For some patients, the midsection can be labeled as a distinctive “problem” area when it comes to achieving a flattering shape. Toning the abdominal muscles and flattening out the tummy with diet and exercise can be easier said than done, and discouraging if no positive results ensue. Patients who have experienced significant weight loss or have given birth often find that their major life change has left a lingering reminder in the form of excess abdominal skin.
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, involves removing this loose skin and stubborn fat and tightening abdominal muscles in order to achieve a flatter and firmer midsection.
Every patient’s plastic surgery experience is different and personal, stemming from a variety of reasons, and concluding with unique results. The road to an improved body contour with a tummy tuck begins with a thorough plan. This unique plan can organize the surgery process by customizing an approach that suits the patient’s needs and goals for their body structure.
The initial tummy tuck consultation is an important time for both the patient and the doctor. For all involved, it’s an opportunity to have questions answered, address any concerns, and cover the facts, risks and benefits of the procedure itself.
This consultation also involves an evaluation of the patient’s general health, medical history, and an assessment of the abdominal area. Not all abdominal sections are the same, so assessing the extent of loose skin and fatty tissue will help determine which type of procedure is the most suitable.
The Main Methods of Tummy Tucks
Full or Traditional
In this procedure, the entire abdomen area is addressed, above and below the navel. Horizontal incision near the bikini line is made. Then the skin and underlying fat is undermined to repair abdominal muscles, and to pull and remove excess skin and fatty tissue.
Partial or “Mini”
This is the “lite” version of a full abdominoplasty. A similar shaped, but smaller incision is made to improve the appearance of a patient’s tummy that protrudes from below the belly button.
A single curved incision is used to tighten the skin at the sides of the abdomen, rather than the center. With this technique, the waist and the contours of the upper thighs can become more defined.
This type of tummy tuck is designed for those who have excess skin and fat in the upper abdominal area only. In this case, an incision is made under the breast fold to pull and tighten the skin upwards.
Using a small incision, weakened abdominal wall muscles are repaired and the belly button can be repositioned to a more natural position.
In addition to making decisions about the best technique or surgical option, a tummy tuck consultation provides a great opportunity for a patient to get to know their plastic surgeon and feel more confident about their upcoming surgery.
In the weeks leading up to their surgery, patients should carefully follow their doctor’s advice on health and preparation tummy tuck treatment. Generally speaking, patients are advised to quit smoking and stop taking certain medications, some of which can cause increased bleeding. A detox program may also be recommended.
For abdominoplasty patients, surgery begins with being placed under general anesthesia. Following this, the surgeon proceeds to make incisions based upon the decided tummy tuck type. During surgery, liposuction is often used as the fat removal technique, and can also be performed on other areas of the body to improve more contours. Depending on the extent of the procedure, patients can expect the surgery duration to last from one to four hours.
The Recovery & The Results
As with any type of surgery, the recovery period is vital to ensure proper healing and the best results. Immediately after the procedure, patients can expect to experience some tenderness, pain, and swelling in the treated areas.
Wearing a compression garment will help control swelling, and medications, muscle relaxers and supplements may be prescribed to provide relief during the recovery phase.
During the first few weeks after a tummy tuck, patients should not be exposed to strenuous activities or exercise. Very light physical movements can be performed, but a patient should try to focus on resting as their body adjusts to the surgical changes.
Typically, patients notice tummy tuck results after about a month. A full recovery, with apparent improvements in the midsection, may occur in as little as three months.
Getting a Flatter Midsection with a Tummy Tuck
For many patients, a firmer and flatter tummy not only helped refine their silhouette, but it also gave their self-confidence a boost. If you are considering a tummy tuck, please contact Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery, Inc. by calling (888) 754-8955 to request a consultation. Our experienced plastic surgeon, Dr. Gabriel Chiu, can help determine which procedure is right for you to achieve the look you desire.