When you decide to get a tummy tuck after pregnancy or because of significant weight loss, you want your new, sculpted look to last a long time. And while a tummy tuck at our Austin plastic surgery center can provide dramatic results, you’ll want to consider what you can do before and after surgery to help maintain your new contour for years to come.
Consider your surgical options. A tummy tuck is effective for patients who are unhappy with loose muscles and sagging skin on the abdomen. But remember that a tummy tuck is not a weight-loss procedure. For example, if you have bothersome pockets of fat that won’t go away even with diet and exercise, liposuction may be a more effective approach to get the look you want. For optimal body contouring, I often combine a tummy tuck with liposuction, so I can address both sagging skin and excess fat at the same time. Before pursuing a tummy tuck, discuss with your surgeon if a combination of the two procedures might be right for you.
For women: Consider pregnancy. Pregnancy can significantly impact your body and compromise the results of your surgery, so it is best to wait until after your last pregnancy to schedule your tummy tuck. Having said that, it is safe and possible to get pregnant after a tummy tuck. Some women who become pregnant after a tummy tuck can regain their post-surgery results, while others cannot. For these patients, a second tummy tuck, called revision abdominoplasty, is always an option.
Follow pre-op and post-op instructions. Following your surgeon’s instructions is essential for getting the best long-term results. I give my patients detailed instructions of how to prepare for surgery and how to help your body recover afterward. For example, it’s extremely important to quit smoking and maintain a healthy weight during the weeks leading up to and following your surgery. It is also essential to prepare a comfortable place for recovery, such as a reclining chair. Make sure things like your pain meds and phone are within arm’s reach so you don’t have to keep getting up—overexerting yourself can slow down your recovery process. It may seem that your pre-op and post-op instructions are overly cautious, but just remember that your surgeon has your best interest in mind.
Maintain your weight. So, you’ve reached your goal weight, had your surgery, and love your results. These results can be long-lasting if you maintain your weight. If you are gaining weight following a tummy tuck, it is most likely that the fat is spreading to places other than the treated areas. So even though your stomach may still look flat, other parts of the body like your back and thighs may noticeably begin to gain weight. Being mindful of your diet plays a major role in maintaining your weight and preserving your results.
Stay active. One of the best things you can do to keep your tummy tuck looking great is to stay fit with regular activity. In my experience, patients who commit to ongoing exercise have the best opportunity to keep the figure they obtained after their body contouring procedure. After your surgery, you will need to avoid any rigorous exercise for about the first 6 weeks, but once your surgeon clears you, it’s time to get back into workout mode. You may enjoy working out even more now that you are more comfortable in gym clothes. However, be sure to focus on more than just your abdomen, as a holistic approach to exercise will help you look and feel your best.
Contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Maintaining open communication with your surgeon before and after your procedure is important for having a smooth surgical journey and achieving your desired results. Complications are rare, but it is important to call your surgeon if any abnormal symptoms arise, such as excessive bleeding, signs of infection, or difficulty breathing. Save your doctor’s number in your phone for easy access.
As you age, your skin and tummy may grow lax over time, but you can do a lot to stave off that process by following these tips. Check out our Tummy Tuck FAQ page that can answer some of your questions about the procedure.
If you have more questions or are ready to discuss your options for tummy tuck surgery, request a consultation or give our office a call at (512) 244-1439.