The term “Tummy Tuck” is so light weight and cheery sounding that sometimes people are so excited at envisioning the end result they fail to take into consideration that it is a major surgery.
Tummy Tuck Complications
With major surgery comes a list of possible complications. A wise patient will educate themselves about the surgery and the side effects that may complicate recovery.
You should not consider a tummy tuck if:
• You are planning to have more children in the very near future.
• You are dieting and have not yet reached your goal weight.
• As an alternative to weight loss.
• You do not want any scarring.
If you are planning on having more children the muscles that have been tightened during surgery may separate during pregnancy and cause a hernia. If there is still a lot of weight to be lost and you have a tummy tuck done, you will still have excess skin and tissue at the end of your dieting.
If you just want weight loss by surgery, you’ll find it will not be successful, nor will any reliable surgeons agree to operate. If you do not want scarring on your body, this surgery is not for you because the scar from a tummy tuck will be long and prominent on your abdomen and possibly around your belly button, depending on the type of tummy tuck you perform. Read more about different types of tummy tucks.
The tummy tuck surgery is suitable for both men and women who have excess skin and fat that has accumulated from losing weight or from bearing children. The risk of complications is small, but an informed patient will consider all the information before making a decision to have the surgery done. To minimize any complications, patients should be aware and compliant with instructions their physician has given them for pre and post operation care. Everyone will have pain and swelling. These are not complications, they are expectations.
The following is a list of complications with a brief description of each, and what you should do if you have any of these complications.
• Reaction to anesthesia
General anesthesia is used for the surgery. Sometimes an unexpected reaction can occur. An experienced anesthetist will be in the operating room to monitor the patient during the entire surgery. Any reaction will be caught before they become worse and corrected.
• Blood clots
Whenever you bleed from an injury or a surgery, the body forms blood clots to lessen the loss of blood. If these blood clots form within your blood vessel they can pass to your heart or your lungs and cause paralysis or death. Prior to surgery you should be completely honest with the surgeon regarding your medical history. The doctor may recommend discontinuing certain drugs and smoking to decrease the possibility of forming blood clots.
Operating rooms are sterilized to lessen the chance of becoming infected. After surgery you must be scrupulous about washing hands and changing bandages according to the doctors instructions to avoid infection. It is considered normal healing to have some bleeding and drainage after surgery. If you do not keep the area clean, the risk of getting an infection is greater. Signs of infection include chills, sweating, fever, a change in color of the drainage fluid, formation of pus, and increased drainage. Notify your doctor immediately if any of these changes occur. A pocket of blood that forms is called a hematoma. A pocket of fluid that forms is called seroma. After surgery the doctor will insert a tube to drain off any fluid before it can become infected and prevent proper healing.
• Slow healing
Everyone will experience bruising, pain, tenderness, and swelling. All patients heal at their own pace. Older patients and patients with diabetes are slower to heal than young, physically active people. If at the six week period you are still having discomfort, you are experiencing slow healing. Discuss with your doctor and make sure you are following all post-operative instructions. If you experience very slow healing you may have to have an additional surgery.
Make sure you are eating well balanced meals before and after your surgery to prevent complications. Your body needs the nutrients of a well-balanced meal for the healing process to take place. Do not rush the recovery time. It will take several months before you are feeling back to normal.
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