Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
Most of us strive to achieve a flat tummy that’s well-toned and sculpted – for both aesthetic reasons, and to appear “healthy” and fit. In some cases regular exercise, a sensible diet, and weight control are not enough to achieve your goals. Skin excess, stretch, and abdominal muscle spreading (rectus diastasis) from aging, weight loss, pregnancy can make it so that no amount of exercise and sit-ups can redefine or recontour the disrupted, malpositioned, and unaesthetic abdominal wall / tummy region. Despite appropriate body weight, BMI, and exercise history, the saggy, rotund, irregular tummy can persist. Factors like age, heredity, prior surgeries, pregnancies, and weight loss can contribute. A “tummy tuck” (abdominoplasty) is the best surgical intervention to correct your abdominal contour and recreate a thin, tight tummy, reminiscent of your younger days.
An abdominoplasty or tummy tuck flattens your abdomen by tightening the muscles and removing stretchmarks and extra skin and fat. Excess tissue (skin and fat) will be removed to contour and restore your belly and abdomen. The abdominal muscles, which may have been stretched from pregnancy, will be tightened and restored as well. Liposuction is frequently performed in concert. All together, these approaches provide a smooth, aesthetic, contour and appearance of the abdomen.
A tummy-tuck and/or liposuction can help remove excess skin that’s been stretched due to multiple pregnancies, as well as tighten muscles and loose skin around the belly from weight loss. It aims to create a natural aesthetic contour to the tummy. Your C-section (Caesarean) scar can be removed or revised during the tummy tuck procedure. Your sides, “love-handles”, or flanks can be tightened concurrently as well.
“Mommy Makeover” – Breast lift (possible augmentation), “Tummy-tuck” (Abdominoplasty), Liposuction
A “mommy makeover” means performing a combination of procedures to restore a woman’s appearance to how it was before pregnancy, to as cosmetic and contoured as possible. The breasts and abdomen (“tummy”) are the areas of focus for these procedures. This will entail performing a breast lift (Mastopexy) with or without implants (breast augmentation) together with a “tummy tuck” (or abdominoplasty) with some liposuction. The excess stretched abdominal skin (and/or stretch-marked skin) is removed, the abdominal muscles are tightened (where they have stretched or spread in the middle, from pregnancy), a new belly button may be brought out, and the sides of the abdomen smoothed. Liposuction may be used to flatten the contour of the flanks, and belly, and to create the normal contours of a well-defined, athletic abdomen. The saggy breasts are lifted and augmented as needed, as described above. Unwanted abdominal fat is removed, bodily contours are enhanced, creating a more pleasing figure. In some cases, a “Mini” tummy tuck may be all that is necessary, or abdominal liposuction alone. If you had a prior C-section (caesarean section) scar, we will revise/improve that scar, and or blend your tummy tuck with this.
Before the Procedure: What to Expect
During our consultation we will discuss which option(s) are best for you and your goals. Interventions may include: liposuction alone, mini-tummy tuck, tummy tuck, or some combination. An abdominoplasty typically entails removal of extra skin and fat, creation of a new belly button, muscle tensioning, and liposuction for further contouring. Partial or mini abdominoplasty involves removing fat deposits and skin below the navel and may only take a quick hour or so, possibly with some feathering liposuction. Liposuction alone may be an option in some patients with good skin quality, no stretchmarks, and no midline diastasis. Regardless of the procedure, you will be asked to stop smoking for several weeks before surgery, and optimize nutrition via consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet.
It’s important to manage your expectations prior to surgery. An exercise program and/or a weight loss plan should be in place prior to surgery. Surgery is deferred during times of significant weight fluctuations. That is, your weight should be stable for a period of time prior to tummy tuck, to help us properly gauge the amount of correction required. If you are still considering a future pregnancy, a tummy tuck may not be advisable at the moment.
After the Procedure: How to Recover
A tummy tuck and/or abdominal liposuction are day procedures – that is you are able to go home after the procedure. A tummy tuck leaves an incision down below the waist – typically at or below your C-section, and certainly below your underwear or bathing suit line. The incision will have dissolving sutures and surgical tape placed during the first week or so. Liposuction alone may have several small “stab” type incisions. We usually place an abdominal “binder” or garment that is ordered in advance that helps “hold” or compress the newly tightened tissue. We ask that you keep bent or flexed at the waist, to relieve tension. In bed this means elevating your upper body and/or legs on a few pillows. When walking we ask that you bend over slightly for the first few days.
Some soreness, decreased skin sensation, tiredness, bruising, and swelling afterward is completely normal. We ask that you avoid strenuous activity for several weeks following the procedure. You will be prescribed some medications after the procedure. We will all benefit, as well as pertinent risks (infection, clots, fluid accumulation) during our consultation. It is important to follow the instructions for recovery to ensure that your body heals properly.