Although the time element usually depends on how much work needs to be performed on the patient, a tummy tuck surgery takes several hours. If undergoing a mini tummy tuck it can typically be performed in about two hours and can usually be done under a local or general anaesthetic.
When having a tummy tuck, the surgery involves an incision being made across the abdomen from one hip to the other. Another incision is made to permit the navel to detach from the surrounding tissues, while the size of the incision depends upon how much skin needs to be removed. The incision size is dependent on whether the tummy tuck is a mini-tummy tuck or a full/complete tummy tuck.
What Happens Next
During the surgery, the skin is detached from the abdominal wall whilst the abdominal muscles will be tightened by pulling them closer together and stitching them whilst in the pulled position. The waistline can be narrowed by this tightening of the abdominal muscles, creating a firmer abdominal wall.
When the surgeons make a skin flap that is later stretched down and the extra skin is removed, the muscles are exposed. The location of the belly button is moved during the tummy tuck surgery and a new hole is created so that the belly button can be re-stitched into place. the effects of pregnancy on the abdomen can be removed via tummy tuck surgery.
Any plastic surgery procedure that involved incisions result in some scarring. There will be scarring subsequent to the tummy tuck surgery which extends across the lower abdomen and sometimes around the belly button itself. Everyone is different to each will experience differing healing processes and some patients scars will be less obvious.
All tummy tuck patients have some degree of scarring and although they fade in time, there will always be some form of scarring that remains. The surgeon will do their best to make sure the incision as in a discreet place to try and hide them under underwear and bikinis.
Pain and Soreness
It is normal for a patient to experience a moderate amount of discomfort following a tummy tuck procedure. Some patients are released a couple of hours following the procedure although some stay in the clinic/hospital overnight. It depends upon the amount of work that has been performed.
The amount of pain and discomfort that a patient experiences also depends on how tight the inner girdle area is made. The tummy tuck surgeon provides the patient with instructions and it is important that the patient begins moving around as soon as they possibly can. An exercise programme will also help with the healig process, reduce the postoperative swelling along with the risk of developing a blood clot.
Numbness in the abdomen usually lasts up to six months and in some cases, it can last longer. Some swelling may be present although this usually passes within a few days. The stitches that are used in a tummy tuck procedure will be removed a week following the procedure and the deeper sutures that are used will be removed after a few weeks time.
Many patients notice that the tummy tuck scars worsen during the first few months following the procedure and patients should allow nine to twelve months following the tummy tuck procedure for these to settle down and fade. All patients should avoid strenuous activity for a month or so following the surgery.
Having a tummy tuck is very rewarding as the results can be significant and patients usually obtain a flatter stomach. It may take a patient a few weeks to recover from the procedure whereas it can take another person months before they feel normal again. The procedure is usually long lasting, providing that the patient maintains a healthy diet and takes regular exercise.