Abdominoplasty / Tummy Tuck

Abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as tummy tuck surgery, can be an excellent procedure to address the excess skin and soft tissue on the abdominal wall, as well as the laxity of the abdominal muscles. For many individuals, trying to get rid of excess skin in the abdominal area is a frustrating process. Even the most rigorous exercise routines and diet regimens often fail to yield positive results. Tummy tuck surgery from our board-certified plastic surgeon can resolve these concerns and give you a flatter, firmer, more fit-looking abdomen. This advanced treatment is a very popular option among both women and men, and is often utilized as part of a comprehensive Mommy Makeover procedure.

What is a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a surgical procedure designed to reduce excess, inelastic abdominal skin, tighten the underlying muscles, and pull the remaining skin taut for a smoother and flatter appearance. Tummy tuck surgery essentially resculpts the abdomen for an improved contour, addressing lax skin and muscles in a way that traditional exercise and diet regimens cannot. This procedure is one of the most popular surgical cosmetic enhancement options available, and can help both women and men achieve their goals with beautiful results.

What are the benefits of tummy tuck surgery?

The accumulation of excess, inelastic skin in the abdomen can be caused by significant weight loss, genetics, the natural aging process, and pregnancy. In fact, pregnancy is one of the most common causes. After childbearing, the abdominal musculature separates in the midline, resulting in a “pooch” and the constant need to “suck it in.” No matter how many sit-ups or abdominal tightening exercises are performed, the gap that is created by pregnancy cannot be closed unless it is done surgically. Further, after expansion and contraction of the abdomen with pregnancy or massive weight loss, the skin does not shrink back to its original state and, invariably, many people are left with loose skin on their abdomen.

Fortunately, tummy tuck surgery offers a range of benefits for both men and women, including:

  • The reduction of excess abdominal skin and tightening of remaining skin for a more taut, smooth look
  • A slimmer, firmer abdomen
  • A better fit for certain types of clothing
  • A renewed self-confidence

Tummy tuck surgery has helped millions of individuals across the globe address a very common condition and feel great about the way they look. During your initial consultation with Dr. Semira Bayati, she will evaluate your concerns and talk with you about your options. If abdominoplasty is right for your unique needs, Dr. Bayati will create a customized treatment plan designed to meet your goals.

Tummy Tuck Surgery and a Mommy Makeover

For women who are interested in restoring their bodies after the physical rigors of pregnancy and raising children have taken their toll, tummy tuck surgery can also serve as an effective component of a Mommy Makeover procedure. Mommy Makeovers are comprehensive, customized treatments that combine a number of aesthetic enhancement options for complete rejuvenation. A tummy tuck can be paired with breast surgery and other body contouring procedures that can help you restore your pre-pregnancy figure.

Learn more about Mommy Makeover options.

Will I need abdominoplasty, or can liposuction help me achieve my goals?

Abdominoplasty is typically the best option for patients whose abdominal concerns are due to loose, inelastic skin and lax underlying muscles. Once Dr. Bayati has examined you, she will determine if your condition is being caused by excess skin or excess fat deposits in the area. For patients who are primarily affected by excess fat pockets, liposuction may be a more ideal procedure. In cases where both concerns are apparent, a combination of both liposuction and tummy tuck surgery may be the best option. Each patient is different and Dr. Bayati will have a better idea of what’s best for your specific needs once she performs a comprehensive evaluation during the initial consultation.

What is the difference between a full tummy tuck and a mini-tummy tuck?

Patients who have a severe level of excess skin and muscle laxity in the abdomen often require a full tummy tuck surgery to achieve their goals. However, individuals who have a more moderate level of excess skin that is primarily located in the lower abdomen, below the navel, may be eligible for a mini-tummy tuck. Although this procedure still may involve the tightening of abdominal muscles and requires removal of excess skin, it is not as extensive as a full tummy tuck surgery and the incision is smaller. Many patients also experience shorter recovery times with a mini-tummy tuck surgery. Dr. Bayati will be able to determine which procedure is right for your needs during your initial consultation.

Tummy Tuck and Pregnancy

Dr. Bayati recommends that women who are planning on a future pregnancy should wait until they have completed their families before undergoing a tummy tuck procedure. While it is possible to have a normal pregnancy after an abdominoplasty has been performed, the fact is that the abdominal muscles will be stretched and perhaps torn during pregnancy and there may be an accumulation of excess skin left over after delivery. This may not happen to every woman, but those who experience these effects may require another tummy tuck surgery to re-tighten the abdominal muscles and eliminate the excess, inelastic skin. For these reasons, Dr. Bayati typically advises women who are considering tummy tuck surgery to be sure that they no longer plan to have children before having the treatment.

Can a Tummy Tuck Get Rid of Stretch Marks?

This is a very popular question and the good news is: yes, a full tummy tuck procedure can get rid of stretch marks, depending on the specific area of the abdomen in which they are located. A full tummy tuck surgery typically requires excess skin in the lower abdomen to be removed, which will eliminate stretch marks if they are located in the area of skin excision. It is important to note that stretch marks present in abdominal areas such as the sides or mid- to upper regions of the abdomen cannot be significantly improved with a standard tummy tuck surgery; however, SkinPen® microneedling or other available treatments may be recommended to address those areas.

What does the tummy tuck procedure involve?

Abdominoplasty procedures begin with a carefully made incision just above the pubic area, going from hip to hip. A second incision will be created to separate the navel from tissues surrounding it. Dr. Bayati will lift the skin and bring back together the midline abdominal muscles responsible for a “six pack.” These muscles will be tightened, followed by the trimming of excess skin in the area. The belly button is then repositioned to a higher, more youthful position. This can ultimately give the abdomen a nice, defined appearance without excess bulges of skin.

Tummy tuck surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia.

What can I expect during the abdominoplasty recovery process?

The average recovery time and necessary time off work after a tummy tuck is about two weeks. You can expect some bruising and swelling in the treatment area; however, this should fade as the abdomen heals, and medication can be prescribed to control discomfort. Strenuous exercise and activities, particularly those that may cause strain in the abdomen, should not be undertaken for at least six weeks following abdominoplasty. Dr. Bayati will also talk with you about the need to take brief walks soon after surgery in order to avoid blood clots.

“After my twins, I had the usual flabby tummy and saggy breasts. I felt like I had aged 100 years. Dr. Bayati expertly guided me through the whole preoperative process, determining what would best improve my appearance and how. She was honest and confident. And most importantly, she was RIGHT!”

How much discomfort can I expect following tummy tuck surgery?

Since abdominoplasty is a major surgery, you will experience some level of discomfort after the procedure; however, medication can typically keep pain under control. Dr. Bayati advises patients to get plenty of rest during the recovery period and to follow all post-operative instructions in order to ensure safe, proper healing. While abdominoplasty is a major surgical procedure, most patients say the results are well worth it, and emerge from the procedure with a firmer, flatter tummy and a renewed self-esteem!

How noticeable is the tummy tuck scar?

There will be scarring from tummy tuck surgery; however, Dr. Bayati takes great care to make residual scarring as light as possible. Scars from the procedure are also likely to fade a certain degree over time, and they can typically be well-concealed under clothing or swimwear.

Are There Non-Surgical Tummy Tuck Alternatives?

With the number of articles and “tip-sheets” available online that talk about exercises or devices (such as the Tummy Tuck Belt®) that purport to yield outcomes similar to tummy tuck surgery, it is understandable if one may get the impression that anything other than a surgical abdominoplasty can produce the same results. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There are no non-surgical alternatives capable of accomplishing what abdominoplasty is designed to achieve. The reason for this is that tummy tuck surgery tightens and repairs separated abdominal muscles and removes loose, sagging skin, redraping the remainder for a more contoured, fit look. These particular conditions cannot be addressed with exercise, diets, or external devices. With this in mind, it is certainly possible that an individual may have concerns other than loose abdominal musculature and excess skin that may be treatable with a different kind of procedure. If the problem is mainly caused by excess fat instead of excess skin, Dr. Bayati may recommend liposuction as a standalone procedure. In some cases, patients may even be good candidates for non-surgical CoolSculpting® if the level of excess fat in the abdominal area is not severe. When you meet with Dr. Bayati for your initial consultation, she will talk with you about all of the options available and advise you on the most ideal solution.

How much does a tummy tuck cost?

Tummy tuck surgery is customized for each patient; therefore, the total price of the procedure can vary from one individual to another. A number of components related to each patient’s customized treatment plan will be taken into account for the cost of tummy tuck surgery, including the overall complexity of the surgery, the techniques utilized, the surgeon’s fee, surgical facility and anesthesia fees, any complementary procedures that are added to the treatment program, and other associated expenses.

A friendly member of our team will calculate a comprehensive cost estimate of your tummy tuck procedure once the treatment plan is developed during the initial consultation. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the many convenient payment methods we accept, and we can also talk with you about plastic surgery financing options available through our practice. Reputable agencies such as CareCredit® and ALPHAEON®CREDIT offer a range of flexible financing plans that can suit an array of budgets.

Are there any complementary procedures that can be performed in addition to tummy tuck surgery for a more comprehensive makeover?

If you are considering a more comprehensive cosmetic makeover, Dr. Bayati offers a full selection of facial, breast, and body procedures that can be performed in addition to tummy tuck surgery. Liposuction can be performed in virtually any body area to address pockets of excess fat; arm lift and thigh lift surgery can give these areas a firmer, more youthful appearance; breast enhancement procedures can beautifully rejuvenate the breasts; and facial rejuvenation options can reduce signs of age and give the skin a smoother look. Our practice also offers a number of non-surgical cosmetic enhancement options that can renew your appearance. In addition, tummy tuck surgery can be part of a Mommy Makeover to help women who are trying to get back their pre-pregnancy figures.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Tummy Tuck Surgery

How safe is a tummy tuck?

Tummy tuck treatment is generally considered a safe procedure when performed by an experienced, highly-qualified plastic surgeon. With that in mind, no surgery is completely free of risk. Rare potential complications associated with tummy tuck surgery include excessive bleeding, infection, severe swelling, skin discoloration, fluid accumulation, long-term numbness in the treatment area, and continuous pain. Board-certified plastic surgeons in particular have proven a very high standard of ethics and skill with plastic surgery procedures, which can ultimately help reduce these risks and diminish the likelihood of something going wrong.

What can I eat after tummy tuck surgery?

While there are minimal limitations on your dietary routine following tummy tuck surgery, there are some foods and beverages to start with that can aid in your recovery. Initially, patients should stick with drinking plenty of water and avoiding any beverages that are not “clear.” Your overall diet should remain relatively light in the days following surgery. Eventually, patients can upgrade their diet to soft foods like soup, pudding, soft cheeses, whole-grain foods, raw vegetables, and raw fruits. In a short period of time, patients can return to their normal diet, but it is recommended that they stick to a healthy eating routine to aid the recovery process and maintain the results of the tummy tuck procedure. Our team will provide some dietary guidelines that offer more detailed information on healthy eating after tummy tuck surgery.

What is seroma after tummy tuck surgery?

Some patients who receive tummy tuck surgery experience what’s known as a seroma, which is basically an accumulation of fluid under the skin that can produce a bump or lump that often resembles a cyst. Seromas can be small or large, and typically appear near an incision site. They can develop after virtually any type of surgery, and may appear right after the procedure or even weeks later. Seromas often resolve themselves over time; however, they can sometimes develop into an infection and must be immediately drained to prevent additional complications. Patients who are experiencing a fever, pain, drainage in the area of the seroma, or other symptoms of an infection should promptly call the office for further instruction.

How can I reduce swelling after a tummy tuck?

Swelling following tummy tuck surgery is to be expected—this effect is part of the natural healing process. There are several ways that patients can help reduce swelling and ease post-operative discomfort during recovery. We may advise you to take certain over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications that can be helpful. Additionally, a healthy diet that avoids alcohol and salty foods/beverages is recommended. Wearing any prescribed compression garments as instructed can also help control swelling. It is also important to attend all follow-up appointments so we can monitor your progress during recovery and evaluate how well the treatment area is healing.

How long do I need to wear compression garments after a tummy tuck?

Traditionally, patients who undergo abdominoplasty are instructed to wear a temporary post-operative compression garment to aid in recovery and maintain the results of the surgery. Patients will often wear this compression garment throughout the entire day and night during the early stages of the recovery process, removing it only when showering and bathing. Typically, you can expect to wear this garment for about six to eight weeks following your treatment.

If you would like more information on tummy tuck surgery, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bayati to find out if this procedure is ideal for your needs, please contact our practice today.

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