What is a tummy tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, removes excess fat and skin and, in most cases, restores weakened or separated muscles creating an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer.
A flat and well-toned abdomen is something many of us strive for through exercise and weight control. Sometimes these methods cannot achieve our goals.
Even individuals of otherwise normal body weight and proportion can develop an abdomen that protrudes or is loose and sagging. The most common causes of this include:
Significant fluctuations in weight
What tummy tuck surgery can't do
A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program.
Although the results of a tummy tuck are technically permanent, the positive outcome can be greatly diminished by significant fluctuations in your weight. For this reason, individuals who are planning substantial weight loss or women who may be considering future pregnancies would be advised to postpone a tummy tuck.
A tummy tuck cannot correct stretch marks, although these may be removed or somewhat improved if they are located on the areas of excess skin that will be excised.
Who is a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery?
A tummy tuck is a highly individualized procedure. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else's desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.
In general, you may be a good tummy tuck candidate if:
You are physically healthy and at a stable weight
You have realistic expectations
You are a nonsmoker
You are bothered by the appearance of your abdomen
What are the risks of tummy tuck surgery?
The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal, and you'll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications of tummy tuck surgery are acceptable.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks.
Tummy tuck risks include:
Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
Fluid accumulation (seroma)
Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
Poor wound healing
Possibility of revisional surgery
Recurrent looseness of skin
Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
Suboptimal aesthetic result
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It's important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
What should I expect during my tummy tuck recovery?
During your tummy tuck recovery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and you may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimize swelling and support your abdomen as it heals following surgery.
Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
You will be given specific instructions that may include:
How to care for the surgical site and drains
Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection
Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
When to follow up with your plastic surgeon
Be sure to ask your tummy tuck surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period:
Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery? When will they be removed?
When will the stitches be removed?
How will I bathe?
How long will I wear the pressure garment?
When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
When do I return for follow-up care?
What results should I expect after a tummy tuck?
The final results of tummy tuck surgery may be initially obscured by swelling and your inability to stand fully upright until internal healing is complete.
Within a week or two, you should be standing tall and confident in your new slimmer profile. Your tummy tuck will result in a flatter, firmer abdominal contour that is more proportionate with your body type and weight.
Previous abdominal surgery may limit the potential results of a tummy tuck.
Tummy tuck scarring
In women who have undergone cesarean section, the existing scars may be incorporated into the new scar.
The tummy tuck scar may take several months to a year to fade as much as it will.
Although good results are expected from your procedure, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
Following your physician’s instructions is essential to the success of your surgery.
It’s important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
How much does a tummy tuck cost?
The average cost of a tummy tuck is $6,154, according to 2020 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This average cost is only part of the total price – it does not include anesthesia, operating room facilities or other related expenses. Please consult with your plastic surgeon's office to determine your final fee.
A surgeon's fee for tummy tuck surgery will be based on his or her experience, the type of procedure used and the geographic office location.
Most health insurance plans do not cover tummy tuck surgery or its complications, but many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.
Tummy tuck costs may include:
Hospital or surgical facility costs
Prescriptions for medication
When choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area for a tummy tuck, remember that the surgeon's experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.
This article was taken from AMERICAN SOCIETY OF PLASTIC SURGEONS web page: