One of the most difficult areas of the body to slim down using diet and exercise is the abdomen. As we age, factors such as weight changes and pregnancy can leave excess skin and loose muscles that cannot be treated with diet and exercise alone.
Tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) is designed to address these issues of stretched abdominal muscles and skin. This plastic surgery procedure removes excess fat and skin from the midsection and strengths the core for a firmer and flatter abdomen.
Skin naturally loses elasticity with age. When a person loses weight, this often results in excess skin that does not retighten over time. This can cause sagging skin, dimples, and loose skin flaps. A tummy tuck surgery removes this excess skin and tightens the remaining skin over your new contours.
The abdominal muscles can become separated due to weight gain, pregnancy, and other factors. These muscles, once separated, will not recombine without surgical intervention. A tummy tuck procedure can rejoin and tighten these muscles to create a firmer abdominal area.
A tummy tuck procedure can remove fat from strategic locations to reveal muscle contours that would otherwise be concealed. This is ideal for patients who have been exercising but have not seen the results they desire. A tummy tuck procedure can shape the body’s contours to be more aesthetically appealing.
The first step in a successful cosmetic surgery is to schedule a consultation with a triple board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Hung. At this consultation, you and your surgeon will discuss your aesthetic goals for abdominoplasty, how the process works, any potential risks or complications, and the price of your tummy tuck. This is the time to ask any questions you may have. Dr. Hung will determine if your desired procedure is feasible and if it will achieve your goals.
Tummy tuck surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia, so you will be asleep when the surgery begins. In some cases, local anesthesia with sedation may be used.
An incision will be made along the pelvic region from hip bone to hip bone. From there, muscles will be tightened, and excess fat will be removed. Skin will then be tightened over the new muscle contours, and excess skin will be trimmed away. The incisions will be sealed with either sutures or medical glue.
A tummy tuck procedure commonly includes liposuction techniques for patients who have a significant amount of fat they want removed from their abdomen. Patients may also choose to have unwanted fat removed from other areas of their body to further sculpt their silhouette.
Female patients frequently combine their tummy tuck surgery with a breast lift and/or breast augmentation surgery (a combination known as Mommy Makeover surgery). Male patients often combine their abdominoplasty with gynecomastia surgery (male breast reduction) to achieve a firmer, more contoured chest and midsection.
Patients will require someone to drive them home and stay with them for 24 hours after their surgery. You will be provided a compression garment to wear around your abdomen to protect your incisions, reduce swelling, and promote healing. Dr. Hung will provide you with a prescription or recommend over-the-counter pain medications as necessary.
The initial recovery period lasts one to two weeks, during which patients should refrain from work and any form of exercise aside from short, light walks. The secondary recovery period lasts two to four weeks after the initial recovery period. During this period, most patients can return to work and resume light activities. Vigorous exercise and physically intense activities should be avoided until at least six weeks post-surgery.
While some results will become apparent in the first two weeks following your surgery, the final results may take up to six months to fully develop. Tummy tuck results will be generally permanent, barring significant physical changes such as major weight gain, pregnancy, or another surgical procedure. Your abdomen will continue to age naturally over time.
Scars will occur as a result of a tummy tuck procedure. These scars will be concealable beneath most clothing and bathing suits. Scars will naturally fade with time, but proper treatment and avoiding direct sunlight may speed the process.
The cost of a tummy tuck surgery can vary widely depending on the operating facility’s location, the complexity of the procedure, and fees associated with anesthesia, the surgeon, and the care facility. Therefore, it is difficult to provide an accurate price of a tummy tuck before a consultation. Dr. Hung will be able to give you a personalized quote at the conclusion of said consultation.
Ideal candidates for an abdominoplasty procedure are non-smokers in good health who are displeased with their abdomen’s appearance. It is recommended that patients be within 15 pounds of their goal weight before undergoing abdominoplasty surgery. It is important that patients have realistic expectations of their results.
Abdominoplasty takes between two and five hours to perform depending on the procedure’s complexity and any other procedures the patient may wish to combine with their tummy tuck.
While not the primary purpose of the procedure, a tummy tuck will remove stretch marks if they are on the lower abdomen and are part of the excess skin that is removed. Some stretch marks may remain after a tummy tuck procedure.
A tummy tuck is not a weight-loss procedure and is not a replacement for diet and exercise. Most patients will lose some weight due to the tummy tuck operation, but without proper lifestyle changes, this weight loss may not be permanent. Should you regain the weight lost during the surgical procedure, some beneficial aspects of the surgery may be undone.
The surgery itself should not cause any pain due to the use of general or localized anesthesia. Following the procedure, you may experience mild to moderate pain in the first two weeks. This may be treated with prescription or over-the-counter pain medication as needed.
Some risks and side effects associated with abdominoplasty surgery may include: