What is a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a popular procedure that removes excess fat and skin from the abdominal area, and for many patients, tightens and restores the stomach muscles to their former shape and positioning.
Benefits of a tummy tuck include a smoother, firmer midsection with improved overall contour. There are variations on the tummy tuck, and the procedure is customized to suit each patient’s specific needs.
The basic tummy tuck involves working with the abdominal section from the bottom of the rib cage up to the hip.
About the Tummy Tuck Procedure
The classic tummy tuck is usually performed under general anesthesia, but the surgery can also be performed as an outpatient procedure, allowing patients to return home the same day. An incision is made from hip to hip in a full tummy tuck, strategically placed to hide beneath underwear or a bikini bottom.
Once the incision is made, excess, stretched out skin is removed, and the remaining skin is tightened. Liposuction (also known as lipo) is also commonly performed in the flanks during a tummy tuck to remove excess fat. Lastly, the abdominal muscles will be rejoined and tightened before the incisions are closed and sutures are placed.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
A tummy tuck recovery takes time, and patients should expect to devote at least one to two weeks strictly for resting and healing. Expect pain and discomfort, particularly if the procedure involves muscle tightening. Pain medications will help keep patients comfortable during recovery time.
Following the procedure, drain tubes may be inserted to prevent fluid from accumulating in the abdomen. These are removed in a follow-up visit one to two weeks following surgery. Post-operation, patients must wear a special compression garment for several weeks to aid in swelling and bruising, which will subside over a few weeks.
Most people find they can return to work after about a week, but some may need more recovery time. While everyday activities can be gradually re-introduced after the first week or two following surgery, vigorous exercise must be avoided for four to six weeks.
As swelling subsides, patients will begin to see the results of their tummy tuck emerge.
Frequently Asked Questions
Though a tummy tuck is generally a safe procedure, there are always risks to major surgery. Choosing the right surgeon and following all pre-and post-operative instructions will greatly reduce the risk of complications.
Some potential risks may include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Tissue necrosis
- Anesthesia complications
- Poor healing
The scar from a traditional tummy tuck is quite large, typically running hip to hip. The incision is strategically placed to be hidden under a standard bikini bottom.
Prospective patients must believe that the long tummy tuck scar is a tradeoff for the great results it can achieve. A skilled surgeon can minimize scarring to some extent, and patients can expect it to fade a bit over time. How your body has healed from scars in the past is an excellent indicator of how you will heal post-tummy tuck.
Unfortunately, yes. The stomach muscles and skin will stretch out again if a pregnancy occurs. Women are counseled to wait until after they’re done having children to undergo a tummy tuck.
As long as patients maintain a stable weight and do not become pregnant, the results of a tummy tuck hold up well over time. Aging may affect the results somewhat, but abdominoplasty is considered a permanent solution to stretched out skin and muscles.
Tissue manipulation can change the positioning of the belly button, but your plastic surgeon will reposition and contour the belly button so that it looks natural and attractive.
Abdominoplasty is a fairly major procedure, and prospective patients should be physically and emotionally prepared for the surgery. Candidates for tummy tuck must be in general good health and free of any health conditions or prescriptions that could make the surgery unsafe.
These conditions and medications will be discussed by your surgeon during the consultation. Candidates should also expect realistic results and understand the limitations of the procedure. Lastly, patients should be at a stable weight or near any weight loss goals before surgery