Not a day goes by without a Minnesota Mommy bemoaning the physical changes that occur to their bodies as a result of having their children. Typically, they are genuinely surprised to learn that this is an expected event after the birth of their little angel(s). No one seems to want to break the ‘Mommy Code of Honor’ and let their daughters in on this dirty little secret. Maybe grandma is trying to exact a bit of revenge for those teenage years!
After the birth of your child (usually the last child) you can work to return to normal size and shape. The optimal timing of your tummy tuck is when you have reached your reasonably ideal maintainable bodyweight – keeping in mind that this may be a very different weight than your pre-pregnancy weight. It is best to get your weight down to its lowest before the tummy tuck as this will give you the best outcome in terms of how much skin can be removed at the time of your procedure. The more skin removed the tight the tummy.
The tummy tuck is a surgical intervention best performed by a board certified plastic surgeon – like me. This ensures that your surgeon has optimal experience with different of body types and anatomic variations. Dermatologists, gynecologists, and even general surgeons do not have breadth of experience dealing with the anatomy, the potential complications and the artistry to produce an optimal outcome. The tummy tuck surgery typically takes between one and two hours and is usually done as an outpatient procedure.
If your muscles of your abdomen have been separated because of the pregnancy it is best to pull those muscles back together in order to help flatten the abdomen. Unfortunately, this makes the recovery more difficult for the first 24 to 48 hours. These sit up muscles will tend to spasm early in the recovery. All told, women do not regret tightening these muscles given the flat tummy they enjoy the rest of their lives.
Numbness is noted early on above the lower abdominal incision. This is expected and changes dramatically over the months following surgery. Typically this minimizes to the point that you should expect a small strip of skin above the incision measuring about an inch, just like if you have undergone a C-section, that has some abnormal sensation permanently.
The characteristic recovery is a 1-2 week period where a drain is managed in order to evacuate any fluid from the surgical wound. Without this an abnormal collection of fluid will accumulate beneath the skin of the tummy – this is known as a seroma.
Common recovery timeline events include the first two days of recovering from surgical discomfort and anesthesia medications. By the end of week one, it is not unusual to be off of your pain pills and simply be using ibuprofen for your discomfort. Muscle relaxants are typically prescribed for use during the recovery phase if the muscles of the tummy have been tightened. By the end of the first week you and your new tummy can be out about town doing minor errands. Usually by the end of week two you can expect to feel like getting on the treadmill to tone up once again. Any strenuous activity like tennis or weightlifting will need to be pushed back about 3-5 weeks.
Yes it is surgery, and yes there is a phase of recovery to be expected but Mommies of Minnesota can gain control of their tummies again with a tummy tuck!