An abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgery entailing the removal of excess skin and fat from the abdomen. It also involves tightening the surrounding muscles, keeping the area flat, toned, and aesthetically pleasing. However, contrary to popular belief, the procedure does not enable people to lose weight. A person must have a healthy body mass index to be eligible for this surgery.
The tummy tuck is among the top 15 surgical procedures performed in the US. The 2020 statics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons indicate 97,988 tummy tucks procedures occurred countrywide. Despite its popularity, there are risks associated with this cosmetic procedure, like any surgical procedure.
What are the Common Risks of a Tummy Tuck Procedure?
A tummy tuck is a major invasive surgical procedure. Therefore, risks prevalent are common in all major surgeries.
- Excessive bleeding – there are many causes of uncontrollable bleeding during and after a tummy tuck procedure. Issues with a person’s clotting factors, pre-surgery medications, and structural defects increase bleeding rates during and after surgery.
- Blood clots – the recovery period requires plenty of rest, increasing the risk of developing clots due to poor blood circulation.
- An allergic reaction to the anaesthesia – all major surgeries require the patient to be unconscious so that the operating team can control and monitor vitals externally. However, sometimes patients develop an allergic reaction to the anaesthesia.
There are other risks specific to tummy tuck surgery.
- Fluid may percolate under the skin around the surgery site after the procedure. The doctor usually removes this fluid with a syringe or small drainage tubes.
- The surgical wound can take a long to heal. Infection, clotting issues, and lifestyle choices before surgery like poor nutrition and smoking contribute to this slow recovery.
- Abnormal scarring can occur after the surgery. Excessive scars form because the body produces excessive collagen to repair the surgical wound. The scar tissue can form keloids or hypertrophic scars that may induce psychological distress in the patient.
- Smokers have a high risk of fatty tissue (adipose layer) damage. Smoking affects the functioning and health of the adipose tissue, quickening its destruction after surgery.
- Expect hypersensitivity or reduced nerve sensations on the abdomen and the upper thigh after the procedure. It may feel like numbness or tingliness. They fade with time.
- The tummy can grow back again after surgery. Therefore, maintaining your tummy tuck is necessary to reduce the risk of getting another one.
Is it Possible to Avoid Tummy Tuck Surgery Risks?
A person can reduce risk exposure with proper pre-and post-operation preparation. The degree of preparation depends on the guidance of the designated surgeon. The medical practitioner needs to perform tests and ask questions to provide patient-specific intervention.
Thus, with a qualified surgeon and operating team performing the procedure, the risks associated with this procedure reduce significantly. In Houston, there are a lot of great surgeons specializing in tummy tucks. The patient has to follow the guidelines given by the surgeon to increase the chances of a successful outcome.
How Can I Reduce Tummy Tuck Risks?
Discontinue smoking or any nicotine intake for at least a month or two before surgery. The medical personnel responsible for the surgery will advise against smoking frequency because it slows down healing. Slow recovery increases the risk of infections. Smoking also increases the risk of developing complications because it affects the functioning of the fatty tissue.
Eat a balanced diet to speed up healing. The body obtains nutrients from the food consumed to facilitate healing and tissue repair. It also uses nutrients to build immunity. Insufficient nutrition slows down wound healing. The body also becomes weak in fighting infection. Ensure that the meals taken before and post-surgery contain all the nutrients needed to facilitate proper healing.
During the pre-operative consultations, the surgeon advises patients to avoid taking blood-thinning and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) medication. Blood thinners interfere with clot formation slowing down wound healing. They also make a patient bleed out during and after the surgical procedure.
Set up a comfortable recovery area that meets surgery needs before the operation. It should be an easily accessible room without a staircase and close to a washroom. Limit strenuous activity to give the wound time to heal.
Furthermore, the room should be spacious to prevent falls or accidents because they can aggravate the wound and increase pain. The recovery area should have plenty of aeration to reduce infections through air contamination.
Have everything needed to make the recovery journey easy, like loose, comfortable clothing, a communication device, and an entertainment unit. Ensure the bathroom has supportive structures and a chair for easy washing post-surgery to decrease accident probability.
Maintain body and recovery room cleanliness to prevent the spread of external infections. Wiping the surgical site removes germs that may spread disease on internal body organs once they enter the bloodstream.
As the patient recuperates, they should avoid lying down continuously during the day. Movement reduces the risk of clot development in the hands and legs. For instance, take showers in the bathroom to break the monotony of lying down for long periods.