Everything You Wanted to Know About Tummy Tuck

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Everything you wanted (and need) to know about tummy tuck (aka abdominoplasty)

By Manish Champaneria, MD, FACS

A slim, tight abdomen is key to showing off a beautiful body contour. An abdominoplasty, also known as tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure that can improve your figure for years to come. When tailored to your specific body, a tummy tuck can truly help you achieve your physical ideal. Learn more about tummy tuck from Dr. Manish Champaneria, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Diego.

What is a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure which tightens and reshapes the abdominal area, helping to achieve a youthful, slimmer overall appearance. Having a flatter, firmer midsection can dramatically improve the way clothing fits and looks, helping you feel more confident and comfortable in your body. During the surgery, the abdominal muscles are tightened and excess (repair of rectus diastasis), and sagging skin is eliminated, which ultimately leaves the midsection flatter and better toned. Tummy tucks are a popular procedure for men and women, particularly those whose bodies have undergone dramatic changes from weight loss or pregnancy.

What are the types of tummy tucks?

The types of tummy tucks we offer include:

  • Traditional abdominoplasty: Standard abdominoplasty may be performed in individuals who have a weak abdominal wall or extra fat and skin in the area around the bellybutton. This can result from pregnancy, aging, abdominal surgery such as a C-section, or dramatic changes in weight. In the procedure, the surgeon removes excess fat or skin from the abdominal region and often tightens abdominal fascia (connective tissue) with sutures. The patient’s remaining skin is then adjusted to create a more toned appearance.
  • Extended abdominoplasty (belt lipectomy): The surgeon makes incisions around the waist to remove fat and sagging skin. Remaining skin is then flattened over the abdomen. Muscles are tightened during the procedure. We also make sure the belly button is positioned appropriately. Patients can expect a flatter abdomen and smaller waist size with this procedure.
  • Mini abdominoplasty: This procedure can be an option for patients with a high torso and smaller amounts of excess skin and adipose tissue, particularly above the belly button. The procedure allows for a minimal incision just above the pubis area, along the bikini line. The incision then continues laterally to the hip. The surgery provides more impact than liposuction and can be performed on an outpatient basis.

How to maximize the benefits of tummy tuck?

  • Maintain a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can help maintain the results of a tummy tuck. Avoiding processed foods and sugary snacks can also help keep your weight in check.
  • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help tone and strengthen the muscles in your abdomen, which can help maintain the results of a tummy tuck. A combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training can be especially beneficial.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help keep your skin healthy and hydrated, which can help maintain the results of a tummy tuck.
  • Follow your surgeon's post-operative instructions: Your surgeon will provide you with specific post-operative instructions to follow, such as wearing compression garments and avoiding certain activities. It's important to follow these instructions closely to ensure optimal healing and the best results.
  • Maintain a stable weight: Fluctuations in weight can affect the results of a tummy tuck, so it's important to maintain a stable weight after the procedure. This may involve making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
  • Manage stress: High levels of stress can cause the body to produce cortisol, a hormone that can lead to weight gain and affect the results of a tummy tuck. Finding ways to manage stress, such as through exercise or relaxation techniques, can be beneficial.
  • Attend follow-up appointments: Regular follow-up appointments with your surgeon can help ensure that the healing process is progressing as it should be, and any issues can be addressed promptly.

Why do people get a tummy tuck?

People seek a tummy tuck for various reasons, including:

  • To remove excess skin and fat in the abdominal area after significant weight loss
  • To tighten loose abdominal muscles after pregnancy or aging
  • To achieve a flatter, more toned-looking stomach
  • To improve their overall body image and self-confidence.

Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck?

Good candidates for a tummy tuck are individuals who:

  • Are in good general health
  • Have realistic expectations about the results of the surgery
  • Have excess skin and/or fat in the abdominal area that hasn't responded to diet and exercise
  • Have loose abdominal muscles due to pregnancy or aging.

What happens during a tummy tuck procedure?

During a tummy tuck procedure, the surgeon will make a horizontal incision above the pubic area, from hip bone to hip bone. The skin and fat are lifted away from the abdominal muscles, and the muscles are tightened with sutures. The excess skin and fat are then removed, and the remaining skin is pulled down and sutured into place. The belly button is repositioned to a natural-looking location on the newly tightened skin.

What is the recovery time for a tummy tuck?

The recovery time for a tummy tuck varies from person to person, but generally, patients can expect to take at least two weeks off from work and other activities. For the first few days after surgery, patients should rest as much as possible and avoid any strenuous activity. After that, patients can slowly begin to resume their normal activities, but should still avoid any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for several weeks.

What are the potential risks and complications of a tummy tuck?

As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with a tummy tuck, including:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing
  • Numbness or changes in skin sensation
  • Scarring
  • Fluid accumulation under the skin.

It's important to discuss these potential risks with your surgeon before undergoing the procedure.

How much does a tummy tuck cost?

The cost of a tummy tuck varies depending on a variety of factors, including the surgeon's fees, the location of the surgery, and any additional fees associated with the procedure (such as anesthesia or hospital fees).

Is a tummy tuck covered by insurance?

In most cases, a tummy tuck is considered a cosmetic procedure and is not covered by insurance. However, if the procedure is deemed medically necessary (for example, if the excess skin is causing health problems), insurance may cover some or all of the costs. It's important to check with your insurance provider before undergoing the procedure to determine if any coverage is available.

What should I look for in a tummy tuck surgeon?

When looking for a tummy tuck surgeon, patients should look for someone who is board-certified and has experience performing tummy tucks. They should also look for a surgeon who has good reviews and a strong reputation in the community. It's important to have a consultation with the surgeon to discuss expectations, risks, and outcomes of the surgery.

If you are interested in learning about tummy tuck, please contact the office of Dr. Manish Champaneria, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Diego, at (858) 554-9950.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.