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Tummy Tuck

Published : May 25, 2016

~ a Perth woman spills her guts ~
Flourish Information Desk 
This regular column offers an insight each issue into different health and medical topics relevant to women. The writers are WA Flourish readers, who for personal and privacy reasons remain anonymous, however kindly are willing to share their story with you. Following, read about one woman’s Abdominoplastic experience.
The Twist Test
I hesitated for many months before making the appointment to see a plastic surgeon, one who was recommended by a friend who’d had the same procedure. I wasn’t really fat, but, after three kids and a history of weight yo-yoing, I had a tummy that I could grab a handful of and twist around, much like a t-shirt I couldn’t take off. I wondered if I was being a bit of a drama queen, if the surgeon was going to throw me out of his rooms, yelling to his receptionist to in future screen potential patients for ‘real’ need cases only. After some gut-wrenching (literally) consideration, he decided that I was an excellent candidate for Radical Abdominoplasty. Radical? This sounded scary, although at least I now knew I hadn’t imagined how bad my tummy was. I’d let this man twist my tummy around while nothing else moved, something I wouldn’t allow my own husband to do. I went home to contemplate my navel and read some brochures on Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck). On the Internet I found all the most hideous examples of this nasty-looking procedure, read up about the intense pain of recovery, the massive scar, the need for drains coming out of my body for five days following surgery, a possibility of permanent numbness in my abdomen…. All this I read carefully while biting my nails. Still, something inside me had shifted (or was that just my tummy staying behind on the couch while I got up to make coffee?) and I logged off, picked up the phone and made an appointment for the operation, throwing in a little liposuction on the upper tummy for good measure.
At this point you are reading this, thinking that I am going to counsel strongly against a procedure like this. On the contrary—it’s been a wonderful thing to do, for me, despite since having baby number four (not recommended, but lovely) and gaining 20 kilos (also not recommended and not so lovely!).
Are You Serious?
Some people are well-suited to Abdominoplasty, others are not. Basically, if you’re very overweight, you smoke or you tend towards visible, raised scars, you’re not a good candidate. If you are in a good place with your weight, you either don’t smoke or know you can quit well before the operation, but you have a tummy that can stay home while you pop down the shops for bread and milk, and you can find several thousand dollars, you might be looking at a positive change.
The Procedure
Abdominoplasty is a major surgical procedure. I spent five days in The Mount Hospital, Perth and needed at least two weeks afterwards of rest, not lifting anything, as there is a danger of disrupting both internal and external stitches. So when considering this operation, you must also consider your lifestyle and be prepared to take time off work and get a lot of help with the kids. You might need to budget for help with cleaning the house and taking care of young kids.
The aftermath in hospital I spent curled over bolsters as I was unable to stretch out. For about two weeks afterwards I stayed hunched over as my tummy was so tight, but this is something that softens with time and movement. And after years of excess tummy skin it felt quite good to be tight and smooth around the middle, despite the fact it hurt for a while. I had been warned that the pain would be intense and would last for a long time, but although those first two weeks were extremely uncomfortable, I managed on plain old Panadol, although response to pain is something that differs from person to person.
The procedure itself takes between two and five hours, depending on what level of abdominal surgery you’re having. Some patients elect to have a mini tummy tuck, in which less skin is removed and the scar is not as wide; more like the scar you would have after a caesarean section. This is something you need to talk about with the surgeon. My scar goes from hip to hip like a big thin smile, but after two and a half years it has faded considerably.
Long Range Results
It’s been almost three years since I had a Tummy Tuck. Since then I have had another child (who is now three months old) and gained a lot of weight, twenty kilos all up, although I am losing it again now. So my tummy isn’t as flat and smooth as it was right after the op, but even with a few more stretch marks (not nearly as many as I thought there would be) and the extra weight, I am still very pleased. I know that when I finish losing all the weight it will be in good shape—perhaps not the tummy
that Cameron Diaz sports, but good enough to throw out the baggy t-shirts and support briefs.
Having a tummy tuck will not solve your problems, not any of them, not even a bit. A tummy tuck will, however, give you a flatter stomach, as long as you don’t mindsome scarring and numbness on your abdomen (which I don’t mind a bit). I didn’tneed this surgery to feel beautiful, but I’m really enjoying having a flatter tum. Nowfor those twenty kilos…..
Dos and Don’ts
 Do take a good hard look at yourself before heading down this path—is it your
flabby tummy that’s bothering you? Or is it something that runs deeper?
 Do get as close to your ideal weight as you can before having a tummy tuck.
 Do stop smoking at least three weeks before the operation as smoking blocks
capillaries close to the skin which impedes recovery and increases chances of
infection. (Flourish note: then stay stopped!)
 Do shop around for a good plastic surgeon
 Don’t think you’ll be back on top of everything in no time. This takes time to
recover from.
 Don’t assume that this will ‘make everything okay’—it’s just your tummy, not
your life.
If there is a surgical procedure you’re contemplating and you would like to read about
a Flourish reader’s personal experience, contact us and we’ll see what we can do.

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