Thinking About a Tummy Tuck? Consider the Timing

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If you’re considering tummy tuck surgery, you want to make sure that you’re planning ahead to have the procedure at the right time. At our Columbia practice, we encourage tummy tuck patients to think about several factors when answering the question, “When is the right time for a tummy tuck?”

First, it’s important to have a positive attitude about the surgery. If you are reluctant for whatever reason about undergoing a tummy tuck — or any elective procedure — it’s a good idea to wait until you are confident in your decision. It’s OK feel a bit nervous or anxious about getting a tummy tuck, even if you are certain that you want to move forward. Those feelings are natural.

What other things should you think about when choosing the timing of your tummy tuck? This is what I tell my patients:

  • Women should be finished having children. A tummy tuck removes excess abdominal skin and repairs the abdominal wall in women who have had children. Getting pregnant after a tummy tuck is certainly possible, and if you do become pregnant again, it won’t pose any risks to a baby. It will, however, undermine the results of the surgery. Pregnancy stretches the skin and separates abdominal muscles, meaning you may have to undergo another tummy tuck to restore the results.
  • Patients should be at a stable weight. What does that mean? Most people see slight weight fluctuations, but if you’re planning to lose or gain a significant amount of weight, you should postpone having a tummy tuck. We encourage patients to be within a few pounds of the weight at which they feel comfortable and can easily maintain.
  • Have enough time off. The recovery following a tummy tuck requires taking at least a full week off from work, and it may be a bit longer before you feel like returning to the office (depending on the nature of the job). If you’re a mom with young children at home, you’ll need to have help throughout the day, as well, because you won’t be able to lift your children.
  • Consider the time of year. A Midwest winter is probably as good as time as any to spend an extended period of time indoors and relatively inactive. On the other hand, going through a recovery during the humid summer months doesn’t sound too appealing. Take that into account when you schedule your procedure.

When you do settle on the timing of your tummy tuck, make sure you choose an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon to perform the surgery.

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John J. Seaberg, MD, FACS