You have tried diet and exercise, but despite your best efforts, that pooch around your midsection remains. Is it time to think about a tummy tuck? This surgical procedure can effectively trim down the abdominal area when weight loss efforts alone do not seem to do the trick. However, before you schedule that procedure, there are a few questions you need to consider to ensure now is the best time for your surgery.
ARE YOU PLANNING TO HAVE MORE CHILDREN?
Most women decide to move forward with a tummy tuck when they are finished having children. In fact, the toll pregnancy takes on the body is often what leads to the need for plastic surgery in the first place. A tummy tuck is a good way to address muscle laxity and loose skin after one or more pregnancies. However, if you get pregnant after your tummy tuck, you could counter the positive effects of your surgery.
HAVE YOU RECENTLY LOST WEIGHT?
Another popular time to consider a tummy tuck is after significant weight loss. The process of dropping pounds can leave you with loose skin that failed to conform to your new, leaner body contour. You may also have a few stubborn pockets of fat around the midsection that did not respond to your weight loss efforts. However, if you are planning to lose more weight in the future, it is probably best to postpone your surgical procedure until you have achieved a stable weight.
ARE YOU IN GOOD HEALTH?
A tummy tuck is a relatively major surgery that is performed under general anesthesia. The incision for the tummy tuck is typically quite long, extending from hipbone to hipbone. If you have any medical conditions or lifestyle choices that would interfere with the safety of the surgery or the recovery process, now may not be the right time for your tummy tuck. This is particularly true of smokers – you will likely be asked to kick the habit for at least six weeks before and six weeks after your procedure.
ARE YOU PREPARED TO TAKE SUFFICIENT TIME OFF FOR RECOVERY?
Recovery from a tummy tuck generally takes a number of weeks. Most patients are ready to return to jobs and light activities within 2-3 weeks. However, more strenuous activity may be restricted for much longer. It is very important that you are able to take the full amount of recovery time recommended by your surgeon to ensure your body heals completely and you see the best possible results from your procedure.
DO YOU HAVE A RELATIVELY HEALTHY LIFESTYLE?
A tummy tuck is considered a permanent way to slim down the midsection – as long as a healthy weight is maintained after surgery. However, if you pack on more pounds after your procedure, it could interfere with your results. Your plastic surgeon will likely have recommendations for diet and exercise that will help you keep your weight and your results stable after your surgery. It is important to follow those guidelines to get the longest-lasting results from your tummy tuck.