, and it was more than just an upsell. “I perform liposuction on most of my tummy tuck patients because it assists in sculpting the waist and love handle area,” explains Macias. When skin from the upper abdomen gets pulled down, it can lead to an unnatural bulge on the hips or a lack of definition. In order to get the best results, many surgeons use liposuction or fat-to-fat grafts to help them reshape and contour the area. However, liposuction is a separate procedure from the tummy tuck which means it will have its own added cost, risks, and recovery factors.

6. You’ll Need Help at Home for the Frst Week
Most tummy tucks are out-patient surgeries, which means you’ll go home right after the procedure and will need to have someone there to help you for the first few days, if not a full week. “I would not have felt comfortable home alone,” says Crystal M., a 51-year-old mother of two and tummy tuck patient who helped prepare for her recovery by stocking her kitchen with pre-cut fruit and other comfort foods. “I needed someone to help me do everything for the first few days,” recalls Erin S., a 37-year-old mom of three who had the procedure. “I could not roll over, sit up, or grab anything further than a few inches away. I needed help standing, getting repositioned in bed, basically everything.” In addition, doctors recommend that you don’t lift anything over 10 pounds for the first four to six weeks, which can be important for mothers with young children to consider.

7. You’ll Likely Be Bent Over at the Waist for the First Few Days (or Longer)
One result of your stomach muscles being tightened, excess skin removed, and your remaining skin pulled taut is that you’ll probably be significantly bent over for the first few days—or even weeks. I looked like the letter L for a solid two weeks. Being bent over like this for so long had a couple of consequences that I wish I had been better prepared for. First, my lower back muscles pretty much gave up on day three, and I had immense pain and back spasms whenever I walked or stood (Icy Hot/Bengay was a life-saver.) Second, I couldn’t reach anything that was above my new eye level. This meant that I couldn’t get anything from the top two shelves of my fridge. Jedi mind tricks were not enough to bring me any closer to that container of dark chocolate covered almonds taunting me from the top shelf.

This bent-over position also impacts how you sleep. You should plan on sleeping in a recliner, with a wedge pillow, or on a couch with a bunch of pillows to prop up your legs and back until you’re able to lie flat around week two. 

8. Expect Benefits Beyond the Cosmetic
True, you’ll likely feel a lot more confident in your clothes after a tummy tuck, like Crystal did. Before the tummy tuck, she says that she had chosen outfits to accommodate her stomach. “Now I can pick out clothes that I like and know I look great in them.” However, the procedure can also offer medical benefits: Some studies have suggested that tummy tucks may help with urinary incontinence, and the procedure can have a big impact on the strength and support of your body’s core. “An integral part of a tummy tuck is repairing the rectus diastasis, which is a space between the rectus muscles that naturally occurs after childbirth or a large amount of weight loss,” explain Hirsch. “For patients with a significant diastasis, repairing this can help improve their core stability and can also help with back pain and bloating.” This is something Erin found to be true after her abdominoplasty. “Now when I go to the gym and do ab work, I can actually feel my core engaging,” she says. “Prior to surgery I never felt anything happening in my abs.” 

For me, I’ll admit that the first two weeks were a physical and emotional roller coaster, but now, five weeks out, I’m already enjoying the benefits of my clothes fitting better and feeling more confident, and I’m looking forward to rediscovering my newly tightened abs. Oh, and finally reaching those dark chocolate covered almonds.

Pot Belly Before And After Images

Stages Of Swelling After Tummy Tuck

You’ll likely have an idea of the outcome when considering a tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, from the very beginning. At your meeting, explain these objectives to the board-certified plastic surgeon. The two of you can then talk about how to accomplish them efficiently from there. It’s also crucial to comprehend the nature and duration of the rehabilitation process. This makes sure that your expectations are reasonable.

Depending on the patient and variables including age, general health, kind of belly tuck (extended or small), and amount of post-surgery care, recovery times for tummy tucks vary. Your surgeon will discuss your unique path to recovery after the treatment, although patients often see benefits and feel fully recovered eight weeks later.

The best plastic surgery facility on Long Island, Buglino Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, has created a helpful timetable outlining the various phases of recuperation after your abdominoplasty. Contact your surgeon if you want more detailed information.

Directly following surgery
An abdominal binder, which is later changed out for a compression garment, will be used to hold your stomach in place. Little tubes will be wrapped around the wounds and placed around them with a mesh surgical dressing to allow any fluid accumulation to drain.

To make sure you are appropriately ready for a good recovery, pay attention to your surgeon’s recommendations. How to maintain your drain tubes will be explained to you. There will be no daily upkeep need for the secured mesh covering the wound. You’ll receive instructions on how long to wear an abdominal pressure garment, what kinds of physical exercise to avoid, and more. You can’t drive yourself home, so make the necessary preparations.

A Few Days After Surgery
You’ll require assistance because you won’t be fully mobile for a few days after the abdominoplasty. It will be difficult for you to bend, lift, and stand for extended periods, so having someone nearby to help you can be helpful for your rehabilitation.

For a few days, you can have some discomfort and tenderness there. Most surgeons will advise patients to take antibiotics and anticoagulants. Swelling and discomfort should also be relieved with an abdominal support garment.

In the days following surgery, patients may want to stick to a modest diet to avoid taxing their stomach muscles. Increase your intake of fiber to improve constipation and try to eat low-sodium foods to prevent inflammation.

For at least three months following surgery, patients should refrain from using alcohol, smoking, and getting too much sun.

1-2 weeks following surgery
It’s also crucial to comprehend the nature and duration of the rehabilitation process. This makes sure that your expectations are reasonable.

The timing of the removal of your mesh strip bandage will be decided by your surgeon during the follow-up appointment. You should already be able to see a noticeable difference in the shape of your tummy at this point.

According to your surgeon’s recommendations, you must continue wearing your support garment after the examination.

If your job is sedentary, you probably can go back to it. However, you might not be able to go back to work for two to three weeks if the position includes strenuous lifting and continual bending or standing.

It will take around three weeks before users can resume using the elliptical or treadmill. Although each situation must be evaluated individually, it typically takes six weeks to resume weight lifting. Watch your incision when you start either of these activities again. Reduce your activities and get in touch with your surgeon if you have any edema.

1-2 months following surgery
Many people will continue to feel swelling for months after having a stomach tuck. Moreover, you can notice bruising, numbness, or a pulling sensation in your abdomen. The leftover scar may still be red and elevated, but the incision should have totally healed. This will ultimately fade and become flat.

Normal activities, such as strength training or a physically demanding job, can usually be resumed one to two months after surgery. Nonetheless, the final decision will be made by your surgeon.

A year following surgery
Your abdominoplasty should be totally healed and show its results within a year. Your scar should have disappeared, and your inflammation should be gone. Although the latter will never totally vanish, it should be concealed beneath your underwear line and be almost unnoticeable.

Maintain your results by following a nutritious diet and an active lifestyle. Sagging skin and changes in your abdominal area’s look may result from weight gain or loss. This is among the justifications for patients delaying the operation till after having all of their children. The effects of an abdominoplasty performed by a board-certified surgeon will last a lifetime if you maintain your weight.

Pictures Swelling After Tummy Tuck

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