Tummy Tuck Basics

A Tummy Tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a procedure which removes the excess skin and fat from the abdomen. During this procedure, not only will the skin be tightened with an incision from hip to hip but liposuction will also reduce the fat in these problem areas. Both men and women who have lost a significant amount of weight, find changes in their torso with aging or women after pregnancy seek this procedure.  

Tummy Tuck Benefits

  • Tightened and firm skin
  • Reduction of excess skin and fat
  • Contoured appearance of the abdomen
  • Improved abdominal tone
  • Enhances self confidence

Is a Tummy Tuck Right for Me?

If you have excess belly fat and lax skin around the abdominal area that has not responded to diet and exercise, a traditional Tummy Tuck may be right for you. If your abdomen has more loose skin than abdominal fat, a mini tummy tuck may be the better choice for you. Most commonly, men and women who have had massive weight loss find that the skin doesn’t have the elasticity to respond to the loss of weight. A Tummy Tuck may also benefit you if you have stretched/separated abdominal muscles, usually as a result of pregnancy. A Tummy Tuck is designed for re-contouring the torso making the abdomen flatter and tightening the abdominal muscles. 

To be a good candidate, however, you should be near the weight you are comfortable with.  If you plan to lose more than 20 pounds, you should wait to have your Tummy Tuck, as the weight loss could cause additional lax skin. During your consultation, Dr. Stiller will ask you what bothers you about your body and best explain the right plan for you.  

The Procedure

A tummy tuck procedure begins by Dr. Stiller performing liposuction to help contour by removing excess fat. This is done by inserting a small tube called a cannula, which is attached to a suction device. Dr. Stiller will then make a horizontal incision from one hip to the other to remove excess skin and tighten.  If you are undergoing a mini tummy tuck, the incision is much shorter. The incision is usually placed just above the pubic area to be easily be hidden by swimsuits and underwear. Another incision is placed around the belly button to free it from overlying tissue. 

If necessary, the stomach muscles are also tightened along the midline to repair any muscle separation. This is done by suturing the fascia and excising the extra tissue.  The belly button is repositioned to the correct position by creating a new opening in the skin. Once this is complete, Dr. Stiller pulls down the outer skin over the abdomen, trims away the excess tissue and sutures the incisions closed. Drains are not needed for this procedure as the lymphatic system is kept intact. 

Tummy Tuck Recovery

Recovery after a Tummy Tuck procedure can vary between patients. Our anesthetist provider will perform a long acting nerve block during surgery to help control pain for the few first days however, everyone's discomfort can vary. You will be given a pain regimen to help manage your pain and get you through recovery as easy as possible.

When you awake, you will be in a compression garment which we advise to wear the first 2 weeks all the time followed by 2 more weeks during times of activity. You can expect bruising, swelling and a feeling of tightness for about 2-3 weeks where you may notice it is difficult to completely stand up straight.

A Tummy Tuck is an outpatient procedure, so after a short period of recovery time, you will go home the same day. You will need a person 18 years old or greater with you the day of surgery.

Most patients take about 2-3 weeks off work however, some may take longer or return sooner depending on the physical demands of their job. As the abdomen heals, patients can usually return to normal activity around 6 weeks.

Tummy Tuck Results

Tummy Tuck results can vary between patients, so it is important to be patient. Most patients notice a significant difference in the first 3 months as the swelling continues to improve. However, it is normal to experience numbness of the lower central abdomen for several months. You will have a scar on your lower abdomen which may appear pink and raised 2-3 months after surgery. As time goes on, the color will begin to fade and the scar will flatten. If your stretch marks were located in areas of lose skin, they will be gone. However, they may still be stretch marks in areas that are not excised.  After your Tummy Tuck, you will lose inches and have a slimmer waist however, a Tummy Tuck is not a substitute for weight loss. Maintaining a steady weight can help keep your results.

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