What is a Tummy Tuck?
Excess, sagging skin and stubborn fat around the mid section can cause many individuals to feel self-conscious. A tummy tuck can improve the contour by eliminating excess skin and tightening the abdominal muscles. A tummy tuck can also have some medical benefits, especially in women after childbirth. It is a common procedure included in mommy makeovers, lower body lifts, or post-weight loss surgeries.
Who is a Candidate?
Individuals with sagging abdominal skin and excess fat resistant to diet and exercise, are candidates for this surgery. This excess skin and fat could result from common things like:
- Weight Fluctuations
As with any cosmetic plastic surgery, tummy tuck candidates should be in good health and be non smokers, since ongoing nicotine use can affect the recovery process. Dr Fichadia recommends that patients stop smoking for at least 4-6 weeks before this major surgery to minimize healing issues. For women of childbearing age, Dr Fichadia recommends waiting until you are finished having children to a long lasting result. Although you can still bear children after a tummy tuck, a future pregnancy will reverse some effects of a tummy tuck. Women who want more kids may still choose liposuction to improve their curves, while saving the tummy tuck for later.
Types of Tummy Tuck
There are a number of different ways to contour the midsection. During your tummy tuck consultation, Dr. Fichadia can recommend the right one for you. These include:
FULL TUMMY TUCK
A full tummy tuck, also known as a traditional tummy tuck, is the most popular form of tummy tuck. A horizontal incision is made in the area above the pubis, through which excess skin is removed, muscles are tightened, and abdominal fat removed, this can be combined with sometimes with liposuction. The belly button is also relocated. Diastasis recti, or separation of ab muscles can be fixed with a tummy tuck.
MINI TUMMY TUCK
For the patients where majority of skin excess is below the belly button, a mini tummy tuck is a great option. It is less invasive than a full tummy tuck, with a shorter incision. The recovery is shorter and more comfortable than a standard tummy tuck. This is not an option for patients who need muscle tightening or repair of ab muscle separation.
EXTENDED TUMMY TUCK
An extended tummy tuck is an expanded form of tummy tuck procedure with longer incisions. It also addresses the outer thighs. An extended tummy tuck is often an effective treatment for patients who wish to refine their figures following substantial weight loss. This procedure is ideal for patients who have a significant amount of excess fat and skin in the flank, upper hip, and lower back regions. Repair of abdominal muscle is done just like with a regular tummy tuck. Liposuction is often used to remove excess fat around the lower body as well.
FLEUR-DE-LIS TUMMY TUCK
If a patient (typically after massive weight loss) has skin excess in both vertical and horizontal dimension, an additional vertical excision will add to the waist definition. This scar is more visible than a traditional tummy tuck, and may be associated with wound healing problems. The type of procedure is individualized according to your anathomy. A detailed preoperative discussion is warranted to determine if the benefits of a longer scar outweigh the risks. Please see our page on surgery after weight loss for more details.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Dr Fichadia performs tummy tuck surgery under general anesthesia in an accredited ambulatory surgery center. Once anesthesia is administered, a predetermined incision is performed in order to gain access to the underlying tissues of the abdomen. Excess skin and fat is removed the abdominal muscles tightened with sutures. This technique can reposition and strengthen the muscles if they have become separated. This is most commonly seen after pregnancies, but weight fluctuations can also cause it. Once the desired changes are made, the skin is pulled downwards and tightened, and any excess is trimmed away. The incisions are then closed and dressed for recovery. This might include the placement of drains. You also have the choice of placement of pain pumps that help with surgical pain for the first 2 days. We highly recommend those, especially if muscle tightening is performed.
RESULTS AND RECOVERY
Our entire team is ready to support you as you undergo your tummy tuck surgery. We will prepare you for an optimal tummy tuck recovery by giving you detailed information on what to expect. Following the tummy tuck procedure, patients will need to wear compression garments to reduce swelling and support the abdomen as it heals. You can expect some swelling and discomfort, which can be managed with prescribed medications. Most patients return to work, school, or regular at-home tasks after two to four weeks of downtime, depending on the type of work and extent of the procedure. Heavy lifting (over 10 lbs) and strenuous activity should be avoided for 6-8 weeks. It is important that patients ease back into their normal routine gradually for best results.
Your tummy tuck results will continue to refine over the course of the months after surgery. The incision for a tummy tuck is usually placed within the bikini line in the lower abdomen. In most cases, the resulting tummy tuck scar is below the level of a bikini or low-rise pants, allowing women to have full flexibility with their wardrobe choices. During your consultation, Dr. Fichadia can discuss your options for scar management if you feel you will be prone to excess scarring.
Schedule a Consultation
To begin planning your procedure and receive more tummy tuck information, schedule a consultation with Dr. Fichadia by calling our Portland office or filling out our online form.
How much does a tummy tuck cost?
The cost of a tummy tuck can vary based on many different factors, including:
- Surgeon’s fees
It’s important to understand that your tummy tuck surgery cost should not be prioritized over your plastic surgeon’s skill and credentials. One effective way to determine this is to look at your board certified plastic surgeon’s tummy tuck before and after photos (view Dr. Fichadia’s tummy tuck pictures) or tummy tuck surgery videos. We accept CareCredit and can give you a full estimate of your associated costs during a consultation.
What is the difference between liposuction and tummy tuck?
Liposuction is a separate, minimally-invasive technique that can be performed on many areas of the body. It does not involve removal of skin, or repair of muscle. It is reserved for patients with limited areas of stubborn fat that don’t need removal of excess skin. Generally, patients that lack skin elasticity or have excess require surgical correction through a tummy tuck procedure. Additionally, liposuction does not address the muscle separation like a tummy tuck does.
What medical benefits does a tummy tuck offer?
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has published the results of studies showing a decrease in both back pain and urinary incontinence in postpartum women that underwent tummy tuck surgery. This is attributed to the muscle tightening (sometimes called rectus plication) that increases ability of the abdomen to support the upper body. Over the course of pregnancy or weight gain, these muscles can become stretched and ineffective, meaning they require surgical correction. Additionally, some patients that suffer from reoccurring ventral hernias can benefit from a strengthened abdominal wall. It should be noted that male tummy tuck patients can benefit from these techniques as well.
Do non-surgical techniques work?
Although non-surgical fat reduction procedures or tummy tuck belts (sometimes marketed as a non-surgical tummy tuck or tummy tuck alternative) can improve the profile of the abdomen underneath clothing, these techniques can’t remove excess skin or repair stretched muscles. These tummy tuck systems sometimes include compression garments and tummy tuck creams which generally don’t produce results that are surgical-grade.
If you are interested in a tummy tuck to achieve a flatter abdominal profile contact our office in Portland today to get started!