The tummy tuck procedure, or abdominoplasty, has been around for decades, long enough to generate its fair share of rumors and naysayers. Although this procedure can do much to improve a person’s look, health, and self-esteem, it is often regarded as a dangerous procedure only opted for by the vainest of the vain.
Others make claims that the tummy tuck can achieve impractical results. All of these rumors are simply not true. Let’s put to rest many of the myths that surround the tummy tuck procedure once and for all.
Myth #1 – Tummy Tuck Surgeries Are Very Painful
It seems like any plastic surgery procedure must battle against a myth saying it causes extreme pain. The truth is that surgeries are painful, but not in the way that people expect.
When you make large-scale changes to any part of the anatomy, the human body must regroup and adjust. The healing process will involve swelling, redness, and irritation because that is how the body heals itself.
The pain following a tummy tuck will not be excruciating; it will not make you pass out, vomit, or lay immobile for days on end. Many patients are surprised at how low their moderate pain levels really are. Plus, your plastic surgeon will offer advice on how to manage pain as well as a prescription medication to help you relieve it.
Myth #2 – Tummy Tucks Leave Behind Giant Scars
In the old days, any abdominal surgery would involve large slashes and leave behind these giant scars. In the modern time of laparoscopic procedures and controlled incisions, there’s no need for a hip to hip size scar. Even women who have had C-section births aren’t left with the giant scars that tummy tuck critics are imagining.
In reality, the tummy tuck procedure involves small horizontal incisions made near the pubic hairline. Sometimes an additional incision is needed near the belly button to remove skin on the upper abdomen, but not always.
These incisions are placed strategically to leave behind only the slightest of scars. If you’re letting your fear of scars hold you back from an abdominoplasty,don’t be so worried. Discuss your concerns with your plastic surgeon to see exactly what kind of incisions your surgery would require.
Myth #3 – Tummy Tucks Make Your Weight Fluctuate
It’s nice to think that a plastic surgery operation could help you drop that last 10 pounds, but that just won’t happen. It’s terrifying to think that a plastic surgery operation could make you gain 10 more pounds, but that just won’t happen either.
While many patients do lose some weight from the fat cell removal and lost fluids from the procedure, their overall weight does eventually stabilize and it won’t be a dramatic shift on the scale from your original weight.
Remember that stuffing your face while you’re recovering on downtime will make you gain some weight, so keep healthy snacks close by. Be mindful of your healthy eating habits before and after the procedure. Any weight you want to lose, or not gain, is totally up to you.
Myth #4 – Tummy Tucks Cause Permanent Nerve Damage
During a tummy tuck procedure, the abdominal muscles are repaired with sutures and then any excess skin (and sometimes fat) is removed. The nerves are not really a part of the process, but as with any surgery, they can become damaged during the procedure. While some patients do experience minor nerve damage, the localized numbness that follows their procedure does go away naturally over a few days or maybe weeks.
This numbness will only occur around the injured nerve; it will not encompass your entire abdomen, leaving your middle without feeling. In some rare cases, permanent nerve damage can occur. Again, this is solely a localized issue that will affect just the nerves that have been directly damaged. When this does occur, it is most commonly localized to the area where the incisions were placed. Many abdominal surgeries, even those that are medically necessary, carry this same level of risk.
Myth #5 – Tummy Tucks Carry a High Risk for Complications
Speaking of risks associate with tummy tucks, it’s important to understand that this procedure does not carry a higher risk than other body surgeries, whether cosmetic or medical in nature. All surgeries carry a certain degree of risk because they involve anesthesia, knives, cutting, making changes, and bleeding. Experienced plastic surgeons are well versed in the best practices for minimizing risk and maximizing results, all without you doing anything at all.
They can help you to avoid some of the risks associated with a tummy tuck, such as scarring, bleeding, hematoma, infection, fluid accumulation, delayed healing, loss of skin, prolonged numbness, blood clothing, allergic reactions, skin pigmentation, excessive swelling, high levels of pain, fat necrosis, and skin inelasticity. Yes, all of these risk factors sound unpleasant, but in the right hands, you are greatly reducing the chance that you’ll face any of them.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If busting these myths has helped you to have a better understanding of the tummy tuck procedure, schedule a consultation with a credentialed plastic surgeon today and start planning your own surgery.
Contact the office of Dr. Robert Kessler, a board certified general and plastic surgeon. He completed his medical degree with Honors from Tufts University in Boston and completed a distinguished General Surgical Residency with North Short/NYU in New York, before a Plastic Surgery residency with the US Air Force and the University of Texas.
Today, Dr. Kessler operates two practices in California, has worked as a surgical consultant and surgical assistant on ABC’s Extreme Makeover, and has lectured nationally and internationally on topics including facial rejuvenation, plastic surgery, and body contouring after substantial weight loss.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kessler, contact his office, located at 2121 East Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 200, in Newport Beach, California by calling (949) 644-6544.