It may be the only place on your body where flat is sexy!
A flat, smooth, toned abdomen is the goal of virtually everyone from elite models on South Beach to the hard-working everywoman and everyman. Clothes fit better. Beach season in Miami fits better…
But that flat tummy goal comes with significant obstacles, as the stomach area is prone to developing excess fat, sagging skin, and loose muscles over time. Pregnancy, massive weight loss (like from gastric bypass surgery), and aging are common reasons why abdominal skin and muscles stretch out.
In many cases, these problems cannot be solved with diet and exercise alone. That’s when surgery becomes the only way to regain a tight, smooth abdominal area. While skin can stretch and tighten throughout changes to the body, there is only so much that can be done to repair the abdominal aesthetics without a procedure known as an abdominoplasty, better known as the tummy tuck.
A tummy tuck 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 that can be a fantastic confidence-booster.
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 abdomen from the hip up to the bottom of the rib cage. But more or less extensive procedures can be performed, if appropriate. A mini tummy tuck is also popular, focusing solely on the area below the belly button.
If you are interested in tummy tuck surgery, schedule a consultation with a mia Aesthetics surgeon. During your consultation, plan to discuss your goals and motivations for abdominoplasty and find out if you are a good candidate for the procedure. Aside from getting the okay for surgery, the consultation is a great opportunity to get to know your surgeon, find out if abdominoplasty is the right procedure to meet your goals, ask all your questions, and start planning the surgery that is right for you.
Abdominoplasty is a fairly major procedure, and prospective patients need to be physically and emotionally prepared for the surgery. First, candidates for tummy tuck must be in general good health. Some health conditions and prescriptions can make the surgery unsafe, and safety is paramount in cosmetic procedures. Second, candidates should expect realistic results and understand the limitations of the procedure. Finally, patients should be at a stable weight at or near any weight loss goals before abdominoplasty. Ultimately, only you and your surgeon can decide if a tummy tuck is right for you.
The classic tummy tuck is performed under general anesthesia, but the surgery is often 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 be hidden beneath underwear or a bikini bottom. Once the incision is made, excess, stretched out skin is removed, so the remaining skin can be tightened. Liposuction is commonly performed in the flanks, to remove excess fat. Following that, the abdominal muscles will be rejoined and tightened before the incisions are closed and sutures are placed.
Abdominoplasty recovery takes time, and patients should expect to devote at least 1-2 weeks strictly to resting and healing. Expect pain and discomfort, particularly if the procedure involved muscle tightening. Pain medications will help keep patients comfortable.
Following the procedure, drain tubes may be inserted to prevent fluid from accumulating in the abdomen. These are removed in a follow-up visit 7-14 days following surgery. Post-operation, patients must wear a special compression garment for several weeks. Swelling and bruising will subside over a few weeks. Most people find they can return to work after about 7-10 days, but some may need more recovery time. While everyday activities can be gradually re-introduced after the first week or two, vigorous exercise must be avoided for 4-6 weeks. As the swelling subsides, patients will be able to see the results of their tummy tuck emerge.
Choosing the Right Surgeon
Finding the right surgeon can be difficult, but it is important to do your research and choose a provider who has the skill and experience to give you the results you want. Because the tummy tuck is such an invasive surgery, you want a doctor who takes safety seriously. And never choose a provider you don’t fully trust. It’s often a good idea to meet with several plastic surgeons before making a decision. At mia Aesthetics, Medical Director Sergio Alvarez has assembled the best and brightest cosmetic surgeons under the belief that Beauty for All means every patient is entitled to the highest quality, artistry and safety at an affordable price.
How extensive are tummy tuck scars?
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 at least a bit over time. How your body has healed from scars in the past is an excellent indicator of how you’ll heal post-tummy tuck.
Will pregnancy after a tummy tuck ruin my results?
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 tummy tuck surgery.
What are the risks of tummy tuck surgery?
As with any major surgery, there are potential complications involved with abdominoplasty. Choosing the right surgeon and ensuring you are healthy enough for surgery are the first steps in minimizing risk. It is also important for patients to follow all physician instructions before and after surgery to promote proper healing and prevent problems from developing. Potential tummy tuck complications include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Tissue necrosis
- Anesthesia complications
- Poor healing
Are tummy tuck results permanent?
As long as patients maintain a stable weight and do not become pregnant, the results of a tummy tuck hold up well over the years. Aging may affect the results somewhat, but abdominoplasty is considered a permanent solution to stretched out skin and muscles.
How does a tummy tuck affect the belly button?
Tissue manipulation can change the positioning of the belly button, but your plastic surgeon will reposition and contour the belly button so it looks natural and attractive.