Tummy Tuck

A flat abdomen can be an attractive asset, but there are many factors in life that can impact the midsection of the body. Weight fluctuations, pregnancy, aging, medical procedures and even genetics can all create looser skin, excess fat and a bulge around the middle. Abdominoplasty or the “tummy tuck” is a cosmetic surgical procedure that can remove excess fat and skin, while restoring the tightness of the abdomen wall muscles.

A tummy tuck is ideal for someone in good health with a stable weight that wants to enhance the appearance of the abdomen. It is not a weight loss procedure, but a way to trim and tighten the tummy area when diet and exercise are not effective.
Costs can vary on tummy tuck surgery, depending on the level of procedure and the surgeon. Not all tummy tucks are the same; the difficulty and techniques used are different for each patient. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported the average tummy tuck cost $5,798 in 2016. The variances depend on the cosmetic surgeon’s fees, anesthesia costs, facility costs, medications and other factors.
When you meet with your tummy tuck cosmetic surgeon, this is an opportunity to learn more about the procedure, what to expect and any risks involved in the procedure. Your cosmetic surgeon will also want to learn more about you. Your surgeon will ask for information about your medical history and the reasons you want to have a tummy tuck performed. Some questions you may want to ask include:
  • What type of results can I expect?
  • How long will recovery take?
  • What are the risks and possible complications?
  • Tell me about your experience, education, certification level and success as a cosmetic surgeon.
  • Can I see before and after pictures of previous tummy tuck procedures you have performed?
In any cosmetic surgery, it is important to understand the realistic expectations of results and possible risks before making the decision to proceed.
Any surgery has minor to fatal risks and tummy tucks are no different. Reactions to the anesthesia are one risk, especially under general anesthesia. Since there are incisions and changes to the muscles and tissue in the abdomen, there can also be other risks during the healing and recovery process, including:
  • Infection
  • Swelling, bruising and fluid retention
  • Changes in skin sensation
  • Scarring or discolorations
  • Nerve, muscle or organ damage
  • Blood clots or deep vein thrombosis
  • Unfavorable results or need for revision surgery
While complications and risks are possible, following your cosmetic surgeon’s recommended steps before and after surgery can reduce the chance of any problems.
Your surgeon will advise you on anything to avoid before your tummy tuck surgery. Anything that can impact blood clotting or healing should be avoided, such as smoking, aspirin and certain medications and supplements. You will also need some lab tests and a medical checkup before surgery that your cosmetic surgeon clinic will schedule. Make sure you have a plan for your surgery day and recovery; you will want someone to bring you home and have the right medications and supplies on hand, so you can rest and heal when you come home.
Each tummy tuck surgery can vary depending on the patient and the desired results. However, anesthesia will be used, usually IV sedation or general anesthesia. The surgery usually takes two to five hours to complete, with incisions made to remove excess skin, perform liposuction and repair abdominal muscles. Stitches, sutures or adhesives are used to close the incisions and sometimes a surgical drain will be placed to allow fluid to escape during healing.
After your tummy tuck surgery, you can expect to spend a few weeks recovering. Full abdominoplasty can take 2-4 weeks of recovery, while modified tummy tucks can have a quicker healing time. There will be some discomfort, swelling, bruising and fluid during the recovery period. Your cosmetic surgeon will give you instructions on how to care for your incisions, surgical drain and bandages to accelerate healing, and give you prescriptions for fighting infection and limiting pain. Expect to return to your surgeon for follow up appointments to check the progress of your healing.
Once the initial swelling and fluid retention subsides, you will begin to see the benefits of your tummy tuck surgery, usually in a few weeks. Your profile can reveal a flatter abdomen with less sagging or excess skin, giving you more confidence in your appearance.
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