What is a Tummy Tuck?
Some people are self-conscious about their stomach fat. Some people need to reduce stomach fat for medicinal reasons.
Tummy tuck surgery, also known as Abdominoplasty, can help correct the appearance of a “potbelly.” There are all sorts of reasons people want Abdominoplasty- the eponymously renamed “Tummy Tuck” for its reshaping of the abdomen- but there’s rarely a bad reason. In short, a Tummy Tuck removes fat from the abdomen of the patient, leaving them a happier and healthier version of themselves. 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.
Who is the ideal candidate?
Naturally, as with any medical treatment, there are plenty of people who don’t, for some reason or another, fit well as a candidate for Abdominoplasty. The truth is, some people can’t receive the treatment- either because of genetics or medical complications. Make sure you fulfill the requirements of the ideal candidate before you consider receiving the Tummy Tuck treatment.
Anybody who is pregnant or has recently been pregnant should not consider the procedure as viable. Obviously, a treatment to tighten the abdomen is completely out of the question when with child, and a patient should wait 6 months after having a baby before even considering the process. A Postpartum condition abdomen should give itself time to recover naturally before the new mother tried Abdominoplasty.
Significant weight loss
Any “weight loss” cosmetic surgery is ultimately not a method of actually losing weight. These surgeries would more accurately be described as “Body Sculpting” procedures. If you’re trying to lose any significant amount of weight- anything more than 10-11 pounds your only real option is hard dieting and exercise.
There are some genetic factors that can rule out a candidate for plastic surgery as well. The elasticity of skin, and similar bodily facets- if you’re unsure about whether or not you fail to fulfill the necessary genetic requirements, speak to your physician.
What are the different types of Tummy Tucks?
Despite the common conception of Abdominoplasty being a relatively universal procedure, all medical treatments are in some way tailored to their patient, and even within the generalization of any given single treatment, there are three varieties of the procedure.
To see what a Tummy Tuck can look like, visit our Before and After: Tummy Tuck Surgery page for real patient results!
Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck
Liposuction is an alternative to a Tummy Tuck which many prefer for the smaller scars and incisions which need to be made. This is a large benefit of Liposuction- on the other hand, however, Liposuction is highly localized, and can’t remove quite the same amount of fat that Abdominoplasty can. Additionally, Liposuction can’t sculpt fat quite as effectively as a Tummy Tuck can.
Choosing between a Mini Tummy Tuck or regular Tummy Tuck
The main difference between a Mini Tummy Tuck or regular Tummy Tuck is the amount of skin removed. In a Mini Tummy Tuck, only the lower skin is addressed, so the Mini Tummy Tuck 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.
Extended Tummy Tuck
For those who want to get the most amount of fat removed from your abdomen, the best option is the extended Tummy Tuck- a form of Abdominoplasty which removes fat not just from the front of the abdomen, but also the flank and upper torso.
Full Tummy Tuck
A full Tummy Tuck is one of the most effective of the Abdominoplasty procedures. The incision is made from one hipbone to another. Then, the surgeon sculpts the interior of the body as needed in order to complete the treatment.
Mini Tummy Tuck
If you still want some of that fat removed, but feel uncomfortable with the extensiveness of the full Abdominoplasty surgery, then a Mini Tummy Tuck is always an option. Less intrusive than a full Tummy Tuck, the Mini Tummy Tuck alternative makes a small, unobtrusive incision just above the mons pubis, and removes fat as necessary from there.
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.
Is there scarring?
Because the procedure is a form of surgery and does necessitate an incision of some form, then a certain level of scarring is not only likely, but inevitable. That said, a good surgeon can reduce the scarring to a minimum, and there are methods one can employ to keep it relatively unnoticeable.
Is it covered by insurance?
Since Tummy Tucks are considered a form of “Cosmetic Surgery”, very few if any major health insurance providers will cover it. However, there are certain conditions, like if it’s medically necessary that some will. Bear in mind that insurance fraud is a federal offense and that faking a medical complication to qualify for insurance coverage is a highly illegal and unethical act.
Fortunately for those who can’t afford the procedure out of pocket, not all is lost. There are payment plans offered by almost all plastic surgeons in order to compensate for the high prices that they must maintain.
What are the benefits of the surgery?
The surgery is a highly beneficial treatment, cosmetically, and often medically. Chiefly, of course, the treatment is used for the aesthetic assets which it provides. It can remove scars from a C-Section, decrease stretch marks, and tighten the entirety of the abdominal wall.
Decrease stretch marks
Many people suffer from stretch marks- thin purple or red lines that appear around the abdomen after exceptional weight gain, or pregnancy. While these lines are permanent- they can never be truly removed- they can be considerably reduced via an Abdominoplasty procedure.
Recent studies done by the American Association for the Advancement of Science have proven that self-image is directly associated with a rise in self-confidence. This boost in self-esteem can lead to a lot of improvements in day to day life, like career advancement, and a boost in personal relationships.
Remove C-Section scars
A C-section can be a harrowing process for a mother mentally, but it can have an even more intensive effect physically. It always leaves a large cross-shaped scar in the abdomen, large and ugly across a new mother’s stomach. This can be removed completely via the Tummy Tuck.
Remove Sagging Skin
Removing sagging skin is one of the primary reasons people seek out the treatment in the first place. Because the skin is firmed up by the procedure, it’s often used to remove sagging skin that hangs loose off the body.
Tighten the Abdominal Wall
Abdominoplasty is so named because the first and primary reason for its employment is to tighten the abdominal wall- the barrier of muscle and tissue which keeps the stomach and abdomen toned. Tightening this with the Tummy Tuck procedure is the reason most people seek to get a Tummy Tuck treatment.
Being a physically intensive medical procedure, the recovery timeline for an Abdominoplasty operation is incredibly variable, dependent upon the specifications of the patient and the operation in question, but there are some consistencies.
When can I return to work?
Occupation being such an important part of being a functioning adult, it’s normal to worry about the time frame for when you’ll be able to return to work. Generally speaking, you can return to work about 4-6 weeks after
When can I resume eating?
You may be worried about not being able to eat solid foods after your treatment. Fortunately, eating normal foods can occur as soon as 12 hours after the procedure, though eating foods that can be difficult to digest, like spicy foods or foods with high fiber is inadvisable for a few days.
When can I return to working out?
Staying in shape is crucial, so working out is as well. That’s why you need to be able to exercise regularly. However, doing so soon after your treatment can be dangerous. You can return to light exercises about a month and a half after the procedure, and heavy duty exercises 3-4 months afterward.
What happens if I gain weight?
If you gain weight after an Abdominoplasty procedure, then you must get rid of it applying the normal methods- dieting and exercise. Receiving a Tummy Tuck does not make you immune to becoming fat, and it functions in the same way that it always has.
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 will meet with each 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.
What happens with my belly button?
While your original navel can be “released”- that is to say, removed from your abdomen- by Abdominoplasty surgery, the surgeon can recreate the appearance of a belly button during the procedure.
Schedule A Consultation
Ready for a More Beautiful You?
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.