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One way to improve your appearance and boost your self-image after losing a significant amount of weight is to flatten your sagging abdomen. After your hard work at dieting and exercising, you lose a lot of fat, but your skin may be loose and your muscles may lack tone, leaving you with a flabby belly. To solve this problem, you might opt for a cosmetic procedure that can quickly give you a better abdominal profile, and will allow you to enjoy wearing clothes to flatter your new figure.

Getting a Tummy Tuck

One way to get a firmer belly is to have a tummy tuck, also technically known as abdominoplasty. This cosmetic procedure is often done after people lose a lot of weight but fail to achieve a flat belly due to excess skin and poor abdominal muscle tone. It is often combined with liposuction, which removes excess fat that one cannot lose through a regular weight loss program. However, doctors warn that these cosmetic procedures should not be used as a substitute for eating a healthy diet and exercising in order to lose weight.

A tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure that is done under general anesthesia. It usually lasts for at least two hours, but may take a lot longer, depending on the amount of work needed to remove excess fat and skin, and to manipulate tissues, muscles and skin to tighten the abdominal wall. It may involve small incisions (mini tummy tuck) or a much wider incision (traditional tummy tuck). It is generally considered to be a safe procedure, especially when done on a healthy individual. However, doctors also warn that like any surgical procedure, it has its risks and complications.

Risks and Complications of a Tummy Tuck

The most common side effects of tummy tuck include pain, swelling and soreness. Although these may be relieved by taking painkillers, your soreness may last as long as several months. You may also feel some numbness, tightness and tiredness during this period.

Other common complications include excessive bleeding, hematoma formation (a collection of blood under the skin), and wound infection. Nerve damage resulting in numbness or other sensations can also occur. Poor wound healing and scarring may also be a problem, and at times, a second surgery to revise the first surgery may be needed.

Other possible risks and complications include fat necrosis (death of fat under the skin), persistent leg swelling, and deep vein thrombosis (formation of blood clots).

To make sure that your wound heals properly and your body recovers well from surgery, you are advised to limit your activities for at least 6 weeks.

During this time you will need to wear an abdominal binder all the times except when you bathe. You may have to take a month off from work to ensure good recovery, but it will take several months for complete recovery from the effects of major surgery. Avoid any position or activity that strains the incision line, such as bending from the waist.

You will also need regular follow-up visits with your surgeon for several months.

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