Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty is the most viable body-contouring option for those with a protruding stomach. In 2014, about 117,000 patients underwent the plastic surgery and the figures are almost double comparing the numbers a decade ago. It is the most popular surgical option following weight loss and six-highest performed among body-shaping cosmetic procedures.
What is Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty is also known as Tummy Tuck for its exclusive focus on surgical elimination of fat and sagging skin over the abdomen to ensure it looks tight, well toned, and aesthetically attractive. The surgery makes a sticking-out stomach flatter, firm, and proportional to your body shape by removing fat cells and tightening abdominal wall and muscles.
Which areas of body can be contoured using Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty?
As the name suggests, the body-contouring procedure is used only to reshape the middle and lower abdomen area.
When should I consider undergoing Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty?
- If you have excess abdominal fat unaffected by diet and exercise and liposuction is not an option
- If you have sagging skin over the abdomen following massive weight loss, pregnancy, or prior surgery
- If you have a protruding, flabby, or sticking-out stomach disproportionate to your body
- If you are not happy with your stomach shape
- If your flabby stomach is a hindrance in youthful-looking body and wearing certain dresses
- If you want a flat and well-toned tummy
- If the skin over your abdomen becomes loose or sagging
What are limitations of Tummy Tuck?
- Abdominoplasty is not an alternative option for those looking to lose weight.
- It is not a substitute for exercise and diet programs.
- Tummy Tuck results may be reversed with pregnancy and significant fluctuations.
What is the difference between liposuction and Tummy Tuck?
- Liposuction is non-invasive while Tummy Tuck is an invasive surgery.
- Liposuction is done in an outpatient setting, but Tummy Tuck is an inpatient procedure.
- Liposuction offers fast recovery while Tummy Tuck requires lengthy recovery.
- Liposuction removes fat only, but Tummy Tuck reshapes fat and skin.
- Liposuction is less costly compared to abdominoplasty.
What are advantages of abdominoplasty over liposuction?
Abdominoplasty offers better results compared to liposuction. It eliminates both unwanted fat and sagging skin enabling superior body contours. Liposuction only removes stubborn fat pockets. Tummy Tuck is more comprehensive in nature, as it tightens loose abdominal muscles, eliminates the hanging skin, and reshapes protruding stomach while eliminating unwanted fat.
Who is a good candidate for Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty?
You are considered fit to undergo successful Tummy Tuck surgery if you have
- Good health
- Significant intra-abdominal fat leading to a protruding tummy
- No ongoing health problems or infections
- Completed your pregnancy and breastfeeding and no immediate pregnancy plans
- Good healing capabilities
- No genetic/ hereditary weight-related issues
What is the suitable age to have Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty?
Age is not an influential factor in undergoing abdominoplasty. Rather the physical condition is the most important consideration in selecting a patient. Pregnancy-related weight gain and skin changes induce women to undergo Tummy Tuck while sagging skin after weight loss is the case for men. Statistics indicate maximum number of people go for the body-contouring surgery between 30 to 55 years.
Is anesthesia required for a Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty?
Yes, your plastic surgeon will use general anesthesia.
How much fat is removed?
There is no fixed amount of fat or skin is removed during abdominoplasty. It varies from one patient to another. Your plastic surgeon makes an assessment of fat to be removed and skin to be tightened based on your physical features. The exact amount depends on what makes your tummy flat, well-toned, and proportionally perfect to your body size and shape.
How is Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty performed?
Patients sleep on their back and under general anesthesia. An incision is made just above the pubic bone and skin extending up to the rib end is detached from underneath muscles. If required (in case of excessive fat and sagged skin), another incision is also made near the navel.
Fat is taken out, stomach muscles and walls are firmed up, and the abdominal fascia is put in the middle. The skin is pulled back and any excess part of it is eliminated. Finally, fluid-removing drains were placed and the incision is closed.
What are different types of Tummy Tuck procedures?
- Full abdominoplasty: Two incisions are made, one near the public bone and the other near the navel, to remove fat from a great area that extends from rib cages to the public area.
- Partial or mini abdominoplasty: Fat below the belly button or of the lower abdomen is only eliminated.
- Extended abdominoplasty: An intermix of full Tummy Tuck and a thigh lift, it improves flanks, waist, and the lateral side of your thigh.
- High-lateral-tension abdominoplasty: It tightens abdominal muscles both vertically and horizontally ensuring superior results and the most attractive waistline.
- Circumferential abdominoplasty: Buttock lift is performed along with abdominoplasty.
How long does Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty take?
Depending on the type of procedure selected, abdominoplasty requires 1 to 5 hours. Mini abdominoplasty is performed within an hour while high-lateral-tension abdominoplasty and complete abdominoplasty take 4 to 5 hours.
How much does Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty cost?
The average cost of a Tummy Tuck surgery is around $5,500 excluding anesthesia. It may substantially go up if you select extended, high-lateral, or circumferential procedures. As it is an elective body-contouring procedure, most insurers do not pay for it.
Is Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty performed along with other procedures?
Yes, it can be combined with liposuction, buttock lift, thigh lift, hip contouring, hysterectomy, and breast-related procedures. In fact, it is a part of “mommy makeover” procedure designed for post-pregnancy body shaping.
Is there pain after Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty?
Tummy Tuck is an invasive procedure and pain and discomfort are associated with it. However, use of general anesthesia and post-operative medications ensure that the pain remains under control.
Does Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty lead to scars?
You may have a scar along the bikini line following Tummy Tuck. However, its look is influenced by the technique used, amount of flab eliminated, and incision line selected. Its appearance too depends on the healing process. Patients are advised to consult their plastic surgeons about the location and covering of potential scars.
Is Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty an option to deal with obesity?
Tummy Tuck may complement your efforts to lose weight and fight obesity. But it is not an exclusive method to deal with obesity or ensure weight loss. You cannot use it as an alternative to diet and exercise programs. In fact, abdominoplasty is performed after weight loss to get rid of sagging skin.
How do I feel after Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty?
Patients remain in the hospital for 24 to 48 hours before being discharged. You may feel discomfort and variable pain for 48 hours after abdominoplasty and this is tackled with medications. Swelling is common after the surgery and it continues for a few days before subsiding. You may feel numbness or skin pulling over the abdomen area.
What postoperative cautions should be followed after Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty?
- Take rest for 2 weeks
- Keep the incision area clean and dry
- Start gentle and tolerable activities after two days
- Put a pillow under knees while sleeping
- Restricted activities after 2 weeks
- No full-range of activities for 6 weeks
- Use compression garment for abdomen firmness for 15 weeks
How long is the recovery from Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty?
You are encouraged to walk gently after 48 hours though you feel skin pulling over the abdomen and find it difficult to stand straight. Stitches are taken out in 10 days though swelling continues for a few weeks and you have to use compression garment or protective dressing. Swelling subsides considerably by the end of the third week and partial recovery is achieved. You may fully recover in 6 to 8 weeks, though the healing continues up to 20-24 weeks.
When can I return to work after Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty?
You can return to your work after 2-week rest. However, no intense activity is allowed for six weeks.
When will the Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty benefits be visible?
You may see changes in 2 to 3 weeks, as swelling subsides considerably. The well-toned shape appears in 8 to 10 weeks, as the abdominal muscle become firm. You have to wait until six months to see the final benefits.
Does Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty lead to permanent changes in body shape?
Tummy Tuck changes the abdominal shape, but the results are not permanent. Weight gain, pregnancy, and weight fluctuation may reverse the gain. However, you can maintain the result for years with proper fitness, diet, and avoiding weight gain.
Does pregnancy impact Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty result?
Yes, pregnancy has the potential to undo abdominoplasty results, as pregnant women gain considerable weight.
Does aging affect Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty result?
Aging affects body shape to some extent, but it is gradual and not big enough to undo your Tummy Tuck results.
Is Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty beneficial for sagging skin?
Yes, it eliminates excess, drooping skin and restores its texture.
What are the risks associated with Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty?
The risks and potential complications associated with abdominoplasty range from blood vessel damage and tissue necrosis to anesthesia allergy and delayed healing. Scarring, infection, clots, and bleeding are also there, as it is surgical procedure. However, with adequate precaution during the surgery, surgeon expertise in Tummy Tuck and careful post-operative care ensure that such complications are averted.
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