What is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, flattens and firms the abdomen by removing excess skin and stubborn fat deposits. The procedure can also repair weakened or separated abdominal muscles. The procedure is ideal for patients who wish to obtain a flatter and firmer abdomen but have a hard time doing so through diet and weight loss efforts. A tummy tuck is often performed on women following pregnancy and patients who have lost a substantial amount of weight through diet and exercise or bariatric (weight loss) surgery.
A Flatter, Firmer Stomach with Tummy Tuck Surgery
The best way to achieve a flatter and toned abdomen via tummy tuck is to work with a trained and experienced plastic surgeon, like the ones in the Franciscan Health network. These plastic surgeons are all board-certified surgeons who possess the skill and knowledge necessary to achieve beautiful, natural-looking results.
What Does a Tummy Tuck Address?
Tummy tuck removes loose skin and small, stubborn fat deposits on the abdomen. The procedure can also repair damaged or separated abdominal muscles. Tummy tuck is not an appropriate tool for weight loss. Patients who wish to lose a large amount of weight should do so via diet and exercise or weight loss (bariatric) surgery. Although tummy tuck does not correct stretch marks, it can address those present on the skin that is excised, therefore improving the overall appearance of the skin in the abdominal area. Following tummy tuck, patients will notice a firmer and smoother abdominal contour.
Tummy Tuck Candidates
Ideal tummy tuck surgery candidates are those who:
- Have loose excess abdominal skin with poor elasticity
- Have damaged or separated abdominal muscles
- Are close to a normal body weight
- Do not smoke
- Are not pregnant or nursing
- Are in good overall health
- Have realistic expectations from plastic surgery
Tummy Tuck Procedure Details
Tummy tuck surgery is generally performed on an outpatient basis, under general anesthesia. To begin, the plastic surgeon will create a horizontal incision from hipbone to hipbone. The surgeon is careful when creating the incision, placing it low enough so it can be concealed by the bikini or underwear line. Excess skin is removed from the area and, if necessary, the underlying abdominal muscles are pulled together and stitched in place with internal sutures. If unwanted fat deposits on the abdomen are present, the surgeon will use a liposuction technique to remove them. Once this is done, the abdominal skin will be tightened and closed with dissolvable external sutures. The navel will be moved to align with the newly contoured abdomen and closed with a second small incision. The surgeon will then place bandages over the treatment area and a compression garment will need to be worn for several weeks after surgery.
Mini Tummy Tuck
Some patients are candidates for a less invasive version of the tummy tuck procedure. A mini tummy tuck is ideal for patients whose unwanted fat and loose skin are located on the lower abdomen only. During a mini tummy tuck, fat and skin are removed from the lower abdomen and the underlying musculature is tightened. Because a mini tummy tuck requires a shorter incision (located on the lower abdomen), this technique typically requires a shorter recovery compared to a full tummy tuck.
Tummy Tuck Recovery Details
Patients should expect to take approximately one to two weeks off from work and their everyday activities. Common side effects include soreness, tenderness and numbness. These symptoms are temporary and can be relieved with prescription medication. Patients should get plenty of rest and avoid strenuous activity including exercise, bending and lifting heavy objects. However, it’s recommended patients takes short walks around the house to encourage good circulation and minimize the chance of developing blood clots. Although some of the aesthetic benefits of tummy tuck will be noticeable soon after surgery, it will take several weeks for the final results to become visible. Once fully healed, patients will notice a firmer and flatter abdomen.