What is a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck–also known as an abdominoplasty–improves the shape of your abdomen. During this procedure, your surgeon will remove excess fat and skin from the abdominal region. Then they will restore weakened abdominal muscles and reposition the remaining skin to create a more toned appearance.
A tummy tuck is an effective way to tone your abdomen and create a smoother abdominal profile. Though it won’t correct stretch marks or improve a C-section scar, it can be done with other body contouring for enhanced results.
If you want to learn more about tummy tuck surgery—or schedule a consultation with a tummy tuck surgeon in the Lehigh Valley—then contact St. Luke’s Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.
Tummy tuck candidates include adults with the following characteristics:
- No significant changes in weight
- Excess skin or fat from pregnancy
- Abdominal surgery like a C-section
- Loose skin as a result of aging
- Realistic expectations
Note that a tummy tuck isn’t for everyone–especially if you have a high body mass index (BMI) or are planning significant weight loss.
Schedule a consultation with a St. Luke’s tummy tuck surgeon in the Lehigh Valley to determine if a tummy tuck is right for you.
Getting a tummy tuck can positively impact your wellbeing and self-confidence. The following list includes some of the most commonly reported benefits:
- More confidence after weight loss
- Improved tone with minimal scarring
- Stronger core abdominal muscles
- Better control over bodily functions
- Decreased likelihood of hernias
In addition to improving your body image, having a tummy tuck is an effective way to combat health problems–especially those resulting from pregnancy or weight loss.
As with all surgeries, a tummy tuck has risks. Some of them include the following:
- Fluid buildup
- Unexpected scarring
- Pour wound healing
- Tissue damage
- Changes in skin sensation
Your surgeon will review a complete list of risks before getting your consent.
Before the procedure
In the time leading up to your tummy tuck at St. Luke’s Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, you can take steps to make your procedure as safe as possible. These include discussing the following topics at your surgical consultation:
- Goals and expectations
- Surgical options
As part of your consultation, your surgeon will also do a complete evaluation—which may include the following items:
- Ordering lab work
- Taking “before” photos for comparison
- Assessing medical conditions, allergies, and medical limitations
- Reviewing medications, supplements, alcohol, tobacco, or drug use
A week before the procedure, you can prepare at home in the following ways:
- Filling outstanding prescriptions
- Purchasing any medical supplies as needed
- Coordinating transportation and meals as needed
- Staying hydrated
You should arrive early on the day of your procedure to avoid travel delays.
During the procedure
Standard or full tummy tuckWith a full tummy tuck, your surgeon will make an incision above your pubic mound to remove excess skin and tighten your abdominal muscles. Depending on your goal, they may make a second incision around your belly button. A standard tummy tuck is best if you want to improve your upper and lower abdomen.
Extended tummy tuckWith an extended tummy tuck, your surgeon will make an incision around your hips to remove large amounts of skin and tighten your abdominal muscles. An extended tummy tuck is often used for massive weight-loss patients because it removes skin from a wider area than a standard tummy tuck.
Fleur-de-lis tummy tuckWith a fleur-de-lis tummy tuck, your surgeon will make a horizontal and vertical incision—making this procedure the most invasive. As a result, a fleur-de-lis tummy tuck is typically used for patients who need the most correction and are willing to accept more visible scarring.
Mini tummy tuckWith a mini tummy tuck, your surgeon will make a small incision above the pubic region to remove skin and tighten abdominal muscles. A mini tummy tuck doesn’t involve repositioning your naval or altering your upper abdomen, so it’s the least invasive type of tummy tuck.
After the procedure
It generally takes two to three months to see the results of your tummy tuck. Initially, the results may be obscured by swelling and bruising–and there will be a scar from the incision. You also may have trouble standing fully upright for a week or two until your body heals internally.
Though some sagging may occur due to aging, a tummy tuck typically lasts for many years. However, previous abdominal surgeries may impact the results of your tummy tuck.
Your St. Luke’s tummy tuck surgeon will customize your procedure based on your desired treatment results. The typical recovery milestones include the following:
- One to three days after surgery: You may experience soreness, swelling, and bruising. For the pain, you can take prescription or over-the-counter pain medication. And for the swelling, you’ll get compression garments. Additionally, you’ll have limited mobility—so you may have trouble standing fully upright. However, this will improve over the first two weeks.
- One to two weeks after surgery: Your swelling, bruising, and pain should be decreasing. You’ll also have your bandages and drainage tubes removed. But you should continue to wear compression garments to help with swelling. If you have a sedentary job, you may return to work. You may need additional recovery time if your job is more strenuous.
- One to three months after surgery: You should be able to resume all regular activities, including exercise. While your incision site may still be red, it should be healed—and will continue to lighten over time. At this point, you’ll be able to see your final results.