If your abdominal skin and muscles are loose from having children or losing weight—or your midsection is simply out of proportion with the rest of you—a tummy tuck can give you a slim, youthful waistline.
What is a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a plastic surgery procedure that removes excess abdominal skin and fat, then tightens the muscles of the abdominal wall and tightens and smoothes the area around the navel. A tummy tuck will be slimmer and trimmer not only in the waistline, but all the way from your upper abdomen down to your bikini line.
Is a tummy tuck right for you?
A tummy tuck is best suited to women and men who are in relatively good shape, but have loose abdominal skin and/or abdominal fat that won't respond to dieting or exercise.
If you have borne several children, your abdominal muscles and skin may have been stretched beyond the point where they can return to normal. A tummy tuck can be the answer to getting your pre-pregnancy tummy back.
Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
You may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck if you have:
Excess or loose, sagging abdominal skin
An abdomen that protrudes and is out of proportion to the rest of your body
Weakened abdominal muscles due to pregnancy or aging
Excess fat concentrated beneath the abdominal skin
How is a tummy tuck performed?
First, your Lift Laser and Body tummy tuck surgeon will make a long, smile-shaped incision from hipbone to hipbone, just above the pubic area. Then he or she will make a second incision to free the navel from the surrounding tissue.
Next, the skin is separated from the abdominal wall up to the ribs and lift a large flap of skin to reveal the vertical muscles in your abdomen—the rectus abdominis. Your Lift Laser and Body surgeon will then tighten these stretched muscles by pulling them closer together and stitching them into position. This tightening process will give you a firmer abdominal wall and a smaller waistline.
Is there more than one version of a tummy tuck?
Yes. If your excess fat deposits are only below the navel, a mini-tummy tuck, or partial abdominoplasty may be right for you. In a mini-tummy tuck, the incision is much shorter and the navel may not be repositioned. Your Lift Laser and Body tummy tuck surgeon will separate the skin only between the incision line and the navel, then stretch the skin flap down, remove the excess and stitch the flap back into place.
Are there other alternatives to a tummy tuck?
Yes. If you have good skin elasticity and muscle tone, liposuction alone may be used to remove abdominal fat. This alternative may be appropriate for you if you plan to become pregnant in the future.
How fast is the healing process after a tummy tuck?
Although everyone heals at a different rate, you can expect your recovery will follow this general time line:
Immediately following outpatient surgery:
You will wear a girdle-type compression garment
You will be encouraged to move and walk around at home on the day of your surgery
Within the first week:
A small drainage tube will be removed
Bruising and swelling will reach its peak and your body will begin to flush excess fluid away
The stitches will be removed from 7-10 days after surgery
After several weeks:
You will no longer need to wear a compression garment
You may gradually increase your activity and begin to exercise again
You may return to non-strenuous work (typically within the first 3 weeks)
Bruising and swelling will continue to subside and you'll begin to see your results
After a few months:
You'll see a truer picture of the final result of your tummy tuck surgery
Feelings of numbness or tightness will dissipate
Your incision line may begin to fade from its reddish color. (Full fading may take a year or more)
In the months following surgery, it's important to treat your healing skin with extra care—that means avoiding sun exposure and not wearing black or other dark colors when you are outdoors. Heat absorbed by dark-colored clothing can actually burn your healing skin and complicate recovery.
Does a tummy tuck leave a significant scar?
Yes. You should understand that a tummy tuck involves an incision that runs from hipbone to hipbone. However, the tummy tuck surgeon at Lift Laser and Body will place the scar low enough that it will not show, even in a bikini. Bear in mind that the scar will fade with time, but will always be visible.
What can you expect from a tummy tuck?
Quite soon after surgery, you will see a noticeable difference in the shape of your body. Many people find that their firmer, flatter abdomen boosts their confidence and makes them look more attractive in clothing, provided you resume exercise and proper diet.
As the months pass, your incision line will continue to fade; however, it's important to remember that your scar will be permanent. Many patients view this scar as a small tradeoff for their firmer, sleeker appearance.
Tummy tuck produces long-lasting results. Unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight, you can expect to retain your new shape for many years. Over time, gravity and aging may cause your skin to loosen somewhat. If this occurs, your Lift Laser and Body tummy tuck surgeon may suggest additional treatment for restoring a more youthful abdominal contour.