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Tummy Tuck

Most people desire a flat and well-toned abdomen, but unfortunately the natural methods of weight loss do not always produce ideal body contouring results. This can be very frustrating for people who maintain strict health and fitness regimens.

Although it is common for those with normal body weight and proportion to develop a protruding, flabby belly, plastic surgery is commonly considered an option when diet and exercise fail to provide an individual his or her desired outcome. Technically known as “abdominoplasty,” tummy tuck surgery is an effective body contouring procedure designed to remove excess skin and fat from the stomach.

By restoring weakened or separated muscles, tummy tuck surgery will provide the abdominal profile with a noticeably smoother and firmer appearance.

The most common causes of a loose and sagging abdomen are:

  • Pregnancy
  • Aging
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Genetics
  • Prior surgery

During a consultation with one of our board certified plastic surgeons, you will learn if abdominoplasty will meet your aesthetic needs. At this time, your health history will be assessed and your body will be evaluated.

Ideal Candidates

You may qualify as a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery if you have realistic expectations and are at a stable weight, possessing one or more of the following conditions:

  • Have exhausted the natural methods of tightening your midsection
  • Have separated and weakened abdominal muscles
  • Have excess or sagging abdominal skin

* Women who plan to become pregnant in the future are typically encouraged to wait to undergo abdominoplasty. This is important, in that it will help prevent the need for an additional tummy tuck.

The Tummy Tuck Procedure

A major surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen and the tightening of the abdominal muscles, tummy tuck surgery offers great aesthetic improvement.

The surgeon will begin the procedure by creating a horizontal incision just within or above the pubic area, extending laterally toward the pelvic bones. The length of the incision will depend on how much skin needs to be removed. The incision is strategically placed to prevent any noticeable scarring, such as in the area where a bathing suit or undergarment will cover. If the patient has loose skin surrounding the navel, the doctor may make a second incision around it so the redundant skin can be pulled down. In some cases, the navel will need to be repositioned in order to preserve a natural look.

For those with minimal excess skin and fat that is stored predominantly in the lower pubic area, below the navel, a mini tummy tuck is usually the best option. This tummy tuck variation avoids the need for an incision around the navel.

Abdominoplasty is not designed to produce a dramatic change in the appearance of stretch marks on the skin of the lower abdomen. However, this skin may be removed and any remaining stretch marks are likely to improve and flatten out.

For optimal results, liposuction may be used in conjunction with abdominoplasty. Together, these procedures can effectively remove excess deposits of fat. During your consultation with one of our board certified plastic surgeons, you will learn which tummy tuck method will provide you with the best outcome.

Potential Risks and Complications

Just like all plastic surgery procedures, there are potential risks and complications associated with the tummy tuck procedure; bleeding, infection, accumulation of fluid, and reactions to anesthesia are among the most common. Patients who have undergone an extensive abdominoplasty are also susceptible to tissue loss along the horizontal incision, and are even more so if they smoke or have a medical condition, such as diabetes.

In order to help prevent and lessen your susceptibility to potential risks and complications associated with abdominoplasty, be sure to follow both your pre- and post-operative instructions.

Cost

The total cost of tummy tuck surgery is based on several factors. The fees that contribute to the overall price of this plastic surgery procedure include:

  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Operating room fees
  • Anesthesia fees
  • Medical tests
  • Region or demographics
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Post-surgical garments
  • The particular tummy tuck method (full abdominoplasty vs. mini tummy tuck)
  • Whether the procedure is combined with another procedure (for example, liposuction)

* Abdominoplasty is a cosmetic procedure; therefore, it is typically not covered by insurance.

Recovery

Directly following tummy tuck surgery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions. You may also be wrapped in an elastic bandage or compression garment, which will help minimize swelling and provide support to your abdominal area during the healing process. Depending on your particular case, a small, thin tube may temporarily be placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid. This effort also aids in minimizing swelling. It is normal to experience temporary discomfort and swelling during the healing period, which can be managed with prescribed medication. Severe pain should be reported to the surgeon.

The length of time for recovery is different for every patient. You may be able to return to non-strenuous work within one to three weeks after surgery, depending on the extent of your tummy tuck and your overall physical condition. After a few weeks, you may be able to resume most of your normal activities, which could include some type of mild exercise.

The Results of Tummy Tuck Surgery

Tummy tuck surgery effectively enhances a person’s body contour by firming and flattening the abdomen. As a result, most patients report feeling more comfortable in their clothing and more confident about their overall body. Because incision lines are placed in inconspicuous locations, they can be concealed by most styles of bathing suits and undergarments. These incision lines are permanently visible, but they will heal and fade over time. In order to permanently enjoy your new shape, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle; major fluctuations in weight can greatly affect the initial tummy tuck results.

Therefore, unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant, your stomach should remain firmer and flatter for several years. Gravity and the effects of aging will eventually take their toll on your body, so after a certain period of time you may be interested in a secondary procedure to help restore your original abdominoplasty results and gain a more youthful body contour.

If you are interested in scheduling a consultation with one of our board certified plastic surgeons at The Diamond Face Institute, please call (310) 859-9816 or fill out our contact form.

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