Who considers a Tummy Tuck?

Women or men unhappy with the appearance of their abdomen often consider a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). Changes from normal aging, weight fluctuations, pregnancy or previous surgery may produce the following changes which are addressed with an abdominoplasty:

  • Sagging skin
  • Stretch marks
  • Protruding muscles
  • Bulging or hanging fat

Good candidates are healthy women or men who:

  • Are in good physical shape
  • Decided to have no more children
  • Have a stable body weight

What is a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, removes excess skin and smooths a loose, stretched out belly by tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall. Depending on the degree of contour and skin problems, incisions are placed low and also around the belly button. The goal is to give a flatter, smoother abdominal contour. If there are concerns with fat on the flanks, back, or waist, liposuction may be added for enhanced results.

Women often want to recover the body changes which occurred with children and undergo a “mommy makeover” which includes a tummy tuck with breast augmentation and/or breast lift.

A tummy tuck does not remove fat around the intestines and organs inside the belly. This is discussed during your consultation and fat inside the abdomen can limit the available results. Weight loss in some patients is encouraged prior to surgery to give the best possible outcome.

How is the procedure performed?

  • Surgery is usually performed at Plastic Surgery Aesthetic’s nationally accredited surgical suite. Surgery may be performed at a local surgery center depending on individual health status
  • Anesthesia providers monitor your heart & lungs and keep you comfortable during surgery
  • Incisions are placed very low on the abdomen from hip bone to hip bone. An incision also encircles the belly button. Incisions are modified if only minimal contour problems are present or if the excess fat extends further around to the back.
  • The muscles of the abdomen and waist are tightened and the excess skin and fat below the belly button is removed. Stitches close the skin and a drain is placed.
  • Some patients elect to have liposuction, breast augmentation, or breast lift at the same time.

What is normal recovery?

Most patients are treated as outpatients and do very well healing in the comfort of their own home. Patients experience moderate discomfort for the first several days which is relieved with prescription medications, ice and Tylenol. Patients wear a compressive support garment for the first several weeks, and are back to most activities within 2 to 3 weeks and most return to work in 3 weeks. You should expect to be back to full, unrestricted activity within 6 to 8 weeks.

What are the expected results?

A firmer, flatter, and smoother abdominal contour is the usual outcome. A tummy tuck restores the muscle structure to improve posture, strength and muscle tone, decreasing the waist diameter from the inside. Improved self confidence and body image are common findings after a tummy tuck.

Patients who intend to lose significantly more weight, or plan future pregnancies, should discuss these issues at the consultation so you understand what effect this could have on your results.

In some instances, liposuction is combined with abdominoplasty for enhanced results or may be performed several months prior to or after your tummy tuck. CoolSculpting™ can also be used postoperatively to enhance results or as an alternative to abdominoplasty for some patients.

Are there potential complications?

Tummy tuck is a common surgery but no surgery is without potential risks. The majority of these are minor. Smoking increases your risk for numerous complications and may lead to your surgery being canceled. General risks of any surgical procedure can be found on our information page by clicking HERE.  

Complications specific to tummy tuck may include:

  • Scarring
  • Change in sensation
  • Delayed fluid or swelling
  • Delayed healing or tissue loss

Additional FAQs

What do you do with my belly button?

Your belly button stays attached and where it is, but is brought through new skin when the tissues are re-draped. If you have had previous hernia surgery around your belly button or other tummy surgery, Dr. Kennedy occasionally creates a new belly button.

How long do I have to wear my compression garment?

Patients wear their compression garments for comfort and to minimize swelling 20-23 hours a day for the first three weeks and then 12 hours a day for the following three weeks. Some patients wear their compression garments longer, while others stop wearing their garments sooner.

When will my swelling be gone?

It will take a full 6 months for all swelling to resolve. The majority of your swelling will resolve within 6-8 weeks, although some people seem to have very little swelling and others hold swelling for much longer. Activity can prolong swelling and most people know if they are ‘swellers’ or not.

Will you be able to see my scar?

 All scars start dark pink, firm and noticeable, but with time your scar should be flat, white and thin. Dr. Kennedy tries to keep the scar low and hidden by most clothing and swim wear. We will discuss scar massage at your 3 week appointment which helps scars soften, flatten and whiten faster!

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