What is abdominoplasty?
An abdominoplasty – or “tummy tuck” – is a cosmetic procedure that removes excess fat and skin in the abdominal region. Many patients have the weakened muscles of the abdominal wall restored during this procedure. The result is a firm, flat, toned abdomen. This surgery is a very common cosmetic procedure at Four Peaks Plastic Surgery. It is frequently used to help patients who have been unable to lose those last few pounds through diet and exercise meet their body image goals. Many patients who undergo abdominoplasty have a protruding, loose, or sagging abdomen caused by:
- Pregnancy (or multiple pregnancies)
- Significant changes in weight
- Prior surgery (especially bariatric/weight loss surgery)
While a tummy tuck may help patients who are within their ideal weight range take the last few steps, the procedure is not a substitute for a healthy diet, exercise, or other weight loss program.
Who needs a tummy tuck?
You may be considered an eligible candidate if you:
- Are in good physical health
- Are in a stabilized weight range
- Have realistic body image expectations
- Do not smoke
Patients who plan on losing a lot of weight and/or becoming pregnant are advised not to have an abdominoplasty, as these events could reverse the positive outcome of abdominoplasty. Wait to have a tummy tuck until after you have met your weight goal and/or decided against future pregnancies.
How Abdominoplasty Is Performed?
At Four Peaks Plastic Surgery, abdominoplasty is typically performed under general anesthesia. The procedure may take place at Mountain Vista Medical Center.
During the procedure, a horizontally oriented incision is made across the abdomen anywhere between the belly button and the pubic hairline (usually closer to the pubic hairline). This incision can vary in shape and length. Your anatomy and the desired outcome will affect where Dr. Faibisoff places this incision. Once the incision is made, excess fat, skin, and other tissues are removed. Weakened abdominal walls are also repaired and sutured in order to strengthen the body’s core. In some cases, an additional incision may be made around the belly button to excise skin in the upper abdomen.
Generally speaking, there are three types of abdominoplasties:
- A complete abdominoplasty includes both a suprapubic incision and an incision around the belly button, as described above. The abdominal muscles that comprise the stomach’s front wall are also tightened.
- In a partial/mini abdominoplasty the navel incision is not necessary. This procedure is often used for patients who need only mild to moderate adjustments. Some patients may have liposuction in conjunction with their mini abdominoplasty.
- In a circumferential abdominoplasty excess skin and fat tissue is removed from the back, hips, and sides, in addition to the front abdominal region.
What should I do to prepare for a tummy tuck?
The medical staff at Four Peaks Plastic Surgery will provide you with all the information you need to prepare for your abdominoplasty. As with most any cosmetic surgery, it’s important to stop smoking at least several weeks before the procedure and to avoid anti-inflammatory drugs and certain herbal supplements (including vitamins and minerals). Your surgeon will give you detailed information about how to prepare at your pre-op appointment. For more information about preparing for plastic surgery, download Your Guide to Cosmetic Surgery: 17 Plastic Surgery FAQs.
What is the recovery process like?
Recovering from your tummy tuck procedure will take several weeks. During the weeks immediately following your abdominoplasty, your surgeon may require you to wear a compression garment or elastic bandage that supports the abdomen and minimizes swelling. It’s important that you wait several weeks before attempting any strenuous physical activity. Depending on your line of work, you may need a leave of absence of two to six weeks or more. Your health care team at Four Peaks Plastic Surgery will go over all the information and instructions you need with regards to recovery prior to your procedure. It is very important that you understand and follow these instructions in order to enjoy the best possible outcome.
How soon can I expect results? How long do results last?
It is uncommon to see the final results of your tummy tuck in the first week following surgery. This is due to the fact that your abdomen may be swollen, and it may be difficult for you to stand fully upright. After a week or so, the final results will begin to appear. Usually, it takes about a month post-op for the final shape of the abdomen to stabilize. The results of a tummy tuck can last a lifetime – if the patient does not experience any severe weight fluctuations.