Otherwise known as an abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck is a surgical procedure to correct the appearance of loose skin or fat that accumulates around the midsection. During the procedure, stretched or weakened abdominal muscles (that may have been impossible to fix with diet and exercise alone) are also corrected.
Who is (and is not) a candidate for a tummy tuck?
Per the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a candidate for tummy tuck meets the following standards:
- Be of stable weight
- Have overall good health
- Be a non-smoker, or at least refrain from smoking two weeks prior to your procedure and throughout your recovery.
Those who are not candidates may not meet the requirements because:
- They are losing weight or have more than the desired amount of interorgan fat tissue remaining
- They have internal scars from previous surgeries that make abdominoplasty impossible
- They are still planning to have more children (while this is not set in stone, keep in mind that the abdominal muscles and skin will stretch with subsequent pregnancies)
Mini or a Traditional Tummy Tuck?
A mini tummy tuck is used to treat mild the mild pooch caused by loose muscles, and is normally for those without much extra skin. A full tummy tuck treats loose skin, muscle separation both above and below the belly button, and removes some stretch marks, depending on location. During your consultation, Dr. Schusterman will suggest the best procedure to obtain your desired results.
What to Expect: Before
To prepare for your surgery, you must follow a specific set of instructions. It is normally recommended that you:
- Avoid smoking for two weeks prior
- Eat well and avoid crash dieting
- Take precautions to avoid catching a cold or the flu, as it will delay your surgery
- Maintain a healthy exercise routine to promote proper healing afterwards
- Insure you have transportation home from your surgery
What to Expect: After
Aside from a flatter and tighter abdominal region, there are a few things you should expect:
- Prepare to miss 5 to 7 days of work for healing
- You must avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity for at least 6 weeks
- There will be scarring, but it fades over time
- You may need to spend the first night in the hospital, although some patients are able to go home the same day.
- Results may not be visible due to swelling for several weeks.
As with any surgical procedure, there will be scarring. If you are having a mini tummy tuck, the scar will follow the pubic line, stretching about 6 to 8 inches. If you receive a full tummy tuck, your scar will go from hip bone to hip bone. While the scar is large, it is easily concealed beneath underwear and most swimsuits. Over time, the scarring will fade significantly. Depending on the amount of skin removed, there may be a small scar surrounding your belly button as it will need to be re-positioned.
During the procedure, you will feel no pain. You will either be under anesthesia or intravenous sedation. You will experience some swelling and pain for the first few days that follow your surgery; however, this will be managed with a prescription from Dr. Schusterman.
Absolutely! In fact, tummy tucks are very common for mothers. During pregnancy, your skin and muscles are stretched beyond their normal capacity, and your body begins storing fat across your midsection. After your child is born, you are left with stretched and separated muscles, as well as loose skin, stretch marks, and added fat pockets. A tummy tuck can be extremely helpful for all the above.