What is a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck is a traditional plastic surgery that removes excess skin and fat, tightens skin and helps you achieve a flatter and younger-looking body. The process begins by removing the extra lower abdominal skin while pulling down and tightening the rest. Muscles that have been weakened over years of stress or through childbirth are then brought back to their normal position. This produces an internal tightening, almost like you’re wearing a corset to hold things in. Finally, the belly button is rejuvenated and revised to be smaller and less droopy like years ago. Altogether this process helps give a naturally younger look that can be shown off even in a bikini.
Are there different types of Tummy Tucks?
Yes, there are. Traditional or full tummy tucks target the loose skin of the entire abdomen and across the whole belly area. Mini tummy tucks are for women whose loose skin, lax muscles, and fat deposits are concentrated below the belly button. Extended tummy tucks go slightly around the back and hips, and fleur-de-lis tummy tucks include a vertical incision up the belly. Which version you should consider will be discussed during your consultation and depends on where your excess skin and fat exist.
Why get a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck can help give you a slimmer, more contoured figure with flat abs. You might consider having a tummy tuck if you:
- Have sagging or loose abdominal skin
- Have had children
- Have lost a lot of weight
- Have separation of your abdominal muscles (diastasis recti)
- Want a tighter and flatter tummy
- Want to improve your belly button
What happens during a tummy tuck procedure?
Arrive early to your scheduled surgery to begin check-in and pre-op procedures. Once you’ve checked into the facility, your Tummy Tuck begins. Dr. Patel will map out the areas that will be operated on around your abdomen with removable marks. The next step is to have the anesthesiologist start putting you under.
Once asleep, Dr. Patel places incisions along the mapped lines. Internal abdomen muscles are tightened with sutures. Then loose skin, fat and tissue is removed. Dr. Patel will reposition your naval to create a balanced look. Finally, your skin is pulled taut and the incisions are sutured. The medical team will apply gauze and a compression bandage around your middle area.
You’ll then enter the recovery stage. After one to two hours, you will awaken, cozy and ready to be addressed by the doctor to explain your surgery. A bit later, you’ll be released to recover at home with proper after care instructions and possibly a compression garment as well..
How long is the downtime after a tummy tuck?
Expect your initial recovery period to take two to three weeks, starting with light swelling, soreness and fatigue. It’s normal to experience moderate pain during the first several days which medications recommended by Dr. Patel can lessen. Pain levels will steadily improve over the week or two, and you will likely be off meds soon after.
You should expect to be walking around at two weeks post-op, but you must avoid picking up heavy objects and exercise for at least six weeks. There will be post-op checkups where you will be cleared for certain activities based on your healing. Some people report sensations of numbness or pulling for weeks after a tummy tuck, but these also fade over time.
How can I improve my recovery time after a tummy tuck?
Dr. Patel has refined the whole process of surgery and recovery to help speed you back to your normal lifestyle as quickly as possible. During surgery, Dr. Patel uses the latest techniques to reduce postoperative pain, which is a huge factor in the speed of your recovery. One of these methods involves using long-acting anesthetics that calms and numbs the repaired abdominal wall (because that’s where most of the pain comes from), giving you nearly 24 hours of complete relief. Afterward, you’ll have a postoperative garment or binder that will help control and limit swelling, which will aid in faster recovery. Using these rapid recovery protocols, most patients can return to work in about five days, and most enjoy their new bodies just a few weeks later.
Liposuction vs. tummy tuck
Tummy Tucks are a great option for removing excess skin and tissue while tightening loosened abdominal muscles. While everything is cinched up, some of your stretch marks will also disappear. With Dr. Patel’s quick recovery techniques, you can begin enjoying the results in just a few weeks.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a lot of extra skin, liposuction alone may be a better option for removing fat cells. Liposuction isn’t able to take care of stretch marks. And if you have a lot of cellulite, that also will be partially eradicated, if at all. The benefit of liposuction is the ability to remove fat from stubborn areas where weight loss refuses to occur through traditional techniques.
Sometimes liposuction is performed in combination with tummy tuck procedures to remove fat cells where skin cannot be tightened. For example, many people will have liposuction of their love handles and flanks along with a tummy tuck to get a more contoured result.
Can I have a mommy makeover with a tummy tuck?
Absolutely! A mommy makeover typically includes a body contouring procedure like a Tummy Tuck and a breast rejuvenating procedure like a breast lift or breast augmentation. These can occur simultaneously so you can recover all at once and get back to your life faster. With newer techniques and technologies, many people are even choosing to have a more personal rejuvenation, such as Labiaplasty and ThermiVA, at the same time to complement the external makeover with an internal one. These procedures are quick and easy and complement each other in getting you back to your younger self.
Can I stand straight after a tummy tuck?
Yes, within a day or so you will be able to stand normally. Many tummy tuck surgeons produce results that cause patients to hunch over for several days or longer after their surgery. You can still hear some of these horror stories in reviews online. But this can be avoided most of the time and should not be considered the norm. Dr. Patel performs tummy tucks so you can stand straight and act pretty normal within a day or less. There’s no benefit to staying hunched over after surgery, so why should you?
Can I have a better belly button with a Tummy Tuck?
Another area of traditional tummy-tuck trouble is the belly button. So many surgeons today produce a simple and very tiny round button that doesn’t even come close to replicating or imitating a natural belly button, even though several techniques exist to help achieve this. Dr. Patel uses several variations of different techniques that match each individual’s body and help achieve a younger-appearing belly button that is also natural and looks normal. Attention to these subtle details produces an overall better result without any sacrifice.
What’s does a tummy tuck cost?
A tummy tuck can vary in price based on the extent of the procedure. We strive to be transparent and straightforward, so we like to inform everyone about the costs, including the surgery, anesthesiology, and operating room costs. Our fee includes all follow-up visits and all postoperative garments. We take care of everything, so you have less to worry about. For specific costs, please call and schedule a consultation so we can help you find what may be best for you.
Does insurance ever cover a tummy tuck surgery?
Most health insurance plans do not cover elective or cosmetic surgeries, and we do not accept them. However, you should check with your provider to clarify if you’re eligible for reimbursements.
Will a Tummy Tuck remove stretch marks?
Yes. Stretch marks on your belly area where the skin is removed will be removed, too. Despite the skin being tightened, stretch marks will remain in areas outside of what’s excised. For unwanted stretch marks that remain after your surgery, you may choose to have laser therapies to help them diminish.
What kind of scars will I have with a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck scar, like any other, needs time to heal before it can fade. There will be a horizontal line across your underbelly that will be very fine and initially change from white to purple, red, pink and back to purple then white. This process takes 18 – 24 months. While your tummy tuck scars will never completely disappear, they will fade considerably over time. There are several factors that can impact the long-term appearance of your scars and actions you can take to help, once completely healed.
Are the results of a Tummy Tuck permanent?
The skin, tissues and fat removed during your tummy tuck will not grow back. However, your skin can stretch out the same way it once did. Having another baby or gaining a large amount of weight will have an impact on whether or not your results stay long-term. If you can maintain a stable weight and avoid another pregnancy, your results can be permanent.
Will a tummy tuck help with lower back pain?
If your back pain is due to an excess of belly fat that causes you to hunch forward, removing it may help. First, lose as much weight on your own as possible first, which will also aid in alleviating pain. A tummy tuck on its own is not an aid for the relief of musculoskeletal pain of any kind.
Is it safe to have a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck is considered a safe procedure and we take all precautions against negative side effects and discomfort. As with any surgery, risks of excess bleeding, infections or anesthesia complications are always possible.
When can you shower after tummy tuck?
Dr. Patel will recommend that you wait about 48 hours after your surgery before showering to reduce the risk of your incision re-opening, which could prevent the healing process or, worse, cause complications like infections or impact surgical scars.