What Exactly Is a Tummy Tuck?
Not to be confused with liposuction, a tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure that consists of excess skin removal to flatten the abdomen. If you’re considering abdominoplasty, our tummy tuck patient guide below details everything you’d want to know about the abdominoplasty procedure.
Talk to your doctor to determine if you’re an ideal candidate for tummy tuck surgery.
You’ll benefit from a tummy tuck if you…
- Maintain current weight
- Have loose abdominal skin
- Experience back pain
- Are done child-bearing
Avoiding getting this procedure if you are…
- Have heart disease
- Have lung disease
- Have liver disease
What Are the Types of Tummy Tucks?
Targets: Lower abdomen
Most popular among moms, mini tummy tucks address the problematic “pooch” just below the belly button. With a single horizontal incision, your surgeon will tighten loose muscles and remove sagging skin.
Targets: Upper and lower belly
Ideal for patients with flabby skin above and below the navel, this option creates the most natural-looking results. To tighten optimal muscles, classic tummy tucks require an incision from one pubic bone to the other.
Targets: Upper and lower abdomen + flanks
This option involves horizontal and vertical incisions, specifically targeting the flabby abdomen, hips, and back skin. Extended abdominoplasties are suited for individuals who’ve had substantial weight loss and want to remove pounds of skin.
Choosing Your Abdominoplasty
The amount and location of your excess skin will help your plastic surgeon determine the type of tummy tuck that’ll produce the best results.
Other determining factors may include:
- Previous surgeries
- Skin quality
- Desired results
- Body type
How Do I Prepare for a Tummy Tuck?
During the initial consultation, your plastic surgeon will evaluate your body and discuss your abdominoplasty options.
Your surgeon will also ask about the following topics:
- Support system
- Medical history
- Abdominoplasty steps
- Surgery costs
- Potential risks
- Recovery expectations
In the weeks leading up to your tummy tuck, your surgeon will also discuss things you should avoid or begin doing.
- Eating well-balanced meals
- Taking vitamin c supplements
- Eating naturally fibrous foods
- Arranging for home recovery
- Gathering supplies for homecare
- Ice packs
- Bathroom chair
- Hand-held shower head
- Loose clothing
- Petroleum jelly
- Taking aspirin
- Using herbal medication
- Drinking alcohol
This is the time to schedule an appointment with your doctor for a physical exam and blood testing. Don’t forget to ask about temporarily modifying your current prescriptions.
What To Expect During an Abdominoplasty
The Six Steps of Abdominoplasty:
Informed patients tend to have less anxiety and are better equipped for recovery. The overview below will provide information regarding each step. These processes differ depending on surgery complexity and type.
Your board-certified cosmetic surgeon will recommend general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. Administration of medicine is based on allergies and medical history. You’ll likely discuss all anesthetic-related concerns during the initial consultation.
Your surgeon will discreetly place incisions between your pubic hairline and belly button as well as above your belly button. This placement helps eliminate the appearance of scars during recovery.
Keep in mind the amount and length of incisions will vary on the types of abdominoplasty:
- Mini abdominoplasty: One small incision just below your belly button.
- Classic abdominoplasty: Pubis bone to bone waistline incision.
- Extended abdominoplasty: Lateral and horizontal waistline incisions.
Third—Tighten Weak Muscles
During the procedure, your surgeon will pull and stitch weaker muscles together. Tightening your previously saggy abdomen helps narrow the waistline and provides a toned aesthetic.
Experienced surgeons will expertly detach and reposition your belly button and skin to a taut, figure-flattering location. A perfectly sculpted abdomen requires tightening all loose skin—including your pesky stretch marks.
Following the surgery, your cosmetic surgeon will close incisions using staples, skin adhesive, or sutures. Next, he’ll insert drain tubes to gather residual fluid and prevent infection. Your drains are normally removed at the same time as your stitches.
Sixth—Enjoy Your Results
While there will be discomfort, swelling, and a bit of bruising, your surgeon will ensure you’re healing correctly. In as little as two weeks, the swelling will subside and you’ll see a flattering, firmer figure that coincides with your size and weight.
What Should I Expect During Recovery?
In addition to the drain tubes, you’ll wear a series of compression body wraps and bandages to reduce swelling and blood clots. Your abdomen will be significantly swollen and you won’t be able to stand upright for several days—both of which are completely normal.
The surgical staff will relay recovery instructions following your procedure. You’ll likely be drowsy from the anesthetic, so most care instructions will be given to your caretaker.
Recovery topics your surgeon will discuss:
- Applicable ointments
- Compression garments
- Follow-up dates
- Possible side effects
- Concerning complications
- Hygiene dos and don’ts
- Eating and sleeping regimen
Typical Post-Abdominoplasty Symptoms:
- Healing asymmetry
- Itchy skin
- Shooting pain
- Stiff abdomen
At-Home Recovery Recommendations:
- Relive nausea—drink ginger tea
- Boost immune system—take vitamins Aand C
- Sleep comfortably — rest slightly inclined
- Reduce swelling —use arnica topicals
Avoid heavy lifting, or strenuous physical activity, for six weeks. Within two or three weeks, your body will have completely recovered!
Though unlikely, serious post-surgical complications may occur. If you experience one of the following symptoms, contact your surgeon’s office right away:
- Persistent pain
- Poor wound healing
- Blood clots
- Fluid accumulation in the skin (seroma)
- Excessive inflammation
- Shortness of breath
Get the Best Body Enhancement with Dr. Mazaheri
When performed correctly, an abdominoplasty can improve your self-confidence, quality of life, and overall appearance. For over 30 years, Dr. Mazaheri has performed successful tummy tucks and other image-enhancing procedures like liposuction, breast lifts, and mommy makeovers. He’s a board-certified plastic surgeon in Scottsdale who cares deeply about each patient and his/her desires.
It’s time to love your body again! Contact our staff online or by phone at (480) 613-9142 to schedule a consultation.
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