If you choose to undergo an abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a tummy tuck, it’s usually because of loose or sagging skin and flab around your midsection.
However, abdominoplasty is also used to repair the problems stemming from changes in your body caused by pregnancy or major weight loss, which can lead to more serious aesthetic and functional issues. No matter your reason for getting a tummy tuck, you’re certainly not alone.
Abdominoplasty is consistently one of the top three requested plastic surgery procedures, with over 140,000 people electing to undergo the surgery in 2017 alone. At Marotta Plastic Surgery Specialists, our surgeons are ready to tackle your abdominal issues, leaving you with a beautiful, more contoured midsection.
What is an Abdominoplasty?
An abdominoplasty, more commonly called a tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure designed to repair and reshape your midsection. Weight gain and pregnancy can weaken the abdominal wall, causing the muscles to separate (a condition known as diastasis recti), and leading to an unsightly “pooch” of flab on your abdomen that stubbornly refuses to respond to your best diet and exercise efforts. An abdominoplasty can address any and all of those issues, removing excess fat and redundant skin, while simultaneously tightening and repairing damaged abdominal muscles. The result is the flatter, smoother tummy you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Patients typically undergo a tummy tuck for a variety of reasons, including accumulation of excess skin due to significant weight loss or pregnancy, or the loss of skin elasticity that accompanies aging. The goal of a tummy tuck is to create a leaner, sleeker look that you haven’t been able to accomplish through regular diet and exercise alone. Depending on the degree of correction needed and your desired results. Our surgeons typically uses one of the following techniques:
- Traditional Tummy Tuck – This is the type of abdominoplasty that is performed most often, and is the most effective at getting rid of loose, sagging skin and stretch marks, as well repairing moderate to severe abdominal wall muscle separation.
- Mini Tummy Tuck – Used to get rid of smaller amounts of excess skin and repair minimal damage to the abdominal muscle.
- Tummy Tucks to Repair Severe Diastasis – Diastasis recti is a common issue that can add to the protrusion of the abdomen, because there is only a weak band of connective tissue holding in your organs. Diastasis recti can be fixed during a tummy tuck, but if you have severe separation, it may require more extensive correction.
- Extended Abdominoplasty – This technique is often employed in cases where there is significant redundant skin – many times it is performed on bariatric surgery patients once they’ve undergone massive weight loss. In order to address the excess tissue and tissue laxity, besides the horizontal incision used in a traditional tummy tuck, an extended abdominoplasty may require an additional vertical incision to achieve optimal results.
At Marotta Plastic Surgery, our surgeons specialize in body contouring procedures, including tummy tucks. We understand that your outward appearance can have a significant impact on your confidence and self-esteem, so we tailors every procedure to address the unique needs of each individual patient.
Am I a Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
Although you often hear of women undergoing tummy tucks after pregnancy, in reality, abdominoplasty is performed on both men and women. Most people choose to get a tummy tuck because they have excess skin or pockets of fat in their midsection that are bothersome and won’t respond to a healthy diet or exercise. A few of the factors that may contribute to this issue include:
- Weight gain and loss
- Prior abdominal surgeries
Abdominoplasty is not recommended for women who plan to get pregnant in the future, or those who plan to lose more than about 10 pounds after the procedure. It is also not a weight loss procedure – a tummy tuck offers the best results for patients who are already at a stable, healthy weight.
What to Expect From Your Abdominoplasty Procedure
During your initial consultation, both your health history and desired outcome will be discussed to decide the best course of action for you, and our surgeons will want to make sure that you are in good health before performing surgery. Once you’ve been medically cleared for treatment, you can schedule your abdominoplasty. Your abdominoplasty procedure begins with an incision made below your belly button, just above the pubic area. The incision goes horizontally across the lower abdomen, and can stretch as far as the back in some cases, depending on the degree of correction that is needed. Excess skin and fat is lifted off of the abdominal wall, and removed. If you suffer from diastasis recti, the separated muscles of your abdomen will then be stitched together, helping to repair and strengthen the abdominal wall. This also contributes to a more slender contour and more defined waistline.
Depending on the patient, liposuction may also be used on the abdomen to improve the overall aesthetic result. Afterward, the belly skin that was lifted is then stretched back over your abdomen, and a new opening is created for your belly button. The newly smooth skin is stitched back into place, leaving you with a flatter tummy. In total, a tummy tuck can take anywhere between one to five hours, depending on the patient. It is an outpatient procedure that is done using general anesthesia, though for some patients, an overnight stay in the hospital may be required.
Tummy Tuck Results and Recovery
After your abdominoplasty surgery, you will experience some swelling and discomfort. Remember, a tummy tuck is a significant surgery, so following the post-surgery instructions to the letter is vital to ensuring a safe and successful recovery. Although discomfort and swelling are expected after major surgery, oral pain medication and compression garments can be prescribed for relief.
During the first couple of weeks following your procedure, you will need to rest and take it easy, as the best results are achieved when the patient gets plenty of rest and limits their movement. Walking around the house or light walks outside are encouraged, however, to help reduce swelling and prevent blood clots. Daily activities are also restricted initially – don’t lift anything over five pounds for the first couple of weeks, and sleep on your back – but your surgeon will let you know when you can get back to work and your daily routine.
Much of the swelling should diminish within the first three weeks, and you’ll be able to see a more slender body contour, but it may take up to a year for your body to recover completely from a tummy tuck procedure, depending on the extent of the surgery or muscle repair. Most people see their final results in about three months, but whatever the case, it is important to be patient and aware of any other changes during this time. It is also essential to remember that while a tummy tuck can greatly improve your appearance, it is not a substitute for weight loss or an exercise program. Results are considered permanent, as long as you maintain a stable, healthy weight.
If you are struggling with excess skin and flab on your abdomen that doesn’t respond to exercise or diet, you may be the perfect candidate for an abdominoplasty. Call Marotta Plastic Surgery Specialists today at 631-982-2022 and schedule a consultation to explore your options for a tummy tuck.