Considering a Full Tummy Tuck? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you’re bothered by loose skin, fat, and stretch marks on your belly, a full tummy tuck is a great option. It is the gold standard for belly transformations as it addresses your entire abdomen from top to bottom. But with so many types of tummy tucks to choose from, understanding how a full tummy tuck differs can be confusing.  Therefore, we created this overview.  It gives you all the important information to better understand this surgery.  

What It Treats

A full tummy tuck can address a lot of issues but there are five problems it primarily treats:

  • Excess belly fat and loose skin of your entire abdomen
  • Stretched belly muscles, separated due to pregnancy or weight changes
  • The contour of your waistline, if liposuction is added
  • The appearance and presence of stretch marks
  • Unsightly belly buttons that have lost their youthful shape

The Full Tummy Tuck Difference

In comparison to a mini Tummy Tuck, a full tummy tuck will have more dramatic results.  Here are the notable differences:

  • Has a very low scar but has a longer incision, hip-to-hip
  • Addresses the entire abdomen, not just the lower belly
  • It offers a better way to address muscle repair
  • Better at transforming the appearance of your waist 

The Best Candidates

For you to be considered a good candidate, you might or will:

  • Have excess belly fat and loose skin, resistant to diet and exercise
  • Struggle with stretched stomach muscles from pregnancy or weight changes
  • Have unsightly stretch marks and/or belly button that needs some work 
  • Feel healthy and have no poorly treated medical issues
  • Be at or near a maintainable and healthy weight
  • Live a healthy lifestyle and be non-smoking

What Happens During My Surgery?

This surgery takes several hours depending on the amount of skin/fat removed and if a muscle repair or liposuction is completed. Here are the surgery details:

  • An incision is made at the level of your pubic hair and extends in a low position, hip to hip
  • All the excess skin and fat are removed above and below your belly button
  • The abdominal muscles are usually tightened at the same time
  • The surgery itself  is commonly combined with waist and back liposuction
  • 1 or 2 surgical drains are commonly needed unless drain-less surgery is indicated

Recovery Basics

Recovering from a full tummy tuck is doable but it takes planning due to the extended amount of downtime. Here are the details:

  • For the first 2 weeks, no physical work duties and you will need help around the house, especially with childcare
  • During the first week, you will have some discomfort, so pain medication and muscle relaxants are needed
  • Swelling takes several weeks to months to fully subside
  • You are limited to lifting nothing over 5-10 lbs for the first 4 weeks
  • Most people feel back to normal by 6 weeks but this can vary
  • Avoid exercise/strenuous activity for at least 4, maybe up to 8 weeks
  • Compression garments are typically worn for 2-3 weeks for comfort
  • Expect a longer recovery if a muscle repair is completed or liposuction is added

Things to Consider

These are some important points to consider if you want to move forward:

  • Results are  immediately visible but will continue to improve as the swelling resolves
  • Scarring is inevitable but the incision is placed very low and fades over time.  It should be well-faded and barely visible one year after surgery
  • There are risks with any surgery, so choosing an experienced plastic surgeon is key

The Full Tummy Tuck Takeaway

While the recovery period should not be underestimated, a full tummy tuck can be life-changing for the right candidate. This surgery transforms not just the appearance of your belly, but also the contour of your entire torso. As you now understand what this procedure can address and the extent of recovery, don’t be afraid to take the next step. Schedule an appointment with us today to determine if you are a good candidate.