5 Things to Know About the Tummy Tuck Procedure
When exercising and eating right alone doesn’t do the trick, a tummy tuck is a practical choice that will help you achieve your abdominal goals. Among the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the world, it involves the removal of excess skin and fat. In the process, your Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. Ran Stark will also smooth out your midsection to create a firmer abdomen.
While you might be intrigued about the possibility of a more refined silhouette, it’s important to understand what the process entails before you venture to your surgeon’s office. Here’s everything you need to know about tummy tuck procedures.
Different Types of Tummy Tucks
A tummy tuck isn’t a one-size-fits-all procedure. That’s why plastic surgeons offer a variety of options that are designed to target different areas of the abdomen. Depending on your body type and what you specifically need, you and your surgeon may opt for one of the following:
- Standard: The most common option is the standard tuck, which focuses on restructuring the lower abdomen. It’s among the most popular choices for women who want to improve their bodies and confidence following pregnancy. It involves removing excess fatty tissue and skin below the belly button from one hip to the other. Liposuction is then used to contour and flatten the area. If necessary, the belly button may be repositioned to ensure a natural appearance.
- Mini: For less intensive fat and skin removal, you might consider a mini tummy tuck. This procedure involves removing minimal content below the belly button. It’s a practical choice for those who can’t seem to shave off the remaining fat through diet alone. Because it’s a “mini” procedure, there’s rarely a need for your surgeon to reposition the belly button. The incision is typically quite small, too.
- Reverse: Some patients benefit from reverse tummy tucks, which involve removing excess skin and fatty tissue from the upper part of the midsection. This involves creating an incision beneath the breasts to remove the contents. The skin is then tucked in the reverse direction — upwards — to create a sleek, defined look. This option is usually reserved for those who have relatively flat lower abdomens but carry excess weight above.
- Extended: You might benefit from an extended tummy tuck if you have excess skin or fatty tissue in the lower abdomen and the lower back or hips. During the process, your surgeon will create an incision above the pubic area and extend it to each side behind your hips, then remove the contents and reconstruct your belly button. Because this is a considerably more invasive procedure, you may need to spend at least a night in the hospital.
Benefits of Tummy Tucks
While you may initially go in for a consult purely for cosmetic reasons, the benefits of a tummy tuck extend far beyond the obvious. There are many advantages to keep in mind as you weigh your options.
- Improved Silhouette: Most people are compelled to see a surgeon because they want to eliminate excess fat and skin that won’t budge through dietary changes and physical activity. A tummy tuck is designed not just to remove those contents, but also to tighten weakened abdominal muscles. This lends the figure a sleeker, more defined appearance.
- Better Posture: It may come as a surprise to learn that your posture may improve after you get a tummy tuck. Sometimes a weakened abdominal area can cause the spine to curve inwardly. Known as lordosis, it may cause you to slouch inadvertently. Because the muscles are tightened during the procedure, your spine will enjoy greater support. This will allow you to stand taller.
- Reduced Pain: If you experience back pain, it could be because your abdominal muscles simply aren’t strong enough to support your spine. Getting a tummy tuck could make a significant difference by strengthening those muscles. The result is a stronger frame that’s in better alignment, thereby allowing you to sit and stand without the strain you’re accustomed to feeling.
Prime Candidates for Tummy Tucks
Not everyone is a prime candidate for a tummy tuck. Patients are usually women who have given birth. Because it’s not just about fat burning, there’s more to consider where this surgical procedure is concerned. It involves repairing muscles and loose skin, two components that set it apart. Your surgeon may not recommend it for you if your primary concern is fat loss, or if you plan to have a child at some stage. Liposuction may be an appropriate choice if you simply want to eliminate some body fat.
Tummy Tuck Surgical Procedure
The tummy tuck is an invasive surgical procedure that requires general anesthesia and can take up to four hours to complete. Its complexity is precisely why it’s so effective; it works beyond the surface of the skin to give you the results you desire. The process begins with an incision made at a strategic point on your abdomen, depending on the type of tuck that you select. Your surgeon will then eliminate the fatty tissue and skin, and tighten the muscles by pulling skin and stitching the flaps together to create a newly defined, tight silhouette.
While you may be compelled to choose a mini tuck to avoid a more invasive procedure, remember that it’s dependent largely on your body’s specific needs. If you have a greater amount of excess skin and fat to eliminate, a full tummy tuck is the more suitable option. At the end of the procedure, your surgeon will put a drain in your stomach to pull away any excess fluid that may develop during the healing process.
Tummy Tuck Recovery Process
Prepare to spend a considerable amount of time recovering. Your surgeon may recommend that you take at least two weeks off to properly heal. This gives your body time to recover, and you’ll have enough time to address the different stages of your healing process.
- After Surgery: Plan on resting on the day of the surgery and for at least a few days after. Your surgeon will provide you with guidance about how to deal with potential blood clots and what to do if you experience any pain. Under normal circumstances, you’ll be discharged on the same day, unless you underwent a more complex extended surgery. Note that you won’t be able to drive home on your own, so it’s best to arrange for a ride beforehand.
- At Home: Avoid strenuous activities that put strain on the surgical site, such as bending, stretching, and even standing for extended periods. The key is to rest as much as you can to allow your body the best chance to recover. Ask a loved one to help you around the house during this period, whether you need assistance going to the bathroom or getting something to eat.
- Every Day: You’ll need to take good care of the surgical site and in particular the drainage tube during recovery. You might take antibiotics during this period, and you may need to apply a topical cream to the incision to prevent infection. You will also need to wear a supportive wrap to reduce the likelihood of swelling and to minimize discomfort.
- Later Stages: After about a month, you should be able to resume normal activities with relative comfort. Try not to take part in anything too physical until your surgeon gives you the green light, however. You can usually drive, prepare meals yourself, and go for walks or to the store within a couple of weeks.
- Side Effects: The average tummy tuck goes very smoothly when you’re in the hands of a skilled surgeon. However, it’s not unusual to experience an occasional sensation of pulled skin when you move for several weeks or even months after the procedure. Your swelling and bruising may take several months to completely resolve. If you’re concerned about your scar, your surgeon may provide a cream to help it fade more efficiently after a few months.
Book an Appointment With Dr. Stark
If you’re ready to learn more about your tummy tuck options, your first step is to speak to a qualified plastic surgeon who has years of experience in the field. During a consultation, you’ll find out about the best option for your particular needs and how it will benefit you. Schedule a Philadelphia tummy tuck consultation with double board-certified surgeon, Dr. Ran Stark, MD., and get started on your journey to the body of your dreams.