Most of us would love to show off a flat tummy and shapely curves after gaining and losing significant amounts of weight or after having a baby.
Sometimes our bodies just don’t rebound as they should. No matter how many crunches you do or how healthy a diet you practice, that stubborn pooch won’t budge.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
If you’ve been exploring the option of a tummy tuck, you may have some of the following complaints:
- Loose skin and/or weakened abdominal muscles from pregnancy
- A bulge around your waistline that persists despite exercise and a healthy diet
- Excess abdominal skin after weight loss
If yes, then you deserve to look good after all you’ve done to get in shape! First off, you should be very proud of yourself for working so hard. It’s not easy to shed those pounds. Plastic surgeon Dr. Karen Leong wants to customize a treatment plan to suit your needs and goals. She doesn’t believe in cookie-cutter surgery. Our Newport Beach, CA location offers several different types of tummy tucks that may be combined with other body lift techniques or liposculpture to help you attain a better body. She takes time to share your vision and pays attention to the little details you express during your initial consultation in Newport Beach. A tummy tuck is an extensive procedure, and the recovery process will require a commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You must be mentally and physically prepared for surgery. Dr. Leong would like to help you in your journey to a leaner, firmer you.
What Is the Tummy Tuck Procedure Like?
Abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. There are numerous surgical options to consider when Dr. Leong performs the surgery. The incision type is determined based on the amount of excess skin to be removed. Patients with an abundance of loose skin may require a full tummy tuck with the incision made along the lower abdomen (from hip to hip), just above the pubic region. The rectus muscles in this patient group usually require plication (bringing together) to restore an hourglass shape. Other patients with less skin and muscle involvement may be better suited for a shorter incision or mini technique. Men and women who receive this treatment still benefit from an abdominoplasty but will simply receive a smaller scar. Liposuction will be performed first to debulk the tummy before skin excision. In most cases, the incision in either technique is closed without drains (drainless tummy tuck) unless Dr. Leong has concerns during the procedure.
Recovery and Results after a Tummy Tuck
After your abdominoplasty surgery is completed, you will be monitored in the postoperative recovery area for about an hour. You will be in an abdominal binder and/or compression garment to assist with swelling. Standing upright and walking will be challenging at first. Dr. Leong asks that you stay bent at the hips for about one week before attempting to stand up straight to take tension off the incision. Walking becomes easier once the abdominal muscles adjust and the incision begins to heal. Most patients can generally resume a normal routine within two weeks. You will be released for exercise closer to 6 – 8 weeks, or whenever Dr. Leong clears you. You will feel some discomfort and tightness in your lower body, and you may experience more fatigue than usual for the first few weeks, but you will feel healthy and normal again after recovering.
Am I a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
Abdominoplasty is an option for both women and men. If you have loose or wrinkly skin, feel like your tummy is never quite flat, as well as pesky pockets of fat in the abdomen, this body contouring procedure can help you get back a tighter and slimmer figure. Dr. Leong advises you to be at a stable weight prior to surgery. Abdominoplasty is not a substitute for weight loss — it focuses on loose skin and muscle separation. Liposuction is typically performed during surgery to target fat around the waistline. If you are unhappy with how your tummy looks and feels but don’t have loose skin, you may be a candidate for liposuction alone.
Dr. Leong recommends you wait at least six months after your pregnancy or are within 10 – 15 lbs of your ideal body weight before having a tummy tuck. After six months, most women achieve a more stable body weight, and their hormones have returned to their pre-pregnancy levels. Maintaining your body weight before surgery should ensure that your results are in line with your surgical goals.
During your consultation, Dr. Leong will customize your unique tummy tuck plan based on your specific needs and goals before discussing costs, which average about $9,000 for skin only; full correction is approximately $15,700 plus anesthesia and facility. She will be better able to estimate your costs once the type of tummy tuck has been determined. To make sure you get high-quality results from a skilled plastic surgeon, Dr. Leong will do her best to make your tummy tuck easier to afford; please ask about financing options.
There are three main types of tummy tucks: full, mini, and extended. Dr. Leong will ask about your needs and goals before examining your abdomen and skin during your consultation. Then, she can better decide which tummy tuck technique will give you the best results.
A full tummy tuck is beneficial if you need to address issues in the upper and lower abdomen, while a mini tummy tuck is best if you only have problems below your belly button, like a “pooch.” An extended tummy tuck is designed to improve the abdomen as well as the hips and upper thighs.
Many patients are concerned with whether they will wake up from surgery with drains. Traditionally, drains are placed during surgery to prevent fluid from collecting where you had surgery. Fluid collections (seroma or hematoma) can delay wound healing and be uncomfortable for patients. Dr. Leong performs drain-less tummy tuck – she uses a technique called progressive tension sutures to close the space that would otherwise collect fluid. However, there are some cases where she might feel the drains are beneficial. She will go over this with you at your appointment.
The incisions needed for your tummy tuck will depend on which type you are getting. For all tummy tucks, Dr. Leong makes the smallest, thinnest incision possible to limit scars. She also makes incisions in less visible areas (in the pubic region or belly button), so a swimsuit or underwear can easily conceal them. After your surgery, it’s essential to follow your scar care instructions so your incisions heal flat and blend into your natural skin.
While you can still get pregnant after a tummy tuck, it will alter your results. Dr. Leong recommends that patients be done with planned pregnancies and childbirth before they consider a tummy tuck. If you do get pregnant after a tummy tuck, a second surgery can be performed to refresh your results.
Many patients combine another cosmetic surgery with a tummy tuck to get more dramatic improvements. During your consultation with Dr. Leong, tell her about all of your concerns so a comprehensive treatment plan can be developed that matches your goals. If you are trying to improve your whole body after pregnancy or after losing a significant amount of weight, you may be a candidate for a mommy makeover. You may combine a tummy tuck with a thigh lift or a lower body lift, fat transfer to the buttocks, breast surgery, vaginal rejuvenation, or even face procedures for custom body contouring.