How is the Tummy Tuck Performed?
"The surgeon may recommend
that either a partial or full tummy tuck
be done in conjunction with Liposuction."
In an effort to achieve the best tummy tuck result, several different surgical techniques are available. The most appropriate technique will be selected based on the condition of the patient, the extent of the procedure as well as the patient/surgeon preference. Most tummy tuck procedures are performed under general anesthesia. In what many surgeons refer to as a full tummy tuck
procedure, a surgical incision is made across the lower abdomen right above the pubic area. Following the creation of this initial incision, a second incision is made around the patient's belly button as a means of loosening the surrounding skin. Next, the patient's skin is separated from the wall of abdomen. Following this surgical maneuver, the surgeon pulls the loose abdominal muscles from the left and right flanks and sutures them together. This action results in tighter abdominal muscles, creating a stronger, firmer abdominal wall as well as a smaller waist. Directly after the tightening and suturing of the abdominal muscles, excess skin is removed and a new opening is made in the correct position for the belly button. To complete the abdominoplasty, any remaining incisions are closed with sutures (stitches) and/or staples. Lastly, surgical gauze is placed over the incision area in an effort to keep the abdominal region clean and free from infection.
A second option different from a full tummy tuck
, and designed to treat problem areas existing below the belly button, is a partial tummy tuck
. This less invasive form of abdominoplasty is frequently performed on an outpatient basis and typically requires a local form of anesthetic. Contingent on the patient's desired outcome, as well as their pre-operative status, the surgeon may recommend that either a partial
tummy tuck be done in conjunction with Liposuction
. Liposuction is frequently incorporated into those tummy tuck cases where additional fat deposits need to be removed from the hips, resulting in more rejuvenated, dramatic body contour. Occasionally, liposuction alone may offer the best results. The most appropriate treatment options will be discussed during the surgeon-patient consultation.
A tummy tuck generally requires about two to five hours, depending on the extent of the procedure (i.e., "full tummy tuck" vs. "partial tummy tuck"), the desired out come and the pre-operative condition of the patient. Typically, a "partial tummy tuck" takes about one to two hours.
"A tummy tuck generally requires
about two to five hours, depending on
the extent of the procedure."
While many tummy tuck procedures are performed in a hospital setting, some are done in an office surgical suite. The location of where the tummy tuck procedure is to be performed will depend on the patient's preferences as well as the surgeon's. Furthermore, depending on the extent of the tummy tuck, an overnight stay in a hospital is common. This allows for the patient's recovery process to be monitored by trained medical staff. If the treatment area is minimal, the patient may return home the same day. These issues are usually discussed and decided by the surgeon and patient during the initial consultation.
While it may take most tummy tuck patients several weeks to feel completely back to normal, those patients who are in good physical condition will experience faster recovery times. Additionally, some tummy tuck patients are able to return to work after two weeks, others will require up to four weeks to recuperate.
Many surgeons recommend that tummy tuck patients begin a program of light exercise following surgery. The motion afforded by this activity will reduce swelling, decrease the possibility of developing blood clots and enhance skin tone. Vigorous exercise, such as lifting heavy objects, etc., should be put off until it may be done comfortably and the surgeon has provided their consent to do so.
As with most surgical procedures, scars do result from tummy tucks. Typically, surgical scars appear to worsen during the first few months following a tummy tuck - this is normal. In some tummy tuck cases it may take up to a year before most scars flatten out and lighten in color. While scars never disappear completely, tummy tuck scars are placed in areas that will subsequently be covered by clothes, bathing suits, etc.
How Much Pain is Associated With a Tummy Tuck?
"Furthermore, it is likely the patient
will experience some pain and discomfort,
which may be controlled by various pain medications."
For the first few days following an Tummy Tuck, expect some degree of swelling in the abdominal region. Furthermore, it is likely that the patient will experience some pain and discomfort which may be controlled by various pain medications.
In an effort to reduce any pain and discomfort associated with a tummy tuck, it is common that two to three days of bed rest is recommended. During this time, the surgeon may suggest that the patient keep their legs slightly bent at the hips to reduce the amount of strain placed on the abdominal muscles. Furthermore, most surgeons will provide the patient with an "abdominal binder" which serves to offer support to the tightened areas. The surgeon will provide additional instructions for various activities such as showering, changing the surgical dressings and walking. It is frequently recommended that patients walk as soon as possible, even though they may not be able to stand straight up initially. Stitches and sutures are typically removed within the first five to seven days following surgery. Deeper sutures with ends that protrude through the skin, those used at deeper levels under the skin, will come out in two to three weeks.
Who Would Best Represent an Ideal Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
There are several important factors one must consider in determining whether or not abdominoplasty is the appropriate procedure for them. During the consultation visit with the surgeon, it is recommended that the patient ask the surgeon if they feel the patient is a good candidate for abdominoplasty. In determining one''s readiness for abdominoplasty, the patient should:
- Be realistic with the tummy tuck expectations
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Be mature enough to fully understand the procedure
- Be in relatively good physical condition
- Be in good psychological health
- Not be pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant
- Not be severely overweight
What Are The Risks and Limitations of a Tummy Tuck?
All surgical procedures, including the tummy tuck, have potential risks associated with their performance. Basic risks include, bleeding, potential reaction to the anesthetic, and infection. Some scaring is to be expected with a tummy tuck. As mentioned earlier, scars will become lighter and flatter with time. Smoking may increase the risk of complications and may delay healing. Furthermore, smoking could potentially lead to larger scars. Most risks and complications associated with the tummy tuck may be reduced significantly by closely following any and all of the surgeon''s instructions.
What Are The Typical Costs Associated With a Tummy Tuck?
"The national average for surgeon
fees, relative to tummy tuck, is $4,827."
According to cost data supplied by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the national average for surgeon fees, relative to tummy tuck, is $4,827. Surgeon fees within various regions may vary depending on whether the practice is in an urban, suburban, or rural area. The fee covers the surgeon's fee only and does not include fees for the surgical facility, anesthesia, medical tests, prescriptions, or other miscellaneous costs related to the tummy tuck. A comprehensive cost figure may be obtained while consulting with the surgeon. Make sure the total figure includes any and all costs associated with a tummy tuck.
Due to the various costs associated with a tummy tuck, most surgeons offer multiple financing options. CosmeticSurgery.com has created an easy and effective way for patients to finance their tummy tuck online. For more information please click here (link to MediCredit)
Ten Questions Every Tummy Tuck Patient Should Ask Their Surgeon:
Prior to any abdominoplasty a consultation will occur between the prospective patient and the providing surgeon. During this consultation the surgeon and patient will discuss issues such as the desired outcome, various options that are available to address said outcome, the procedure itself as well various risks and limitations. The surgeon will also provide information regarding anesthesia options, the location and description of where the abdominoplasty procedure will be performed (i.e., hospital vs. office surgical suite) and associated costs. A discussion regarding the patient''s medical history, as well as a physical examination of the area to be treated will also take place during the consultation.
In an effort to educate the patient regarding abdominoplasty, as well to assist in formulating realistic expectations, it is recommended that the patient view numerous before and after photographs, speak with previous abdominoplasty patients, as well as obtain responses to the following questions:
- Are the desired results I described realistic?
- Where is the abdominoplasty surgery performed and how long will it take?
- In my case, would a "partial abdominoplasty" work as well or better than a "full abdominoplasty"?
- What kind of anesthesia will the surgeon use during the abdominoplasty surgery?
- How much does abdominoplasty surgery cost and what elements factor into that cost (i.e., hospital fee, anesthesia, etc)?
- What is the surgeon''s level of experience in performing abdominoplasty surgery?
- What percentage of abdominoplasty patients experience complications with abdominoplasty surgery?
- What is the surgeon''s policy in regards to correcting or repeating the abdominoplasty if the abdominoplasty surgery does not meet agreed upon goals?
- What should I expect, post-operatively, in terms of soreness, scarring, activity level, etc?
- Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked or suspended?
What is The Long-Term Effect of a Tummy Tuck?
"For most tummy tuck patients,
the long-term results associated with
the procedure are excellent."
For most tummy tuck patients, the long-term results associated with the procedure are excellent. Issues such as keeping one's weight relatively constant, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and carefully following the surgeon''s instructions regarding physical activity, etc., determine the overall effect associated with a tummy tuck.