FAQ - Abdominoplasty
It is natural to have questions about cosmetic surgery. We are committed to helping you understand the surgical considerations taken to plan an abdominoplasty procedure. Well informed patients are better equipped to make decisions about tummy tuck surgery.
Individuals considering abdominoplasty surgery should be in good health, have no serious or active illnesses, no pre-existing medical conditions, and must have realistic outcome expectations. Abdominoplasty is not a treatment for obesity nor a substitute for good nutrition and exercise. Potential patients intending to lose weight should delay their tummy tuck procedure until they have reached a stable body weight. It is important to discuss pregnancy and weight loss plans with your plastic surgeon before surgery.
The preparation for an abdominoplasty is very similar to the routine used with most cosmetic surgeries. Below are some basic recommendations used at Cosmetic Surgery Montreal to prepare for abdominoplasty:
- 1 month prior to surgery stop use of any tobacco or substances containing nicotine and do not resume until fully healed
- 1 month prior to surgery stop use of all street drugs
- 2 weeks before surgery avoid the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (eg. Aspirin, Advil, Motrin, etc.)
- 5 days prior to surgery start stool softeners prescribed by our plastic surgeon, Dr. Chen Lee.
- on the evening and morning before surgery, shower with an acne soap such as Spectro-Jel
- it is important to fast (not eat or drink anything) after midnight before surgery
Most tummy tucks are performed under general anesthesia on ambulatory outpatients. Our plastic surgeon usually requires 2 to 3 hours of operative time to perform a routine abdominoplasty. However, you should plan to be occupied for a half-day at the surgical center.
We routinely scheduled tummy tucks in the morning to provide ample time for your recovery under medical supervision. Your requested time of arrival at the surgical center is well in advance of the scheduled time of operation. This gives our nurses time to confirm that you are medically fit and properly prepared for safe surgery.
After surgery, you will be monitored in the recovery room. You will be discharged only when the effects of the anesthesia have worn off. For safety, a responsible person (family member or friend) must be present to accompany you on your return trip home. After general anesthesia, it is not sufficient nor safe to leave the surgery center by taxi without the accompaniment of a responsible person.
Most patients experience abdominal tightness and discomfort. The “tight” sensation will improve in 4-8 weeks after your abdominoplasty. You will be supplied with an abdominal binder to wear for the first 6 weeks after surgery. It is important to make frequent adjustments to ensure that you do not develop wounds from garment friction and pressure points.
You will be encouraged to walk early after surgery. Ambulation significantly reduces the risk of phlebitis. Stool softeners will be prescribed to reduce the risk of constipation. We generally discourage physical exertion and lifting of heavy objects for 6 weeks.
Silicone scar treatment commences 3-6 weeks after surgery. The scar will gradually improve over a 6 month time duration. Revision of displeasing scars can be considered after 6 months.
Tummy tuck surgery is effective at removing excess abdominal skin below the umbilicus. If your stretch marks are below the umbilicus, the likelihood is high that an abdominoplasty will remove the affected skin. However, stretch marks positioned above the umbilicus or near the hip will still remain following a tummy tuck procedure.
Perhaps. Remember, if you are overweight, the remaining residual fat of the skin will prevent you from having a flat abdominal contour despite having a tummy tuck. Even thin individuals in a sitting position will have some loose skin and fat.
Tummy tuck procedures are especially effective at treating excessively loose abdominal skin. Liposuction is best used in normal skin with an underlying fat excess eg. abdominal “love handles” and hip “saddlebags”. Liposuction is not a customary component of a tummy tuck procedure. Nevertheless, it is commonly performed concurrently with a tummy tuck.
At Cosmetic Surgery Montreal, our concurrently performed liposuction is priced according to its magnitude as well as the extended duration of time expected under general anesthesia. More precise details on concurrent liposuction prices can be obtained only after consultation with our plastic surgeon.
Gentle ambulation is encouraged in the early days after abdominoplasty. Walking significantly reduces the risk of blood clots in the legs. Light household chores are usually possible 3 weeks after abdominoplasty. Intense physical exertion and lifting of heavy objects are to be avoided for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, an exercise program with a gradual and progressive increase in intensity can be commenced. Return to unrestricted full-intensity sports activities can usually be achieved by the 12th week after abdominoplasty surgery.
The portion of skin and fat removed with a tummy tuck will never grow back. Even with weight gain, there remains a permanent reduction of skin and subcutaneous tissue. However, the fat cells within the remaining tissues of the abdomen will enlarge with weight gain and may stretch the abdominal skin resulting in loss of some of the previous cosmetic benefits of a tummy tuck.
We recommend planning your abdominoplasty after you have finished having all of your children. Despite this recommendation, pregnancy after abdominoplasty does happen. Skin is an elastic organ capable of adaptation to stretch. Those who choose to carry their pregnancy to full-term are usually able to undergo labor and childbirth without difficulty.
The cosmetic effect of pregnancy on a previously tummy tuck treated abdomen is less predictable. There is no guarantee that the previous benefits of abdominoplasty will persist following a full-term pregnancy. Redo tummy tuck may be necessary to regain that flat abdomen.