The two basic goals of abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) are to remove excess skin and tighten weakened abdominal muscles. Loose skin and the weakening of fascia can be caused by weight loss, aging, and pregnancy.
Abdominoplasty is the most common procedure performed to remove loose skin on the lower abdomen. The procedure is done below the waistline to the belly button.
Note: Abdominoplasty is not an alternative to weight loss. To achieve a flat abdomen, patients must be close to their ideal body weight.
Every patient must be evaluated individually since everyone’s shape is different, and they have their own unique needs and wants.
Tummy tuck procedure
During an abdominoplasty procedure, the underlying muscle is tightened by stitching the connective sheath covering the muscle, which gathers the loose area together. The sutures go on top of the Rectus Abdominis, or washboard ab muscles, to flatten the abdomen and emphasize an hourglass shape.
For tummy tuck surgeries, Dr. Goldman will create a nice, low, curved incision at the waistline. This is fairly long and generally extends across the front of the abdomen.
A second incision is made around the belly button in such a way that the scar will tuck into the belly button. Most of our patients feel comfortable in a two-piece bathing suit after this cosmetic procedure. We try to keep the waistline scar low so that wearing low-cut clothing without revealing your surgical procedure is a possibility.
It is important to note that the healing process of ANY scar is usually between a year and two years. After a major surgery or stitching, the scars are red for several weeks after the procedure, but they fade with time making the incisions less and less noticeable.
The exact length of the tummy tuck scar depends on how much excess skin and looseness there is in the abdominal region.
Recovery from abdominoplasty
Typical recovery from abdominoplasty is as follows:
Patients go home the same day: After surgery, tummy tuck patients are encouraged to walk around at home with assistance from a family member or friend that evening. The earlier movement is achieved, the less pain the patient will experience.
Medication: Oral narcotics like Percocet® are commonly used to diminish postoperative pain. Most patients feel tightness and soreness in their abdomen for three to five days after abdominal surgery. Most patients do not require narcotics beyond this period.
Pain levels vary: Some patients report minimal pain after surgery, while others experience pain that requires narcotics for more than five days. Nonetheless, Patients can walk and drive less than a week after the surgery.
Most patients return to work within two weeks, although some return in as little as one week. All the same, it’s important to avoid strenuous activity or exercise for healthy recovery.
Drainage tubes: We use drains for this procedure, which reduces postoperative bruising and swelling. Drain tubes are not always necessary, but without them, patients can have more bruising, swelling, and pain.
Compression: After surgery, patients typically wear a post-surgical Lycra compression garment. This is similar to Spanks® and is worn under regular clothing. The garment is usually worn almost all day long for three weeks and then less frequently thereafter.
How painful is abdominoplasty?
In general, abdominoplasty is associated with more postoperative pain than breast augmentation or rhinoplasty. There is usually bruising and swelling that lasts for two to three weeks after surgery.
Do you lose weight with a tummy tuck?
Some patients can have excellent results with abdominoplasty, even though they are a little bit above their ideal body weight. But generally, patients will not see a significant difference in their body weight on a scale after a tummy tuck since the fat deposits and extra skin removed do not weigh that much.
Types of tummy tuck surgeries
The most common tummy tuck procedure is the full abdominoplasty. This procedure involves the removal of excess abdominal skin from just below the waistline to approximately the level of the belly button.
The procedure leaves two abdominal incisions, which are concealed in the waistline and around the belly button.
Mini tummy tuck
A mini-tummy tuck (partial abdominoplasty) is a procedure where a small amount of skin is removed compared to the full abdominoplasty procedure. Usually, skin is removed from the waistline to about halfway up toward the belly button. No incision is made around the belly button.
The waistline incision is a little smaller than the full abdominoplasty incision. If the excess skin is minimal and the patient’s muscle tone is good, a non-surgical skin tightening procedure like Thermage or the Fraxel Repair CO2 laser (both available through Dr. Goldman and Beachwood Plastic Surgery) may be appropriate.
Ideal candidates for partial abdominoplasty include those that have good aesthetics above the umbilicus (belly button). If the main problem is the skin’s elasticity and muscle below the belly button, a mini tummy tuck is a suitable option.
Patients who have had a C-section and have an excess of skin hanging over their C-section scar are also good candidates for a mini tummy tuck.
Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery procedure used if a patient has excess belly fat but minimal excess tissue and is not significantly overweight.
Liposuction can be safely combined with abdominoplasty. This procedure can also be referred to as a Lipotuck. In fact, our triple board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Steven Goldman, uses liposuction with the majority of his tummy tucks to sculpt the abdomen and give an aesthetically pleasing contour. The result of this combination is an hourglass shape after surgery.
At Beachwood Plastic Surgery and Medical Spa, we place particular emphasis on achieving an hourglass contour to the abdomen or belly.
We want the abdomen to be as flat as possible but also have a nice indentation at the narrowest portion of the abdominal contour.
This involves not just removing excess skin but also performing liposuction to the flanks or sides of the abdomen and tightening the abdominal wall by putting sutures on top of the abdominal muscles.
Liposuction alone may be useful if patients have significant fat underneath their skin without a lot of loose skin or muscle.
What is the cost of abdominoplasty?
The cost of an abdominoplasty varies based on several factors, including if it is a full or mini abdominoplasty and if additional liposuction is required in other areas of the body. A combination of abdominoplasty with liposuction of the abdomen and flanks is approximately $8000 to $10,000.
Why choose Dr. Goldman?
Dr. Goldman is qualified to perform these procedures. He has extensive experience with abdominoplasty and has refined the techniques for a tummy tuck to enhance the hourglass body shape in female patients.
As a Triple Board-certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Goldman also has extensive experience with tummy-tuck and liposuction. He’s also well-versed in handling more involved procedures for bariatric patients who have had massive weight loss.
Contact our office at 216-514-8899 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if you are a good candidate for this procedure.