What is a Tummy Tuck?
The tummy tuck procedure has become one of the most frequently performed procedures in the last decade. Medically known as an abdominoplasty, this procedure ranks in the top five most requested cosmetic procedures. The number of performed tummy tucks increased by 72% between the years of 1997 and 2001, and the numbers are estimated to keep climbing up.
A tummy tuck has the ability to improve an individuals overall appearance by removing unwanted skin from the abdominal area. Unfortunately, once the skin is stretched to it’s full elasticity, it doesn’t always go back.
During this procedure, doctors tighten abdominal muscles that have been weakened, separated, or loosened as a result of fluctuation of weight or pregnancy. The abdomen is also reshaped and flattened by removing fat and skin that causes the belly to protrude. In some cases, a tummy tuck can even remove or improve the appearance of stretch marks located below the belly button.
The tummy tuck procedure is quite different than liposuction. Liposuction is the removal of fat deposits through suctioning. However, combining these two cosmetic procedures can often provide even better and more satisfying results.
An abdominoplasty is a very invasive cosmetic surgery that cannot be substituted for exercise and regular dieting. This should be the last resort after all other methods have failed and weight is stable.
Although tummy tucks are usually performed for cosmetic purposes, some patients seek this procedure to improve other medical issues, including back pain, which can be caused by weakened or loosened abdominal muscles. At times, a tummy tuck can serve as reconstructive surgery.
Typically, tummy tucks are more costly than liposuction and require a slightly longer period of recovery. In order to achieve long lasting results, patients should maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise routines. This is a procedure that is available to both men and women in need.
Patients are encouraged to ask questions and address any concerns they may have at their first consultation.
Tummy Tuck Miami Candidates
For the tummy tuck procedure, the ideal candidate would be a physically and emotionally healthy individual within 25 pounds of his/her recommended weight. It is also very important that the individual is a non smoker with realistic expectations.
Women and men with excess loose skin and fat in the abdomen area can benefit and be great candidates for this procedure. Patients that still plan to get pregnant in the future should wait until they are done having kids. If you plan on losing extra weight in the future, you may want to hold off until you are at your desired body and weight.
The abdominoplasty procedure has been frequently and successfully performed on patients who have lost a significant amount of weight and have skin that has lost elasticity.
WHO SHOULD AVOID GETTING A TUMMY TUCK?
Patients that are regular smokers or are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke should avoid having any type of surgery. Smoking causes decreased blood flow which can cause a number of complications including; extended wound healing, infection, skin loss, increased scarring, among others. Patients who plan on losing weight in the future should also avoid surgery since more weight loss can result in more loose skin.
The tummy tuck surgery should be postponed until the individual has reached the recommended or desired weight for the procedure. Women who plan on having more children in the future should also wait. Getting pregnant after having a tummy tuck can alter the results of the procedure.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
There are various forms and techniques of the abdominoplasty procedure. Surgery time depends on which type of tummy tuck you choose to give you the best results. The traditional complete tummy tuck can take as long as five hours. The less invasive partial tummy tuck can take up to two hours.
As far as the process goes, general anesthesia will be administered to the patients when they are taken into the operation room. An incision running horizontally will then be made right on top of the pubic region. The length and size of the incision all depends on the amount of skin being removed and the anatomy of the patient.
If the patient also has excess loose skin around the navel, an additional incision will be made around the belly button so that extra skin can be removed.
Some stretch marks may be removed, but remaining stretch marks will be improved and flattened. It is essential to be aware that some stretch marks can remain and scarring will be present. Although you may want your scar to be gone after a few years, this isn’t always possible.
Different types of tummy tucks address different issues patients may have. Because they differ in recovery time and complexity, your plastic surgeon will recommend the best procedure for your body.
The complete abdominoplasty is an invasive and complex surgery. There are two incisions involved in this technique; the first running from hip to hip and the other surrounding the belly button. The extra skin is then removed and the remaining skin is pulled up to create a flatter and tighter look.
The muscles are then sewed together and tightened. This will make the waistline smaller and the abdominal wall much firmer. Once the excess skin is removed and the skin is tightened, the surgeon will create a new location for the belly button.
Once the procedure has been completed, drainage tubes will be inserted under the skin to remove buildup of fluid. Compression garments will most likely be placed around the operated area as well.
PARTIAL OR MINI TUMMY TUCK
The mini or partial tummy tuck is specifically targeted at excess skin and fat deposits below the belly button. In the typical mini tummy tuck, the belly button is not moved. The incision for this technique is typically smaller than the incision of the complete tummy tuck, making recovery time significantly quicker. During this procedure, a small incision is made right on top of the pubic area. The extra skin is then removed and the remaining skin is pulled together and reattached creating a smooth and tight look. This technique is most beneficial among patients that want to get rid of excess skin in the lower abdomen.
LIPOSUCTION AND TUMMY TUCK MIAMI
It is common for the tummy tuck procedure to be combined with liposuction. At your initial consultation, your plastic surgeon will evaluate you and determine how much fat should be taken out according to your needs and desires. The first part of the procedure is the liposuction, where they take out excess unwanted fat from several areas of the abdomen and back. Once the liposuction is done, a partial or full tummy tuck will be performed, depending on the decision you have made.
Another option patients have, which is slightly different than the traditional tummy tuck, is the circumferential abdominoplasty. This procedure is sometimes referred to as a belt lipectomy or a body lift.
While the traditional tummy tuck only focuses on the abdomen, this procedure is aimed at correcting the back, hips, waistline, thighs, and buttocks as well. If there is excess skin on any of these areas that has lost elasticity, it will be removed. During this procedure, muscles can also be repositioned to create a firmer looking figure.
The first step in this procedure is creating an incision that runs along the waist so that excess fat and skin can be removed. Once all the unwanted skin has been removed, the lower and upper skin tissue will be joined together creating a smoother and tighter look.
How to prepare for a Tummy Tuck?
Preparing your body for surgery is very important. Smokers must completely stop smoking for about six weeks before the scheduled surgery date. Cutting down on smoking is not a sufficient technique, due to the fact that the chemicals in cigarettes slow down the healing and recovery process. Smoking also raises the chances for further complications. Your plastic surgeon will also provide you with a list of supplements and medications that you should stop or continue to take. It is important to avoid blood thinners such as Motrin and Aspirin.
Maintaining a healthy diet with well balanced out meals is also important. In order to heal properly, your body needs the right nutrients. Once you schedule your surgery, you should plan an extended recovery time. When it comes to your diet and weight, you should avoid any crazy or extreme diets. Rapid weight loss in a short period of time can lower your immune system, increasing the possibility of infection.
PREPARATIONS THAT SHOULD BE MADE BEFORE YOUR PROCEDURE:
- Arrangements for animal and pet care
- A comfortable bed with enough pillows to provide support
- Prescribed medications should be purchased before surgery
- Nightlights may be necessary to help you get around at night
- If there is anything you might need, make sure it is somewhere that you can reach it without having to extend your arms
- Loose, comfortable clothing should be accessible
- Have your movies, magazines, journals, and books ready and handy
- Wash your hair the day before surgery (no showers the first few days
- Buy the appropriate foods ahead of time, such as saltine crackers
- Let your job know you will need at least two weeks off to recover
- Have a friend or family member nearby at all times
- Have your doctor’s phone number handy in case you have any questions, concerns, or emergencies
- Make sure you are resting near a bathroom
Tummy Tuck Recovery
You must arrange transportation and care after your procedure. You will not be able to drive for the first few days and you will need extra care for the first 48 hours. During your recovery period, you should attend regular post-op appointments with your plastic surgeon. Compression garments must be worn as told in order to reduce swelling and help the body adapt to the new shape.
Patients should be aware that mood swings, depression, and hyperactivity after surgery is possible. After a serious operation such as this one, many changes in the body occur that take time to get adapted to. Movement and physical activity should also be avoided or at a minimum. With time, you will slowly fall into your normal routines.
The time of recovery highly depends on the patient and the type of tummy tuck. Factors such as health, age, and skin elasticity all affect the time of recovery. Patients should take short walks around the house the day after surgery just to make sure the blood is flowing. Standing up straight will not be possible for the first week or so. Patients should also avoid sitting for long periods of time. Activities such as lifting, bending down, and pushing should be avoided for the first few weeks. These movements can cause extra bruising and swelling. As time passes, your body will heal and scars will begin to fade becoming less noticeable. Although scars will fade, they will not disappear completely.
Your doctor will prescribe you pain medication to relieve any discomfort you may have. It is normal for your stomach to feel tight and swollen. Wearing your compression garments will help the pain and recovery. Numbness of the skin around the incision and belly button is common. The drainage tubes will get rid of fluid build up after surgery.
Tummy Tuck Risks
Every surgery has its fair share of possible risks, complications, and side effects. After this procedure, it is common to experience pain, bruising, and swelling. Anesthesia sometimes cause side effects, infection, or bleeding. Pain should be expected, but your doctor will give you prescriptions for pain medication.
Soreness can last for up to a few weeks after the procedure. Numbness can last for up to a year and in some cases can be permanent. Some possible complications include poor healing, infection, and blood clots. Your doctor will provide you with information to help you avoid these complications.
After an extensive or full tummy tuck, tissue loss can occur along the incision. Patients that smoke or have diabetes may develop hematomas. This occurs when drains are taken out and extra fluid accumulates under the skin. This fluid can be removed with a needle in your doctors office.
Tummy Tuck Cost
The cost of the procedure varies depending on the state and city in which your procedure is performed. Other factors such as age, weight, and state of health also affect the price. The typical cost for this procedure varies from $2500.00 – $5000.00. This price usually includes anesthesia, facility fees, medications, and pre and post-op care.
If a patient is getting a tummy tuck for medical reasons, then insurance is likely to cover the costs. If it is being performed for cosmetic reasons, you will not receive help from your insurance.