Abdominoplasty often called a "tummy tuck," is a procedure that is done to flatten and shape the abdomen and waist by removing excess fat and skin and tightening muscles. The best candidates have pockets of fat and loose skin that haven't responded well to diet and exercise. The procedure is particularly useful for women with stretched skin and muscles from pregnancy or weight loss. If you are frustrated with the appearance of your abdomen and want to look and feel better, a tummy tuck may be right for you.
During the procedure, the loose hanging skin in your lower abdomen will be removed and the remaining skin pulled taut. In many patients, the abdominal wall muscles are stretched out with a space separating them in the middle. These muscles will also be tightened with stitches placed on the inside. The incision typically extends from hip to hip and should be low enough to be concealed by your underwear or even a bikini bottom (which you might even consider wearing again!). All of the skin stitches that Dr. Min places are absorbable, so there won’t be any need for painful suture removal afterwards. Drainage tubes are placed to drain fluid from the surgery and are usually removed at the first office visit. After the surgery, your abdomen will be flatter than you ever imagined and you won’t have to keep sucking you stomach in!
The procedure takes approximately four hours and is performed under general anesthesia. Most patients are able to go home the same day as the surgery. Recovery time ranges from two to three weeks. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for four weeks after surgery. With a balanced diet and regular exercise, results are long lasting.
Tummy Tuck FAQ’s
Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
The best candidates are patients who are not significantly overweight and in good physical condition who have loose skin and muscles. Patients who are considering tummy tuck surgery should be done with childbearing because having a baby afterwards may stretch out the skin again. We also encourage patients who intend to lose a lot of weight to wait before undergoing the procedure, since skin in the abdominal area may loosen after substantial weight loss.
Can I tighten my abdomen with diet and exercise?
Diet and exercise can help tighten muscles somewhat but does not tighten up loose skin.
What is a “mini” abdominoplasty?
A “mini” abdominoplasty is a more limited form of tummy tuck surgery with a shorter incision and less recovery time. It is typically done for patients who have relatively tight abdominal muscles and a limited amount of loose skin in the lower abdomen. If you have loose skin in both the upper and lower abdomen, you will be a better candidate for the standard abdominoplasty.
What is a “reverse” abdominoplasty?
A “reverse” tummy tuck tightens upper abdominal skin by removing skin through an incision along the fold underneath the breasts. This procedure is limited in that it only addresses loose skin in the upper abdomen above the belly button. Most patients will have better results with the standard tummy tuck procedure.
What is the difference between a panniculectomy and an abdominoplasty?
A panniculectomy is a procedure that only removes loose, hanging skin in the lower abdomen below the belly button. It does not involve tightening the muscles or tightening the upper abdomen at all. It is often done for patients who have frequent rashes and skin irritation underneath the hanging skin. It may be covered by insurance if there is a long history of rashes caused by the loose skin. An abdominoplasty however, is always considered a cosmetic procedure and is never covered by insurance.
Can I just get liposuction instead of a tummy tuck?
That depends on your anatomy and specific goals. If you have extra fat in your abdomen and would be happy just being a bit flatter and want to avoid a long scar, liposuction alone may suffice. However, liposuction will not address loose skin and muscle. If you have either of these and want to be as flat as possible after surgery, you will be better off with a tummy tuck.
Can liposuction be combined with a tummy tuck?
Yes, liposuction is often done at the same time as a tummy tuck. The most common area to treat is the love handle region to create a better waist contour. However, it is not safe to perform liposuction of the abdomen concurrently because it may interfere with circulation to the abdominal wall skin. If you have extra fat in the abdomen, it is safer to either lose weight before surgery or wait until after you are healed to have liposuction to avoid complications.