Postpartum Plastic Surgery: Tummy Tuck After Baby
Tummy tuck after pregnancy? “Of course,” you say. “When else would you do it?” Well, you’d be surprised at the number of questions we get related to this topic. Here are some of them:
“How soon after I have had the baby can I have a tummy tuck?”
We get this one a lot. The best answer (if you’re sure you’re done having children) is to wait until you’ve lost your “baby weight.” That usually takes 3-6 months depending on activity level, breastfeeding, etc. But if you wait that long, you will give us (your surgeons) not only the best look at your body at it’s “baseline,” but also the most looseness in the tissues to work with. This will give us a shot at your best result.
“What if I get pregnant again?”
Well, that’s kind of “sub-optimal,” and it’s why we always ask if you think you’re done having children. Nevertheless, life doesn’t always go as planned (boy is that right), and pregnancies do happen after tummy tucks. In my practice of over 20 years, it’s happened a handful of times.
What’s amazing to me is how well the abdomen stretches to accommodate the baby even after a tummy tuck. The tissues stretch so slowly during pregnancy, that they accommodate the loss of tissue and adjust very nicely.
I still don’t recommend it, but if pregnancy happens after a tummy tuck, it’s not the end of the world.
“I’ve never been pregnant, but my tissues are loose, and I think I need a tummy tuck. Why is that?”
A couple of reasons. First, If you’ve gained and lost a lot of weight a few times over the years (something like 20% of your ideal body weight is enough to do it), you can stretch out your tissues, and they’ll need to be tightened (tummy tuck). Sometimes we can just tighten the skin (a “ skin only” tummy tuck) and leave the muscles alone. If we can do that, it’s easier when it comes to recovery.
But some people carry a significant amount of fat under the muscles of the abdominal wall (google “omentum” if you’ve never heard of it. You’ll be shocked if you look at the images!).
If you’ve lost and gained weight, under those circumstances, your skin and muscle will be loose. Tightening the skin and the muscles is a tummy tuck.
“How much time will I need help with my kids?” and “When can I pick up my baby?”
Short answer – a week. At the end of a week, you can usually get around pretty well off of pain meds. If you need to drive, you usually can. If you have a small child that needs to be picked up, that’s usually possible too. But during that first week, it’s good to have a friend or (non-judgmental) relative around. Sisters are great, and moms are too. Husbands can be useful but are sometimes worthless.
These are just a few of the questions we get most often when it comes to tummy tucks. To learn more about what’s possible and best for your body, call us at 703.854.9841 to schedule a consultation!
— Robert K. Sigal, MD, Austin-Weston, The Center for Cosmetic Surgery