A tummy tuck is a surgery to remove excess skin and fat in your abdomen that has not responded to diet or exercise. This procedure can also tighten or repair the abdominal muscles.
With any surgery, there are risks of complications. As such, you must be in good health to have a tummy tuck.
It is also important to wait until you no longer plan to have children before having a tummy tuck. The surgery tightens your abdominal muscles, and a pregnancy after the surgery can loosen them again. On the other hand, you may want to get rid of excess skin around your abdomen after childbirth. At this stage of life, a tummy tuck is a great option.
If you are overweight and want to lose weight, a doctor will advise you to try diet and exercise first, as this surgery is not a weight loss strategy. However, if you have succeeded in losing a significant amount of weight, a tummy tuck is a good strategy to rid yourself of unsightly leftover skin.
Dr. Yaghoubian offers two types of tummy tuck procedures. She will discuss your goals with you to determine which is the best option:
Tummy tucks take several hours, depending on the amount of work.
After the surgery, you will have a large bandage on the abdominal area, and you may wish to wear a compression garment to keep the swelling down. One or more surgical drains may be necessary for a short while after the surgery. Dr. Yaghoubian will provide written post-op instructions on how to care for your incision and drains, what medications to use, and how to move more comfortably as you sit and lie down. Put any major activity or exercise on hold for at least six weeks.
Since a tummy tuck is an invasive surgery, there are a few risks to consider before deciding to move forward with the procedure. A possible side effect includes changes in skin sensation, which could result from the repositioning of abdominal muscles affecting nerves in the area. Other possible side effects include unanticipated scarring and difficulty with incision healing.
More severe risks include fatty tissue damage, which could require additional surgery or heal on its own. Fluid buildup beneath the skin is possible but can be removed through drainage tubes or syringes during recovery. As with all invasive surgeries, potential risks also include bleeding, infections, and adverse reactions to general anesthesia.
Beyond repairing abdominal muscles and removing excess skin, a tummy tuck procedure could correct additional cosmetic concerns. In removing extra skin, a tummy tuck could also remove stretch marks on the abdominal area. Additionally, if you have previously undergone a C-section, a tummy tuck could blend with the existing scars rather than creating extra scarring.
You could also elect for other cosmetic surgeries to accompany a tummy tuck for additional changes to your body’s appearance. For instance, since liposuction only removes excess fat, a tummy tuck could remove any loose skin following the procedure. Breast surgeries, such as enhancement, reduction, and lifts, could also be performed at the same time as a tummy tuck.
Results of a tummy tuck could be permanent as long as a stable weight is maintained. Weight gain and pregnancy after a tummy tuck could cause abdominal muscles and skin to loosen again, reversing the surgery’s effects.
Both men and women can benefit from the cosmetic changes of a tummy tuck procedure. For women who have had children, the surgery is ideal for reducing pregnancy effects in the abdomen area. For men, the procedure could remove excess skin and fat that diet and exercise could not eliminate.
Ideal candidates for a tummy tuck are those looking to remove excess skin and fat, reduce abdominal stretch marks, and sculpt the waistline and abdomen for a slimmer, toned appearance. However, for a tummy tuck to be effective, you must have recently maintained a consistent weight and be close to achieving your ideal weight goal.
Arezou Yaghoubian, M.D., FACS