What is a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that tightens and removes excess skin from the front of the abdomen. When the sit up muscles have separated after pregnancy, a tummy tuck will repair that separation giving the abdomen a tighter and more tone feel. Stretch marks in the lower abdomen are removed during a tummy tuck.
A “full tummy tuck” generally removes all or most of the excess skin below the belly button and includes an incision around the belly button. A “mini tummy tuck” removes less skin but does not have an incision around the belly button. The muscles can be repaired with either a full or mini tummy tuck.
A tummy tuck is almost always combined with liposuction to remove extra fat of the upper abdomen and/or waist to optimize the results of the procedure. A tummy tuck can be combined with other procedures as well, such as aesthetic breast surgery or liposuction to other areas of the body.
Who is a candidate for a tummy tuck?
Anyone who has loose skin, stretch marks, or abdominal wall muscles that have been separated, and is in good health, may be a candidate for a tummy tuck. Most commonly, patients have either been pregnant or have lost a significant amount of weight. A tummy tuck is a body contouring procedure; it is not a weight loss procedure. A healthy diet and exercise is the only healthy, effective, and lasting path to weight loss.
Benefits of tummy tuck
After a tummy tuck you can expect:
- A flatter and more toned abdomen
- A more youthful figure
- To feel better in a wide array of clothing styles
- The confidence to expose your midriff
Recovery and results
While patients are out of bed and walking the evening of surgery, it can take up to a week for patients to stand up straight, up to three weeks to return to work, and six weeks before patients are using their core muscles for lifting or strenuous activity. Your tummy will be flat and muscles tightened. The scar will be placed low and covered by clothing and swimwear. With a full tummy tuck there also is an incision around the belly button. Patients are encouraged to have completed their pregnancies prior to having a tummy tuck, as pregnancy can stretch the skin and separate the muscles even after a tummy tuck.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does BMI (Body Mass Index) come into play when considering if a patient is a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
- Yes (as it does for all aesthetic procedures).
- For tummy tuck surgeons it will vary a bit as to their “BMI limit”
- Most/all would agree that getting as close to ideal body weight or realistic stable weight is best
- Dr. Tantillo’s BMI cut off is 33 – no surgery for patients greater than 33
Does the scar from tummy tuck surgery ever completely fade?
- No, the goal is inconspicuous scars
- With proper wound closure, patient genetics, and scar management – the scar becomes faint
- With proper scar location, the scar is maximally covered by even modest clothing/swim wear
Is there any medication to help with the healing of the scar from a tummy tuck procedure and will that medication also help the scar fade?
- Yes, surgeons will recommend different things but what most will agree on is
- We recommend Biocorneum and scar massage
If a patient has small young children is it recommended that the patient wait till the children are older before scheduling a tummy tuck?
- Patients will need to avoid lifting anything over approximately 5 pounds for approximately 6 weeks
- Patients are able to recover from a tummy tuck with some assistance even with small children
Will a tummy tuck truly be able to bring my body back to its firm shape like it was before I had children?
- Yes – tummy tuck addresses excess skin and muscle separation due to pregnancy
- Tummy Tuck does not improve the quality of the skin/tissue that is not removed at the operation –
- If there are stretch marks outside of the removed tissue – this will remain inelastic