By: Julia Weston, Centre for Plastic Surgery
What Makes a Good Tummy Tuck Candidate?
It’s no secret that women often have a somewhat contentious relationship with the shape of their stomachs. Having babies, aging, weight fluxuations, and other genetic factors are likely to affect our bodies. While these things are all perfectly normal and acceptable changes to experience, the reality is that it doesn’t always FEEL very good. And let’s face it, sometimes acceptance is just easier said than done! For many patients, this is where an Abdominoplasty,a.k.a. Tummy Tuck, can become a valid option for boosting confidence and achieving a more balanced shape. But what makes a good candidate for Tummy Tuck?
I Have a Shape. Unfortunately It’s a Potato.
The good news is that Tummy Tuck surgery is an excellent option for removing excess skin, tightening muscles, and creating a more shapely abdomen. The bad news is that it is not a weight loss solution. Patient Care Coordinator Amanda Cate says, “An ideal tummy tuck candidate would be someone who is comfortable with their weight or close to their goal weight. It’s important that patients understand it is more about making your clothes fit better and should not anticipate any weight loss as a result of the procedure.” Furthermore, it’s extremely important for safety reasons that patients are within a healthy weight range before electing to undergo surgery. Patients with a higher BMI are more likely to develop complications from surgical procedures. While waiting until you’ve achieved a healthy weight can be disappointing, the benefits far eclipse the risk.
We Can’t All Look Good At the Same Time. It’s Me or the Kids.
Children are absolutely one of the greatest joys in life for many of us! But unfortunately pregnancy and childbirth can really take a toll on a woman’s body. One of the main elements of Tummy Tuck surgery is muscle repair. Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Douglas Leppink, MD says, “During pregnancy the thin band of tissue between a woman’s abdominal muscles must stretch to make room for a growing baby. The problem is that this connective tissue may never return to its original state, creating a gap between the abdominal muscles that affects the contour of the abdomen. We call this rectus diastasis. During a Tummy Tuck procedure, we use a permanent suture to repair that gap. Because of this, the best candidates are done having children before electing to undergo this surgery. It’s rare for the sutures to cause complications, but pregnancy after abdominoplasty may completely reverse the improvements since the muscles will still need to stretch for a baby.”
Help! I’ve Had a Tummy Tuck and I Can’t Get Up
The vast majority of patients are very happy with the outcome of an abdominoplasty. It is one of the most impactful procedures, but it’s important to remember that you will need help afterwards. The process of recovery after a Tummy Tuck is something that all candidates should consider thoughtfully. Abdominoplasty patients need help getting up and down, showering, caring for their incisions, and even managing their medications for the first few days. Amanda says, “It’s vital to your recovery to have a dependable caretaker. You will need someone who understands your post care instructions that can help you after surgery. The best Tummy Tuck candidates accept that they may need assistance with even the littlest things for the first few days.”
When In Doubt, Learn More
The decision to undergo a Tummy Tuck is huge! It is a major surgery and it’s normal to need time to discover if it’s right for you. The best way to determine if you are a good candidate for Tummy Tuck surgery is to schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon. Your physician should listen to your goals, show you examples of results with patient photos, and help you navigate your concerns. If you have questions about Abdominoplasty we are always happy to help. Contact the Centre for Plastic Surgery here or by call us at 616.454.1256 to learn more.