Abdominoplasty, commonly called “tummy tuck”, is a major surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. The procedure can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen. Abdominoplasty typically costs $6,000-9,000.
The effects of aging, multiple pregnancies, and major weight loss are all contributors to weakened abdominal muscles and excess skin. When skin has been stretched and loses elasticity it can be surgically removed. In order to tighten the abdomen, the surgeon will suture the abdominal muscles, pulling them closer together, which creates a flatter, firmer abdominal wall and a slimmer waistline.
The best candidates for an abdominoplasty are men and women who are in good health and relatively good shape but are bothered by loose abdominal skin and/or fat deposit that won’t respond to diet or exercise.
Our physicians perform three types of abdominoplasties: mini, full, and extended. The type of procedure you require will be determined during the consultation with your surgeon. The most common of the three techniques is the full abdominoplasty which typically requires two incisions. One incision is made just above the pubic area and extends from one hip bone to the other. Your surgeon will attempt to keep this incision below the “bikini line” but it is important to know that you will have a permanent scar. The second incision is usually made around the navel. The procedure is usually performed in an out-patient facility under general anesthetic.
In order to prevent fluid build up as you heal, drainage tubes will likely be placed in the abdomen, and will remain in place for approximately two to three weeks. The incisions will be sutured and dressings and bandages will be applied. You will most likely have to wear a type of compression garment, which is similar to a girdle. This tight-fitting garment will help to reduce swelling by preventing fluid build up, as well as provide comfort and support as you heal. Depending on the extent of surgery, you may have to wear the compression garment up to several weeks.
As with any major surgical procedure, you will likely experience some pain, bruising, and swelling, which will subside in a few weeks. While you may not be able to stand fully upright at first, it is important that you begin to walk for short periods soon after your procedure to facilitate blood flow. Most patients are able to return to work in one to three weeks time. However, it may take six to eight weeks before you feel able to return to full normal activity including heavy lifting and strenuous exercise.
Before you decide to have a tummy tuck, think carefully about your reasons for doing so, have all of your questions answered by your surgeon, consider the potential risks, and have realistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery.