Recent pregnancy or weight loss, genetics, and the natural aging process are some of the factors that can cause an excess of fat and skin folds to appear in the stomach region. For many patients, particularly those who are in relatively fit physical condition, the attempt to eliminate the excess from this area and achieve a tighter, flatter-looking tummy can be incredibly frustrating and a very difficult feat to accomplish. At the Ohio State University Department of Plastic Surgery a procedure called abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a tummy tuck, can tighten the abdominal muscles and pull the skin in the area taut, resulting in a tummy that looks and feels more firm and athletic.
Please contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced plastic surgeons. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have about tummy tuck surgery, and to discuss what you can expect from this procedure.
Tummy Tuck Benefits
Even the most rigorous diet and exercise regimen can sometimes fail to eliminate fat deposits and excess skin that can accumulate in the stomach region. Fortunately, procedures such as a tummy tuck are designed to get rid of the excess and help you achieve a smoother, tighter abdomen. Men and women who are in good physical condition, but affected by loose extra skin and pockets of excess fat in the abdominal region, are typically good candidates for this procedure. With good eating and exercise habits, the benefits of tummy tuck surgery can last for many years.
Tummy Tuck Procedure
A tummy tuck surgery is performed by one of our experienced plastic surgery and body contouring surgeons. Once the procedure begins, an incision is made in the abdominal region, typically from hip-to-hip. In most tummy tuck surgeries, an incision to temporarily separate the naval from surrounding tissue will also be made. Scarring from these incisions will be present after recovery; however, they can be easily hidden under clothing, and your plastic surgeon will make every effort to ensure residual scarring is as light as possible. Once the incisions have been made, the skin of the abdomen is lifted and the abdominal muscles are tightened. Then, excess skin is removed and the remainder is redraped and pulled taut. The navel is stitched back into position and your surgeon will close the incisions.
Tummy tuck surgery can take two to four hours to complete, depending on each patient’s condition. The procedure can be performed as an outpatient under general anesthesia.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
Although you will likely be able to return to work and other daily activities after about one to two weeks, you should expect the recovery period following abdominoplasty to last for several weeks in order to allow the area to fully heal. Some bruising and swelling will be present in the abdominal region after surgery; however, any pain and discomfort can be alleviated with medication. You should take special care not to engage in activities that will strain the abdominal area for at least six weeks. Your OSU plastic surgeon will advise you to start taking short walks as quickly as possible after tummy tuck surgery to keep your blood flowing and to avoid clotting.
Some patients may only have a moderate amount of excess skin and fat in the lower abdominal region, and therefore may not need a full tummy tuck procedure. In these cases, a mini-tummy tuck might be a better option. This procedure typically does not require cutting the navel, and is designed to use smaller incisions and result in shorter treatment and recovery times. Your OSU plastic surgeon will evaluate your needs at the initial consultation and help you determine if you are a candidate for a mini-tummy tuck.
Tummy Tuck Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will excess, hanging abdominal skin contract naturally over time?
Unfortunately, loose, extra skin left after considerable weight loss and/or pregnancy will not significantly tighten by itself for most people—no matter how healthily they eat or regularly they exercise. Although skin that is younger and more elastic might contract naturally to a certain degree, it is rarely enough to alleviate one’s concerns when a relatively large amount of weight has been lost. Consequently, the majority of individuals troubled by excess, hanging skin in the abdominal region will require tummy tuck surgery to achieve a tighter, smoother aesthetic.
Can abdominoplasty help me lose weight?
Similarly to liposuction, abdominoplasty is not a weight loss solution. The procedure is designed to remove extra skin and tighten/repair stretched muscles of the abdominal wall for a firmer, more toned midsection. Having said that, some patients might experience a slight decrease in weight due to the excision of excess skin (and possibly pockets of fat), but this reduction will be relatively minor.
How noticeable will my tummy tuck scars be?
The extent of scarring after tummy tuck surgery will depend on each individual’s natural healing process, as well as whether a full or mini abdominoplasty is performed. For a full abdominoplasty, one incision is generally made low along the abdomen from hip to hip, and a second incision is often made around the bellybutton. The incision for a mini tummy tuck is usually a bit smaller in length, and a navel incision is typically not necessary. Regardless of which technique is employed, all abdominoplasty scars can usually be concealed underneath most articles of clothing, and our doctors do everything possible to ensure incision lines heal as inconspicuously as possible. Additionally, scarring tends to fade to some extent over time for a lot of individuals, particularly when scar care and postoperative instructions are followed closely throughout the recovery period. When all is said and done, most patients report that the results of their tummy tuck procedure far outweigh any worries they had about possible scarring to begin with.
Can I undergo abdominoplasty before having children?
Although getting a tummy tuck prior to having kids does not present any serious health risks for most women, our plastic surgeons usually recommend that prospective individuals wait until after they are finished growing their families to undergo abdominoplasty. Reason being, the physical changes often experienced during and after pregnancy can have a negative effect on the outcome of a prior tummy tuck—sometimes leading to the need or desire for revisional treatment.
What happens if I become pregnant after tummy tuck surgery?
Becoming pregnant after abdominoplasty should not negatively impact the health of a mother or her child. However, the physical changes that often occur during and after pregnancy could cause skin and/or musculature in the abdominal region to re-stretch, potentially leading to the same concerns that were treated at the time of the previous tummy tuck. Depending on the specific physical changes experienced, a corrective procedure—or possibly another abdominoplasty—might be desired.
Schedule a Tummy Tuck Consultation
If you would like more information on tummy tuck surgery, one of our plastic surgeons can meet with you in an initial consultation to help you determine if this is the best option for you. Doctors at the Ohio State University Department of Plastic Surgery will be happy to go over all aspects of abdominoplasty with you and answer your questions. Please contact our practice to schedule a consultation.