A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a plastic surgery procedure performed to remove excess skin and fat from the middle of your body, as well as tighten muscles in your abdomen. It’s ideal for women after pregnancy or those who have lost significant weight through diet or exercise but still have stubborn fat deposits or loose skin that persists despite efforts to tone up with the diet and exercise.
Tummy tuck surgery is an extensive procedure that can transform your physique and result in a healthier, fitter appearance. However, it is also invasive and will not result in permanent changes overnight. Therefore, you should familiarize yourself with the tummy tuck process beforehand, so you know what to expect afterward.
You Need to Be Prepared for a Change
It takes at least six weeks (often months) after surgery before you see the final results. That means that you shouldn’t schedule major events during this time period if they require looking “normal.” Keep in mind that your new stomach will feel numb where it was stitched back together.
You Need a Lot of Patience on the Road to Recovery
It takes at least six to eight weeks before you can resume many of your normal activities.
During this time, you should avoid strenuous exercise and instead participate in low-impact exercises, such as walking.
Driving is usually permitted after two weeks, but do not drive if taking pain medication that causes drowsiness or clouded thinking, such as hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (Percocet), codeine, or other narcotics prescribed for post-operative pain management. You should also avoid alcoholic beverages while using these drugs.
Tummy Tuck Is Not Covered by Insurance
Tummy tuck surgery is considered elective and, therefore, is usually not covered by insurance. Because of this, tummy tuck surgery will be paid out of pocket and can usually run between $4,000 to $8,000 or more.
Some plastic surgeons offer financing options; others offer discounted rates if the surgery is being performed in combination with additional cosmetic procedures. You will need to discuss the cost of your surgery with your chosen plastic surgeon, as all surgeons have different surgical fees.
Tummy tuck costs also vary by geographical location.
Your Tummy Tuck Will Result in Scarring
Tummy tuck surgery requires incisions. These incisions will leave scars.
If your surgeon creates the incision line near your bikini line, your scar will be hidden — but it will still be long and straight (usually running from hipbone to hipbone).
Recovery Has Both Physical and Emotional Challenges
Your body needs time to adjust to big changes, such as getting used to new muscle tone and less fatty tissue in the midsection.
Tummy tuck surgery can result in discomfort that feels like gas pain for up to six weeks after surgery—though this should gradually fade away with time. It’s also normal to experience some swelling in the legs, which should go down with time. Be sure to remain as active as possible (by walking) in the days following your tummy tuck to prevent the formation of blood clots.