A tummy tuck is a truly incredible procedure. The tummy can cause more dissatisfaction and insecurity than perhaps any other part of the body, with many dreaming of that flat, toned midsection. A tummy tuck drastically changes the appearance of your belly, removing any excess fat and drooping skin, while also tightening the existing muscles in the abdomen.
It is important before any procedure to get as much information as possible. The more you know about a tummy tuck, the more prepared you are for what comes next. If you are unsure which questions to ask before getting a tummy tuck, below are 18 of the most important questions to ask your plastic surgeon.
1. Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
Only plastic surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery have met the rigorous training requirements necessary for competence in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Before undergoing any kind of procedure, make sure to ask your surgeon if they are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, as well as asking about their other credentials like privileges to operate and admit patients to accredited local hospitals.
2. How many years of experience do you have?
You only want to trust an experienced plastic surgeon with years of experience under their belt. Studies have shown that better patient outcomes from surgery are directly related to a greater level of surgeon experience.
3. Do you operate in an accredited operating room?
Operating rooms and surgical facilities need to be accredited by a national or state accrediting agency. This is a way to make sure that all equipment and facilities are safe and using the latest technology.
4. How many tummy tuck surgeries have you performed?
A plastic surgeon could have multiple decades’ worth of experience in plastic surgery, but all of that experience is not worth much if they have never performed a tummy tuck. As further proof of their expertise, ask to look at some tummy tuck before and after pictures.
5. Am I a good candidate for a tummy tuck surgery?
Part of the initial consultation process should be a brief discussion about your medical background and goals for this procedure. Based on this information, your plastic surgeon will make a determination as to whether you are a good candidate for a tummy tuck surgery. If this topic is not broached, it is up to you to make sure your plastic surgeon addresses this potential concern.
6. Should I lose weight before my tummy tuck?
For best results, you may be asked to lose some weight before undergoing a tummy tuck. A tummy tuck is not a weight-loss procedure—it is a way to get rid of loose skin and excess fat. If you are at an unhealthy weight, other procedures may be recommended.
7. What if I plan to get pregnant in the future?
In general, patients who plan on getting pregnant in the future are advised to avoid tummy tuck surgery. While the procedure does not endanger the ability to get pregnant in the future, the results of the procedure will be quickly undone following pregnancy.
8. Is liposuction a better option?
If a patient has excess belly fat but the skin is not loose or sagging, liposuction may be a better treatment option than a tummy tuck.
9. Should I get a mini tummy tuck or full tummy tuck?
There are a few different types of tummy tucks, but the two most popular are the full tummy tuck and the mini tummy tuck. The mini tummy tuck is an altered version of the surgery that features a smaller incision and a shorter recovery time. However, the mini tummy tuck also addresses a smaller area of the abdomen and removes less excess skin and fat.
10. How will you perform my surgery?
Even if the details do not interest you, it is important to hear the plan for your tummy tuck surgery to make sure you are fully aware of exactly what the surgeon is doing. This is why it is important to find a communicative surgeon who excels in speaking to patients in a way that is relatable and easy to understand.
11. How long will the procedure take?
In general, a tummy tuck surgery should take around two hours to complete. However, each and every case is different, so ask your surgeon how long they expect the surgery to take, barring unforeseen complications. This information will also help you communicate with friends and family how long your tummy tuck will take.
12. What are the risks associated with a tummy tuck?
Every surgical procedure comes with some inherent risk. Some of the most common risks associated with the surgery include excessive bleeding, the possibility of infection, skin loss, numbness, poor scar healing, recurring discomfort, or an accumulation of fluid near the incision point. While these risks should not necessarily make you too scared to continue with the surgery, you should make sure you hear directly from the surgeon regarding all the risks associated with a tummy tuck.
13. Will there be a scar after surgery? Where will it be located? How big will it be?
A tummy tuck surgery comes with a scar. However, it is important to get as many details as possible about the scar ahead of time. Make sure to get a detailed description of the color, shape, location, and length of the scar. This is another reason why you should always try to get your hands on some before and after pictures, so you can better see and understand some of the potential results.
14. Will I be in pain or discomfort?
Pain and discomfort are bad, but unforeseen pain and discomfort are worse. Your plastic surgeon needs to give you an idea of what you will be feeling in the hours and days following the surgery and how that pain will be managed.
15. How soon can I get back on my feet?
Many surgeries require patients to be off their feet for a predetermined amount of time. Drains may be left in place after surgery, requiring patients to take it easy for one to two days. Ask your surgeon if you will need to be put on bed rest after tummy tuck surgery.
16. How soon after tummy tuck surgery can I return to work?
Generally, surgeons ask that patients take off somewhere between 10 and 14 days from work. Your surgeon will be able to confirm the recommended amount of days for recovery with a consultation and will work with you to schedule your surgery.
17. How long after surgery can I resume exercise?
The last stage in the recovery process is getting back to working out. Usually, patients are asked to avoid strenuous activity for around six weeks following surgery. Your surgeon will also be checking in with your regarding your healing process in follow-up consultations.
18. What are my options if I am not happy with the results of the surgery?
An experienced plastic surgeon should make sure all patients have realistic expectations about the results of a tummy tuck. With those realistic expectations in mind, there should still be a plan in place if you are unhappy with the results of the procedure.
Get Your Tummy Tuck Questions Answered by Dr. Lapuerta
Communication is key in all relationships, but especially so between a patient and plastic surgeon. A plastic surgeon needs to be adept at answering questions in a polite, informed, and down to earth manner. This is an area in which Dr. Lapuerta thrives, as he seeks to partner with his patients in Houston, Pearland, and Katy, Texas, to provide them with all of the information they need in order to determine the perfect treatment plan.
Dr. Lapuerta has over two decades of experience performing tummy tuck surgery and is a board-certified plastic surgeon with a flawless reputation. If you are interested in learning more, contact Dr. Lapuerta for a tummy tuck consultation today.