Tummy Tuck Surgery
Your midsection, including your abdomen and hips, is one of the most difficult areas of the body to change, even with a real devotion to diet and exercise. Over time, aging, pregnancies, and weight gain all contribute to a worsened appearance, and a once flat abdomen can be replaced with sagging skin, unwanted fat, stretch marks, weak core muscles, and a bulging waistline. For my patients, this is disheartening and nearly impossible to hide, even with loose-fitting clothes.
Aside from lifestyle changes, surgery offers the only definitive option to restore a youthful and toned body shape. In less than four hours, a tummy tuck combined with liposculpting removes stretch marks and excess skin, tightens loose muscles, and contours bulging hips. Providing one of the most dramatic transformations I offer at my clinic, this procedure provides a real answer a common problem.
How Can a Tummy Tuck Help?
A tummy tuck, or “abdominoplasty,” streamlines your midsection by flattening and toning your abdomen and contouring your hips and lower back. The results are truly transformative and the most dramatic in people who have had pregnancies or major weight loss.
Pregnancy can cause stretched abdominal muscles (diastasis recti), excess skin, stretch marks, and stubborn fat deposits on the abdomen and hips.
- Tummy tuck
- Liposculpting of hips and back
- Repairs diastasis recti
- Eliminates excess skin and stretch marks
- Removes fat around hips and back
- Can target both upper and lower abdomen
- Often combined with breast augmentation and/or breast lift, offering a full body transformation (Mommy Makeover)
Those who have lost greater than 20% of their body weight often have uncomfortable sagging or hanging skin in the midsection and other parts of the body.
- Tummy tuck
- Liposculpting of hips
- Combination with a body lift, thigh lift, neck lift, arm lift, and breast augmentation and/or lift
- Tightens abdominal muscles
- Eliminates excess skin
- Removes stubborn fat
- Can target both upper and lower abdomen
- Is extremely transformative when combined with other procedures
Even the most regimented diet and exercise routines can fail to get rid of pesky fat deposits in different areas of the body and loose skin below the belly button.
- Mini tummy tuck
- SmartLipo ™
- VASER® Lipo
- Removes stubborn fat
- Tightens skin with less-invasive tummy tuck and SmartLipo™
- Enables fat transfer (Vaser®)
- Quicker recovery than traditional liposuction and abdominoplasty
70% of the patients I see are candidates for these less-invasive procedures.
What do you desire?
- Improved Muscle Tone
- A Stretch Mark-Free Belly
- Removal of the Lower “Pooch”
- Tightening of Sagging Skin
- Less Visible Fatty Areas
Improved Muscle Tone
A tummy tuck tightens stretched abdominal muscles to create a firm foundation and improve core strength.
After the excess skin is removed, the residual skin and soft tissue are redraped over the the tightened muscles, resulting in a flattened and toned abdominal appearance.
A Stretch Mark-Free Belly
Stretch marks are very common, especially in women.
They are primarily caused by weight gain, hormone fluctuations, and pregnancy, and they become more visible after the belly shrinks with weight loss or delivery. A tummy tuck eliminates most stretch marks and improves the appearance of the ones that are not removed with excess skin. .
Removal of the Lower “Pooch”
The lower “pooch,” or bulging of fat and skin below the belly button, is one of the most common reasons that patients come to our office for an evaluation.
The mini or full tummy tuck are excellent options for targeting this area, and the full tummy tuck also addresses the upper abdomen. If loose skin is not an issue, SmartLipo™ or Vaser® Lipo are preferred less-invasive options for eliminating the excess fat while flattening and contouring the lower abdomen.
Tightening of Sagging Skin
Aging, weight changes, and pregnancy all contribute to sagging skin in the midsection.
For the majority of patients, saggy belly skin is a real problem, and an abdominoplasty is the only reliable option. The results will be much more transformative than SmartLipo™ alone, especially for those who have a history of pregnancy or weight loss.
Less Visible Fatty Areas
Less-invasive options to improve the body contour should always be considered before an abdominoplasty.
For those with little to no loose skin, we offer the most advanced array of office-based body contouring procedures that require no sedation or general anesthesia. VASER® Lipo is an energy-assisted liposuction device that is a great option for contouring problem areas like the hips, thighs, and abdomen. It is also the only device that selectively preserves fat cells, allowing them to be injected in other areas of the body like the breast, buttocks, or face. SmartLipo™ is a laser-assisted liposuction device that is excellent at removing fat from difficult areas like the neck while also tightening loose skin.
Recovery from tummy tuck surgery takes an average of two to three weeks, with the majority of assistance needed in the first week.
Most patients return to normal activities (including work) after ten days to two weeks and resume exercise activities at four to six weeks. When liposculpting is included with the surgery, SmoothShapes™ treatments may be added post-operatively to accelerate recovery and reduce swelling.
Scars resulting from liposuction are small and fade with time.
An abdominoplasty scar is more noticeable, but only in the first few months after surgery. I place the abdominoplasty scars very low, hidden below the underwear and bathing suit line. For a full tummy tuck, the scar extends from hip to hip, and a mini tummy tuck scar is 30 to 40 percent shorter. Within a year, the scar fades. My advice to all considering this procedure is that scarring has to be considered a trade-off. Your unsightly abdomen and hips are traded for a low, fading scar. For almost all of my patients this is an easy choice.
The cost for tummy tuck surgery varies from patient to patient
depending on the amount of fat and skin to be removed, whether you are getting a mini tummy tuck or full tummy tuck, and if liposuction will be combined with your procedure. The best way to get an accurate estimate of the cost of the procedure tailored to your specific body and needs is to have a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.
Some pain and discomfort are expected after tummy tuck surgery, the majority of discomfort occurs in the first week of recovery and is primarily from the repair of the split muscles (diastasis recti).
Postoperative pain is easily managed with pain medication, pain pumps, muscle relaxants, and compression garments. Short-term pain pumps are very helpful with postoperative discomfort and are generally used for two to three days after surgery. Surgical drains and the incision only contribute in small part to discomfort, and most patients do not require any pain medication after two weeks of recovery.
Tummy Tuck Before & After Photos
Why do patients need repair of the stretched and split abdominal muscles if they are only concerned about excess skin and unwanted fat?
A stretched rectus muscle, or diastasis recti, is extremely common after pregnancy. The rectus muscle is one of the larger muscles of the abdomen. It consist of two parallel muscles that run vertically along each side of belly button from the chest to the pelvis, and they are joined in the center by a thin, connective tissue. Pregnancy can push these muscles apart, stretching the connective tissue and leading to core weakness and a “pooching” belly. Following childbirth, diastasis recti occurs when the rectus muscles do not “bounce back” to their normal position.
For patients with diastasis recti, tightening of the rectus muscles must be undertaken at the time of a tummy tuck to achieve a flat and toned belly. Not repairing the diastasis will leave you with a persistent pooching of the belly even though the loose skin and excess fat have been removed. The majority of tummy tuck patients need diastasis recti repair during their surgery. Although it does contribute to discomfort after surgery, it is necessary to improve the results and have a positive effect on core strength.
Do I need abdominoplasty or just liposuction?
If you have excess skin on the midsection, especially related to weight loss or pregnancy, a tummy tuck is the only definitive solution. If your belly “pooch” is caused by fat only and you have no loose skin, you likely are a better candidate for liposuction and liposculpting. If you need a little tightening of the belly skin along with reduction of the fat pockets, SmartLipo™ may be the preferred approach.
It is also important to note that almost all my abdominoplasty cases are combined with liposuction. An abdominoplasty only shapes the abdomen and does not address the hips and lower back (above the buttocks). Most patients need aggressive liposculpting to treat the midsection circumferentially. If this is not added, the results can be unbalanced, where your belly is flat but your hips persistently bulge. As proportions can differ immensely from person to person, a consultation is the best way to determine what procedure(s) would meet your needs.
Should I be at my ideal weight before having an abdominoplasty?
You are not required be at your ideal weight to have a tummy tuck, but patients who are at a healthy weight will see the best results. Since tummy tuck surgery involves tightening the muscles and removing excess fat, even mild to moderately overweight patients will see significant improvement. As obesity has been linked to increased post-operative complications (like infection) after these types of surgeries, it is in your best interest to be at a healthy weight before surgery.
Can abdominoplasty and liposuction help me lose weight?
Abdominoplasty and liposuction are not weight-loss procedures and should not be treated as such. You may lose a few pounds (about five, on average), but these procedures will not improve your body mass index or physical fitness.
Can I have a tummy tuck between pregnancies?
If you are planning to get pregnant, it is highly recommended that you delay surgery. Pregnancies after an abdominoplasty will alter the surgery results and, in most cases, negate the benefits. Therefore, I counsel my patients that a decision should be made in regards to future pregnancies before proceeding with surgery.
Can I have breast surgery or liposuction at the time of a tummy tuck?
Yes, and the vast majority of my abdominoplasty cases are performed in combination with other procedures. These types of combination cases are in the ‘Mommy Makeover’ territory, which allows women to improve many areas of their body at one time. Depending on your problem areas, a breast lift, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, fat transfer, and liposculpting can be included in the same procedure to completely transform your body. Men are also candidates for these types of procedures. I often combine a tummy tuck for men after weight loss with gynecomastia (male breast) surgery. The combinations are numerous, and in our clinic they are tailored specifically to meet your individual goals and needs.
Are the results permanent?
Unless you become pregnant or gain a significant amount of weight, the results of an abdominoplasty will last for decades and rarely require any secondary procedures.
Are there any new advances with tummy tuck surgery?
Nowadays, we use newer technologies to improve our results by incorporating SmartLipo™ or VASER® Lipo of the areas not treated by the tummy tuck. This avoids the common complaint that patients have with isolated tummy tucks: the abdomen looks amazing but the hips and back are still a problem. Other advancements that I include are drainless procedures with mattress suturing for select patients, short-term pain pumps for two to three days after surgery, low scar placement approaches, natural belly button techniques, and epidural-only anesthesia (avoiding the need for general anesthesia).