Tummy Tuck Surgery (Abdominoplasty)


What is a Tummy Tuck? Also known as Abdominoplasty

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Sought out by patients who have gone through pregnancy or major weight loss, abdominoplasty or the “tummy tuck” is among the most common procedures performed at Jolie Plastic Surgery. Used to remove excess skin in the upper and lower abdomen, the tummy tuck can greatly improve the overall shape and contour of the body.

Once a patient is considered a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery, they are scheduled to have to have their procedure.

Multiple pregnancies, carrying twins or triplets, or carrying a heavy baby increases the likelihood of the abdominal muscles separating, leaving women with what is often described as a “pooch” of weak tissue in their middles. Diastasis recti can only be corrected with a tummy tuck, and abdominal exercises can actually worsen the separation, which is why it is the major component of “mommy makeover” surgeries.

Considering a Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Abdominoplasty patients typically complain of flabby, loose skin in their midsections, or the “pooch”: weakness of the lower abdomen. Sadly, especially in the case of post pregnancy or extreme weight loss, these conditions can’t be corrected with diet and exercise alone. The tummy tuck surgery is designed to correct the weakness and extra skin to improve the shape and size of the midsection, yielding dramatic results when performed by skillful cosmetic surgeons, like the ones here at Jolie.

Who is considered a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery?

The ideal candidate for tummy tuck surgery is in good health and wishes to reduce the amount of excess skin and fat in their midsection. Patients considering tummy tuck surgery ideally are finished having children, at a stable weight, and have realistic expectations of their surgical results. The ideal candidate is aware that large scars will be left in the “bikini” area of the lower abdomen.

Tummy tuck candidates know the surgery is not a weight loss procedure. Patients in the process of losing weight should wait to reach their goal weight, and maintain their weight for a minimum of three months prior to surgery.

As with most surgical procedures, candidates should not smoke or use recreational drugs for at least 30 days before their scheduled procedure. The ideal candidate has a support system in place and has made a recovery plan together with their surgeon and family, as there are restrictions in mobility immediately following abdominal surgery.

Benefits of Tummy Tuck

The most noticeable advantage of having a tummy tuck is an overall improvement to the shape of the midsection following surgery and recovery. For patients suffering from diastasis recti, they can see strengthening of their abdominal muscles, which results in better muscle tone in the abdomen and improved posture, in part due to the muscles being able to better support the spine.

Abdominoplasty can correct Stress Urinary Incontinence, SUI; the diminished control of the bladder some women experience following natural child birth.

tummy tuck before and after

Although the tummy tuck is not a weight loss procedure, patients inevitably see the numbers on the scale drop following the removal of excess skin and fat. More dramatically, tummy tuck patients are likely to drop several dress sizes and reduce several inches from their middle.

Tummy Tuck Side Effects

Immediately following tummy tuck surgery, patients can expect significant pain, swelling, and discomfort. Some patients will have surgical drains to decrease the amount of fluid that accumulates along the incisions. Drains are usually in for no more than seven days, during which time patients should take antibiotics. Feelings of tightness in the lower abdominal area are also to be expected, and begin to subside after a week or two. Patients are typically instructed to be up walking the day after their surgery to help reduce swelling and enable the healing process. Sutures are usually removed within two weeks after surgery.

As with all cosmetic surgeries there are inherent risks and side effects such as scarring, numbness, hematoma, and infection among other. Patients can minimize the risks associated with tummy tucks by following their pre and post-operative instructions to the letter as these instructions were created with the patient’s safety and satisfaction in mind.

Tummy tuck or liposuction?

The short answer is if you have muscle weakness and excess skin following dramatic weight loss or pregnancy, a tummy tuck is will greatly improve both the weakness of the abdomen and eliminate the majority of the hanging or flabby skin. If you the skin in the midsection is firm, but you have belly rolls, or “jelly belly” a little lipo can work to improve the contour of the area.

Liposculpture, or Lipo: a popular cosmetic where fat is suctioned from the body using a cannula and an aspirator, in an attempt to improve its shape. While neither tummy tuck surgery or lipo are a form of weight loss, both can greatly improve the appearance, size, and shape of the midsection, depending on the cause.

Tummy Tuck Procedure

Typically performed as an outpatient procedure, the surgery begins once the anesthesia has taken effect. An incision is then made right above the pelvic area stretching from hip to hip. A second incision is then made to free the navel from the skin of the abdomen. Once the skin is released from the abdominal wall, the abdominal muscles are tightened via sutures in order to correct diastasis recti, the separation of the abdominal muscles which can occur during pregnancy. Diastasis recti is common among pregnant women and occurs due to the enormous pressure on the muscles of the abdomen during pregnancy. The excess skin and subcutaneous fat are then cut away, the remaining skin pulled down and stapled. A new incision is made and the navel is pulled through and reattached.

Different Tummy Tuck Procedures – Options to Consider

There are several different kinds of abdominal surgeries to consider, all suited to treat and correct different conditions and produce varied results. The majority of tummy tuck surgeries is performed as outpatient, and take about two hours on average, but can take upwards of five hours in more extreme cases. Depending on the amount and location of loose skin, different kinds of tummy tuck options are available.

Complete Tummy Tuck

The original abdominoplasty procedure, perfect for correcting the loose, sagging skin of the lower abdomen which can occur after pegnancy. This involves a scar along the bikini line, across the lower abdomen, and the subsequent removal of excess skin and fat.

A complete tummy tuck may not be ideal for some weight loss patients, since weight gain occurs in all different directions. To address patients in this category, one of the talented surgeons at Jolie Plastic Surgery, Dr. Daniel Calva performs a more complete “complete tummy tuck”, called a Fleur De Lis Tummy Tuck, which involves an additional vertical incision, allowing for excess skin to be pulled inward as well as downward, creating a corseted effect. The results are a more harmonious hourglass contour to the midsection in addition to the flattening of the tummy and elimination of the excess skin of the lower abdomen.

abdominoplasty procedure

Circumferential tummy tuck

Abdominoplasty procedures can directly impact the shape and appearance of the neighboring regions, requiring the surgeon to use a different approach. A tummy tuck, when combined with a lift of the buttocks is an example of a variation on the traditional tummy tuck. Called a circumferential tummy tuck, this technique extends the bikini line scar 360 degrees around the hip area. Also referred to as a Belt Lipectomy or lower body lift, this procedure is usually required following patients who have lost extreme amounts of weight.

Extended Tummy Tuck

The extended tummy tuck is similar to the belt Lipectomy in that it extends the incisin to the sides of the hips in order to accommodate a later thigh lift. An added advantage to this technique is marke improvement to the contour of the waist, elimination of the “saddle bag” or sagging skin of the hip, in addition to the drastic changes to the lower abdomen. This technique is great for patients wishing to improve their waistline.

How much does a Tummy Tuck Cost?

As with all cosmetic surgeries, the cost of abdominoplasty is affected by many factors, especially geo location. Prices can range from about $4000 to upwards of $10000. While patients considering cosmetic procedures should not select a surgeon on price alone, if you can’t simply use your savings account, at Jolie we recommend exploring options for financing your procedure through medical credit companies, bank loans, or drawing from home equity or 401 (k) retirement plans.

Tummy Tuck Final Results

Decreasing the size of the midsection in both males and females can dramatically improve the overall contours of the body. Loose hanging skin following dramatic weight loss or pregnancy can be reduced or altogether eliminated, along with unsightly stretch marks, and excess skin in the navel.

Muscle tone can be improved which can in turn improve posture and the long term appearance and strength in the abdomen. The waist can be shrunk, outer hips and buttocks can be lifted, and liposuction of the flanks or love handles can further enhance the appearance of the midsection. Abdominoplasty, in all its incarnations can dramatically transform the patient’s body. Choose a respected and skilled surgeon, like the ones here at Jolie who can explore different techniques to get you closer to the body you desire.

When shopping for tummy tuck options, be sure to not only ask “how much is a tummy tuck”. Ask about which procedures can be combined with tummy tuck cosmetic surgery, ask about minimizing your tummy tuck incision, and consider other option before deciding to get a tummy tuck after weight loss or pregnancy.

Patients considering a tummy tuck after pregnancy or weight loss should maintain a stable weight for a minimum of three months, be in overall good health, and avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking recreational drugs for a minimum of thirty days prior to surgery. Getting a tummy tuck can yield outstanding results when performed by the right surgeon. Patients are advised to consider all of the tummy tuck options available before committing to a procedure. Call us at Jolie and schedule a consultation to see which tummy tuck procedure is ideal for you.

Tummy Tuck Surgery FAQ

How long before I return to my normal routine?
Most patients can return to their regular activities two weeks after surgery. Surgeons will advise you to avoid high levels of intense activity for six to eight weeks.
How painful is this procedure?
This can be a painful operation since it includes repair of the muscles. Local anesthetic can keep pain under control for up to three days and avoid the frequent use of narcotic pain medicine. Proper pain management will definitely make recovery more tolerable.
Are the results lasting?
Results will last as long as the patient’s weight remains stable. This procedure is generally performed only once without needing to be repeated. The natural aging process will change the skin but generally it never gets back to the looseness the patient may have experienced before the operation, unless the patient gets pregnant or loses a lot of weight.
Will an abdominoplasty improve the appearance of stretch marks?
It all depends where they are located, but the answer is generally a YES. A full tummy tuck will remove most of the skin in the lower abdomen therefore any stretch marks located in this area can be removed along with the loose skin. However, if the stretch is not in that specific zone, they won’t be helped.
Updated on: December 26st, 2016

Disclaimer: Non Surgical Treatments, Diets, Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery Results Can Vary Significantly Between Patients.