A protruding abdomen can be a cause of distress for men and women alike. It can be the result of heredity, excess fat, weak abdominal muscles, pregnancy or loose skin that has been over-stretched and no longer responds to diet and exercise. More and more people are experiencing these problems, as wellness concerns become part of their daily lives. For those who have experienced a massive weight loss, their only alternative to loose, overhanging skin is surgery.
The Solution: Tummy Tuck
A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a common surgical procedure designed to flatten a protruding abdomen by tightening the muscles in the abdominal wall and removing excess fatty tissue and skin. It is designed to give a firm and smooth appearance to the abdomen. A flat stomach gives a physically fit appearance and can allow you to wear certain clothes with more confidence.
You may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck if you have:
- Excess or sagging abdominal skin
- An abdomen that protrudes and is out of proportion to the rest of your body
- Abdominal muscles that have been separated and weakened
- Excess fatty tissue that is concentrated in your abdominal are
Even if you meet one of these criteria, there may still be reasons why a tummy tuck may not be right for you.
What to Expect During Tummy Tucks
A tummy tuck procedure typically takes 1-3 hours.
During tummy tuck surgery, an incision is made to lift the abdominal skin, repair the underlying muscles, remove excess fat, trim off the excess skin and pull the skin tighter. The belly button may need to be repositioned if a large amount of skin is removed. The incision is closed using sutures or other adhesives.
Depending on your trouble areas, there are varying degrees of surgery that can be performed:
- Traditional (Full) Tummy Tuck: an incision is made along the bikini line from hipbone to hipbone to remove excess fat and skin from the entire abdominal area; the belly button may need to be repositioned
- Mini/Modified/Partial Tummy Tuck: removal of excess fat and skin from below the belly button through a smaller incision; the belly button position remains the same
- Circumferential Tummy Tuck: removal of the surplus of skin that can result from massive weight loss as well as the tightening of abdominal muscles
Liposuction may also be used in conjunction with tummy tucks to achieve the desired appearance.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
Your recovery after a tummy tuck will depend on how extensive your surgery was and your own unique healing ability. On average, you should expect to recover several weeks at home and limit any strenuous activities for 6 weeks. During this time you will be instructed to wear a compression garment to minimize swelling. Your doctor may place drainage tubes under the skin to drain any excess fluids from the area.
Following your doctor’s post-op instructions will help to minimize the risk of complications.
And in most cases, the results are long lasting if you follow a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
Potential Risks of Tummy Tucks
- Fluid collection under the skin (seroma)
- Blood collection under the skin (hematoma)
- Blood clots in the legs that can move to the lungs (pulmonary embolus)
- Damage to nerves, resulting in sensation changes
- Persistent pain
- Changes in skin color
- Anesthesia risks
Reasons to Postpone Tummy Tuck Surgery
There are certain situations when it may be advisable to postpone a tummy tuck surgery:
- You plan to lose significant amounts of weight in the future
- You view the surgery as a weight loss solution
- If a woman, you plan to become pregnant in the future (stretching your abdomen again may actually undo the work you have had done)
- A bikini line scar is unacceptable
- You cannot stop smoking prior to and after surgery (this can delay healing and increase the risk of complications)
- You are extremely active and will find it impossible to limit strenuous activities during the healing process
- You have unrealistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery
- You believe that you can never regain weight after a tummy tuck
- You want to have the surgery to please another person
- You have a serious medical condition that may interfere with healing
Procedures Often Performed With Tummy Tuck
Take our free online Cosmetic Self-Evaluation to find out what procedures might be best for you.
To schedule your confidential and free Cosmetic Consultation, call 303-367-9000.