01 Jul The Surprising Reality of Liposuction with a Tummy Tuck
The vast majority of people who are good candidates for a tummy tuck will also benefit from liposuction. That’s why these two procedures are typically paired at Dr. Shaun Parson Plastic Surgery & Skin Center and at surgical centers around the world. However, when you look at these two very different but complementary procedures, it seems clear that a tummy tuck is much more invasive. A full tuck does not just remove excess skin, with an incision usually required hip bone to hip bone, but also reinforces the abdominal muscles and often calls for recreating a belly button. The abdominal wall strengthening part of a tummy tuck is actually the same procedure used to repair diastasis recti. Liposuction is the removal of excess fat. It might require an additional, tiny incision (about the width of your pinky nail) during a tummy tuck, or your surgeon may be able to use the same incision used for the tummy tuck depending on where fat is being removed. So, which of these two surgeries do you think will yield the most discomfort and bruising? The answer may surprise you.
Liposuction can cause significant swelling, bruising, and discomfort post-op. Even though a tummy tuck is a much more aggressive and complicated procedure, it’s actually the liposuction that many patients find more uncomfortable. This is especially true if you opt for liposuction in a completely different area (such as the thighs for example) while also undergoing a tummy tuck. It can seem surprising that such a relatively less invasive procedure can be so uncomfortable, but there are ways to ease the healing process. If you’re thinking about adding on liposuction to your tummy tuck, it’s a great way to combine healing times and recovery—but make sure you follow the after-care instructions carefully.
Caring for Liposuction
Compression garments are one of the best tools you can use after liposuction (and a tummy tuck!). The type of garment you will need will be decided by your doctor, but it’s always wise to buy at least two of each garment so you always have a clean one to wear. Compression garments help to reduce bruising and swelling. They are also simply more comfortable post-liposuction. The compression will feel good and today’s garments look a lot like Spanx. They will easily fit under your clothes.
In many cases, post-liposuction massages will be prescribed by your doctor. Like compression garments, these massages are intended to minimize bruising and swelling, but don’t expect these to be relaxing treatments. Just like any massage on top of a bruise, discomfort can be expected. However, the medications your doctor prescribes after your surgery will include pain relievers. Carefully taking your medications at the same time every day is essential to a good healing process, which includes minimizing discomfort (particularly during massages).
Making the Most of Liposuction
Another benefit to garments and massages is that they encourage your body to align with its new shape. The more fat that is removed during liposuction, the higher the risk of skin laxity. Skin laxity should not happen post-liposuction or tummy tuck if you follow after-care instructions. However, keep in mind that you’ve just quickly “lost” a good amount of weight, and your skin needs some help adapting to this new shape. That’s exactly what compression garments and massages do, so make sure you wear garments at all times (except when showering) and don’t miss any appointments. Most patients will be wearing garments for 2 – 6 weeks post-surgery.
Avoiding certain activities, such as smoking, alcohol, and certain types of exercise, after surgery is also essential. Exactly when you can return to exercising will be determined by your doctor. However, at least two weeks of rest is typically recommended (though many patients can take leisurely walks just a few days after their surgery). Weight lifting and intensive cardio may be put on hold for up to six weeks. Healing should be top priority after your surgery, which can call for a priority and mind shift for gym rats.
Planning Your Surgery Journey
It makes sense to combine surgeries whenever possible so that you can reduce downtime and how often you undergo general anesthesia. Tummy tucks and liposuction have long been paired since they tackle two of the most common issues with weight fluctuations: loose skin and pockets of unwanted fat. Breast augmentation is another popular add-on to these surgeries, which together make up the “mommy makeover.” If you are interested in a tummy tuck, liposuction, or other surgery, contact Dr. Shaun Parson Plastic Surgery & Skin Center today by calling the office or completing the online form.