What is a Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, can help correct the appearance of a “potbelly.” If the abdominal muscles in your stomach are stretched or weakened, even the best diet and exercise might not be enough to get the shape you want. Candidates for a Houston tummy tuck can say goodbye to the belly and love handles that their exercise regimen hasn’t corrected. The Tummy Tucks history has been a procedure practiced since the 19th century. Going back to the early 1800s, surgeons were using the excess skin to cover up open wounds in patients.
If you are in overall good health and physical shape aside from that stubborn excess belly fat or weak abdominal muscles, you may be a good candidate for abdominoplasty or liposuction. Depending on the amount of skin and fat to be reduced, Texas Center for Breast and Body can perform one or both surgeries simultaneously in our Houston, TX, office.
Tummy Tuck Procedure: The Difference Between Liposuction and a Tummy Tuck
We offer both procedures liposuction and tummy tuck procedures, but they aren’t the same surgery. Liposuction focuses on only removing fat cells from below the skin’s surface. This means the surgery is less invasive and requires less recovery time. The benefit of a tummy tuck, however, goes further to not only remove fat but also to tuck sagging skin in the abdominal area for a tighter, leaner result.
To see what a tummy tuck can look like, visit our Before and After: Tummy Tuck Surgery page for real patient results!
Choosing between a mini or regular tummy tuck
The main difference between a mini or regular tummy tuck is the amount of skin removed. In a mini tummy tuck, only the lower skin is addressed, so the mini only stretched the lower part of the abdomen, and usually the muscle weakness is not addressed. In a regular tummy tuck, the entire abdominal skin is lifted up and pulled tight, also allowing for tightening of the abdominal wall. Personal preference and health needs will help you determine which is best for you.
Are you a good candidate for a tummy tuck procedure?
Because a tummy tuck addresses loose skin as well as fat, this procedure is usually a good option for patients either after childbirth or have lost a great deal of weight, or both, when skin naturally loses some elasticity and the ability to tighten and firm up. Women who have had multiple children also choose a tummy tuck to regain a pre-baby figure. Our cosmetic surgeon can help you understand your options based on your personal health history.
Preparing for the Tummy Tuck Procedure
There are certain steps you must take before undergoing a safe and effective tummy tuck surgery. Our team will give you specific instructions during your consultation to ensure you’re confident and ready on the day of your procedure, but overall, our general advice includes:
- No smoking for at least two weeks prior to the surgery and ideally, for two weeks after surgery to speed up the healing process.
- Avoid excessive exposure to the sun.
- Eat well and avoid dieting in the weeks leading up to the surgery.
- Stay healthy to avoid a surgery delay due illness, like a cold or flu.
- Maintain a light exercise routine as approved by your primary care doctor. Good muscle tone speeds up recovery time.
- Plan for a friend or family member to drive you home after surgery.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
How long is tummy tuck surgery?
Tummy tuck surgery usually takes two to five hours in a hospital or outpatient surgical facility. Most patients are given general anesthesia, although some receive intravenous sedation. During the tummy tuck surgery itself, the surgeon separates the skin from the abdominal wall, tightens the abdominal muscles by pulling them closer together, and then sutures them into this new position. The skin is stretched down and additional skin may be removed.
How painful is a tummy tuck?
Patients should expect to experience pain and swelling for the first several days following surgery, which can be alleviated with prescribed medication from our team. Some patients return home the day of surgery while others may require an overnight hospital stay. It’s important to begin walking as soon as possible after surgery to help encourage healing, and we may also recommend light exercise.
What is the Tummy Tuck recovery period?
After your abdominoplasty, most patients require five to seven days off work before returning to their jobs. Dr. Schusterman suggests waiting at least six weeks in total before resuming vigorous exercise, heavy lifting, or other strenuous activities.
Minor scarring, while permanent, will fade over time. Due to post-operative swelling in the abdomen, results may not be visible for several weeks. However, unless the patient undergoes a pregnancy or considerable weight gain, your tummy tuck results will be significant and long-term.
How much does a Tummy Tuck Procedure Cost?
The exact price for your tummy tuck will depend on your individual consultation. The average cost of surgery may range anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000.
Before undergoing any type of surgery, whether cosmetic or medically necessary, it’s important to consult with your physician to understand the exact cost, risks, and potential benefits. At the Texas Center for Breast and Body, Dr. Schusterman & Dr. Abdulla Fakhro meet with each of their patients to discuss their expectations for the procedure as well as any special pre- or post-operative instructions. During your consultation for a tummy tuck or liposuction, Dr. Schusterman will perform an evaluation and determine whether this procedure can help you achieve your body goals, or if liposuction or a combination surgery would be best for you.
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Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Mark A. Schusterman, MD, FACS
Although his research and development of microsurgical reconstruction techniques established his reputation, his knowledge and understanding of the human body and the challenges associated with aiding patients suffering with head and neck injuries as well as breast cancer patients has made Dr. Schusterman an award-winning plastic surgeon.
About Nobilis Health
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Hermann Drive Surgical Hospital, part of the Nobilis Health family, is a state-of-the-art acute care hospital committed to excellence. At Hermann Drive Surgical Hospital, our highly credentialed staff, cutting-edge equipment, and robust on-site services provide every member of the community with access to exceptional healthcare, 24/7.
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