TUMMY TUCK (Abdominoplasty)
Like many things in life, you may never truly appreciate something as simple as a smooth, flat stomach… until you no longer have it. Pregnancy, weight gain and loss, aging – some or all of these things can intervene and change the landscape of your abdomen. Diet and exercise can help reduce the fat on your belly, but you may still be left with excess or sagging skin which, if combined with weak stomach muscles, can give you the appearance of a protruding belly and compromise your self-confidence. A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) can remove this excess skin and fat and tighten the abdominal muscles, narrowing the waist and creating an abdominal profile that is smoother, flatter, and tighter.
Is a tummy tuck right for me?
Because a tummy tuck is a body-shaping procedure and not a means for weight loss, it may be a good fit for you if you are already at a stable and healthy weight and simply want to refine your body’s contour. You should not pursue a tummy tuck, however, until you are finished with childbearing, as pregnancy, with its associated weight gain and loss, can potentially negate your results. In addition, in order to maintain your results, you should be able to commit to a diet and exercise program that works for you.
Tummy tuck options
Dr. Moya offers several abdominoplasty options, depending on the location and extent of your excess skin as well as whether your abdominal muscles have been compromised, and can customize the procedure to meet your individual needs and goals. Tummy tuck options range from a limited (“mini”) abdominoplasty to a fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty.
A limited (“mini”) tummy tuck may be a good choice for you if:
- you are relatively fit and/or within 10 percent of your ideal body weight
- you feel that most of your issues are below the belly button
- you do not need tightening of your abdominal muscles (as determined at the time of your consult)
This procedure involves a single small incision that is made along the lower portion of your abdomen, just above your pelvic bone. As with most tummy tucks, this procedure may be performed under general anesthesia; with Dr. Moya’s advanced surgical technique, however, it may also be done safely and comfortably with only local anesthesia and mild sedation, reducing your overall cost but still achieving the same results.
A standard tummy tuck (the most common) treats the entire abdominal area and may be a better choice for you if:
- you are relatively healthy and within 20 percent of your ideal body weight
- you have a little more excess skin both above and below the belly button
- you may need tightening of your abdominal muscles
This procedure also involves an incision along the lower abdomen, extending from one hip bone to the other; if your belly button would need repositioning (to ensure natural-looking results, since you would not want it to be pulled too low), you would also have an incision around the very edge of your belly button. Dr. Moya routinely performs this option in combination with liposuction of the upper abdomen and lower chest (utilizing a SAFElipo® technique) for improved overall upper waistline contouring and a thinner lower abdominal scar. Because this procedure is more extensive, it would require general anesthesia, and would take two to three hours.
An extended tummy tuck may be the right choice for you if, in addition to your abdominal area, you also have “love handles” that you wish to address. The incision may extend beyond the hips, but is usually very low, so that it will most likely not be visible even with lower-waistline clothing.
A reverse tummy tuck may be the choice for you to consider if your loose skin is confined to the lower chest, just below your breasts, and/or your upper abdomen. Incisions can be made along the breast folds and the excess skin pulled upward and removed (as opposed to being pulled downward, as it would be with the other tummy tuck options). The incisions can also be extended to remove excess skin along the sides of your chest to improve overall upper waistline contour (with scars hidden beneath your bra or bikini top).
A fleur-de-lis tummy tuck may be a better choice for you if:
- you have loose or excess skin on your abdomen
- you have loose or excess skin along your sides
- you have severe stretch marks and/or scarring from previous surgery above your belly button
A vertical incision down the center of the abdomen along with an incision extending from one hip bone to the other (like an upside-down uppercase “T”) allows for removal of a moderate amount of excess skin, providing not only a smoother and flatter abdomen but also a narrower and more contoured waistline. Should your require removal of a more substantial amount of upper abdominal skin as well as removal of skin just below your chest, you may wish to consider a Corset Body Lift® instead, as this will allow for the removal of a maximum amount of skin along your entire abdomen and also provide the greatest waistline transformation, creating a beautifully-contoured hourglass figure for women and a nicely-tapered torso for men.
Because of Dr. Moya’s use of advanced technologies (HARMONIC® scalpel) and surgical techniques, none of the tummy tuck options require post-operative drains, making your recovery process more simplified and comfortable. Also, regardless of which option is best for you, the placement of the lower abdominal incision can be adjusted so that the final scar is completely hidden beneath your underwear/bikini bottom.
Recovery after a tummy tuck
You will have some pain and swelling for several days or more after your tummy tuck, and may have some residual soreness for a few weeks or longer. This is somewhat dependent on the type of tummy tuck you undergo – a more extensive procedure (longer incision, muscle tightening, liposuction) may mean a slightly longer recovery period, and will most likely delay your return to activities a little longer. Because Dr. Moya injects a long-acting numbing medication into your newly-tightened abdominal muscles during the procedure and combines this with his specific post-operative pain management regimen, you should be comfortable immediately after surgery, which can also improve the rest of your recovery process. You will probably need to take some time off work (one or two weeks), and will have to avoid all strenuous activities, including any heavy lifting or exercise, for 6 weeks. Dr. Moya will give you detailed and personalized instructions on how you can best handle your recovery, so that you can begin enjoying your new, nicely-contoured abdomen!
Tummy Tuck Combined with Other Procedures
Tummy tucks are often combined with other breast and body contouring procedures, including breast augmentation (with or without a breast lift), arm lift, and thigh lift. Often referred to as “Mommy Makeovers” because of changes in the appearance of a woman’s body following childbearing, they are usually performed once you are finished having children. You don’t have to be a mother, of course, to opt for combined procedures. One of the benefits of combined procedures is a single recovery period (as opposed to having several separate procedures), which makes any necessary arrangements (time off work, help at home, etc.) that much easier.
Request a consultation with Dr. Moya today to discuss your tummy tuck options.