Sometimes exercise and a healthy diet alone are simply not enough to get a flat and well-toned abdomen, or “tummy.” Even normal-weight individuals can develop a midsection which is out of proportion to the rest of the body. A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is designed to minimize the appearance of a protruding midsection by removing excess fat and skin, which can also remove many of the stretch marks in that area. Some of the common reasons for a tummy tuck include a loose, sagging abdomen due to past pregnancy, aging, weight fluctuations or prior surgery.
Am I a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery is an excellent method to improve self-esteem for those who are good candidates. A good candidate for a tummy tuck is someone who is physically healthy and at a stable weight who has realistic expectations. For instance, tummy tucks can reduce the appearance of stretch marks from the loose skin which is removed but not eliminate them. A tummy tuck will also leave a substantial scar that extends from each hipbone just above the pubic area. Good candidates for abdominoplasty are relatively fit, but are bothered by loose abdominal skin and fat deposits which fail to respond to diet and exercise. Women who have had children can benefit from a tummy tuck, in particular, because their abdominal muscles become stretched out and no amount of exercise will fix the appearance, even from significant weight loss. Women who are planning having (more) children should not have a tummy tuck, because the vertical muscles of the abdomen that the plastic surgeon tightens during the procedure might separate again from pregnancy. If you plan to lose substantial weight, it might be in your interest to postpone an abdominoplasty, as you will likely lose some of the fat in the area which is the focus of the operation. Plastic surgeons may also advise patients against having abdominoplasty if they have had previous abdominal surgery, or may caution that the scars resulting from your tummy tuck might be unusually prominent.
Tummy Tuck Risks
All surgeries carry inherent risks, and abdominoplasty has specific risks, as well. Although thousands of tummy tucks are performed successfully every year by qualified plastic surgeons with experience in body contouring, there is always a chance of experiencing complications. Some of the post-operative complications can include infection, which can be treated with drainage and antibiotics. Blood clots in the legs are possible if patients are sedentary in bed for too long after the procedure. Some patients may experience poor healing which can result in conspicuous scars, necessitating anther operation. Smokers are at an increased risk of poor healing which increases the risk of needing revisional surgery if your results are unsatisfactory. Some of the potential risks are:
- Disappointing results due to asymmetry, visible scarring, visible deformities such as bunching or rippling
- Poor healing
- Wound disruption
- Loss of sensation, either temporarily or permanently
- Need for reoperation
Tummy Tuck Benefits
Men and women who are concerned by their protruding, loose skin of their midsection who have attempted to address the problem through diet and exercise may elect to have a tummy tuck to achieve a slimmer silhouette. The results from a tummy tuck can help you fit into a wider variety of clothing and feel more comfortable in intimate relations with a significant other or exposing a bare midriff at the beach.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Generally, the procedure takes between two and five hours to complete, depending upon several factors such as the amount of work that needs to be done. An incision is made that extends between the hipbones just above the pubic area. Another incision is made from the navel and connected to the lower incision, so that incisions resemble an upside-down letter “T.” After the incisions are made, the surgeon will separate the skin from the abdominal wall and excess skin and fat are removed. The underlying muscle and tissue are drawn together and sutured, which narrows the waistline and strengthens the abdominal wall. A new opening will be made for the navel to be reinserted, and then the stitches are closed. Dressing is applied over the site of the incision and a drain may be placed to collect any excess fluid to prevent build-up.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
After a tummy tuck, your abdominal area will feel tight and sore, and this may radiate to the thighs and buttocks, as well. You will be wearing a compression garment to ease swelling, but and you sould not change, remove or manipulate this garment until you are instructed to do so, even if it gets slightly soiled from incision drainage. You should rest and relax for approximately 2 weeks, but this time may be more or less depending on the extent and type of work performed, in addition to the age and overall physical health of the patient. People of a normal weight who are generally healthy typically recover more quickly. Do not shower until the 3rd day after your procedure, or until you get approval from your surgeon, with specific instructions of what to do about your incisions and drains. Do not drive for at least 10-14 days, or until you are given clearance by your plastic surgeon. All activities can be resumed after 2 weeks, or until given clearance by your surgeon. However, even though you’ll be eager to show off your new flat tummy, do not go in a public pool for at least six weeks after surgery.
Your New Look
After a tummy tuck, even very loose, hanging skin and fat can be removed so you can fit into your clothing better and feel more confident, especially with your partner. You will be able to pull up a pair of pants comfortably, without the need to “tuck in” your excess skin, or to loosen your belt so you can fit in this excess, hanging skin. You will have a scar that runs the length of your pubic hairline, but this can be covered even in tiny bikinis and lingerie. You should still be aware that this scar will be red and swollen and you must cognizant of the fact that you may not want a scar BEFORE surgery. A tummy tuck can eradicate many of your stretch marks on the belly region, but it is not a miracle cure for ALL stretch marks. Any skin that is not removed through surgery will continue to have stretch marks, for which there is no cure. When you come in for a consultation, ask to see before and after pictures from your plastic surgeon. You will be able to identify women who have greatly benefited from a tummy tuck and measure your expectations against their results. You may also ask if these women had additional procedures you may want to consider, such as liposuction or a breast augmentation or lift, which are commonly done in conjunction with a tummy tuck.
A tummy tuck can significantly enhance your midsection, and give you that slim appearance you've always wanted. Looking into tummy tuck surgery in Los Angeles? Call us at
(855) 690-0565 to set up a consultation with one of our Board-Certified West Medical plastic surgeons!
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