Womens Health

Post-Cesarean Tummy Tuck

In an age when women are under increasing pressure to have the "perfect body," pregnant women are more than ever feeling the weight of the demand to re-sculpt their postpartum bodies. This has, at least in part, been fuelled by the advent of popularity around celebrity moms, who are able to finance whatever's necessary to get their bodies back into shape after childbirth.

Unsurprisingly, the plastic surgery industry has invented a new procedure designed to make the transition that much easier- particularly for women looking to avoid the dreaded scarring effects of the cesarean section. This post-cesarean tummy tuck, as it is called, has the endorsement of Hollywood's most celebrated new moms, including Britney Spears. But after it's all said and done, is this invasive and costly procedure really worth it? Get the facts and then decide for yourself.

What is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a plastic surgery procedure intended for the removal of excess skin and fat from the abdominal area. More extensive tummy tucks can also tighten the muscles of the abdomen wall.

A full tummy tuck targets the middle and lower abdomen. This cosmetic surgery procedure involves making an incision from hipbone to hipbone followed by a second incision aimed at freeing the navel from the tissue. The skin is then separated and the abdominal muscles are tightened through stitching; excess skin can also be removed at this time.

On the other hand, a mini tummy tuck targets only the lower abdomen (located below the navel). Surgery involves one short horizontal incision that is made in order to firm up abdomen muscles and remove excess skin.

A full tummy tuck surgery takes two to five hours to complete, while a partial or mini tummy tuck takes one to two hours.

What are the Risks?

As with any plastic surgery, tummy tucks aren't without risks. However, some of these risks can be especially difficult for post-pregnancy women, as they have to cope with the recovery process and care for a newborn baby. Some of the risks of having a tummy tuck include:

  • nausea
  • infection
  • hematoma (bleeding under the skin)

In addition, doctors advise that tummy tucks generally require at least two weeks of downtime for recovery- which can be difficult when caring for a newborn. If you do choose to undergo the procedure, make sure you have the support you need to care for yourself afterwards. Most doctors recommend you wait at least three to six months after giving birth before having the procedure.

Scarring can also be an issue. Although the surgery is designed to cover up all evidence of pregnancy, including stretch marks, excess skin, and post-cesarean scarring, it is important to remember that your stomach will be scarred from the surgery- usually spanning 10-20 inch range. The good news is that it will fade over time.

What are the Costs?

Besides scarring, another important consideration to be made when debating whether or not to go through with the procedure are the costs involved. A mini tummy tuck will generally run in the range of $3,500 to well over $4,000. A more deluxe version- which includes liposuction (or removal of excess fat) will cost you almost double that.

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