Abdominoplasty, better known as a “Tummy Tuck” is one of the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures among women. It is also one of the most highly satisfying surgeries for both patient and physician. The reason for this is that when done correctly, by the right surgeon, an abdominoplasty can literally transforms a woman’s body. Let’s explore this surgery a bit more with some FAQ’s.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
A Tummy Tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure designed to reshape the abdominal area. The surgery is performed by a cosmetic surgeon who first performs a panniculectomy to remove excess skin and fat around the abdomen, as well as tightening and repairing the rectus abdominal muscles underneath. The muscle repair is also known as a rectus plication or rectus diastasis repair. Once the muscle is repaired, and the excess skin is removed, the incision is carefully closed again over the new body shape. The surgeon will also repair and re-create the belly button, which is know as an umbilicoplasty. In essence, an abdominoplasty is three procedures in one: panniculectomy, rectus plication, and umbilicoplasty. It is truly a reconstructive procedure since it is design to repair all layers of the abdominal wall.
Who is a candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
The most common candidates for Tummy Tucks are women who have undergone changes to the abdominal area due to pregnancy and/or significant weight change. As a result of the changes, these women tend to have a lot of excess skin, loose muscle tone, excess fatty tissue, and stretch marks. The best candidates for this procedure are at or near their ideal body weight. Although a Tummy Tuck can be done in a patient who is overweight, it is not ideal for patients who are considered morbidly obese. Of course the patient should also be in good health, with no major medical issues, and are non-smokers. If you are obese, your surgeon may recommend weight loss before your Tummy Tuck. For those who smoke, they will be required to quit smoking before and after the procedure.
Will I lose weight after my Tummy Tuck?
A Tummy Tuck is not a weight loss procedure. The amount of tissue removed usually doesn't weigh more than a 2-5lbs. However, since the entire shape of the waist is transformed, the patient will "appear" to have lost 10-20lbs. Many patients continue to lose weight on their own after their procedure and this will enhance the results greatly.
How long does a Tummy Tuck last and can my belly come back afterwards?
As long as you maintain a healthy weight and do not undergo another pregnancy, the results of your Tummy Tuck should be permanent. Once healed, the muscle repair should be permanent, and the fat and skin should not grow back.
Where is the scar and is it really bad?
Since a significant amount of reconstruction is done and a lot of tissue is removed, the scar from a Tummy Tuck needs to extend from hip-bone to hip-bone. It lies along the same line as a c-section scar, but is longer. Since it is placed very low, this scar is easily hidden with a bikini or low-cut underwear. After a year's time, the scar will typically fade to a thin line and in some patients barely noticeable. The scar is usually not problematic for most patients since they are trading body shape, which is not easily hidden even with clothing, for a scar, which is easily hidden in clothing.
What is recovery like for Tummy Tuck?
Recovery varies by individual, but most of the recovery occurs in the first two weeks. For the first 5 days, there will be dressings in place as well as drainage tubes to drain excess fluid. Dressings are changed and the drains are removed usually in the first 5 days. Most patients are up and walking the next day and most return to work by 2-weeks. It is usually not necessary to stay overnight in a hospital after a Tummy Tuck. Swelling, bruising, and the incision healing can take several weeks. By 6 weeks, most patients are 85% healed and can resume exercise. Numbness can last for many months but usually resolves. The scar can take up to a year to fully heal and fade. Of course every patient is different, and your surgeon will follow you closely during your recovery and make recommendations accordingly.
What is the cost of a Tummy Tuck?
The typical cost of a Tummy Tuck ranges between $6,000 up to $12,000. The cost can vary depending on the area in which you live, the experience and skill of the surgeon, and the amount of reconstruction that needs to be done. It may also vary depending on if the procedure is done at a hospital, or an in-office surgery center and whether it is done under general anesthesia. Financing is often available for procedures like Tummy Tucks.