An Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck, is the surgical process by which the separated abdominal muscles can be repaired, excess skin can be removed, and regional fat can be reduced, resulting in a firmer, flatter, more youthful, and more beautiful midsection contour.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?
Prospective abdominoplasty patients should only trust a board-certified plastic surgeon. The suitable candidates for Tummy Tuck usually include individuals who:
- Have loose, sagging skin throughout their midsection
- Have separated or extremely weakened abdominal muscles, often due to pregnancy
- Are at or just slightly above their ideal body weight, and feel that they can maintain this weight after surgery
- Are not pregnant and do not plan to become pregnant again (as pregnancy can counteract the aesthetic results of Tummy Tuck)
- Have a positive self-image overall, but are frustrated with the appearance of their midsection
- Are in good physical and mental health, in general
- Have realistic expectations for the outcome of surgery, and understand both the advantages and disadvantages of Tummy Tuck
What to Expect from Tummy Tuck Surgery?
The Tummy Tuck is performed under general anesthesia. If the patient requires liposuction during his or her tummy tuck procedure, the provider will perform this first.
The provider makes a horizontal incision across the lower abdomen, extending from one hipbone to the other. Although the required incision is significant, the provider strategically positions it in an area that can be easily concealed by underwear or a bathing suit.
The provider eliminates excess skin before repairing the damaged abdominal muscles, using internal sutures to create a firm abdominal profile and hold the restored stomach muscles in place. Then pulls the remaining skin taut and repositions the navel (Belly Button) to align with the new contour of the abdomen. Finally, the provider closes the incision with stitches and dresses the treated area with bandages.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
Immediately following the procedure, a person can expect to go to a recovery room. A healthcare professional will monitor them and check the incision.
During recovery in the clinic, they will receive instructions on:
- recovery time
- how to care for the incision
- when to expect to resume normal activity
When a person is free to leave the clinic, they will need someone there to take them home. Doctors do not recommend they drive themselves home after surgery. There may be drainage tubes that need emptying, and the individual will have to record the amount of fluid draining from their wound each day.
At home, a person should make sure they have someone to help them for the first few days, as their mobility will be limited. They may experience tightness around their Tummy and only be able to walk hunched over for a week or two.
Initially, they can expect the incision to feel sore. They will likely need to lie in bed at an angle and may also have trouble with:
- lifting objects
- general movement
Many people take up to a month off work, particularly if their occupation is physically demanding.
After a Tummy Tuck, they should also avoid exercise for the first several weeks until a doctor gives them the all-clear. However, a person can typically return to activities, such as driving, within 1 to 2 weeks and gradually do more everyday tasks as time passes. Finally, a Tummy Tuck scar will likely feel sore or tight for several weeks to months following surgery. The visibility of the scar will slowly fade.