A tummy tuck is an incredibly effective procedure that can help to both remove fat and tighten loose, sagging skin in the abdominal area. It is particularly popular among post-childbirth women and those who have lost large amounts of weight.
If you have loose skin as well as excess fat in the abdominal area, you may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck. Contact Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. David Bottger at 610-355-4275 to schedule your consultation and learn more about your body contouring options.
- What Is a Tummy Tuck
- Tummy Tuck Procedure
- Tummy Tuck or Full Body Lift
- Tummy Tuck Candidates
- Abdominoplasty Risks
- Tummy Tuck Recovery
- Lifestyle Changes After Tummy Tuck
- Pregnancy After Tummy Tuck
- Tummy Tuck Costs
- Tummy Tuck and Stretch Marks
- Schedule Your Consultation
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a procedure that tightens loose muscles and eliminates excess skin and fat in the abdomen. Pregnancy often causes the abdominal muscles to loosen and separate, and a tummy tuck can stitch those muscles back together for a tighter, more toned appearance.
In addition, losing a large amount of weight can cause the skin to sag. In some cases, the skin eventually retracts, but for most people they are stuck with excess, sagging skin unless they opt for a tummy tuck. Losing so much weight is a huge achievement, and it may be disappointing to end up with so much excess skin you can't show your stomach. A tummy tuck can help you feel great about your post-weight loss body.
A tummy tuck is generally recommended if you have loose muscles or skin. If your only concern is stubborn pockets of fat, then liposuction may be a better option. In some cases, liposuction and tummy tuck can be performed together for more comprehensive results; for instance, if you want to flatten your stomach but also get rid of love handles or bra bulge.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure usually done under general anesthesia. An incision is made just above the pubic hairline, and curves into the region of the hip bone. The length of the incision varies depending on the amount of skin to be removed. A small incision is also made around the belly button to free it from the surrounding skin for final positioning.
The skin flap is then elevated, the underlying abdominal muscles are tightened, and excess lower abdominal skin is excised. The position of the navel remains unchanged. For optimal contouring, liposuction may also be performed.
Since a tummy tuck is a complex surgery, it is essential to choose a plastic surgeon who is:
- Board certified
- Specialized in body contouring surgery
- Has good reviews and a before and after gallery
Tummy Tuck or Full Body Lift?
If your main area of concern is your abdomen, a tummy tuck is likely all you need. However, if your concerns extend to your hips, back, and thighs, then you may benefit from a full body lift, also called a belt lipectomy. A full body lift tightens the skin and removes excess fat from the stomach, back, lateral thighs, and buttocks, resulting in a more extensive contour than a tummy tuck alone can give. A full body lift can also be combined with liposuction for even better results.
Are You A Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
Abdominplasty procedures can have amazing results for the right candidate. However, not everyone is a good candidate for this surgery. The best candidate for a tummy tuck is someone who:
- Is in good health
- Is minimally or moderately overweight (not obese)
- Has large fat deposits and loose abdominal skin and/or muscles
- Is not a smoker
Patients who intend to lose a lot of weight should postpone having a tummy tuck until they have reached their final weight. Women planning future pregnancies should also wait, as vertical muscles tightened during surgery can separate again during pregnancy. In rare cases, scars from a prior abdominal surgery may prevent you from having a tummy tuck.
The ideal candidate has realistic expectations for their results. While body contour is greatly improved after a tummy tuck, you should not expect this procedure to bring back your youth or provide you with a perfect figure. In addition, you should be aware that a tummy tuck results in a permanent long scar along the bikini line.
40 year old female / 5', 119 lbs.
Abdominoplasty & Bilateral Hip Liposuction
Risks of Abdominoplasty
While the abdominoplasty procedure is considered very safe as long as it is performed by a well qualified surgeon, there are inherent risks that go along with any surgical procedure. It's important to be well informed of the risks before deciding to undergo elective surgery.
Abdominoplasty risks can include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Excess bleeding or hematoma
- Change in skin sensation
- Contour irregularities
- Healing delays
- Fluid accumulation under the skin
- Pulmonary complications
Dr. Bottger will discuss all potential complications with you in detail during your consultation. Remember that although significant complications can occur, they are uncommon. However, if you are a smoker, your risk of problems during the healing period greatly rises. You should be able to quit smoking for at least a month prior to surgery in order to lessen these risks.
Recovery From Tummy Tuck
Adominoplasty is an involved and complex surgical procedure, and may require an overnight stay in the hospital. In some cases, it can be performed as an outpatient procedure. Dr. Bottger will let you know beforehand whether you can expect a stay in the hospital or not.
Following your surgery, you should refrain from any strenuous activity and take it easy at home. You can usually shower after 48 hours, and resume light exercise and work within two weeks. It's vital to follow all of Dr. Bottger's post-op care instructions in order to heal properly.
There is usually some pain after a tummy tuck, but Dr. Bottger will prescribe pain medications for you to help make recovery tolerable. Your abdominal skin may be numb, but sensation should return over the next few months.
Full recovery from abdominoplasty takes a few months, but most patients are able to return to work and their everyday activities within just a few weeks. Aerobic exercise and weight lifting can usually be resumed after 6 to 8 weeks.
Lifestyle Changes Following a Tummy Tuck
After having a tummy tuck, your figure will be slimmer with a flatter stomach and tighter skin. Most patients lose several inches around their waist. However, in order to maintain these results, we recommend embarking upon a healthy lifestyle change. Poor eating and exercise habits will put inches right back on, ruining your good results.
In order to keep your new figure, you should:
- Avoid excessive weight gain by eating a healthy diet
- Incorporate exercise into your daily routine
- Drink lots of water (not soda or other sugary drinks) to stay hydrated
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption
As long as you maintain healthy habits, your tummy tuck results should last indefinitely. Weight gain, pregnancy, and further sagging skin due to age are the main factors that could necessitate a second tummy tuck procedure.
Can You Get Pregnant After a Tummy Tuck?
We recommend waiting to have a tummy tuck until you are finished having children. While it is possible to have another child after a tummy tuck with no risk to you or the baby, the chances are high that the results you obtained from your tummy tuck will be reversed.
If you happen to get pregnant after having a tummy tuck, the best way to preserve your results is to avoid large weight gains during pregnancy. While this is not always easy, it is a worthwhile pursuit, as in addition to preserving your tummy tuck results as much as possible, you will also be doing your overall health a favor.
If you can keep your pregnancy weight gains to a minimum, you may only need a mini tummy tuck in order to regain the results of your original procedure.
How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost?
The cost of a tummy tuck varies depending on the extent of the procedure you need, whether you will need to stay overnight in the hospital or not, OR fees, anesthesia fees, and surgeon fees. The region you live in also plays a part in cost, as does the skill and expertise of the plastic surgeon you choose.
It is dangerous to let cost dissuade you from choosing the best surgeon possible for your procedure. Some patients choose to cut costs by visiting cheap surgeons in Mexico or other foreign countries, and they very often come to regret it.
Severe complications and even death have resulted from improperly performed tummy tuck procedures in other countries. Even here in America, if a surgeon's prices seem too good to be true, it's likely because they are inexperienced or even unqualified.
Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. Bottger offers financing plans for all his patients that need help affording a tummy tuck procedure. He knows that it can be an expense, but he also knows how rewarding the results can be. It's his goal to help you look and feel your best.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Bottger will break down the fees of your abdominoplasty procedure and let you know exactly how much it will cost, as well as what financing plans are available for you.
Can A Tummy Tuck Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are an unwanted yet very common side effect of pregnancy, and there are very few effective ways to remove them. Some lasers can help to reduce their appearance, but can't get rid of them entirely.
Luckily, a tummy tuck can in fact remove stretch marks, as long as those stretch marks are located below the navel. Unfortunately, stretch marks above the navel will not be completely removed; however, they will be transferred to a much lower position on the abdomen that is easier to hide with underwear or a bikini bottom.
Schedule Your Tummy Tuck Consultation in Philadelphia
If you are considering having a tummy tuck, don't hesitate to contact Dr. Bottger at 610-355-4275 today to schedule your initial consultation. Dr. Bottger will assess your candidacy and recommend a custom treatment plan to help reach your goals, as well as let you know what kind of results you personally can expect from a tummy tuck.
Dr. Bottger serves patients in Philadelphia, Newtown Square, and other nearby areas of Pennsylvania.