A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, from Lin Plastic Surgery in Boston, is indicated in patients with loose and excessive skin following significant weight loss, multiple pregnancies or from protruding abdominal muscles that do not disappear with diet or exercise. It helps to shape and flatten the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat and tightening the abdominal wall muscles. A tummy tuck can provide a smaller waistline, firmer abs and flatter abdomen.
Reasons for Considering an Abdominoplasty
- No improvement in the abdominal area with diet and exercise
- The presence of fat pockets following weight loss
- Loss of skin elasticity or diastases (loose abdomen muscles) due to pregnancy
What is a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck targets the stretched skin and possible separated muscles created by the localized weight gain of pregnancy, or from the gain and then subsequent loss of a good deal of weight. When the skin in the lower abdomen is stretched to a certain extent it cannot tighten down to its former degree of tautness when the weight is lost or after the baby is delivered. This can leave the patient with sagging stomach skin that won’t respond to any exercises — the skin has simply become inelastic. Often during pregnancy, the stomach muscles in the center become separated. These cannot return to their former position in the center of the stomach without tummy tuck surgery.
The goal of a tummy tuck is to remove excess sagging skin, reposition or tighten separated muscles, and remove pockets of fat. The end result will be a flatter abdomen and usually a slimmer contour of the waist.
What are the benefits of tummy tuck surgery?
The stomach pooch that develops after a woman has had a couple of children can be a frustrating site. No matter how many exercises your perform, no matter how good your diet and nutrition, the pooch endures. Tummy tuck surgery with Dr. Lin removes the pooch, tightens stomach muscles, flattens your abdomen, and usually slims your waist. This procedure can give you back your tummy from your pre-baby days.
Before and After Results of an Abdominoplasty Procedure
Candidacy for a Tummy Tuck
Some of Dr. Lin’s patients believe all they require is liposuction to solve their sagging lower stomach, but that’s usually not the case. If the abdominal skin has stretched and the support muscles have separated, liposuction may remove pockets of fat, but the skin will stay loose and lumpy. Plus, liposuction won’t do a thing for those separated muscles.
A tummy tuck is the right procedure for patients with a good deal of stretched skin and separated stomach muscles.
Dr. Lin may include some liposuction to remove some fat pockets, but this procedure generally removes excess skin and tightens the underlying muscle.
This isn’t a weight-loss procedure, however. Patients need to be within about 10 percent of their ideal body weight to have this procedure.
How do I prepare for an abdominoplasty?
You prepare for this surgery as you would any surgery, and Dr. Lin will walk you through this during your consultation. You’ll need to stop taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications, and certain supplements. You’ll need to stop smoking for a couple of weeks before and after your surgery. He’ll discuss what you need to do to prepare physically.
Just as important with this surgery, however, is to prepare for your recovery. You have to remember that a tummy tuck involves moving abdominal muscles, trimming excess skin, and possibly moving your belly button. Plus, you’ll have a long incision. This adds up to your not being able to lift anything over a couple of pounds for a period of time. You’ll need to line up help with the kids and any household chores. Plus, you should fill your prescription for pain medication beforehand and get your recovery area comfy and ready to go.
General Procedure for a Tummy Tuck
This procedure(s) can last anywhere from one to four hours and uses general anesthesia. To begin the procedure, an incision is made just above the pubic bone area. A horizontal incision is made across the lower abdomen (and sometimes around the back) above the pubic region. The excess skin is removed and the abdominal muscles are tightened to provide a firmly contoured and well-defined waistline. An additional incision is made around the navel, or belly button to provide results.
What is the recovery process for a tummy tuck?
The first one to two hours following surgery are spent in the recovery room. In order to speed up the healing process, rest and limited movement are advised. Stitches are removed shortly after surgery. Normal activity can resume within two weeks. The body may take up to a year to adapt to its new configuration. Diet and exercise are advised to optimize results. Patients may report pain following surgery which can be treated with oral medication. Although the occurrence of complications is rare, Dr. Lin’s Boston patients can reduce the risk of developing potential problems after their tummy tuck procedure by carefully following the post-operative instructions.
How much does a tummy tuck cost?
There isn’t a set cost for these procedures with Dr. Lin. That’s because he cannot know your personal situation until seeing you during your consultation. You may only require a mini tummy tuck with a shorter incision, which is less expensive than a full tuck involving two incisions. You may need an extended tummy tuck, where the incision runs from hipbone to hipbone but then extends around the flanks on each side. You may require some liposuction in addition to your tummy tuck surgery. Once Dr. Lin has a better idea of your unique needs he can give you a precise estimate of the cost.
The Risks of a Tummy Tuck
Abdominoplasty is major surgery, so it entails all of the risks involved with that: bleeding, poor wound healing, infection, reaction to anesthesia, and the like. There are few complications with these procedures, as they involve large muscle groups with limited nerves.
The one side effect, although not actually a side effect, is the extensive scar. There is a chance the long incision won’t heal flat and even, but this is a rare possibility thanks to Dr. Lin’s board-certified surgical expertise and experience. But there will be a lengthy scar. Dr. Lin positions the incision so the scar can be hidden under a bikini bottom or panties, but you will have a scar. It will fade with time.
Is a tummy tuck covered by insurance?
Tummy tucks are considered to be cosmetic procedures by insurance companies, so they are generally not covered. We do offer various financing options, however.
What if I plan on having more children, can I still have a tummy tuck?
Dr. Lin emphasizes to his tummy tuck patients that they need to be finished having children to have this procedure. This isn’t an arbitrary thing — if you again gain the localized weight with pregnancy that will negate all of the changes made by a tummy tuck. Plus, it would place serious stress on your incision, possibly distorting your scar. If you’re even considering having any additional children, then this is not the time for this surgery.