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.
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.
Before & After Photos
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 is able to 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.
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 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.
After a tummy tuck, the results are permanent, though large fluctuations in body weight have a continuing effect on the contours of the abdominal area.