Weight loss by means of dieting and regular physical activity tends to reduce the fat around a person’s midsection, but even people who most faithfully stick to their diets and exercise regimens may find themselves considering a tummy tuck, more formally known as an abdominoplasty. Why? Despite a weight-loss candidate’s best efforts, loose skin and some fat may remain, preserving a flabby, overweight look that only a plastic surgeon can eliminate.
A patient who desires a tummy tuck will find that a licensed plastic surgeon is the best option, since such a professional will bring a mix of professionalism and artistry to the procedure, making the surgery an aesthetic success.
What Does Tummy Tuck Address?
A tummy tuck is intended for basically one goal: a flatter stomach. The procedure is frequently chosen by people who have seen their abdomen size fluctuate dramatically, either due to a change in weight or a pregnancy. A tummy tuck can:
- eliminate loose, excess skin that protrudes or sags from the abdomen
- tighten abdominal muscles that have weakened
- remove some fatty tissue still present despite weight loss via natural methods or liposuction
- eliminate stretch marks and scars present on the skin to be removed
What Does a Tummy Tuck Involve?
There is not much variation in tummy tuck procedures, as all of them generally involve a plastic surgeon removing excess tissue and pulling the remaining skin tight. Still, any given patient’s unique anatomy may lead the doctor to tailor the surgery for the best results possible.
On the whole, patients can expect a tummy tuck to potentially include:
1) intravenous or general anesthesia, depending on the doctor’s recommendation based on a patient’s health and the scope of the abdominoplasty.
2) an incision that runs from side to side, situated somewhere between a patient’s navel and pubic area. The best doctors will work to hide any scarring in the underwear or bikini line. The procedure may also require another, circular incision around the belly button to preserve that feature.
3) removal of remaining excess fat via liposuction.
4) surgical tightening of tissues over the patient’s abdominal muscles.
5) the plastic surgeon essentially tugging the abdominal skin downward, toward the patient’s feet, to flatten the whole belly area.
4) trimming away the now-redundant skin that hangs below the incision line, as well as making a hole where the belly button sits so it can peek through.
5) closing up any incisions with sutures.
What Comes After Tummy Tuck Surgery?
A tummy tuck is, of course, a surgical procedure and requires a recovery period. Patients will likely have to maintain surgical dressing for their incision sites immediately after their abdominoplasty.
Also immediately after surgery, the tummy tuck patient will be encouraged to get up and walk as soon as possible. When lying down, recovering patients should keep their upper body in a raised position.
To prevent fluid buildup, the doctor will likely install drainage tubes. Patients will also wear something known as an abdominal binder for a month and a half after the abdominoplasty surgery.
Most importantly, follow-up visits throughout the year after the abdominoplasty will allow the doctor to make sure that everything is healing the way it should.
What Complements a Tummy Tuck?
As noted above, a tummy tuck is not a weight loss procedure, but it pairs well with liposuction for patients looking to change their physical appearance.
A tummy tuck is also frequently combined with other procedures as what is known as a “Mommy Makeover,” which combines a variety of surgical treatments—usually including liposuction and a breast lift—to reverse the physical aftereffects of pregnancy.
Making the Choice for a Tummy Tuck
An abdominoplasty is ideal for patients who want to get a toned, fit look. It is important, however, that people considering this procedure explain to their plastic surgeon exactly what aesthetic goals they’re hoping to achieve so together they can choose the best option to meet those goals.