If you’ve been struggling to achieve your desired body goals and just can’t get there with diet and exercise alone, abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a tummy tuck, might be the solution you need.
At Rios Center for Plastic Surgery, we help our clients achieve a flatter, more toned abdomen with tummy tuck surgery. This blog answers common questions like what is a tummy tuck, what are the differences between traditional and mini abdominoplasty, and what can you expect from the tummy tuck procedure?
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
Let’s start by defining tummy tuck surgery. Abdominoplasty is designed to remove excess fat and skin from your abdomen while tightening the muscles of your abdominal wall.
Tummy tuck surgery is commonly performed on individuals who have recently experienced pregnancy or significant weight loss. These life events typically result in loose skin and weakened abdominal muscles, which contribute to a soft and saggy midsection. Tummy tuck surgery restores a firmer and smoother abdominal profile.
How Abdominoplasty Goes Beyond Cosmetic
Tummy tuck surgery is typically associated with being a cosmetic procedure, but its benefits extend well beyond aesthetics alone. Tummy tucks can help improve your physical comfort and the function of your abdomen. By tightening weakened or separated abdominal muscles (a condition known as diastasis recti that is quite common after pregnancy), abdominoplasty can help alleviate discomfort from a weakened, unstable core.
Understanding the Tummy Tuck Procedure
Your tummy tuck procedure can take anywhere from two to five hours, depending on the extent of the surgery. We usually perform tummy tucks under general anesthesia.
During surgery, we make a horizontal incision at the base of your abdomen between your pubic area and belly button. The correction needed during surgery will dictate both the shape and length of the incision. Through this incision, we access and repair the weakened abdominal muscles and remove the excess fat, tissue, and skin.
This is where a mini abdominoplasty stops. For a full abdominoplasty, we make another incision around the navel to remove excess skin from your upper abdomen. We pull down the remaining skin and create a new hole for your navel, which we suture into place. Regardless of whether you receive mini abdominoplasty or full, you’ll have smooth and natural-looking results.
More on Mini Abdominoplasty
Mini abdominoplasty is appropriate for individuals who have less severe muscle laxity or excess skin. With mini abdominoplasty, the incision below the belly button is smaller, and usually, an incision around the navel isn’t required. The main focus of mini abdominoplasty is the lower abdomen, which is why this procedure is particularly popular with women who are recovering from pregnancy.
Recovery After Tummy Tuck Surgery
Your recovery following tummy tuck surgery will require time and patience. Understanding what to expect during recovery can make the process much smoother overall.
Immediately following surgery, we wrap your abdomen in bandages or a compression garment, which minimizes swelling and supports your abdomen as it heals. Depending on the extent of your abdominoplasty, we may also temporarily place tubes under the skin to aid drainage.
The initial healing phase lasts approximately one or two weeks, though this will depend on your body and how it heals. We will provide you with individual instructions on:
- How to care for the incisions
- Medications to either apply topically or take orally
- When to follow up
During recovery, you need plenty of time to heal, so you should plan to avoid strenuous activities for a minimum of six weeks (again, this number will depend on your individual recovery progress). Most people return to their everyday activities after two or three weeks, though this depends on the nature of their jobs and the extent of the surgery they received.
Long-Term Care and Abdominoplasty Results
Abdominoplasty is a permanent procedure, but if you later experience significant changes in your body (such as weight gain), you will notice changes in your results. So if you are planning significant weight loss or if you want to get pregnant anytime soon, it may be best to postpone abdominoplasty for now.
By maintaining a stable weight and a balanced lifestyle, you can preserve your tummy tuck results. Keep a regular exercise schedule and eat a healthy diet so you can enjoy your abdominoplasty results for years to come.
Tips to Maintain Results
Try to Maintain a Stable Weight
If you experience significant weight fluctuations, you risk stretching the skin and muscles, which can negate the effects of your surgery.
Staying hydrated helps your skin maintain its elasticity. Hydration also aids in digestion, which can help you avoid bloat and maintain a flatter abdominal profile.
This is especially important while you’re healing since smoking can interfere with your body’s healing process. Smoking also accelerates aging, which can potentially impact the longevity of your tummy tuck results.
A balanced diet is rich in veggies, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. These nutrient-dense foods nourish your body while helping you avoid excess weight gain.
Regular physical activity keeps your bones healthy, maintains muscle tone, and helps you avoid weight gain. Once you’ve recovered from abdominoplasty and we’ve given you the green light, you should aim for regular aerobic activity and resistance training so you can enjoy a strong, healthy body.