It seems like the last refuge for extra body fat is the abdomen. The natural effects of aging, fluctuating weight, childbirth, and other events can result in a paunch. Unfortunately, even when you have shed most of your excess pounds with dieting and exercise, you may still be left with some stubborn fat you simply can’t lose naturally.

The answer to your problem may be an abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck. This cosmetic surgery procedure is a good option for slimming and sculpting your midsection. It can also repair abdominal muscles that have been damaged and weakened to give you a tighter, flatter stomach with great long-term results. Of course, as a tummy tuck is a surgical procedure, there are five things you should know before committing to the surgery.

You Need Significant Downtime

Tummy tucks are major surgeries, which means you need several weeks to fully heal. The procedure involves an incision being made from one hip to the other. Generally, your recovery can take two to three weeks. You will initially feel tired, sore, and swollen, which is normal. Over time, these symptoms will subside and your final results will become more apparent. You’ll need time off work and help at home. You will also have to avoid any strenuous activities for at least four to six weeks.

You Should Be at a Stable Weight Before the Surgery

Good candidates for tummy tuck surgery should already be at or close to their ideal weight and have maintained it in the long term. However, a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Chrisopher Newman is the best way to know if you’re in good health for an abdominoplasty, and if the procedure will address any concerns you have about your abdomen.

You Will Have a Permanent Scar

Even though tummy tuck procedures are among the most effective cosmetic surgery options available, it’s important to know that the incision you get will likely lead to a faint, visible scar. In a regular tummy tuck, this will be across the abdomen running horizontally from one hip to the other, just above your pubic bone. The scar will fade over time, but will likely never fully disappear. Dr. Newman places the incision strategically to ensure that it’s made in a place that can be hidden under clothing, including underwear and bathing suit bottoms.

You’ll Need Surgical Drains for the First Week or Two

Post-surgery, you will likely have drains put in place to allow for the drainage of blood and fluid. This promotes proper healing and keep swelling to a minimum. While this is temporary, the drains need proper care and attention. Before your surgery, Dr. Newman will explain the need for them and how to properly care for them. He will also tell you how you can bathe safely after the procedure. At minimum, you’ll need the drains for around seven to 10 days but may need them for two weeks or longer.

You May Need a Year to Fully Heal

Although they will eventually be significant, the results of your tummy tuck are not going to be immediate. You may experience symptoms like swelling, bruising, redness and stiffness in the first few weeks. This should subside after four to six weeks when you’ll also start to notice the results. Slight swelling may continue for up to six months. You may also have numbness on the incision line, but it’s temporary. Just keep in mind that it can take a full year for you to feel completely back to normal.

Learn More About Abdominoplasty in St. Petersburg, FL

If you’re starting to research ways to permanently remove stubborn fat from the belly, the best way to learn is by talking to a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Newman. Schedule your consultation with him today by calling us at (727) 228-0622 or filling out an online contact form.