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A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, in the Boston area, 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 toned feel. Stretch marks in the lower abdomen can also be 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.
Your Tummy Tuck Options
Tummy tuck surgery is a customized procedure that our Clareo surgeons tailor to the unique needs of each patient. Determining the right approach to your surgery will depend on your anatomy, your cosmetic goals, and the level of correction needed. Your surgeon will discuss your tummy tuck options with you during your initial consultation. Together, you will decide which of the following is right for you.
A mini tummy tuck addresses excess skin and fat below the belly button. Mini tummy tucks can be performed with or without muscle repair, and include a small incision along the lower abdomen. Mini tummy tucks are best suited for men and women who need only minor improvements and don’t require significant skin removal.
Standard tummy tuck surgery is often called a full or traditional tummy tuck. This procedure involves an incision on the lower abdomen and around the belly button. A full tummy tuck is ideal for those who require a moderate amount of skin and fat removal, as well as muscle tightening or repair. Traditional tummy tuck surgery differs from a mini tummy tuck in that it can improve the appearance of the abdomen both above and below the belly button.
For people who have lost a significant amount of weight, a circumferential tummy tuck, or body lift, may be most beneficial. This technique addresses excess skin and fat around the entire abdomen, flanks, and back. Although this surgery is the most invasive, it also provides the most dramatic results. It not only creates smoother body contours and a slimmer silhouette, but it also can improve physical issues like skin chafing – making it easier to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle.
Your tummy tuck surgery will be performed in a fully-equipped surgical suite or a hospital. You will be given general anesthesia to put you in a deep sleep and ensure your comfort during the procedure.
During surgery, your Clareo surgeon will make the appropriate incisions and remove any extra skin. If muscle tightening is needed, the abdominal muscles will be pulled tight. This will help create a flatter, firmer midsection. Liposuction is also used to remove extra fat and slim the body. Drains may be placed under your skin to help remove excess fluid and reduce swelling. If placed, they will be taken out in a few days after your procedure.
While some patients are out of bed and walking the evening of surgery, it can take up to a week for other 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.
Once you have completely healed, your tummy will be flat with tighter muscles. The scar will be placed low and can easily be 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.
Board-certified plastic surgeons recognize the increased risks, including blood clots and wound infections, associated with patients with a high BMI. While surgeons may vary slightly regarding the upper BMI limit, Dr. Tantillo does not offer tummy tuck to patients whose BMI is greater than 33. Patient safety is the most important consideration.
Our surgeons, and most board-certified plastic surgeons, agree that it’s best to be as close as possible to your ideal body weight before having a tummy tuck. This will ensure that your results are both rewarding and long-lasting. A stable and realistic weight is best.
Scars are an unfortunate trade-off for the many benefits of a tummy tuck. The scar in the lower abdomen will be such that it will be covered by most any clothing. The length of that scar depends on how much excess skin needs to be removed. Patients who have a full tummy tuck also have a scar around the belly button; a mini tummy tuck does not require an incision around the belly button. Precision surgical techniques are used to minimize the appearance of the scar and we will give you recommendations for scar management after the surgery. Over time the scars are almost always inconspicuous and acceptable to patients.
Depending on the location of the tattoo and how much excess skin you have, the tattoo may be removed completely or altered. We will be able to plan for this ahead of time and sometimes alter the surgery a bit to accommodate a tattoo.
Not necessarily. We often have tummy tuck patients who also have young children at home. The key is asking for help and preparing for your recovery. Typically, you will need to avoid lifting anything over 5 pounds for 6 weeks. This can be very difficult for mothers who want to carry or hold their children, but it is only temporary and is necessary to ensure your results are not compromised. Engage the help of a friend, relative, or trusted loved one for some assistance during the weeks following your procedure.
Yes. A tummy tuck really can help you regain your pre-baby body. That’s because a tummy tuck addresses excess skin and muscle separation that is caused by pregnancy. In fact, many of our patients even say that they look better after their tummy tuck surgery than they did before they had children.
It’s important to note that tummy tuck surgery does not improve the quality of the surrounding skin or tissue that is not removed at the time of your operation. So, if there are stretch marks outside of your treatment area, they will remain.
A tummy tuck, like liposuction, is a body contouring procedure rather than a weight loss surgery. While excess tissue is removed in the operation, this weighs very little and a tummy tuck is not a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise.
An abdominoplasty does not affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant. Because pregnancy will stretch the soft tissues on the abdominal wall, we recommend postponing a tummy tuck until you have completed your pregnancies.
A tummy tuck includes the removal of the skin from the lower abdomen. Any stretch marks in the skin to be removed are removed; stretch marks above or to the side of this area are not removed.
Most patients are back to routine activities, including work, three weeks after surgery. Because the muscles are repaired, patients should avoid straining their abdominal muscles for six weeks after surgery.
Yes. Some medications can help lighten scars and minimize their appearance. Different surgeons will recommend different things, but most agree that silicone, pressure, and antioxidants are effective. Our Clareo surgeons recommend BIOCORNEUM® and scar massage.
No. All surgery leaves a scar, but our surgeons use techniques to make scarring as inconspicuous as possible. Scars can be faint with proper wound closure and scar management. Genetics also affect how noticeable your scar is. Regardless, most of our patients find that their scar is a small price to pay for the transformative results they enjoy and that their scar can be easily concealed by clothing and swimwear.
An important consideration when choosing to have a tummy tuck or only liposuction is the skin of the abdomen; how much excess is present and how elastic it is. Liposuction does not remove the skin, so if there is too much skin and/or the skin does not have enough elasticity to “bounce back” then liposuction can leave patients with hanging skin. During the consultation, we will review the options that would suit you and the pros and cons of each.
Absolutely. In fact, almost all patients have some type of liposuction with their tummy tuck.
Yes, other procedures besides liposuction can be combined with a tummy tuck. These include aesthetic breast surgery, circumferential torso surgery, thigh lift or liposuction, or an arm lift or liposuction. We will only perform surgery that is safe; if you are interested in more procedures that can be safely done as one procedure, we will devise a plan for staged surgery.
While individual results are unique, your abdomen will be flat without loose skin, your waistline will be improved, and your sit-up muscles will be tightened.
Nearly all tummy tuck procedures performed at Clareo will include postoperative drains to help achieve the best results during your recovery.
The cost for a tummy tuck will depend on the extent of the procedure including any associated liposuction. The range is generally between $8000 and $16,000.
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