Demystifying Tummy Tucks Popular Questions Answered
What Does a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Involve?
An abdominoplasty surgery—also known as a tummy tuck—involves making an incision from hip to hip on the lower abdomen. Commonly, the incision is placed just below the panty line. Occasionally, the incision may extend over the hips. Through this incision, the plastic surgeon removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen. Usually, they will also perform diastasis recti repair which stitches together separated abdominal muscles. This final step helps tone and further flatten the abdomen as well as promote long lasting results by strengthening the abdominal muscles.
Am I a Good Candidate For This Procedure?
Tummy tuck Sarasota patients do share traits that make them an all-around good candidate. A tummy tuck takes several hours to complete and can involve an intense recovery. Thus, requiring a prepared and well-informed patient. Some factors that determine candidacy include:
- Current medications
- Medical conditions
- Previous abdominal surgeries
- If a patient plans to have any future pregnancies
- Ability to withstand general anesthesia
- Amount of protruding stomach consisting of extra skin
- Long term outlook
- Patient’s understanding of the procedure
- Patient’s goals and expected results
A Few Example Patient Profiles:
After having three children, a woman in her 30s to 40s presents with stretched and separated abdominal muscles (diastasis recti). This has affected her ability to exercise and maintain urinary continence. The patient also has significant extra skin on her lower abdomen. The patient does not plan to have any more children. Thus, she is a good candidate for a traditional tummy tuck surgery.
A 35-year-old man lost over one hundred pounds and experienced sagging, loose skin as a result. The patient is within ten pounds of their final goal weight and has maintained their current lifestyle for several months. The patient could benefit from an abdominoplasty to remove the excess skin on his abdomen.
There are—of course—several other types of patients who may qualify for a tummy tuck. Pregnancy and major weight loss are the two most common causes of the need for abdominoplasty surgery. The best way to determine candidacy is to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon.
Will I Have Visible Scars?
Tummy tuck scars are designed to be placed below the panty line. Thus, they should be concealed by most undergarments and swimsuits. Certain kinds of tummy tucks—namely a fleur-de-lis tummy tuck—may involve more visible scars. Usually, tummy tuck scars are easy to conceal.
Your surgeon may provide tips for managing your scar during and after recovery. For example, making sure to keep the scar out of the sunlight for several weeks or months helps prevent the scar from becoming overly pigmented. Some surgeons may recommend silicone sheets or scar creams.
Can I Have a Mini Tummy Tuck (Mini Abdominoplasty) Instead of Full Abdominoplasty?
A patient may be a candidate for a mini tummy tuck if the extra skin does not extend above the belly button. The incision remains the same, but the abdominal muscles generally do not need to be repaired or tightened. The belly button also is not recreated or repositioned.
Mini tummy tuck patients will have less extra skin and may have tight and intact abdominal muscles. Some women may only need a mini tummy tuck after a single pregnancy or moderate weight loss. The majority of abdominoplasty patients qualify for a fully tummy tuck.
Will Liposuction Work Instead of a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)?
Liposuction is a minimally invasive surgery that uses a cannula to break up and remove excess fat. It involves only tiny incisions and can treat multiple areas. Many patients undergo liposuction and tummy tuck Sarasota together. In the right patient, they can complement the results of one another.
In rare cases, liposuction may replace a tummy tuck. This is only when no muscle repair is necessary, extra skin is minimal, and the skin is expected to adequately retract.
How Long Does It Take To See Results?
Like most cosmetic surgeries, results are considered final in nine to twelve months. However, patients may see significant results within three to six months. Factors that can slow down recovery include smoking, not following post-op protocols, and returning to activity too quickly.
How Long Do Results Last?
As long as a patient maintains a healthy and active lifestyle, they can expect to maintain their results long term. It is also important that a patient does not get pregnant after a tummy tuck if they want permanent results. Pregnancy stretches the abdominal muscles and often causes extra skin.
What is the Recovery Process Like?
Patients may experience some pain and discomfort after surgery. It tends to be the worst for the week following surgery. Major side effects like swelling and bruising should significantly improve within two to three weeks. Every surgeon will have their unique recovery protocols. However, patients can expect directions such as:
- Remain hunched over to prevent stress on the incision
- Sleep sitting at roughly a 45-degree angle
- Avoid strenuous activities for at least two to three weeks
- Do not smoke
- Get up and walk frequently
- Do not submerge the incision
- Keep the incision out of the sun
- Get adequate rest, eat a healthy diet, and stay hydrated
Will Tummy Tuck Surgery Help Me Lose Weight?
Tummy tuck surgery is not a weight loss surgery. It helps contour the body—especially after weight loss—by removing extra skin. On its own, it does not promote long term weight loss or management. While it can be motivating for some patients, it is not a reliable way to lose weight. Additionally, patients should be close to their goal weight before abdominoplasty surgery. Most patients do not lose any way as a result of tummy tuck surgery. It is best that patients have maintained their lifestyle for at least three months before undergoing a tummy tuck.
Does a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Remove Fat?
A tummy tuck may reduce a small amount of abdominal fat. For the best results though, adding liposuction to a tummy tuck will remove more fat. If the primary concern is fat, patients may consider liposuction instead.
How Long Will I Need to Take Off Work After Surgery?
Patients should plan for about two to three weeks off work. However, patients with physical jobs may need longer off or to return on light duty. Every patient’s timeline will look slightly different. Factors that influence return-to-work timelines following a tummy tuck Sarasota include:
- How well the patient heals
- If the patient smokes
- Diabetes or similar conditions
- How well a patient adheres to post-surgery restrictions
- The type of job the patient works
- Pain level and how the patient manages it
When Will I Be Able to Return To My Normal Activities?
Patients may begin to return to light activities that do not place major stress on their incision after two to three weeks. This can include activities like walking, light aerobics, housework, and stretching. However, activities such as intensive cardio or weight lifting will likely need to wait six to eight weeks before resuming.
How Soon Can I Exercise After a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)?
Patients can take longer, light walks once they feel comfortable. Generally, surgeons recommend that patients wait until the two-week mark or when they no longer need to hunch over. The patient’s surgeon will advise them when they can return to all forms of activity. Thus, it is important to stay in contact with your surgeon post-surgery.
How Painful Is a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)?
Cosmetic surgeons generally prescribe pain medications following tummy tuck Sarasota surgery. Patients are encouraged to cease them as soon as they feel able. In addition to the pain medications, patients may also receive prescriptions for anti-nausea medication and antibiotics. Patients should take the medications as prescribed.
How Much Does Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Surgery Cost?
The cost of tummy tuck Sarasota depends on several factors such as location, experience of the surgeon, type of tummy tuck, and any special considerations necessary. Financing is available through outside sources such as Care Credit. Patients should be prepared and explore financial options before their consultation, if possible.
Is Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Surgery Covered By Insurance?
An abdominoplasty is rarely covered by surgery. One exception is in the case of a panniculectomy. While technically different from a tummy tuck, it performs much of the same purposes, and a tummy tuck is generally combined with pannus removal. A panniculectomy removes a stomach that hangs below the stomach and may obstruct other anatomy or make daily activity difficult.
Can I Combine Other Procedures With a Tummy Tuck?
Combining surgeries—when performed on a patient who is a good candidate for combined surgeries—can lessen recovery time when compared to undergoing two separate surgeries. It also allows patients to recover from both procedures at the same time, cutting overall recovery time. Common and popular combinations include tummy tuck with liposuction, tummy tuck with Brazilian butt lift, and tummy tuck with breast augmentation.
How Should I Prepare Before Surgery?
- To prepare for tummy tuck Sarasota surgery, patients should:
- Obtain any necessary medical clearances
- Secure financing if necessary
- Get time off work
- Make hotel, travel, and childcare arrangements
- Fill prescriptions before surgery
- Have different types of food on hand for recovery
- Wear button down or zip up clothing
What Happens If I Decide to Have More Children After Surgery?
There is no medical risk to having children after a tummy tuck surgery. However, it will likely reverse results and require a revision surgery if the patient hopes to maintain their original result. Patients should closely consider if they want more children or if they are okay with needing future surgery.
Are There Any Risks of Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Surgery?
Risks of a tummy tuck:
- Raised or visible scarring
- Muscle tightness
- Opening of the incision
- Skin death
Cosmetic surgeons reduce risk through several methods such as patient screening, limiting bleeding during surgery, and making patients follow pre-op instructions like quitting smoking. Patients may also need to alter their normal medications.
Preparing for Consultation
Dr. Alberico Sessa of Sarasota Surgical Arts has nearly two decades of experience providing the best tummy tuck Sarasota has to offer. When consulting with Dr. Sessa or any other surgeon, research them and the procedure first. Understand the type of results they provide and their credentials. Patients may also prepare questions to ask during the consultation:
- What types of tummy tuck do you perform?
- How do you minimize risk during surgery?
- What previous experience do you have with abdominoplasty surgery?
- Do you routinely combine tummy tucks with other surgeries?
- Do you offer financing options?
- How much does tummy tuck cost?
Patients will likely have their own questions which is encouraged. Make sure that you have all of the information you want and need before moving forward with the procedure. To learn more and schedule a consultation with Dr. Sessa, call us at 941-923-1736. Patients can also reach out online via chat, Price Simulator, and our contact form.