Summary: Whether it’s due to pregnancy, dramatic weight loss or the natural aging process, the stomach skin can become loose, saggy and leave you embarrassed about your appearance. Working out and eating a healthy diet can help you shed unwanted weight, but unfortunately lifestyle changes will do nothing to affect excess or stretched-out skin. A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, can deliver improvement in ways not possible with diet or exercise and offer many other surprising benefits.
A tummy tuck is a body contouring procedure that removes excess stomach skin and tightens the underlying abdominal muscles. The result is a sleeker, smoother, flatter midsection that you can be proud to show off. Believe it or not, the timing of your tummy tuck will directly affect the quality of your results. Here is some helpful advice to help you decide when the time is right.
Wait Until Your Family Is Complete
Even though it’s completely possible to have a healthy pregnancy after a tummy tuck, it’s best to put off your surgery until your childbearing years are behind you.
Obviously, a pregnancy after a tummy tuck will mean that the stomach skin and muscles will have to stretch again to accommodate your new baby. Again, this presents no danger to the pregnancy, but could reverse the effects of the tummy tuck and leave you unhappy with your stomach’s appearance.
Have a Support System in Place for Your Recovery
Fully recovering from a tummy tuck will take several months, and you’ll be very restricted in what you can and can’t do for several weeks after surgery. Having a support system in place and planning ahead to have help and downtime during your recovery period is imperative. Your plastic surgeon will place restrictions on what you can lift for the first several weeks following surgery, so be sure you make arrangements to have help performing your normal tasks. Hauling groceries in from the car or lifting your toddler will not be something you can do for awhile, so enlist the help of family and friends. Failing to follow your plastic surgeon’s post-op instructions can cause significant harm and inhibit proper healing.
Wait Until You’ve Reached Your Target Weight
For the same reasons you should wait until your family is complete, you should also hold off on a tummy tuck until you’re at or near a healthy, target weight that you plan to maintain. Your tummy tuck will be performed to accentuate and complement your body at the time of your surgery, and future weight fluctuations can “undo” your results. Even though you may feel very anxious to get rid of excess skin before you’ve met your weight loss goals, you’ll get the best results if you’re within 10 pounds of your goal.
Have Healthy Habits in Place
A tummy tuck can dramatically improve the appearance of your abdomen, but don’t think for a second the results are necessarily permanent. How long your results will last depends on you and how much discipline you have to avoid gaining weight. Your tummy tuck is an investment. Protect it by making sure you’ve established the healthy lifestyle habits that will help you maintain your weight and your results. Reaching your target weight and then maintaining that weight for several months is a good test to give yourself before knowing the time for a tummy tuck is right.