Achieve a Contoured Abdomen
Sometimes diet and exercise can’t provide the results you’re looking for after you’ve had multiple pregnancies, lost a great deal of weight, or undergone bariatric surgery. In these and other cases, a tummy tuck is the best way to get the toned and flat stomach that you want. A tummy tuck is available for both male and female patients. A beautifully contoured body can happen with a tummy tuck and the results are permanent, as long as you continue to follow a healthy lifestyle.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is formally called an abdominoplasty. On the trunk of your body, lies the abdomen which encloses your stomach muscles and other important organs. The muscles in this region can get stretched out over time through an improper diet, lack of exercise, childbirth, or other medical conditions. If you’ve got diastasis, which is a horizontal separation of abdominal muscles that occurs after pregnancy, a tummy tuck can work to restore your pre-pregnancy body.
Having a tummy tuck can work to help reverse these effects by taking away extra skin and fat from the abdomen region. It also works to strengthen and rework the muscles to give a more toned, tighter appearance.
You do have choices for your tummy tuck surgery. There are many available and your surgeon will discuss the right one for the body contouring level that you’re hoping to reach. Your surgeon will also work with you to ensure the least amount of scarring and to ensure you get the best look for your body type.
Here are the options you can choose from for your tummy tuck surgery:
Full (Standard) Tummy Tuck is a classic surgical technique used when someone wants to tighten both the top and bottom portion of the abdomen. The incision is made horizontally above your pubic region and around the belly button. The excess skin is removed from these incisions. Then, the muscle and skin is tightened and closed.
Mini Tummy Tuck is a surgical technique that is used when patients only need to tighten the bottom part of the abdomen underneath the belly button. The incision is made horizontally and the excess skin is removed. This type of surgery works well for taking care of the belly pooch or taking care of skin with stretch marks. It’s the least invasive and the recovery time is quicker.
Extended Tummy Tuck is a surgical technique that can provide dramatic results for your abdomen. This procedure removes extra skin from your entire abdomen area, your hips, and part of your lower back. The horizontal incision will be longer than the other options. Liposuction can be used in conjunction with the normal removal of excess skin and fat. Muscles will also be plicated. The recovery time can take up to 6 weeks, but the results are very noticeable.
If you’re wondering which one to choose, your surgeon will go over the details of each option and analyze your health history and body type. Then, together, you’ll come up with the right one to choose to get the results that will make you look your most confident.
Am I a Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tucks are an excellent option if you want to tone and tighten your midsection and can’t get results from dieting and exercise alone. If you’re in optimal health, have lost as much weight as you want to, and are finished with your pregnancies, a tummy tuck is a great procedure to consider.
Here are some things a tummy tuck can help with:
- Excess fat above or below your belly button
- Extra skin after weight loss
- If you’ve had weight loss surgery, a tummy tuck may be a great supplemental procedure
- You’re considering liposuction
- You’re in good health and a non-smoker
- You recently lost a lot of weight
- You’ve reached your goal weight but still, have a bulging belly
- After pregnancy, you’ve got a belly pooch or stretch marks
- You have trouble wearing certain types of clothing or bathing suits
- You’ve lost self-esteem or constantly worry about your belly area
Check your BMI with our BMI calculator
What Should I Expect at My Consultation?
If you’re thinking about a tummy tuck procedure, it’s imperative that you meet with your surgeon to discuss what goes into this procedure and what you can expect from the outcome. Your surgeon will go over your health history and discuss the importance of not smoking for at least four weeks prior to your surgery. This is because your blood circulation potential needs to be optimal for this surgery. Your surgeon will then listen to what bothers you about your stomach, what you hope to achieve with a tummy tuck, and if you have any concerns about the surgery. Your surgeon will then take measurements of your stomach. Make a list of questions to ask your surgeon so you don’t forget what to ask.
You’ll also receive the following at your consultation:
- A breakdown of the different types of tummy tucks and how they’ll work for you
- Before and after photos with expected results
How Does It Work?
It’s important to understand that a tummy tuck is a surgery and what will go into the process.
Before you undergo surgery, you’ll want to ensure the following are all true:
- You’ve had a consultation with your surgeon.
- Make sure to have any physicals and tie up any loose medical ends like pregnancies, cancer treatments, or other medical procedures.
- Finish losing weight before surgery.
- Pack your hospital bag for an overnight stay in case you need to be monitored after surgery.
- Find a ride to and from surgery.
Once your surgery day arrives, you’ll be given a date and surgery instructions to follow in the days before your procedure. Make sure to follow any instructions carefully. Your tummy tuck will be performed in an outpatient surgery center.
You’ll meet with your anesthesiologist and be given instructions for your pain management. General anesthesia will be given so you don’t feel any pain during surgery. Depending on which tummy tuck you’re receiving, your surgeon will make the correct incisions and begin to remove the excess fat and tissue from your abdomen area.
Next, your muscles will be relocated and plicated in their new position. If your belly button needs to be relocated, it will be moved at this time. All incisions will be closed with a suture. Some surgeries will require a drainage tube to be in place as you heal. Finally, you’ll be wrapped in a compression garment to help you heal and prevent blood clots.
If your surgery is more involved, like with an extended tummy tuck, it could take up to three hours to finish. Other tummy tucks will take considerably less time.
Once your surgery is complete, the following will occur:
- You’ll be monitored in the recovery room as you wake up from anesthesia
- You’ll be given information regarding your healing, wound maintenance, and recovery time
- If going home, your driver may pick you up
You will have some pain and swelling after surgery but you’ll love the results of your tummy tuck. After your surgery, your excess skin removal and fat tissue removal are lifelong. Though any subsequent weight gain or pregnancy can hurt your results and cause you to need another operation. To get long-lasting results, continue to follow a healthy workout and diet routine. You’ll meet with your doctor for a follow-up after surgery.
Tummy tuck recovery should go very well. You’ll be wrapped in a compression garment or bandage that helps you heal and also prevents blood clots and other issues post-surgery. You may have pain and swelling, and bruising at the incision site. Recovery can take six weeks depending on your specific type of tummy tuck. You’ll want to clear your schedule for rest for at least the first few days following surgery.
It is extremely important that you don’t lift anything during your recovery time. If you’ve got little children, go ahead and plan for a full-time caretaker during your recovery. Older children can be cared for normally about a week after the procedure. If you have any drain tubes or special sutures, your doctor will give you a timeline for handling them during your recovery.
As with any surgery, you’ll want to monitor for various side effects that can occur after a procedure like a tummy tuck:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis, monitor for signs and symptoms per your surgeon
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Heart palpitations/chest pain
- Excessive pain
- Strange drainage from the incision site
- Pain in other parts of the body
- Incisions that don’t heal completely
- Shortness of breath