What is a tummy tuck procedure?
Abdominoplasty, also called a tummy tuck, is a surgery that flattens and firms the midsection through the removal of excess fat and skin and the tightening of abdominal muscles.
People often have a tummy tuck surgery after pregnancy or after losing a significant amount of weight, both of which can stretch abdominal muscles and leave excess skin. If you’ve tried to flatten and tone your protruding or sagging abdomen through weight loss and exercise but haven’t achieved your goals, the tummy tuck procedure might be right for you.
What are the tummy tuck procedure steps?
Abdominoplasty is performed while you’re under general anesthesia.
Your surgeon will make an incision in your bikini line, and will elevate the upper abdominal tissues to expose your abdominal muscles. The muscles can be sewn together to flatten the abdomen or reduce your waist. If you have excess skin above your navel, the belly-button will be re-positioned. Excess lower abdominal tissues are removed, and the skin incision is closed.
After the tummy tuck surgery, you’ll have tubes in place to drain excess fluid for one to two weeks.
How long does it take to recover from a tummy tuck procedure?
Recovery from a tummy tuck procedure usually takes about two to three weeks, but as with every surgery, recovery is highly individual. During your tummy tuck consultation, your doctor will talk with you about what to expect.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Procedure
A. The best candidates for a tummy tuck procedure are nonsmokers who are at or close to their ideal weight and have loose, sagging skin or a protruding abdomen even with a healthy diet and regular exercise. However, patients above ideal body weight may be candidates for modified abdominoplasties (lipoabdominoplasty).
A. The scar from a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) incision is usually low enough to be well hidden by clothing or a bathing suit (even a bikini).
A. Tummy tuck procedures are popular among moms after pregnancy, so this is a common concern. For several weeks to months after surgery, you’ll have limits as to how much you can lift. If you lift too much too soon, you risk stressing your incision site, which can delay your recovery and affect your cosmetic result.
A. Tummy tuck results are meant to last, but pregnancy or weight gain can affect the results. Most doctors recommend waiting until you’ve had your last child or reached your goal weight before having a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) procedure.
A. A mini tummy tuck is a procedure that only treats the lower abdomen. It usually requires a shorter incision than a full tummy tuck surgery. It is a limited approach to address a smaller amount of skin. However, patients generally need full abdominoplasty surgery to treat the entire abdomen. A mini tummy tuck is an effective operation in the right patient but determining if it’s a good fit, and specific goals and expectations, is something the patient and physician should discuss.
A. Liposuction uses suction to remove fat from the body. It can treat areas of fat deposits such as the love handles or help contour the waist. However, it will not remove excess skin like a tummy tuck will. For this reason, it is often used along with the tummy tuck procedure.
A. Yes, you can get a tummy tuck after having a cesarean section. In fact, the tummy tuck procedure can often revise the c-section scar, especially if it is a high scar, to look better. The procedure can also tighten the muscles to treat the diastasis recti — the separation of the abdominal muscles — that is common after pregnancy.
A. Like any surgery, a tummy tuck can be somewhat painful depending on the individual patient. However, any pain tends to be manageable and fades quickly after about a week. Your surgeon will provide a local, long-acting anesthetic directly into the muscles to reduce pain and give you a multimodal pain management regimen to go home with.