Do you have loose skin, stubborn fat deposits and stretch marks in your abdomen? Are you feeling embarrassed and self-conscious because of your protruding belly? Have you tried to achieve a flat tummy through diet and exercise without success?
If so, a tummy tuck is ideal for you.
Abdominoplasty, better known as a “tummy tuck,” is a surgical procedure to reshape and flatten the abdominal area. The surgeon removes excess sagging skin, gets rid of stubborn fat, tightens abdominal muscles, and corrects a protruding belly. The surgeon also removes some, if not all, stretch marks.
If you are unable to achieve a flatter, smoother and firmer abdomen after pregnancy, dramatic weight loss or aging, the procedure can help you to realize a slimmer and aesthetically pleasing tummy. It will give a more youthful-looking body and help you look better in your clothes and swimwear.
Why should you undergo abdominoplasty?
A tummy tuck is perfect for you if you are in good shape but bothered by loose abdominal skin and fat deposits that do not respond to exercise and diet. The procedure yields great results if you are physically healthy, have realistic expectations, have a stable weight, and are no longer having children. You should also be a non-smoker, but smokers can have the surgery if they stop smoking at least six weeks before and after the surgery.
You might consider abdominoplasty if you have:
- A protruding, poorly toned, and unattractive belly
- Loose, excess skin around your abdomen after weight loss
- Stretched, sagging skin and lax abdominal muscles after pregnancy
- Self-confidence marred by an unpleasant stomach contour
- Lost abdominal skin elasticity after weight loss or gain
At Politis Plastic Surgery, we believe that a personalized tummy tuck can give you the firm, flat abdomen you want to achieve a beautiful and proportionate body contour.
How should you prepare for a tummy tuck?
At Politis Plastic Surgery, we are proud to help you realize your dream of a flat, smooth tummy. To deal with your apprehensions about abdominoplasty, we conduct personal consultations to explain the procedure and the results it can help you achieve. During the consultation, we do a physical exam and medical history, and discuss your surgery goals.
Dr. Effie Politis will spend enough time with you to learn exactly what you want and describe realistic expectations. She will give you instructions on preparing for the surgery, including guidelines on drinking, eating and weight benchmarks to achieve before your surgery.
She will also recommend that you stop smoking at least six weeks before the procedure and avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal medications that can increase bleeding. Taking at least 2 weeks off from work is also recommended to allow ample time for recovery.
What abdominoplasty options do you have?
Your surgeon will customize your tummy tuck to meet your specific needs. Generally, there are three approaches that your surgeon may consider—a mini tummy tuck, full tummy tuck, or an extended tummy tuck.
When there is a need to improve your lower belly appearance, a mini tummy tuck may be recommended. This procedure is done with a single incision made just above the pubic mound. The plastic surgeon tightens loose muscles and removes excess skin, restoring a smooth, flat abdominal wall.
But when the full length of your abdominal wall is affected, the plastic surgeon may opt for a full tummy tuck. During this procedure, the surgeon makes a U-shaped or a horizontal incision above the pubic mound, and then removes excess skin and tightens the abdominal muscles.
In some cases, there is a need to remove excess skin in the lower and upper abdomen and the flanks. To achieve this, the plastic surgeon may recommend an extended tummy tuck, a procedure that involves a longer incision and removes excess, hanging skin from the lower and upper abdomen and flanks, and tightens the abdominal wall.
How is a tummy tuck done?
A complete abdominoplasty takes 2-3 hours, while a mini tummy tuck takes 1-2 hours—though the actual duration depends on the extent of work required. The surgeon first marks out the areas where incisions should be made, and then injects a solution of lidocaine (a local anesthetic) and epinephrine (control bleeding) into the area.
The primary incision is made above your pubic mound, from one hipbone to another. If the surgeon is performing a full tummy tuck, another incision is made around your navel. After making the incisions, the surgeon separates the skin from the abdominal wall, right from the abdominal wall to the ribcage, and lifts a large skin flap to reveal the vertical abdominal muscles.
By pulling muscles closer together and stitching them into a new position using sutures placed in the fascia of the abdominal muscles, the surgeon recreates a firmer abdominal wall and a narrower waistline. Excess skin and fat are also removed before the navel is sutured back in place. With the necessary corrections made, the surgeon closes the incisions and, if necessary, inserts one or more drains to prevent fluid buildup.
Recovering after a tummy tuck
A tummy tuck is typically an outpatient procedure. You should expect to leave the hospital a few hours after the procedure and have someone drive you home and stay with you for at least 24 hours. If you undergo a more extensive tummy tuck, you may need an overnight hospital stay.
There will be soreness after the anesthesia wears off. Make sure to take your pain-relieving medications to control the pain and wear your compression garments for the recommended period to support the tightening skin and reduce swelling. Make sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions to care for the drains in your incisions.
Should you notice an increase in pain, redness, bleeding, drainage or swelling in the surgical area, call your surgeon immediately for help. Other red flags include chest pains, dizziness, nausea, fever, vomiting and an unusual heartbeat.
Full recovery after a tummy tuck occurs over six or more months because the procedure involves abdominal muscles. The first week is usually the most uncomfortable and you will need extended bed rest. Make sure to plan for help at home to avoid aggravating or stretching the muscles as they heal. However, it is important to move or walk regularly to promote circulation, reduce swelling, and prevent blood clots.
By the second week, you will feel much better. Depending on how physically demanding your job is, you should be able to return to work within 2-4 weeks as long as you avoid straining, lifting or strenuous activity for at least 6 weeks. The resulting scar will fade away over time.
Is abdominoplasty safe?
When performed by an experienced tummy tuck surgeon, the results are generally very positive. Nevertheless, as with every surgery, there are risks associated with the procedure, including bleeding, hematoma, allergic reactions, scarring and change in skin sensation. Post-operative blood clots and infection may also occur but they are rare. You can reduce the risk of complications by following your surgeon’s pre and post-operative instructions.
Stunning, enduring results
Abdominoplasty is one of the most popular operations in plastic surgery and usually delivers impressive, permanent results when done by a skilled surgeon. Although the results may be initially hidden by the swelling and your inability to stand fully upright, after a week or two of internal healing, you will have a tighter and firmer abdomen. To ensure the results are long-lasting, maintain a balanced diet and regular exercise.
Why choose Politis Plastic Surgery?
At Politis Plastic Surgery, we know that a tummy tuck is a life-changing procedure. That is why Dr. Effie Politis will take the time listen to your concerns and explain the merits and risks of surgery and how it can be aligned to your aesthetic goals. She will only recommend you undergo the procedure if it can help you achieve a slimmer, more attractive abdomen.
If you are not feeling great about your tummy, call today to schedule your consultation. For more information about abdominoplasty and other plastic surgery procedures, visit the Politis Plastic Surgery website.