Candidates for a Tummy Tuck
Good tummy tuck candidates are generally healthy but have loose, sagging abdominal skin, resistant fat, and weakened stomach muscles that have lost their elasticity. The ideal candidate for this procedure is at an optimal and stable weight, does not smoke, is finished having children, and has reasonable expectations about the results. Take our quiz to see if you’re a candidate.
Although a tummy tuck will dramatically change the shape and profile of your abdomen, it is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program. You should consider postpone having a tummy tuck if you anticipate a major change in your weight or are considering a future pregnancy. A tummy tuck should not be confused with a liposuction (the cosmetic surgery used to remove fat deposits), although Dr. Deutsch may elect to perform liposuction in conjunction with a tummy tuck.
Types of Tummy Tucks
Dr. Deutsch performs three types of abdominoplasty: the standard (also called “classic,” “full” or “complete”) tummy tuck, mini (or “partial”) tummy tuck, and extended abdominoplasty. Exactly which one is performed depends on the patient’s aesthetic goals and the degree of correction that is needed. A thorough consultation with Dr. Deutsch will ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment.
Most commonly performed is the standard tummy tuck, which addresses the full length of the abdominal wall. A horizontal or U-shaped incision is made from hip to hip, running just above the pubic region, along the bikini line. Another incision is made around the navel, releasing it from the surrounding skin. Excess fat, skin and tissue are then removed, and distended muscles are tightened by repositioning them together at the midline. The skin is then redraped and the navel is repositioned. Sutures or skin adhesives are used to close incisions. A standard tummy tuck generally takes 3 to 4 hours to perform, and is done under general anesthesia.
A mini tummy tuck is a scaled-back version of the standard tummy tuck, removing only small to moderate amounts of excess fat and tissue. A shorter incision is utilized, similar to that of a Cesarean section. Only excess fat and skin in the lower abdomen are addressed (not the upper abdominal muscles and skin), and the navel usually isn’t moved. A mini tummy tuck normally takes around two hours to perform.
Patients who desire more extensive correction, or the removal of large amounts of excess skin and fat, will need to undergo an extended abdominoplasty. This procedure utilizes a longer incision than the standard tummy tuck, and addresses not only the abdomen, but also the upper hips, flanks (“love handles”) and lower back region.
Recovery and Results
After abdominoplasty, patients usually return home after a brief stay in the recovery area. Bruising and pain is normal, but should resolve over the first several weeks. Some residual swelling may last three months or longer. A moderate level pain may be experienced, and Dr. Deutsch will prescribe appropriate medications to keep patients resting and recuperating comfortably at home. Drain tubes are normally used to alleviate an accumulation of fluid; these are removed within the first week. A binder or other post-surgical compression garment is worn for support for 2 to 3 months to support the abdomen and help to decrease swelling.
Most patients find that they’re able to return to work within 1 to 3 weeks, although Dr. Deutsch recommends refraining from vigorous activity and exercise for 4 to 6 weeks. As swelling decreases, the full benefits of the abdominoplasty procedure will gradually become visible. While scars from an abdominoplasty are usually concealed by underwear or bathing suits, they will flatten and fade over time, becoming far less noticeable after just a few months.
Generally, most people love the new look after they’ve had a tummy tuck. However, you may not feel like your “normal self” for several months after the procedure. This is major surgery, and it takes time to fully recover. In most cases, though, the results following a tummy tuck are long lasting, provided a balanced diet and regular exercise regimen is maintained.
Schedule Your Consultation
If you are ready to explore your options for getting a firmer, flatter and better-proportioned abdomen, please call our office at 404-255-0886 or contact us to schedule a consultation at either our Atlanta and Fayetteville plastic surgery offices. If you live outside the Atlanta metropolitan area and would be traveling from out of town to have the surgery, we can arrange an online consultation. Dr. Deutsch will be happy to discuss your goals and concerns, and help you decide which tummy tuck procedure may be right for you.