What You Should Know Before Abdominoplasty
No matter how clean your diet or how many crunches you do, a flabby stomach can be a stubborn problem. Pregnancy, aging, changes in weight and other factors can all be contributing factors to excess, loose skin on your abdomen. Tummy tuck surgery, or abdominoplasty, can give you a flatter, firmer tummy. This is accomplished by removing excess skin and fat from the stomach, tightening the underlying muscles and then suturing the remaining skin in place for a taut tummy. The tummy tuck procedure is for both male and female patients, though it is a particular favorite of women who have had children and want to get their stomach back to the same state that it was pre-baby.
To get the best tummy tuck results, you need a board-certified plastic surgeon with the skill and experience necessary to perform the surgery in such a way that scarring is minimal and in a well-concealed place. All of the plastic surgeons in our Leading Medical Clinics of the World® directory are board-certified surgeons who are well-reviewed by both their peers and their patients. Read on to find out more about this surgery, and learn where to go to find the top tummy tuck surgeons in your area.
Would You Be a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?
The perfect candidate for tummy tuck surgery is a person who:
- Is generally healthy, with no serious medical conditions
- Is unhappy with loose, hanging stomach skin left over from pregnancy or weight loss
- Would like to get rid of a stubborn “pooch” of stomach fat
- Is not planning on getting pregnant again
- Is not planning on losing a significant amount of weight
Tummy Tuck in a Mommy Makeover Procedure
Women who wish to address loose, hanging stomach skin and other issues caused by pregnancy (such as sagging breasts and extra fat on their hips and thighs) can opt to have tummy tuck surgery as part of the mommy makeover procedure. A mommy makeover is a combination procedure of two or more surgeries that are meant to get a woman’s pre-pregnancy body back. This combination procedure can, and often does, include a tummy tuck, breast lift, breast augmentation, liposuction and other body enhancing procedures.
The Different Types of Tummy Tuck Procedures
Full Tummy Tuck
A full tummy tuck is the most common procedure, and involves an incision made horizontally across the lower abdomen and one around the belly button. This procedure removes extra fat and trims excess skin from the abdomen, and it also involves tightening the abdominal muscles. Once this has been accomplished, the belly button is then repositioned to a higher position that matches the new contour of the abdomen.
Partial Tummy Tuck
A partial (or mini) tummy tuck is a less invasive version of the tummy tuck procedure, as it requires only one single, small incision low on the abdomen. This procedure is ideal for patients who need only a minimal amount of fat and skin removed on their lower abdomen. Because it is less invasive, a partial tummy tuck also requires a shorter recovery time than the traditional procedure.
Extended Tummy Tuck
An extended tummy tuck encompasses the removal of excess fat and skin from the abdomen, while it also extends to the waist, for the removal of excess fat in that area (often referred to as “love handles”) and the lower back. The incision for this procedure is longer than for other tummy tuck surgeries, and as such, it allows for the treatment of a larger area than the traditional tummy tuck procedure.
What to Expect from Tummy Tuck Surgery
Tummy tuck surgery is most often performed on an outpatient basis, and, depending on the type of tummy tuck, takes between one and two hours to perform. An incision is made low on the abdomen, from which point the extra fat is removed (sometimes by liposuction), the abdominal muscles are tightened and the excess skin is trimmed and redraped so that it lies taut across the mid-section. For the full tummy tuck procedure, the belly button is repositioned and then sutured into place, and the incisions are closed with sutures.
What to Expect from Tummy Tuck Recovery
Following a tummy tuck procedure, the patient can expect to have some swelling and bruising in the abdominal area. A compression garment or elastic bandages will be placed around the abdomen to help with swelling and to protect the area as it heals. Sometimes, drains are placed under the skin in the area in order to drain excess fluids. Prescription pain medication can be used to relieve discomfort for the first few days of the recovery period. Patients are usually able to return to work and normal daily activities after two weeks. Exercise (though no heavy lifting) can be resumed after six weeks. Patients should avoid lifting anything over 10lbs for the first six weeks, and heavy lifting for at approximately three months after having surgery. Sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 should be used on incision sites during sun exposure or while using a tanning bed. Please keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and that your plastic surgeon can provide you with more specific post-operative directions that suit your individual needs.
What to Look for in a Plastic Surgeon
With all of the plastic surgeons available, it can be hard to separate the good from the not-so-good. And if you’re entertaining the thought of having tummy tuck surgery, you likely want to find the best surgeon out there to perform your surgery. But how do you know what to look for in a plastic surgeon? And what makes a top plastic surgeon? We can help you answer those questions. Our plastic surgeon directory at Leading Medical Clinics of the World® includes only the most trusted, experienced surgeons. All of them meet the following high level of expertise:
- Well-respected by peers
- Positively reviewed by patients
- Ranked as a top medical practitioner in their field
- In good standing with their medical board(s)
- Operating from a clinic that upholds the highest level of healthcare standards
- Am I a suitable candidate for tummy tuck surgery?
- Which type of tummy tuck procedure do you recommend for me?
- What type of scarring can I expect?
- How many tummy tuck surgeries have you performed?
- What are the risks and complications associated with tummy tuck surgery?
- How much time will I have to take off of work for recovery?
- What types of limitations (driving, exercising, etc.) will I have after surgery?
- Can you provide me with any more information (whether print or digital) to help me better understand the procedure?
- Will my results be permanent?
- Do you offer evening or weekend appointments?
- What do you charge for tummy tuck surgery?
- What financing options are available to me as your patient?
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