Abdominoplasty, often called a “tummy tuck”, is a popular procedure used to flatten and shape the abdomen by removing excess fat and skin and tightening muscles. It can also be done in conjunction with liposuction to help with overall body contouring.
Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
The best candidates for a tummy tuck are in good physical condition with pockets of fat or loose skin that haven’t responded well to traditional diet and exercise. This procedure can also benefit older, slightly obese people whose skin has lost some of its elasticity.
Tummy tucks can also be useful for women with stretched skin and muscles from pregnancy. Results from the tummy tuck procedure will likely diminish if women continue to bear children, so we advise patients who plan to become pregnant to postpone this procedure until they are done having children.
We also encourage patients who intend to lose a lot of weight to wait before undergoing the procedure, since skin in the abdominal area typically loosens after substantial weight loss.
Customized Treatment for Optimal Cosmetic Results
We take the time during every pre-operative consultation to learn what patients want to achieve from a tummy tuck both for their bodies and for their self-confidence. A careful pre-operative physical examination is performed with outlines of specific goals and areas of concern. Pre-operative photographs are utilized to help define treatment goals and expected outcomes. This interactive approach is what provides the greatest long term results and patient satisfaction.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Tummy tucks take approximately two to five hours and are performed under general anesthesia. This procedure may be performed on an in-patient or outpatient basis, depending on the complexity of your surgery and Dr. Stephan’s recommendation. Most commonly, an overnight stay is recommended for observation and monitoring.
Dr. Stephan will make two incisions: one across the lower abdomen and pubic area, and another around the navel. He will separate the skin from the abdominal muscles, which are then pulled together and stitched into place for a firmer abdomen and narrower waist. The skin flap is then stretched down and over the newly tightened muscles, excess skin is removed, and the navel is reattached in a natural position. Finally, Dr. Stephan will close the incisions and apply sterile surgical dressings over the sutured areas.
Recovery After Tummy Tuck
After surgery, compression garments are worn and a temporary tube may be inserted under the skin to drain excess fluid from the surgical site. Recovery time ranges from two weeks to a few months. You should limit strenuous activities for at least six weeks, and may need to take off from work for several weeks. Dr. Stephan will give you specific instructions for your individual recovery. Following these instructions can help speed up your recovery and reduce the risk of any post-surgery complications.
Tummy Tuck Results
A tummy tuck leaves patients with a flatter, more toned abdominal area that fits the natural contours of your body. It can improve a patient’s appearance and confidence by helping them look and feel younger and slimmer. The results of this procedure are visible right away and will continue to improve. With a balanced diet and regular exercise, results are long-lasting. Scars will fade with time, leaving your stomach sleeker and more defined than ever before.
A tummy tuck will leave a scar spanning the lower abdomen from hip to hip. We are very careful to make the incision low enough for even a bikini or undergarments to conceal the scar.
Risks of a Tummy Tuck
Though rare, post-operative complications from any surgical procedure are possible. They may include infection, blood clots, and poor healing, which may require further surgery.
Patients who have had previous abdominal surgery should know that their old scars could be raised, stretched or generally more noticeable after the tummy tuck procedure. A scar revision procedure after a tummy tuck can help minimize the appearance of unsightly scars.
Partial Abdominoplasty (Mini Tummy Tuck)
Partial abdominoplasty, or “mini tummy tuck”, is similar to the regular tummy tuck procedure, except it involves a shorter incision and the skin is only lifted to the navel, which does not have to be moved. This procedure is ideal for patients who need just a little improvement in order to reach their desired results. You can discuss the differences between these procedures, as well as weigh their benefits and risks with Dr. Stephan in order to decide which procedure is best for you.