TUMMY TUCK SURGERY
Whether caused by pregnancy, weight changes, or aging, loose skin and excess fat around your waist and abdomen can make you feel self-conscious and unattractive. Diet and exercise can only do so much to help. The board-certified plastic surgeons at The Plastic Surgery Group perform abdominoplasty, often called a tummy tuck, to help Albany, Syracuse, Troy, and other New York patients who are in overall good shape look more toned and fit.
BEFORE & AFTERS
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF TUMMY TUCKS?
The Plastic Surgery Group offers a mini tummy tuck, a full tummy tuck, and an extended tummy tuck (see illustration). Our surgeons approach tummy tucks on a spectrum where the extent of surgery should match the individual needs of the patient.
- A mini tummy tuck is more limited in its degree of correction and typically involves shorter incisions, and therefore, shorter scars. This approach, also called a partial tummy tuck, is best for individuals who do not require muscle repair and who have only a minimal amount of excess skin limited to the lower abdomen. Our surgeons typically recommend this option for a person whose upper abdomen (the area above the belly button) needs no improvement.
- A full tummy tuck, also called a complete tummy tuck, offers more comprehensive benefits for people who need both skin removal and muscle tightening. It requires a longer incision that runs between the pelvic bones and can produce more substantial changes.
- An extended tummy tuck provides the same improvements as the full tummy tuck but also tightens loose skin all the way around the waist. Our surgeons often perform this procedure for patients who have undergone massive weight loss. The incision is placed as low as possible so that the resulting scar is covered by bathing suits and undergarments. For patients who have lost a significant amount of weight, the extended technique can be performed as part of an even more comprehensive circumferential body lift, which provides improvement around the entire body.
WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR A TUMMY TUCK?
Our Albany tummy tuck patients should be in good health and at or near their ideal weight. Good candidates desire one or more of the following improvements:
- Tightening excess skin that may be loose, wrinkled, and have stretch marks
- Repairing stretched or separated abdominal muscles that cause the belly to protrude
- Reshaping a stretched, enlarged belly button
- Improving the appearance of a scar from a C-section delivery, appendectomy, or gynecological surgery
HOW IS A TUMMY TUCK PERFORMED?
Our surgeons perform most tummy tuck procedures in an outpatient surgery center close to our office. We perform all tummy tucks using general anesthesia, so you will be asleep through the procedure. All our anesthesia is administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist to maximize your safety and comfort.
With a full tummy tuck, your plastic surgeon will make an incision across the lowest part of your abdomen from hip to hip; the extended tummy tuck incision will continue around your waist. Another incision will be made around your navel. With a mini tummy tuck, the incision across the abdomen will be much shorter and there may be no incision around the navel.
In a full tummy tuck, after the incisions have been made, the plastic surgeon lifts the abdominal skin as far up as the ribcage to reveal the muscles of the abdomen. These muscles are pulled closer together, carefully positioned, and stitched, firming the abdomen and narrowing the waist.
The lifted skin is stretched back into position and excess skin is tightened. The plastic surgeon then creates a hole for the navel and the incisions are stitched closed.
Our surgeons frequently use liposuction during the tummy tuck process to reduce pockets of stubborn fat. We can also perform both these procedures as part of a mommy makeover, a combination surgery that also addresses the breasts.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECOVER FROM A TUMMY TUCK?
Tummy tuck patients are typically ready to return to non-strenuous activities including work in about 2 weeks. Keep in mind that everybody heals differently and there are many factors that can influence how quickly your body recovers from tummy tuck surgery. You can expect your recovery process to generally proceed as follows:
After your tummy tuck, bandages will be applied to your abdomen and you will most likely have small, temporary drainage tubes below your skin to prevent fluid collection. Your plastic surgeon will prescribe medication to help you feel as comfortable as possible. Your plastic surgeon may also advise you to sleep in a recliner rather than a bed to keep your body in a flexed position and to make getting up easier.
You will be encouraged to stand and walk as soon as you can after your surgery. Because you will not be able to stand completely upright for at least this week, walking may be somewhat difficult at first. It is important to maximize your blood circulation at this stage of the recovery process by moving around.
By the time the first week ends, all tubes will be removed, stitches will be out, and your abdominal bruises and swelling will have peaked.
FIRST FEW WEEKS
You should also be careful not to lift, bend over quickly, or otherwise strain your abdomen during this early recovery stage. After 3 or 4 more weeks, your abdominal bruises and swollen areas will obviously start to disappear and you can expect to:
- Stop wearing any kind of support device
- Begin increasing your activity level and exercising in moderation
- Return to work in about 2 weeks, as long as your job is not too strenuous
After a few months you’ll begin to see the improvements from your tummy tuck. At this time you should enjoy full sensitivity and comfort in your abdomen, and you’ll notice the scars from the incisions beginning to fade.
DO I NEED A TUMMY TUCK OR LIPOSUCTION?
Liposuction is used to reduce areas of excess fat. If you have loose skin on your stomach and separated abdominal muscles, a tummy tuck is the best way to restore a firm, youthful contour to your midsection. In most cases, our surgeons use liposuction during tummy tuck surgery to sculpt the hips, waist, and possibly other areas of unwanted fat.
DO MEN HAVE TUMMY TUCKS?
Yes, our surgeons perform many tummy tuck procedures for male patients who have lost a lot of weight or have sagging around the middle due to aging. This procedure is adapted for men to enhance the patient’s masculinity by creating an angular, athletic waist and accenting the “6-pack” abdominal muscles.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO FEEL BACK TO NORMAL AFTER MY TUMMY TUCK?
Recovery time varies from person to person, but in general most men and women who have tummy tuck surgery can go back to work comfortably in just a couple of weeks. Sometimes it takes a few more weeks of resting to feel comfortable returning to work. The better condition you are in at the time of your surgery, the faster your recuperation will be.
DOES EXERCISE HELP THE RECOVERY PROCESS?
Exercise is a very important factor in recovering from tummy tuck surgery. It helps in many different ways — from reducing the amount of swelling and the chance of a blood clot to helping give the muscles in your newly contoured tummy much more tone. Of course, you should exercise moderately at first and gradually increase the vigorousness of your exercise in relation to your comfort level.
CAN I EXERCISE INSTEAD OF HAVING A TUMMY TUCK?
Unfortunately, exercise and diet may not be enough to give you a firm, flat torso. When the skin and abdominal muscles become severely stretched due to weight gain and loss, pregnancy, or aging, plastic surgery is often the only method of correction. A tummy tuck tightens excess lax skin that diet and exercise cannot influence. Additionally, tummy tuck surgery can repair separated muscles, which situps or other abdominal exercises cannot do.
HOW MUCH DOES A TUMMY TUCK COST?
The cost of a tummy tuck varies depending on whether you are having a mini or complete tummy tuck, the complexity of the procedure, and whether it is being combined with other procedures, among other factors. The range for a tummy tuck is typically between $7,000 and $8,000. We offer patient financing to help most patients afford to pursue their desired improvements. For the best possible surgical outcome, it’s important to consider your surgeon’s credentials above cost.
DO I HAVE TO BE A CERTAIN WEIGHT FOR TUMMY TUCK SURGERY?
There is no specific weight requirement for tummy tuck surgery. However, a tummy tuck is not appropriate for obese or very overweight patients. The best candidates are those who are at a healthy, stable weight. If you are overweight, your surgeon may recommend diet and exercise prior to undergoing surgery.
WILL I HAVE A SCAR?
Scars are a tradeoff for nearly all plastic surgery procedures. The size of your scar will depend on the extent of the procedure and the amount of excess skin present prior to surgery. The more skin laxity and overhang, the longer the scar.
Usually, abdominoplasty results in a horizontal scar across the lower abdomen, well below the belly button. The scar can be easily hidden under a bikini, underwear, or other clothing. The appearance of scars can be minimized with medical spa procedures such as laser treatments. We can also recommend topical treatments for you to use at home to help your scar fade rapidly.
CAN A TUMMY TUCK BE COMBINED WITH ANOTHER PROCEDURE?
While tummy tuck surgery is excellent for tightening the skin and underlying muscles of the abdomen, it does not address unwanted fat. This is best treated with liposuction, which is often combined with a tummy tuck for optimal results.
Many of our patients combine procedures such as breast augmentation with a tummy tuck to gain multiple improvements with a single surgery and recovery period known as a mommy makeover. Tummy tuck surgery is also commonly performed with other skin tightening procedures after massive weight loss.
WILL HAVING CHILDREN AFTER A TUMMY TUCK AFFECT MY RESULTS?
Yes, having children after tummy tuck may cause you to lose some of the benefits of your surgery; however, having children after a tummy tuck will not affect your pregnancy in any way. Our surgeons usually recommend that you finish having children before undergoing abdominoplasty in order to preserve your results.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Our surgeons have performed hundreds and hundreds of successful tummy tucks on men and women seeking a better body contour. As with all surgeries, there are some risks associated with tummy tuck surgery, but with careful attention to your plastic surgeon’s directions both before and after your surgery, these potential complications can be minimized and treated effectively. These very rare risks include infection and blood clot, which can be minimized by following simple instructions such as beginning movement as soon as you can and not smoking.
HOW LONG WILL MY RESULTS LAST?
Abdominoplasty is usually a one-time procedure with very long-lasting results. Weight fluctuations, pregnancy, and aging can all contribute to changes in your surgical outcome. Maintaining a healthy weight and fitness program will help your improved shape last as long as possible.
meet the team
Our group of plastic surgeons and dedicated support staff strive to provide beautiful, natural-looking results and a rewarding patient experience for everyone who visits us for cosmetic surgery.