Tummy tuck procedures (otherwise known as abdominoplasties) are among the top 10 most popular cosmetic surgical procedures performed in the United States. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ (ASPS) annual survey of its members, more than 111,000 tummy tuck procedures were performed by ASPS member surgeons in 2013. This was a 5 percent increase from the more than 106,000 tummy tuck procedures performed in 2012.

Given the popularity of tummy tuck procedures, Dr. Mark Deuber feels that it is important for prospective patients to fully understand not only what is involved in the actual procedure, but what they should expect during the recovery phase.

Tummy Tuck Procedure

A tummy tuck procedure is designed to remove excess, loose skin and tissue, and tighten up underlying muscle following dramatic weight loss. Although the procedure will not remove excess fat from the abdominal area, it can be done in conjunction with a liposuction procedure to remove fat.

In a tummy tuck procedure, Dr. Deuber will make a horizontal incision going from one hipbone across to the other. The skin and underlying tissue are then gently lifted up, tightened, and then re-draped over the new abdominal shape. Excess skin and tissue are removed, and the remainder is sutured back into place. Dr. Deuber will also tighten up the underlying abdominal muscles. In addition, he can make an incision around the navel, and reposition the belly button.

What Causes Burning or Itching Sensations after a Tummy Tuck Procedure?

Believe it or not, burning or itching sensations in the abdominal region following a tummy tuck procedure are perfectly normal. When any incision is made into the body, nerves that conduct sensation are severed. While the body is working to “rewire” these nerves, or create entirely new nerve pathways, pain sensations may go into hyper-overdrive. This rewiring will take the form of burning, raw, or itching sensations. Over time, generally by three to four months, most of these sensations will have faded.

Remedies for Burning and Itching

If patients can tolerate it, Dr. Deuber recommends nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Motrin or Advil, which are available over the counter. The prescription drug Neurontin may also help reduce inflammation. Ice and cold compresses applied to the abdominal region can also be helpful once the sutures have completely healed over. Dr. Deuber also recommends patients gently massage their abdominal region several times a day. Not only will this stimulate formation of new nerve pathways, but it will also reduce swelling and help prevent fluids from building up at the incision sites.

As part of his commitment to educating patients completely about tummy tuck procedures, Dr. Deuber believes that patients who understand what to expect after the procedure are more likely to follow postoperative instructions and have less healing complications and greater satisfaction with their results. To learn more about tummy tuck surgery, and to find out if you are a good candidate for surgery, contact the practice of Dr. Mark Deuber today. We look forward to hearing from you.