Tummy Tuck Surgery

Abdominoplasty, also known as tummy tuck, is a surgery that flattens and reshapes the midsection area. Stretched abdominal muscles are tightened during a tummy tuck surgery in order to create a toned and defined waistline. This is done by removing excess skin as well as loosening the skin. Patients must not mistake this procedure for a weight loss solution! However, a healthy lifestyle with a proper diet and exercise routine will certainly aid in maintaining the results of the abdominoplasty quite some time.

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Why should I have a Tummy Tuck surgery?

For those who are insecure or embarrassed about their midsection area, tummy tuck surgery would be an ideal surgery to undergo. Once a personal decision has been made, the next step would be to consult one of our experienced surgeons who will guide you and provide you with all the information necessary to help affirm your decision.

Here are some of the factors to consider this surgery:

  • Drooping, stretched abdominal skin
  • Fat surrounding the front and sides of the abdomen
  • Weakened and separated abdominal muscles (due to pregnancy and/or excessive weight gain)

When is it best to have this surgery?

It is best to have this surgery when you are:

  • Generally healthy
  • Not considering future pregnancies
  • At a stable weight
  • A non-smoker
  • Emotionally and mentally prepared with realistic goals

What will a Tummy Tuck do for you?

A tummy tuck will:

  • Reshape your waistline
  • Remove excess fat
  • Tighten and tone abdominal muscles
  • Flatten the midsection
  • Remove some or all stretch marks

What are the general steps of the tummy tuck surgery?

The surgeon will begin by marking the area where the horizontal incisions will be made, as well as, mark where the bellybutton will be located. Then, the abdominal muscles would be sealed together creating a tight and smooth midsection. Any skin overlaps or excess fat would be removed and the openings would be sutured. The surgery would be complete when you are left with a concealed scar along the bikini line with a flat and well contoured abdomen!

Full or Complete Tummy Tuck Surgery

A full or complete tummy tuck surgery is quite intense and it is for those who are looking to correct all abnormalities of the midsection where loose skin, excess fat, stretch marks and separated abdominal muscles will be adjusted

How is the surgery performed?

The surgery requires two incisions to be made; one horizontally (along the bikini line) and one around the belly button. The skin and tissue are then separated from the muscles leaving behind this skin flap which is pulled upwards from the bikini line exposing the muscles underneath. The separated muscles, which are called Rectus Diastasis, are re-aligned by being sutured together vertically. A liposuction procedure follows in order to remove any excess fat and skin that hang below the incision lines. An incision is then made to relocate the bellybutton which is shifted up into the hole and sutured in place. The rest of the horizontal incision lines are sealed together. Lastly, drainage tubes are placed through small incisions located near the main horizontal incision line. Bandages are placed to secure and wrap the area.

Types of Tummy Tuck

Patients will have two options to choose from; a mini or full abdominoplasty. The majority choose the latter. A full tummy tuck revitalizes and restores the entire abdomen area. However, for those who are only looking for minimal corrections, then a mini tummy tuck would be the way to go.

Mini Tummy Tuck - A mini tummy tuck is ideal for those who are requiring a portion of their abdomen corrected. They would be within limited reach of their weight goals and have tried out dieting and exercising. It would also be suitable for those who have body fats in the area below the navel. With a mini tummy tuck procedure, the bellybutton will not be required to be repositioned, and only a small incision will be made horizontally along the bikini line.

Floating Tummy Tuck - A Floating Abdominoplasty (FAB), which is also referred to as a Modified Tummy Tuck or Extended Mini Tummy Tuck, is a combination of both a full and mini tummy tucks. Patients who have some muscle laxity, in need of some skin tightening above the bellybutton will opt for this procedure. With this procedure, the naval is separated from the abdominal fascia so that the muscles are tightened. As the muscles are sealed together, the naval is slightly shifted vertically and reattached to the fascia. This procedure leaves patients with one small incision horizontally along the pubic hair. Only those who have minimal amounts of loose skin will be ideal for the floating tummy tuck procedure.

Drainless Technique

Many plastic surgeons choose the “Drainless” tummy tuck technique. This is a surgical variation which can be used on either a mini, full or floating tummy tuck.

Drainless Abdominoplasty uses specific sutures to bind the soft tissues to the abdominal wall. This procedure creates a pressure which allows the tissues to adhere to each other more easily. The closer the tissues are together, the less cavity space there is, which allows less room for fluid accumulation. Fluid accumulation impedes the healing process by preventing tissues from adhering to one another. With a reduction in fluid accumulation, this thereby eliminates the need for drains to be inserted.

Not all patients are a candidate for this technique as there are some downsides. The quilting technique that is used to suture the muscle and tissue together may be visible in the skin, creating the appearance of skin irregularities. This technique also requires the patient to be under anesthesia for a longer period of time. Additionally, seromas can still form later on, which will require an aspiration procedure. For these reasons, many plastic surgeons choose not to perform Drainless Tummy Tucks.

Surgery Cost

The cost for a full abdominoplasty starts from $8,000 (including general anesthesia) plus tax. The cost does vary depending on the procedure; for instance, a mini tummy tuck would cost less than a full one. Similarly, the addition of a liposuction procedure would increase the cost by $1,500-$2,500 (dependent on the area).

What is recovery like after your Surgery?

During recovery time, which is usually around 2 weeks, it is expected that patients feel sore with every movement. The actual healing process does take a longer time, however, most patients are expected to work within the second week. Post-surgery, patients are discharged in a garment and abdominal binder, as well as drains along the sides of the incisions if a full abdominoplasty was performed. The reason for the drains is to avoid fluid buildup which could affect the healing process. These drains are removed within the first week of the surgery.

What will my Tummy Tuck scar look like?

Because an incision is required to remove excess skin and fat, there will definitely be some scarring present at the treated site(s). The scar is however placed horizontally and the length depends on the type of procedure you had. As for the incision, it would be placed in a discreet area and the scar would heal reducing its visibility if post-surgery instructions are followed. There are plenty of non-surgical laser treatments and products that would help in fading the appearance of scars.

Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck

The primary differences between a liposuction and a tummy tuck procedure is that the latter would remove excess fat, but not correcting the skin or the muscle. It is more common for liposuction to be the treatment of choice if the patient was looking to remove excess fat from the sides (flanks or love handles) of the abdomen. A tummy tuck corrects more of the frontal plane of the midsection giving a complete rejuvenated and contoured abdominal region.