Tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that tightens and reshapes the abdominal area to provide a slimmer appearance.
Cosmetic surgeries like tummy tuck are not covered by insurance, which is one of the reasons why thousands of people plan their tummy tuck abroad.
If you also plan to travel overseas for affordable tummy tuck, the below information will be useful:
Before going overseas for tummy tuck, you must check if you qualify for the surgery. Abdominoplasty can help if:
- You have lost weight through diet and exercise but your stomach still protrudes
- Post pregnancy, you have stretch marks and saggy skin around your abdomen
- You have loose skin hanging around your belly after losing a lot of weight
- You always had a protruding belly or a "foopa" that is not in proportion with the rest of your body shape
If your goal is to achieve a firmer, flatter abdomen, tummy tuck can definitely help you.
An ideal candidate for tummy tuck is:
- Healthy and near ideal weight
- Non smoker with no major systemic diseases
- Mentally and emotionally sound to have realistic expectations from the surgery
To see if a tummy tuck can benefit you, write to us describing your abdomen area in detail and what you hope to achieve from the surgery.
Following are the steps for abdominoplasty:
STEP 1 – MARKING
Your surgeon will mark the incision links on your abdomen after discussing with you
STEP 2 – ANESTHESIA
Tummy tuck is generally performed under general anesthesia, which means you will be put to sleep under the watch of an anesthesiologist. Some surgeons prefer to perform this surgery under local anesthesia with IV sedation.
STEP 3 – INCISION
A horizontal incision is given under the belly button, just above your pubic hairline.
The shape and length of the incision will depend upon the extent of work required. If there’s more skin to be removed, a larger incision will be made. Another incision will be made around your navel, if required.
STEP 4 – SKIN TIGHTENING
The skin is separated from your abdominal wall and the abdominal muscles are pulled into a tighter position.
The excess fat is then removed with liposuction or other methods and finally, the loose skin is pulled down over it. Extra skin is trimmed and the remaining is stitched together and the belly button is repositioned.
STEP 5 – SUTURES
Your surgeon will then close the incisions with sutures, staples or tissue glue.
The surgeon may insert some drains to remove fluid that can cause pressure on the drains. The drains are usually removed before they allow you to go home.
Each patient is different, which is why tummy tuck plans must be customized to meet your specific requirements.
When you explain your desired outcome to your cosmetic surgeon, he will recommend the kind of tummy tuck required to create natural-appearing results with the least scarring possible.
Improves lower belly; surgery is less extensive
If you are bothered by that lower abdomen pooch, you can get it flattened with a mini-tummy tuck. A small, single incision is made just above your pubic mound and the excess fat and loose skin from your lower belly is removed to restore the smooth appearance of your tummy.
Mini tummy tuck is a shorter, less invasive surgery, which means the recovery time is less than the conventional method.
Full Tummy Tuck
Improves the Upper & Lower Abdomen
Also known as classic tummy tuck, this surgery is for you if you have excessive fat and hanging skin above and below your belly button.
A horizontal or U-shaped incision is made just above the pubic mound and from here the excess fat is removed and skin is tightened. If required, another incision will be made around your navel to remove the excess skin around that.
This will help get rid of the fat across the entire abdominal wall.
The scar from a full tummy tuck is similar to that for a mini-tummy tuck but usually runs wider from hip bone to hip bone.
Extended Tummy Tuck
Improves the Upper & Lower Abdomen and Flanks
Multiple pregnancies or excessive weight loss often leads to sagging skin that hangs around your abdominal area. If that is your case, you must discuss an extended tummy tuck with your surgeon.
This will involve a longer incision but it will tackle excess skin from upper and lower abdomen as well as the flanks. The abdominal wall will be tightened well.
The scarring in this is obviously more than conventional tummy tuck and you can discuss the possible scars with your cosmetic surgeon before deciding on the kind of tummy tuck you should get.
While a tummy tuck surgery will give you a flatter abdomen and a more youthful appearance, you must consider the following before going abroad for tummy tuck:
- You may be relieved from the hospital in 1-3 days but you won’t be able to fly back home immediately. You will need to stay at a recovery house or hotel for recuperation after your surgery, so you must plan your trip accordingly.
- The surgery will leave a scar in your bikini area.
- If you get pregnant after your surgery, the results may be compromised. It is best to go for tummy tuck only after you have finished having babies.
- Weight gain after tummy tuck may also adversely affect the results.
Week 1 after tummy tuck
- Expect to feel sore and tender in your abdominal region, immediately after the surgery.
- You will be given painkillers to manage the pain and inflammation.
- Depending upon the pace of your recovery, you may be discharged the next day or be asked to stay for 2-3 days in the hospital
- Your incision site will be covered with a dressing and you may have drainage tubes placed around it. The drains can be removed any time in 3-14 days depending upon how much fluid is coming out
- You will be given a compression belt to control the swelling and support the skin around your tummy as it tightens
- Usually the doctors use absorbable sutures so they will vanish over time. But if removable sutures are used, you will have to return for their removal in the first week after tummy tuck.
- You will be given an ointment and instructions to put it on the healing incisions.
- Stay on schedule with the given medications
- You should get a companion along to help with small chores
- Do not smoke or drink atleast a week after your tummy tuck
- Just take rest the first few days and then starting moving around a little as instructed by your doctor
- You will likely visit the doctor for a follow up in the first week.
- But if you notice excessive increase in swelling, redness, bleeding, drainage, or pain, call must call or see your doctor immediately.
- You must also call your doctor in case of fever, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, or chest pains.
Week 2-3 after tummy tuck
- The first week is usually the first and things will start to improve by week two.
- You will still be sore in some places but will be able to walk more.
- Do not try to exert too much even if the pain has faded.
- Lifting or any kind of strenuous exercise must be avoided for atleast 6 weeks.
- It is important to arrange for help at home.
- You can fly back home after tummy tuck after the doctor gives you a fit-to-fly certificate in the second or third week of recovery.
- You will be able to return to work after tummy tuck in 2-3 weeks, depending upon how physically demanding your job is.
Complete recovery after tummy tuck can take upto six months, and only after that will you be able to truly appreciate the surgery results.
Significant complications associated with tummy tuck surgery are not common but each surgery comes with some risks and you have to see if the risk of cosmetic surgery is worth the benefit for you.
A study conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) between 2008 and 2013, found that complications were found only in 3.1 percent of tummy tuck cases, when performed alone.
Some of the potential complications in a tummy tuck are:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Changes in skin sensation
- Skin discoloration
- Damage to underlying nerves or other structures
- Unsatisfactory results
- Persistent pain
- Deep vein thrombosis
The risk of complications was found to be higher in males, older patients (over 55 years), or the obese.
The best way to minimize the chances of complications is to select your surgeon and hospital carefully, and closely follow all the given instructions.
- Stop smoking well before the surgery date
- Keep yourself hydrated and in good health
- Avoid blood thinners like aspirin
- If your doctor has suggested a certain body weight benchmark, try your best to achieve it before the surgery for optimum results
You must also make some arrangements at home before flying abroad for tummy tuck
- If your kids are small, arrange for full-time help—someone who can be around even after you have returned because you will not be able to do much for a couple of months
- Stock your kitchen with easy-to-prepare, healthy meals
- Place food, toiletries and important stuff on lower racks, where you can easily reach it
- Arrange for a digital thermometer and a box for medications to be placed on your nightstand.
- Buy some reading material or DVDs to watch while you recover
- Set up your bed with body pillows or a recliner to sleep on
It is advisable to have a companion to take along on your medical trip and even accompany you later as your recover.
You can use our service to find the best hospitals for tummy tuck abroad.