Shannon Armstrong, M.D., William Cullen, M.D., and Matthew Martin, M.D. of Elite Plastic Surgery are board-certified plastic surgeons specializing in abdominoplasty. Our surgeons offer a solution to excess abdominal skin for women in the Grand Rapids and Byron Center areas of Michigan. Contact us today if you are interested in learning more about our body procedures.
What Is a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)?
Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty) is the single best surgical procedure for removal of excess abdominal skin and tissue that diet and exercise alone can’t address. As an added benefit, an abdominoplasty may also include surgical tightening of the abdominal muscles that are commonly separated as result of pregnancy or fluctuations in weight—a condition known as rectus diastasis.
Common reasons for the procedure:
- Sagging or excess skin
- Previous surgeries
- Excessive weight-loss
Am I a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is a great procedure if you have excess skin that has stretched due to weight gain and loss, especially due to pregnancy. In some cases of pregnancy, the muscles of the lower abdomen can actually separate and they cannot return to their former position. This creates a noticeable sagging and permanent pooch in the lower abdomen. Tummy tuck surgery removes excess skin and tightens underlying muscles. This surgery slims the contour both vertically and on the flanks.
However, if you mainly have pockets of fat and not stretched, sagging skin, liposuction can be a better option. Liposuction can remove the fat and your skin can tighten back down to a slimmer contour. But your skin still needs good elasticity for this to be a better option. In many tummy tuck procedures at Elite, we combine some liposuction with the tuck.
It’s important to note that a tummy tuck is not a weight-loss procedure. This procedure is meant for patients who are near their ideal body weight, but who are bothered by excess skin and sagging in their abdomen.
What Can an Abdominoplasty Treat?
Whereas liposuction can only remove fat cells, a tummy tuck can remove fat and excess skin. It also usually tightens stomach muscles that have either become stretched or have even separated in the center of the stomach area.
Tummy tucks are especially good at reversing the changes made by the localized weight gain of pregnancy. Because the weight gain and stretching is so localized, the skin can become stretched to the point that it cannot tighten back down after delivery. A tummy tuck removes this overly stretched skin and achieves a slim contour again.
Tummy Tuck Procedure
Surgery is on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia and generally takes 2 to 3 hours. While all tummy tuck surgery require an incision, the length of the incision is variable. This depends on the amount of skin that we will need to remove. In general, the incisions from the procedure hide well within swimsuit lines. In many instances an additional incision made around the navel will allow your surgeon to reposition the navel to achieve a more youthful, aesthetically optimal result while excising more redundant skin.
Tummy Tuck Before & After
*Individual results may vary
What Procedures Can Be Combined with Abdominoplasty?
You may have heard the term mommy makeover before. It is a combination of a tummy tuck with liposuction and a breast lift. While this creates a serious recovery, these procedures can be combined. With most tummy tucks at Elite Plastic Surgery, we include some degree of liposuction to remove unwanted fat.
Is Abdominoplasty Good For Weight Loss?
This is not a weight-loss procedure. In fact, we require our patients to usually be within 10 percent of their ideal body weight before considering a tummy tuck. This is not to be confused with weight-loss procedures such as gastro bypass surgery.
Should I Have a Tummy Tuck If I Plan On Losing Weight?
Because a tummy tuck involves removing excess skin and tightening loose underlying muscles, you should wait if you plan on losing more than 10 percent of your current weight. This is because losing weight (in addition to the weight you’ve already lost that created the sagging skin) will create more looseness. It’s a good idea to be at a long-term weight goal before having this surgery.
Is Tummy Tuck Surgery Painful?
There is a recovery period after this procedure, and there will be some discomfort. This is due to the length of the incision with a tummy tuck. This incision usually stretches from hipbone to hipbone. Plus, in a full tummy tuck, another incision will be made around the belly button to tighten the skin above the navel. While the surgery, of course, is not painful thanks to anesthetic, your recovery will take some time.
What Is Abdominoplasty Plastic Recovery Like?
You need to expect a recovery period with a tummy tuck, due to the size of the incisions and cutting and repairing the abdominal muscles. There will be some pain, but the amount varies by the individual. You’ll be encouraged to walk after your surgery and should take a short walk three or four times a day for just a few minutes each time. You’ll have to walk a little hunched over and the skin of your abdomen may feel tight.
If you have drains, they will be removed anywhere from four days to two weeks after your surgery. You’ll wear a compression garment to help your skin adapt to its new slimmer contour and to help with swelling. Most patients can return to work two weeks after their surgery, but this is an individual thing — it may take longer. If your job involves any lifting or being on your feet all day long, you may need more time. Any strenuous exercise or lifting will have to wait for at least six weeks.
How Soon Can I Return to Normal Activities After a Tummy Tuck?
Because the large incision involved with a tummy tuck, patients need to be patient with their recovery. It’s important not to strain the incision by applying pressure to the abdomen. You’ll be able to walk after your surgery (it’s important to get the healing process started), but this is only for short lengths and you’ll be bent over a bit. In a couple weeks, you’ll be able to get back to work if you have a desk job, and you’ll be able to walk normally by then. Most patients can return to driving in two weeks or so. Your Elite surgeon will discuss your individual goals for returning to normal activities and exercise. Don’t expect to return to strenuous exercise or any lifting for at least six weeks, however.
Tummy Tuck Risks
Complications following tummy tuck surgery are exceedingly rare, but your Elite plastic surgeon will inform you of these risks at the time of your preoperative consultation. Your result should be very long lasting, barring any dramatic fluctuations in weight.
Schedule a Consultation
A tummy tuck can be the procedure to give you the sleeker, tighter midsection you’re looking for. If you’d like to learn more, please contact our office. Call (616) 459-1907 to schedule a consultation.