The stomach can be one of the most frustrating “trouble spots” on the body. Through the natural aging process, pregnancy, past surgeries and weight loss, individuals may become unhappy with the appearance of their tummy.
Many patients complain that no matter how much they diet and exercise, they just can’t seem to achieve that tight and toned appearance we all desire. An abdominoplasty is one way to achieve a flatter, smoother-looking and more toned midsection.
- What Is a Tummy Tuck?
- Benefits of a Tummy Tuck
- Who is a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
- Preparing for Tummy Tuck Surgery
- What Are The Steps of a Tummy Tuck Procedure?
- What to Expect During Tummy Tuck Recovery
- Schedule a Abdominoplasty Consultation Today
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a plastic surgery procedure that involves removing excess skin and fat from the middle and/or lower abdomen to create a firmer and flatter stomach contour. Abdominoplasty not only decreases the size and flattens the appearance of the abdomen but will also repair and renew the abdominal muscle wall.
We perform two primary types of tummy tuck procedures at our fully accredited Oakville clinic, near Toronto, Ontario. The first is a full or complete abdominoplasty, which addresses the entire abdominal area’s skin, muscles and fat. The second procedure is a partial abdominoplasty, or mini-tummy tuck, which deals primarily with fat deposits and skin laxity underneath the navel.
In both cases, liposuction may be performed in conjunction with the abdominoplasty to achieve an optimum body-contouring outcome. Liposuction is a common surgical procedure in which excess fat deposits are suctioned out of a localized section of the body through a thin tube.
Benefits of a Tummy Tuck
Of course, many people choose to get a tummy tuck for cosmetic reasons, but there are other medical and lifestyle benefits associated with the procedure.
Improved Abdominal Tone and Better Posture
After drastic weight loss or multiple pregnancies, the abdominal muscles can become overly lax, a condition diet and exercise alone cannot address. A tummy tuck surgically tightens those weak muscles, while removing excess skin and fat to flatten the abdomen.
After an abdominoplasty, patients may benefit from dramatic postural improvements, thanks to the tightened core muscles supporting their spinal column. The improved support and better posture can have the added advantage of relieving back pain.
Your workouts will work harder!
With an abdominal muscle correction, abdominal exercises will now reap more rewards as the muscles will be functioning in the correct position, optimizing your workout.
Risks and Rewards
Due to its growing popularity, many people believe a tummy tuck is a breeze. However, it’s important for patients to realize it is still a major operation, requiring one to five hours in the operating room, under general anesthesia.
A typical abdominoplasty removes up 1 to 10 pounds of stomach fat by disconnecting the skin from the underlying tissue, suturing abdominal tissue, and cutting away any extra skin. A full recovery can take several weeks, and just like with any other surgery, there are risks of infection and other complications.
The most common tummy tuck side effects include:
The various medical and cosmetic benefits of a tummy tuck make the procedure attractive to many people. If you are considering abdominoplasty, discuss the procedure in detail with your surgeon and consider all the advice before deciding whether to undergo surgery.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?
The decision to undergo a tummy tuck is very personal, and not something you should take lightly. As with any type of cosmetic surgery, you should do it for yourself, not because you feel like you need to fulfill someone else’s standards of beauty.
In general, you may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck if:
- You are physically healthy and within your target body weight
- You have realistic expectations for the outcome of the surgery
- You are a nonsmoker
- You feel self-conscious about the appearance of your abdomen
While an abdominoplasty can sculpt your figure and re-contour your body, it’s important to remember that it is not intended to be a weight-loss procedure. Therefore, you should be at or near your ideal and stable weight for six to 12 months before undergoing a tummy tuck.
We recommend patients be between 10 and 15 pounds from their goal weight. Gaining or losing additional weight can undo the results from your surgery by stretching your abdominal tissues, which could require a revisional surgery to restore the benefits of the initial procedure.
Preparing for Tummy Tuck Surgery
Prior to undergoing your tummy tuck surgery, we may ask you to:
- Get lab testing or a physical examination
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, as they can increase bleeding
At ICLS Dermatology and Plastic Surgery, we will perform your tummy tuck procedure in our private, fully accredited onsite surgical facility. Please arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
What Are the Steps of a Tummy Tuck Procedure?
A tummy tuck procedure includes the following steps:
Step 1: Anesthesia
For your comfort, we will put you under a general anesthesia during your surgery. You will be monitored closely by the anesthetist for the duration of your procedure.
Step 2: Incision
A full tummy tuck requires a horizontal incision just above the pubic hairline. The amount of excess skin is the determining factor behind the shape and length of the incision. Once the abdominal skin is lifted, the underlying weakened abdominal muscles are repaired.
The upper abdominal skin gets pulled down like a window shade. The excess skin is trimmed off, and the remaining skin is sutured together. A new opening for the belly button is created. The belly button is popped through to the surface and sutured into position.
Step 3: Closing the incisions
Sutures, skin adhesive or tapes close the skin incisions.
Step 4: See the outcome
Your tummy tuck will result in a flatter, firmer abdominal contour that is more proportional to your body type and weight.
What to Expect During Tummy Tuck Recovery
A tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure that will require weeks to heal. The benefits from your tummy tuck will not be immediately noticeable. In fact, over the first several weeks, redness, bruising, stiffness and swelling are common. These effects will slowly resolve over the next four to six weeks, and you will begin to notice the results of your surgery.
However, residual swelling will linger for six months or longer. A temporary numbness or a loss of sensation along the incision line is normal but will slowly resolve. While you should be feeling close to your old self after a few months, it can take as long as a full year before the stomach has finished healing and you can see the complete results of your surgery.
Initially, you can expect to feel tired, swollen and sore. It is normal to feel pain during these first several days, although this will steadily improve. For proper healing, it is essential to give yourself plenty of time to rest and focus on what your body needs to recover.
Beyond taking time off from work, you will need a family member or trusted friend to help you with household chores and taking care of children. You will also need to abstain from strenuous physical activities for at least four to six weeks.
After your abdominoplasty, you may have dressings or bandages on your incision, and you will also have to wear a compression garment to reduce swelling and support your abdomen as it heals following surgery.
You may have small, thin tubes around the incision to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect. Though they are temporary, these will require attention and care. Before the surgery, your surgeon will go over how to care for these drains, including any limitations on bathing. Most patients can have the drains painlessly removed in seven to 10 days; however, they may need to stay in place for two weeks or longer.
You will receive specific instructions that may include:
- How to care for the incision site and surgical drains
- Painkillers or other medications to take
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
- When to follow up with your plastic surgeon
For your pre-surgical consultation, you will be provided information on the following:
- Where will I go after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I need to take after surgery?
- Will I have dressings or bandages after surgery? When can I remove them?
- When will the stitches come out?
- How will I take care of my personal hygiene?
- How long do I have to wear the pressure garment?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When should I return for my follow-up appointment?
We encourage you to ask any questions you may have as this will help tailor your recovery to your specific needs.
Although the abdominoplasty is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic surgery procedures, the incision will leave a scar along the abdomen, stretching from hip to hip, right above the pubic bone. Patients often wonder how large their scar will be following their surgery. A simple way to approximate the incision area is to bend over at the hips and note where the skin begins to fold over from hip to hip. This can give you a better idea of the approximate size of the scar. However, the incision is located as low as possible, but above the suprapubic or pubic hairline. Therefore, a bathing suit or undergarments will often hide the appearance of the scar, although scarring does fade significantly over time.
A second incision is made around the belly button, and the skin is then loosened and freed from the abdominal wall. The abdominal muscles are pulled together and repositioned to provide a firmer and flatter abdominal wall, which in turn makes the waistline narrower.
Schedule Your Abdominoplasty Consultation Today
To find out if tummy tuck or abdominoplasty surgery is right for you, please contact our knowledgeable staff at our Oakville office, between Hamilton and Toronto, Ontario. If you are ready to schedule a consultation, Dr. Julie Khanna can provide her patients with all the information they will need to make the most informed decision.
Contact our knowledgeable staff at ICLS by calling our Oakville office at 905-842-2262. We look forward to working with you!