Abdominoplasty surgery, more commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, is the process of surgically removing excess skin and fat from the abdominal area. In most cases of abdominoplasty, there is restoration of weakened or separated muscles, which results in a smoother abdominal profile. Many people turn to this surgery if they are unable to achieve the results they want through diet and exercise.
A tummy tuck is not limited to people who have excess weight to lose. Sometimes people with an otherwise average body proportion and weight develop a loose stomach, or one that sticks out. Some causes of this may be:
- Fluctuations in weight
A good candidate for a tummy tuck includes people who are physically healthy and maintain a stable weight. Patients should also have realistic expectations about the outcome of their surgery. Good candidates are non-smokers who have a negative fixation on the appearance of their stomach.
It is important to get tummy tuck surgery only for yourself, as it is a highly individualized procedure. It should not be done to fulfill the needs of someone else, or to create an ideal image of yourself.
Tummy tucks, on average, cost just under $6,000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, however, this may range. Other costs come into play such as anesthesia, the operating room, and other miscellaneous expenses. Typically, the initial fee is based on the experience of the plastic surgeon and the type of procedure that takes place.
Typically, health insurance companies do not cover the cost of abdiminoplasty, or any resulting complications. However, often plastic surgeons will offer their patients financing options for the procedure.
Additional costs may include:
- Hospital costs
- Medical testing
- Post-surgery materials
- Surgeon’s fee
When choosing a plastic surgeon, be sure that you are comfortable with the surgeon’s experience in the field.
After anesthesia is administered, a horizontal incision will be made between the pubic hairline and belly button. The shape of the incision is determined by the amount of skin that is being removed. The upper skin of the abdomen is then pulled down over the remainder of the abdomen before the excess skin is trimmed. The remaining skin is then sutured together. A belly button is surgically created and popped to the surface and sutured into its position.
Following your abdiminoplasty recovery, you will be wrapped in bandages and a compression garment to minimize the swelling and support the incision. This will encourage proper healing. There may be small tubes put into place under the skin to drain excess blood or fluid.
Your doctor will provide you with the following instructions:
- How to care for the incision
- Medications to take
- Concerns to look for
- Follow-up date
Because this surgery is so individualized, it is important to ask the following questions about your specific situation:
- What will I be prescribed?
- When can I take off the bandages?
- Can I eat normally?
- Can I bathe?
- When can I return to normal activity?
In the days following the tummy tuck, you will not be able to see the proper results. Not only will you have swelling and obscurities, but you will not be able to stand up straight, which will continue to give your stomach more of a pouch than it will after it is fully healed.
Within two weeks, your tummy tuck will show a flatter and firmer stomach that is proportionate with your weight and body type. You should be able to stand up tall with a new, slimmer profile.
If you have had a cesarean section, or other previous abdominal surgeries, the potential results of this surgery may be limited, but will still have a positive result. Also, existing cesarean scars may be incorporated into the tummy tuck scar, and may take a year to fade.
Results are typically good from this type of surgery, but there is no guarantee. It may not always be possible to achieve the desired results with one surgical procedure, deeming a second to be necessary. It is certainly important to follow the advice of your trusted physician.
For proper healing, it is important that the surgical incisions do not endure excessive force, abrasion, swelling, or motion while it is healing.
All surgeries come along with potential complications that must be considered. It is important to weigh the risks with the reward when deciding to move forward with this surgery. Patients sign a consent form to make sure you have read and you understand the risks that are involved. Some risks include:
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Excessive bleeding
- Poor healing
- Fluid accumulation
- Recurring loose skin
- Fat necrosis
- Cardiac or pulmonary complications
- Persistent pain
These risks will be discussed prior to signing the consent form. It is important to ask any questions prior to undergoing surgery.
What a Tummy Tuck Can’t Do
A tummy tuck will not take the place of a proper diet and exercise routine.
While the results are permanent, the positive results that come from a tummy tuck can be greatly damaged with significant weight fluctuations. Because of this, people who are planning to lose weight or have a child should wait until they are finished to have this surgery.
Abdominoplasty will not erase stretch marks, but stretch marks may be removed or reduced if they are located on the skin that will be removed.