What is a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) ?
A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, is cosmetic surgery to improve the shape of the tummy area (abdomen).
It can involve removing excess loose skin, fat and stretch marks and tightening the abdominal muscles.
The aim is to remove excess skin on the tummy that cannot be removed through exercise – for example, excess skin caused by pregnancy or losing a lot of weight.
Who are the best candidates for an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) ?
A tummy tuck is suitable for both men and women who are in good general health overall and are at a stable weight.
A tummy tuck shouldn't be confused with a liposuction (the cosmetic surgery used to remove fat deposits), although your surgeon may choose to perform liposuction as part of a tummy tuck. Women who have muscles and skin stretched after several pregnancies may find the procedure useful to tighten those muscles and reduce that skin. A tummy tuck is also an alternative for men or women who were obese at one point in their lives and have lost significant weight, but still have excessive fat deposits or loose skin in the abdominal area.
How to Prepare for Tummy Tuck Surgery ?
The first step is to choose a surgeon and see them for a consultation. At that meeting, you'll talk about your goals and the following options:
How does a Tummy Tuck Surgery performed ?
Complete abdominoplasty. The surgeon will cut your abdomen from hipbone to hipbone and then contour the skin, tissue, and muscle as needed. The surgery will involve moving your belly button, and you may need drainage tubes under your skin for a few days.
Partial or mini abdominoplasty. Mini-abdominoplasties are often done on people whose fat deposits are located below the navel. During this procedure, the surgeon most likely will not move your belly button, and the procedure may only take up to two hours, depending on your case.
What type of anesthesia is used during Tummy Tuck Surgery ?
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
What are the risks of tummy tuck surgery ?
The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal, and you'll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications of tummy tuck surgery are acceptable.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks.
Tummy tuck risks include:
- Anesthesia risks
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Persistent pain
- Poor wound healing
- Possibility of revisional surgery
- Recurrent looseness of skin
- Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
- Skin loss
- Suboptimal aesthetic result
- Unfavorable scarring
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It's important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
How will be the recovery process after Tummy Tuck Surgery ?
You will need to take about 4 to 6 weeks off work and exercise. You will not be able to drive for a few weeks after the operation (your surgeon and insurance company can advise you about this).
It takes about 6 weeks to fully recover and to see the full effect of a tummy tuck.
You'll usually need to wear a special type of corset or tummy-control pants for 6 weeks, to encourage your skin to heal properly and to reduce any swelling. Generally, you'll need to take it easy during this time and keep your knees bent while in bed, to avoid putting strain on your stitches.
After a few weeks you will probably be asked to attend a follow-up appointment to make sure the wound is healing properly.
After 6 weeks you will usually be able to stop wearing a corset and may return to doing most of your usually activities.
How much does a Tummy Tuck surgery cost?
It can vary significantly depending on multiple factors, including:
Experience of the surgeon
Location of the procedure (office, surgery center, hospital)
Type of anesthesia used
*A low-cost Tummy Tuck surgery performed by an inexperienced surgeon who delivers poor results is not a good combination.