A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is a popular cosmetic procedure used to remove excess fat or skin from the abdomen. Frequently performed after significant weight loss or pregnancy, the goal of abdominoplasty is the creation of a flatter and more toned-looking stomach region.
Tummy tucks are often performed with liposuction, which is used to remove larger volumes of fat while the tummy tuck focuses on the removal of extra skin and the recontouring of existing tissues.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
The abdomen is one of the most frustrating areas of the body when it comes to weight loss and managing your waistline appearance. Fortunately, with a tummy tuck (also known as an abdominoplasty) is a surgical cosmetic procedure that can help improve the trimness, slimness, and tightness of the abdominal region*.
A tummy tuck procedure creates an abdomen that looks smoother and firmer*. People with sagging skin around their waist often benefit from a tummy tuck, as do those who wish to reduce fat deposits in the area*. Fat and loose skin around the abdomen can be caused by weight gain, but also be the results of genetics, aging, pregnancy, and similar. Thus it is not always possible to restore the youthful appearance of the abdomen via natural efforts, requiring abdominoplasty to achieve the results you wish.
*results may vary
Before and After Photos
Is a Tummy Tuck Right for Me?
Tummy tucks are most often performed on women who have given birth or lost a significant amount of weight, leaving them with loose abdominal muscles and sagging skin in the stomach area. Ideal candidates for abdominoplasty procedures have maintained their weight for a year or more and are in good overall health. If you are planning substantial weight loss or a future pregnancy, you may want to wait to undergo this procedure.
While tummy tucks are primarily pursued as a cosmetic procedure, some patients do seek them for health reasons (or a combination of factors). If you are a relatively healthy individual with sagging or loose skin and excess fat around your midsection, a tummy tuck may be exactly what you need to not only enhance your image but also improve your emotional and mental well-being*.
Better Body: Even if there is minimal fat underneath the skin, age, pregnancy, and other factors can still cause a drooping and bulky appearance to the abdomen. A tummy tuck can eliminate these folds and wrinkles as well as shift the entire contour of your abdominal region for aesthetic appeal*.
Improved Confidence: A better physical appearance often boosts the emotional and mental state, giving you a positive self-image and confidence when you’re in public or interacting with others*.
Better Posture: Excess weight in the abdominal region can sometimes cause back pain or poor posture. Removing it through a tummy tuck can empower you to achieve better posture and a higher quality of life.
Pregnancy Recovery: C-sections, sagging skin, and stretch marks caused by pregnancy are all able to be dealt with through tummy tucks*. Women who may be self-conscious after giving birth often seek tummy tucks to restore their pre-pregnancy body state*.
Anyone with lax skin, heavy wrinkling around the abdomen, excess weight, rapid weight loss that leaves excess skin, and who is now at a stable, healthy weight can be a candidate for tummy tucks*.
*results may vary
What to Expect During the Consultation
Our doctors have every patient come in for a pre-operation consultation when they’re planning on getting a tummy tuck. This is done for two main reasons. Our doctors wish to review your overall health status and ensure that you are physically able to undergo the procedure without risk and that the tummy tuck will also provide you the results you’re hoping to achieve*. He will review your health history and review any past surgeries or other procedures that might impact future ones. If you are on any prescriptions, are a smoker or drinker, or have other lifestyle factors that might complicate the surgery, these will be considered as well. We will have photos taken of the abdominal area and will measure you in preparation for the procedure, to determine just how effective the tummy tuck will be.
Your consultation is to help you feel entirely comfortable and informed about the tummy tuck process and prepare you to handle the weeks leading up to it as well as the recovery process. It is suggested that you prepare a list of these beforehand, which might include:
- What anesthetics will be required for the procedure?
- How much pain should I anticipate during recovery?
- How permanent are the results?
- Are there any major risks or side effects?
- How long before I can return to my normal activities or daily routines?
*results may vary
Preparing for your Tummy Tuck
As with most cosmetic surgical procedures, there are some pre-procedure steps all patients need to take. You will need to stop smoking and drinking (if you do so) at least two weeks before the operation and refrain from doing so for the same amount of time following the operation. You may need to submit to lab testing, and if you are taking any prescription medications or blood thinners, these may need to be reduced or eliminated (at least temporarily) in order to reduce anesthesia conflicts or health complications.
Tummy tucks are typically performed with general anesthesia, meaning you will not be awake during the procedure. It can take anywhere from two to five hours, depending on the amount of tissue being removed and the extent of recontouring needed.
Tummy tucks can be performed in two ways. During complete abdominoplasty, incisions running from hip to hip allow the surgeon to access all of the abdominal tissues. A partial or “mini tummy tuck” is used when most of the excess skin and fat is located below the navel. This type of tummy tuck requires shorter incisions but limits the amount of contouring the surgeon can do. Typically, the incisions with either type of tummy tuck are located low enough that they will be concealed by underwear*.
After the incisions are made, your surgeon removes excess skin and fat, tightens underlying muscles and recontours remaining tissues. If a significant amount of skin has been removed, the belly button may be repositioned on the abdomen. Once the abdomen has taken on its smoother and flatter appearance, the incisions are closed with sutures*.
Not all tummy tucks are the same as far as the areas treated or the extent of the work being done. Depending on your specific needs, you may not need as many physical alterations to achieve your desired results*.
Full Tummy Tuck: This technique removes excess skin, fat, and other tissue both above and below the belly button. A circular incision is created and turned into a new position for the shifted belly button, and abdominal muscles are tightened.
Modified Tummy Tuck: While the results aren’t as drastic as a full tummy tuck, a modified tummy tuck addresses either loose abdominal muscles or it deals with the loss of skin elasticity, rather than trying to improve both at once*.
Mini Tummy Tuck: A mini tummy tuck targets the skin, and abdominal muscles found only below the belly button, versus both above and below. The incision (and potential scarring) of this is far less than a full procedure.
*results may vary
Alongside a tummy tuck, you can combine the procedure with other cosmetic surgeries to further enhance your body image*. Individually, each of the following procedures can provide drastic changes, but they are often done in tandem to create an overall image uplift all at once, rather than piecemeal*.
Breast Augmentation: Patients who are dissatisfied with the size of their breasts often go to our practice to get them enhanced, using implants, injections, or other augmentation techniques to increase their volume. When one eliminates sagging skin and removes fat while also augmenting the breasts, the effect can be even more visible than just a tummy tuck or breast augmentation done alone*.
Breast Lift: A breast lift procedure helps rejuvenate the chest area that may be showing signs of aging such as wrinkles and sagging skin around the breasts. Excess skin can be removed, and the breasts themselves are repositioned to more youthful locations, creating a firmer, healthier appearance*.
Liposuction: Liposuction uses small incisions and scalpels (as well as lasers) to remove fat cells beneath the skin and other tissue. These fat cells are permanently removed to reduce weight and recontour areas of the body.
Be sure to discuss these options with your doctor to see if you first qualify for these cosmetic procedures and to determine if they would work well along with a tummy tuck in your specific case*.
*results may vary
Recovery After a Tummy Tuck Procedure
Tummy tuck recovery can take several weeks*. For the first week, the area of the surgery is covered in a surgical dressing, and a compression garment must be worn to minimize swelling and support the tissues with their new contours. Bed rest is often needed for the first 48 to 72 hours before tummy tuck patients gradually return to normal activity levels.
Pain prescriptions should be available, depending on your health profile, and you will likely be encouraged to go on regular walks to improve recovery time*.
When you are sent home from the clinic, it is highly recommended that you have someone arranged to come pick you up and drive you. For the first few weeks, at least, you will need to sleep while propped up at a forty-five-degree angle. Normal activities can be resumed within the first two weeks, and more demanding activities can resume within four to six weeks*. You will likely experience swelling and bruising with mild pain around the abdominal area, but this should subside over time. If you observe any concerning side effects or persistent pain, be sure to contact our clinic to discuss any steps that may need to be taken.
After a tummy tuck, the results are long-lasting, though large fluctuations in body weight have a continuing effect on the contours of the abdominal area*.
Tummy tuck operations are going to range widely in cost depending on a variety of considerations such as the technique used and the body image you desire. Please contact our office today and schedule a consultation to receive a personalized price quote.