A flat abdomen is sometimes difficult or impossible to achieve with exercise and diet alone. Aging, pregnancy, prior surgery or weight changes can all cause changes to your belly. A tummy tuck, or an abdominoplasty, is a procedure that removes excess fat and skin and tightens the abdominal wall. A tummy tuck can often remove some stretch marks but some may still be left.
Candidates for a Tummy Tuck
If you are bothered by the appearance of your abdomen and are generally physically healthy you are a candidate for an abdominoplasty. Non-smokers have reduced risks and tend to heal better.
Often moms have difficulty getting their abdominal contour back after having children. This is because the rectus muscles (six-pack muscles) separate during pregnancy and do not come back together. We call this a diastasis. An increased diastasis gives fullness of the lower abdomen that is more than lax skin and excess fat. As well, if they have a C-section scar, this can make the problem look worse as the belly pivots over the scar.
Are There Different Types of Tummy Tuck?
Yes, there are. The most common is a full abdominoplasty which corrects the abdominal wall and the overlying skin. However, some women only need skin and subcutaneous fat removed. If this is the case then we call this a “mini-abdominoplasty”. Depending on what needs to be corrected this can occasionally be done under local anesthetic (freezing).
How Can I Prepare for a Tummy Tuck?
In your consultation, our board-certified plastic surgeon—Dr. Robin Evans—will talk with you about how to get the best result. Quitting smoking, eating right and having an active lifestyle all contribute to having a great, long-lasting result.
Do I Need to Lose Weight Before a Tummy Tuck?
This is a very common question, as people often wonder when the best time to get a tummy tuck is. The most important thing is that you are comfortable at your desired weight and can maintain it. If you lose a significant amount of weight after your tummy tuck, you run the risk of developing excess skin. Being at a stable weight helps give you the best result for the longest time.
Of course, some people find that they are able to exercises easier after the tummy tuck. Dr. Evans believes this is because of the physical repair that is made to the abdominal wall and the self confidence that is gained after the procedure.
Recovery After a Tummy Tuck Like
The recovery process typically takes a month. Initially your belly feels quite tight and you may feel like you have to stay bent over. This is done to give you the longest lasting result possible. You will be given pain medication to keep you as comfortable as possible in the early postoperative period. Initially small thin tubes called drains are placed and typically come out after a week. This helps prevent a collection of fluid called a seroma. The drains are not painful but can become bothersome. Dr. Evans will have you wear a surgical garment and an abdominal binder to help give you the best result possible.
What Other Procedures are Combined with a Tummy Tuck?
We often perform liposuction on the flanks at the same time as the abdominoplasty. Liposuction on your flanks helps improve the shape of belly and your silhouette. This is a common addition that really improves the outcome in the right patient.
What are the Risks with a Tummy Tuck?
A full tummy tuck carries with it risks like any other operation. Rates of infection are very low but are not zero. Dr. Evans will give you IV antibiotics at the time of your operation and after to reduce the risk as much as possible. One of the unique risks with a tummy tuck is the risk of blood clots. This is because you are immobile during and are not moving as much after your operation. As such, you are encouraged to get up and get around as much as possible, and Dr. Evans will also place you on blood thinners for a few days to help decrease the risk of getting a blood clot.