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Can a Tummy Tuck Cause Stomach Issues?

Can a tummy tuck cause stomach issues?

A tummy tuck may be associated with abdominal issues after surgery.
A tummy tuck may be associated with abdominal issues after surgery.

Stomach cramps are the most common side effect after the tummy tuck procedure. Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen or tummy. Below are the common abdominal issues that may occur due to a  tummy tuck 

  • A patient may have a permanent scar (located in the bikini area) that usually does not fade.
  • There may be swelling, which may obscure the actual result until the treated area is healed. This swelling is temporary and may be controlled with bandages and compression garments.
  • Pain, swelling, numbness, bruising and soreness are usually common in the stomach area, especially at the incision site. It may be temporary and is usually managed with medications.
  • There may be temporary fluid accumulation at the incision site, which is usually drained using small pipes that are attached to the stomach.
  • Bulges under the skin of the abdomen are common.
  • Extra skin at the edges of the scar (known as “dog ears”) is also seen.
  • Incision sites on the stomach may fail to heal leading to infections and complications.
  • There may be a collection of blood under the operated skin (hematoma).
  • Many patients experience constipation following their tummy tucks. It is usually recommended to drink plenty of water.
  • The tight abdominal skin makes it difficult to bend forward.
  • Vomiting due to anesthesia reaction.
  • There may be an injury to vessels and nerves in the stomach area.
  • During a tummy tuck, fatty tissue deep within the skin in the abdominal area might get damaged or die. Depending on the size of the area, tissue might heal on its own or require another procedure.
  • A patient may have pregnancy-related complications after the tummy tuck procedure. Hence, it is recommended to plan for this surgery only if a patient has no wish to have further pregnancy.

Who are ideal and not ideal candidates for a tummy tuck procedure?

Most patients opting for this procedure are women who have been pregnant and do not plan to have more children. They may dislike the effects childbirth has had on their body’s shape and appearance. In many cases, it also restores separated muscles.

Ideal candidates for tummy tuck procedure include

  • Slender individuals with a stable weight are the best candidates.
  • Good candidates for tummy tuck surgery are people with any amount of sagging skin and muscle looseness in the abdominal area.
  • Patients who are unable to diet or exercise due to various reasons are usually considered.
  • Patients with good general health with a positive attitude and realistic expectations are most likely considered good candidates for this procedure.

Not ideal candidates

  • A patient whose only goal is to lose a lot of weight is not considered an ideal candidate for this procedure. A tummy tuck should be a last resort after the patient has tried everything else. It should not be used as an alternative to weight loss.
  • Women who may plan to get pregnant may need to postpone a tummy tuck until they have no further pregnancy plans. During surgery, the vertical muscles are tightened and future pregnancies can separate those muscles leading to complications.
  • Very obese patients and patients with health issues are not considered for this procedure.
  • Patients who have an unhealthy lifestyle, including smoking, alcohol use and drug consumption, may not be considered for this procedure.

What is the outcome of the tummy tuck procedure?

As per the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the tummy tuck procedure ranks as one of the top five surgical procedures. The outcomes are good and patients may get immediate results and regain self-esteem. By removing excess skin and fat and strengthening the abdominal wall, a tummy tuck can give the abdomen a more toned and slimmer appearance. Tummy tuck results are usually long-lasting if the patient maintains a stable weight. Some medical issues like backache due to abnormal posture and weight and ventral hernia (a bulge through an opening in the belly muscles) may also be resolved.

However, unfortunately, the procedure will leave the patient with permanent scars due to the incisions made on the abdomen. Although the scar usually heals well, for some people it may take up to 18 months or 2 years for the scar to fade and to reap the full benefits from the tummy tuck. Putting on weight after a tummy tuck may lead to abnormal abdominal tissue (can stretch and change shape), thus reversing the effects of the procedure. If this occurs, the patient may consider getting a tummy tuck revision to restore the results from the original surgery. The patient must eat a proper diet and exercise to maintain their new look.

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Reviewed on 10/9/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference

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