Considering a Tummy Tuck? Read This First

Cynthia Dermody

tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)Ever wonder what it would be like to get an abdominoplasty, also called a tummy tuck? I talked to CafeMom Ashley, iluvmy3grls, who had the $5,000 plastic surgery procedure in twice, the first time in 1996 after the birth of her first daughter.

"I had lost a lot of weight and had a phenomenal amount of extra skin," said Ashley. "I went to one surgeon and immediately decided I wanted to get it done."

A full tummy tuck works by removing loose skin, fat deposits, and stretch marks from the abdominal region. In addition, vertical abdominal muscles that have been stretched and weakened over time are tightened, restoring the appearance of a firmer, flatter abdomen.

Here, Ashley's experience ...

What is the procedure like?

Well, of course they put you to sleep, so I don't know much about the procedure except that I have watched it on TV numerous times. Here's a video clip of  tummy tuck procedure in 3D.

Also, after they cut the skin off, most of the time you lose your belly button so they have to laser in a new one.

What did you have to do to prepare for it?

There wasn't much. But the procedure lasted 4 to 5 hours. I was only in the hospital overnight until the doctor checked to make sure everything looked okay.

Did you come out with a perfectly flat tummy, like the models in the magazines?

My expectations were to become skinny again, and yes my stomach was very flat and I was very pleased with the results. I actually had gotten more than I expected as far as the flat stomach.

How long did it take you to fully recover, so you weren't in pain and could resume normal activity?

It took about 6 weeks to recover. You will have a scar from one side completely in front to the other side. The scar in the front is right below the bikini line.

Also, after the procedure, you will have to wear two drainage balls on each side connected by tubes that go into the surgery site for a few weeks that will drain out the extra fluid and blood, that was a little bit of a nuisance. When the fluid and blood gets so high in the drainage balls, you need to empty them.

You had a second tummy tuck?

Yes, in May 2007, and it was after all three of my girls, and the results aren't what I expected this time. My stomach was completely flat, but the other areas of my body that had gotten thin the first time didn't this time. 

I also had liposuction in my hips, thighs, and stomach this time. I had lots of bruising from that, but everything else was the same.

What did your SO say when you wanted to get the procedure? Was he supportive?

My hubby wasn't real thrilled that I wanted to spend the money, but agreed to it anyway. He was very supportive and helped me out. He really never said much about the results. The first time I didn't have a SO; I had just gotten divorced.

Would you get the operation again? Who is an ideal candidate for this procedure?

I would definitely get it done again, but my stomach is still flat and I definitely need liposuction for other areas. People that have a lot of extra skin are definitely good candidates because it's almost impossible to remove it any other way.

Does it affect a future pregnancy at all? Will your muscles or skin not stretch like they are supposed to?

The first procedure didn't effect any of my subsequent pregnancies. The muscles and skin stretched exactly like they were supposed to, and I didn't have any problems with that.

++Would you consider a tummy tuck? Have you ever had the procedure yourself? What was it like?

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