A tummy tuck is one of the most desired cosmetic surgeries and frequently part of a “mommy makeover.” Tummy tucks are in high demand at Spectrum Plastic Surgery and for those considering this procedure it’s a good idea to have a solid understanding of what a tummy tuck entails.

Is tummy tuck the real name?
A “tummy tuck” is actually an abdominoplasty, but most people know it by its colloquial name. A “mommy makeover” is also a nickname for a series of cosmetic surgeries that are often desired by post-partum women.

Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
Adult women and men might be a good candidate for a tummy tuck. Patients who have noticed sagging skin in the stomach area that doesn’t respond to diet and exercise (fat will respond, but skin will not) might benefit from an abdominoplasty.

What’s the difference between an abdominoplasty and liposuction?
A tummy tuck removes excess skin from the abdomen while simultaneously tightening the abdominal muscles. Liposuction strictly removes excess fat. It’s very common for liposuction to be performed during a tummy tuck.

Will there be a scar and will it show?
Tummy tucks do result in a scar. The incision is long, narrow, and hidden below the belt line. These incisions are not seen when wearing underwear or swimsuits.

Should a woman wait until after she’s finished having biological children to get a tummy tuck?
Maybe. Every patient is different. However, keep in mind that the primary goal of a tummy tuck is to flatten and tighten the stomach by removing excess skin. Fast and excessive weight shifts, including those experienced during and after pregnancy, can stretch out this skin again. It is in some women’s best interest to wait until they are finished having biological children before opting for a tummy tuck.

What happens to the belly button during a tummy tuck?
It depends. In some cases, such as people who choose a “mini tummy tuck,” no changes are necessary to the belly button. In many cases, a new belly button will be created during the tummy tuck procedure. When this is required, belly button reconstruction is considered part of the overall tummy tuck procedure.

What’s a mini tummy tuck?
There are two types of tummy tucks, and the most popular and well-known is the “complete abdominoplasty.” A partial or mini abdominoplasty is also known as a mini tummy tuck. Mini tummy tucks aren’t performed as often and are reserved for those who strictly have excess skin below the belly button.

How do I prepare for a tummy tuck?
Your doctor will provide you with a complete and customized list of instructions prior to your surgery. Every tummy tuck begins with a consultation to determine your needs, goals, and if you’re a good candidate for the procedure. Certain medications may need to be stopped prior to the surgery (under the guidance of your primary care physician) including blood thinners. Smokers need to stop at least two weeks prior to the surgery. You will also need to create a care plan post-surgery that includes having someone to take you to and from your appointment and be your caretaker for a few days post-surgery.

How long does a tummy tuck take?
A traditional tummy tuck can require up to five hours of surgery. A mini tummy tuck requires two hours on average.

Am I “put under” for a tummy tuck?
Yes, general anesthesia is used for this procedure.

What can I expect after the surgery?
The results are immediate, though you can expect redness, swelling, and bruising immediately after your surgery. Patients are prescribed pain management drugs for discomfort. Expect to be sore for weeks or even months after the surgery—a tummy tuck is a major procedure.

Can healing be expedited?
The best way to ensure a relatively fast and healthy healing process is to follow your doctor’s recommendations exactly. Both a full and mini tummy tuck require stitching and bandaging. Bandages are a firm elastic that help promote healing. You will be provided with instructions on how to position yourself to minimize discomfort. Once the incision has completely closed, your doctor will recommend or prescribe specific ointments and creams to help minimize scarring. However, bear in mind that the scars from a tummy tuck will never go away entirely, which is why they are hidden out of sight.

Individual recovery times may vary. The majority of pain, swelling, and bruising has completely subsided at weeks three or four in most patients, and a full recovery takes six to eight weeks on average. To learn more about tummy tucks or to schedule a consultation call Spectrum Plastic Surgery at (480) 579-2090.