Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Plastic Surgery Tummy Tuck Pictures

A tummy tuck is a procedure that involves removing excess skin and fat from the abdomen and tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall. It can also address loose or sagging skin on the lower part of the stomach. The surgery can be used to improve both physical appearance and self-esteem.

You’ll read about tummy tuck recovery and tummy tuck cost in this treatise.

Plastic Surgery Tummy Tuck Pictures

  • How long does it take?
  • Recovery stages
  • Recovery timeline
  • Recovery tips
  • Side effects
  • Resuming activities
  • Summary

When deciding whether to have a tummy tuck, it is important to consider how long it will take to recover and how to take care of the scar.

There are many reasons a person may choose to have a tummy tuck procedure, or abdominoplasty. Those who may consider having a tummy tuck include:

  • women who have loose skin or abdominal sagging after pregnancy
  • people who have excess skin after weight loss
  • individuals with a protruding abdomen despite losing weight

Regardless of the reason, a person needs to follow all postsurgical instructions to avoid infection or other complications.

Tummy Tuck Recovery

How long does recovery take? 

Typically, a person can expect to feel themselves again around 8 weeks after surgery.

According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS), tummy tucks are an outpatient procedure for most individuals, meaning they can go home the same day.

Recovery time from a tummy tuck procedure will vary, depending on factors such as:

  • the type of tummy tuck
  • the age of the recipient
  • postsurgical care
  • general health of the person

People should discuss their recovery timeline with their surgeon who can give an estimate that they will base on the individual’s situation.

Stages of recovery

A person should discuss recovery time before the procedure. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a person should ask their surgeon:

  • how to bathe after the procedure
  • when to remove their bandages
  • when to return to normal activities
  • when to return for follow-up care
  • what drugs they must take after the procedure

Asking these questions can help a person prepare and take the right steps for the smoothest recovery possible.

Recovery timeline

Immediately following the procedure, a person can expect to go to a recovery room. A healthcare professional will monitor them and check the incision.

During recovery in the hospital, they will receive instructions on:

  • recovery time
  • how to care for the incision
  • when to expect to resume normal activity

When a person is free to leave the hospital, they will need someone there to take them home. Doctors do not recommend they drive themselves home after surgery.

There may be drainage tubes that need emptying, and the individual will have to record the amount of fluid draining from their wound each day.

At home, a person should make sure they have someone to help them for the first few days, as their mobility will be limited. They may experience tightness around their tummy and only be able to walk hunched over for a week or two.

Initially, they can expect the incision to feel sore. They will likely need to lie in bed at an angle and may also have trouble with:

  • standing
  • lifting objects
  • general movement

Many people take up to a month off work, particularly if their occupation is physically demanding.

After a tummy tuck, an individual may need help caring for young children for several weeks to months. They should also avoid exercise for the first several weeks until a doctor gives them the all-clear.

However, a person can typically return to activities, such as driving, within 1 to 2 weeks and gradually do more everyday tasks as time passes.

Finally, a tummy tuck scar will likely feel sore or tight for several weeks to months following surgery. The visibility of the scar will slowly fade.

Factors affecting recovery time

Recovery time after a tummy tuck can vary. Some common factors that impact this include:

  • type of tummy tuck
  • age
  • postsurgery care
  • general health

The types of tummy tuck include:

  • Mini tummy tuck. This procedure has the shortest recovery time and minimal scarring.
  • Classic or full tummy tuck. The scar will stretch from hip to hip, and recovery will take longer, but a person should be able to hide the scar under their bathing suit.
  • Extended tummy tuck. This tummy tuck creates the largest scar. The scar may be visible under bathing suits and takes the longest time to heal.

It can be helpful to take steps to avoid constipation after surgery, as some pain medications can slow down the bowels. Straining to have a bowel movement will cause discomfort.

Tips for recovery 

During recovery from a tummy tuck, people need plenty of rest and must follow all of their doctor’s recovery instructions.

They will need to carry out daily maintenance of their incision and drainage tubes. Typically, daily maintenance includes:

  • keeping the incision site clean and dry
  • changing the bandage daily
  • taking any prescribed antibiotics
  • applying topical creams at the incision site

A person will likely have a supportive wrap, binder, or compression garment for their abdomen to prevent swelling and reduce discomfort.

Following a tummy tuck, they should avoid smoking and drinking alcohol for at least 3 months. Tobacco and alcohol can negatively affect healing.

Also, they should:

  • avoid lifting heavy objects, including small children
  • temporarily stop exercising until told otherwise
  • take time off from physically demanding work

Side effects of surgery 

After surgery, a person may have limited mobility and experience some pain. Typically, the surgeon will prescribe pain relief medication.

The incision will also typically feel tight, causing a pulling sensation on standing or moving.

Finally, a person will find they can no longer do some of their normal activities immediately following the procedure. However, they can return to activities slowly as they start to recover.

I called my belly “Donut” because I could wad up all my post-baby stomach skin into something that resembled one (sans sprinkles). Despite my healthy eating habits and gym visits, I could not get that belly bulge to budge, even as my youngest hit his fifth birthday. In fact, I found that the more I worked out, the worse my stomach looked: Losing weight elsewhere on my body only made my pooch more pronounced. Add to this some separated stomach muscles from three pregnancies, and I was pretty disheartened at how my midsection looked. All this came to a head one sunny day after an especially great few weeks at the gym, when a checkout girl asked me when I was due.

Tummy Tuck Before And After Photos

So I decided to look into a tummy tuck. While often considered a procedure for the rich and famous, tummy tucks (also known as abdominoplasties) are becoming increasingly common, with a whopping 431% increase in the number of procedures performed since 1997, when the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) started tracking it. In fact, tummy tucks were the third most common cosmetic procedure performed in 2015, with more than 180,000 done nationwide.

Whether the pooch was caused by pregnancy, significant weight loss, or genetics, removing excess skin and tightening lax muscles can provide both physical and mental benefits. If you’ve been thinking about getting a tummy tuck, here are a few things I learned along the way—and a few I wish I’d known beforehand.

1. A TUMMY TUCK WON’T MAKE YOU DROP WEIGHT.

Tummy Tuck Before And After Photos

While some patients may lose a few pounds from the procedure, Elliot Hirsch, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon at Hirsch Plastic Surgery in Los Angeles, warns that tummy tucks should be used when a patient is already at his or her ideal weight. “Tummy tucks should not be thought of as a weight loss procedure, but rather as a contouring procedure,” he explains. Also, while tummy tucks can’t directly address stretch marks, since the abdominal skin is pulled downward, any stretch marks may be moved, lowered, or potentially removed if they are part of the lower excess skin.

2. THERE ARE A FEW DIFFERENT TYPES OF SCARS.

Tummy Tuck Before And After Photos

Your scar size and location will depend on the type of abdominoplasty you need. For a traditional tummy tuck like I had, the scar will be from hip to hip and most doctors will do their best to ensure that the scar is hidden under the bikini line. You will also have a scar around your belly button, because it’s actually relocated (!) during the procedure.

For patients who need just a small amount of skin removed and muscles tightens, a mini tummy tuck may be an option. “A mini tummy tuck is one in which there is a very little amount of skin excess, usually below the belly button, and the incision leaves a scar a little longer than a C-section scar,” explains Luis Macias, MD, a double board-certified plastic surgeon at Marina Plastic Surgery in Marina Del Rey, CA.

Tummy Tuck Before And After Photos

Patients who are interested in a tummy tuck after significant weight loss or weight loss surgery can expect a large, upside-down T-shaped scar across the abdomen. That’s because in these types of patients, “there is horizontal skin excess as well as vertical—it extends up the midline of the abdomen,” says Macias.

3. IT ISN’T CHEAP, AND INSURANCE LIKELY WON’T COVER IT.

According to the ASAPS Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank statistics, the 2015 national average was $5,891. Typically, a tummy tuck is considered a cosmetic procedure and is not covered by insurance. If you are having a hernia repaired or if the surgery solves another medical problem (such excess skin from massive weight loss), some insurances may (key word: may) cover a small portion of the procedure. And beyond the cost of the surgery itself, you’ll also need to be prepared to spend money on prescriptions and other pre-op and post-op medical supplies.

4. IT’S IMPORTANT TO DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE CHOOSING A SURGEON.

Tummy Tuck Before And After Photos

Finding a qualified plastic surgeon can be trickier than you’d think. First, while the terms are often used interchangeably, a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon are not the same thing. Likewise, a doctor may claim to be “board-certified” by a board that isn’t recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), a recognized agency approving medical specialty boards since 1934. The ABMS recognizes only one plastic surgery board—the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Here’s why this all matters: Legally, any licensed physician can offer “cosmetic” procedures. The doctor might be a dermatologist or gynecologist or a general practitioner, but since there is no nationally recognized cosmetic surgery medical board, any doctor could claim to be a cosmetic surgeon. Many likely have gone through some training, and some may be very capable surgeons, but if they are not certified by the ABPS, they are not plastic surgeons. In addition, some surgeons are also certified by the American Board of Surgery, making them dual board-certified. Doctors may also be members of other plastic surgery–related associations, academies, or societies, but these memberships should be secondary to ensuring they are ABPS-certified.

5. DON’T FREAK OUT IF YOUR SURGEON RECOMMENDS LIPOSUCTION, TOO.

Mine did, and it was more than just an upsell. “I perform liposuction on most of my tummy tuck patients because it assists in sculpting the waist and love handle area,” explains Macias. When skin from the upper abdomen gets pulled down, it can lead to an unnatural bulge on the hips or a lack of definition. In order to get the best results, many surgeons use liposuction or fat-to-fat grafts to help them reshape and contour the area. However, liposuction is a separate procedure from the tummy tuck, which means it will have its own added cost, risks, and recovery factors.

6. YOU’LL NEED HELP AT HOME FOR THE FIRST WEEK.

Tummy Tuck Before And After Photos

Most tummy tucks are outpatient surgeries, which means you’ll go home right after the procedure and will need to have someone there to help you for the first few days, if not a full week. “I would not have felt comfortable home alone,” says Crystal M., a 51-year-old mother of two and tummy tuck patient who helped prepare for her recovery by stocking her kitchen with pre-cut fruit and other comfort foods. “I needed someone to help me do everything for the first few days,” recalls Erin S., a 37-year-old mom of three who had the procedure. “I could not roll over, sit up, or grab anything farther than a few inches away. I needed help standing, getting repositioned in bed, basically everything.” In addition, doctors recommend that you don’t lift anything over 10 pounds for the first 4 to 6 weeks, which can be important for mothers with young children to consider.

7. YOU’LL LIKELY BE BENT OVER AT THE WAIST FOR THE FIRST FEW DAYS (OR LONGER).

One result of your stomach muscles being tightened, excess skin removed, and remaining skin pulled taut is that you’ll probably be significantly bent over for the first few days—or even weeks. I looked like the letter L for a solid 2 weeks. Being bent over like this for so long had a couple of consequences that I wish I had been better prepared for. First, my lower back muscles pretty much gave up on day 3, and I had immense pain and back spasms whenever I walked or stood (Icy Hot and Bengay were life-savers). Second, I couldn’t reach anything that was above my new eye level. This meant that I couldn’t get anything from the top two shelves of my fridge. Jedi mind tricks were not enough to bring me any closer to that container of dark chocolate–covered almonds taunting me from the top shelf.

This bent-over position also impacts how you sleep. You should plan on sleeping in a recliner, with a wedge pillow, or on a couch with a bunch of pillows to prop up your legs and back until you’re able to lie flat, around week 2.

8. EXPECT BENEFITS BEYOND THE COSMETIC.

True, you’ll likely feel a lot more confident in your clothes after a tummy tuck, like Crystal did. Before the tummy tuck, she says that she had chosen outfits to accommodate her stomach. “Now I can pick out clothes that I like and know I look great in them.” However, the procedure can also offer medical benefits: Some studies have suggested that tummy tucks may help with urinary incontinence, and the procedure can have a big impact on the strength and support of your body’s core. “An integral part of a tummy tuck is repairing the rectus diastasis, which is a space between the rectus muscles that naturally occurs after childbirth or a large amount of weight loss,” explain Hirsch. “For patients with a significant diastasis, repairing this can help improve their core stability and can also help with back pain and bloating.” This is something Erin found to be true after her abdominoplasty. “Now when I go to the gym and do ab work, I can actually feel my core engaging,” she says. “Prior to surgery, I never felt anything happening in my abs.”

Size Changes You Can Expect

This tummy tummy tuck cost is highly successful and does result in the removal of roughly 10 pounds of fat as well as inches from your abdominal area. You will be able to visibly see your weight drop as your body becomes slimmer and more streamlined. In most cases, you will also begin to notice that you are able to wear smaller clothing.

How many sizes you go down depends on where you started and how your body changes after the procedure. Most women lose between 2 and 3 pants sizes after a tuck, but there are patients who lose even more. If you had a lot of loose skin before the procedure, for example, you could go down 4 more pants sizes.

Tummy Tuck Cost

According to a 2020 American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) report, a belly tuck typically costs $6,154. Nevertheless, that sum excludes expenses for items like anesthesia, the operating room, and medication. Depending on where you live, the price can increase to $20,000 once you factor in those expenses.

The ultimate cost of the treatment can be greater or cheaper depending on your surgeon’s level of experience and the type of stomach tuck you receive. A little tummy tuck, for instance, costs between $5,000 and $6,000 and is typically slightly less expensive than a full tummy tuck.

Other Results

Flatter Stomach

In addition to losing pounds and pants sizes, another physical benefit of this procedure is that your abdomen will become flat and harder than it was before. Once those muscles have been tightened and the skin pulled back into place, you will no longer see the sagging you may have had previously. The line of your body will become smoother with fewer bumps or bulges

Most women find that their clothing fits better after the tuck, and they feel more comfortable in tight clothing or an outfit that shows the stomach. You may be comfortable wearing a bikini or a cropped shirt after the procedure even if you haven’t worn those styles in many years.

Better Bladder Control

Some women experience a lack of bladder control after pregnancy or simply because of aging. When the abdominal muscles are stretched, as they are during pregnancy, they can become weak. The tissue that supports other body parts in the area can become weak as well. This includes the tissues around the pelvic floor and vaginal region.

Tightening the muscles and tissue around this area helps to control a condition called stress urinary incontinence. That’s when your bladder leaks from a small amount of pressure caused by activities like exercise, coughing, sneezing, or even laughing. When the area around your bladder and pelvic floor are frightened, you get more control over the activity there.

Better Posture

The abdominal muscles are partially responsible for helping you stand up straight and tall. Sometimes weak muscles in the stomach can cause the back to bend forward. You may be regularly walking with a slight hunch to your posture and not even know it. Once those muscles are strong again, you will have the support to hold yourself more upright. This can even make you appear taller.

Higher Self-Esteem

The results in your appearance after this procedure may lead to a boost in confidence and self-image, especially if you have been feeling self-conscious about your weak abdominal muscles or the excess skin on your stomach. When you look amazing in tight clothing and are standing straighter and taller, you are naturally going to feel better about yourself.

Other people will not know that you’ve had the procedure unless you tell them. They may just think you’ve lost some weight. But they will notice your confidence and the change in the way you carry yourself. They will see that you are happy with yourself which will help lead to happiness in other parts of your life. Some people lose even more weight after the procedure because they are motivated to get healthier.
 

Why Do People Get Abdominoplasty Surgery? 

Pregnancy

One major reason for this procedure is that women’s bodies change after pregnancy. The stomach muscles must stretch and grow in order to accommodate the child getting larger inside the womb, and that causes a lot of damage to the body. Some women’s bodies bounce quickly after pregnancy, and some are never the same.

Many women find it impossible to return their pre-pregnancy body shape even with extreme dieting and consistent exercise. That’s because some of the effects of pregnancy simply cannot be reversed through lifestyle changes. The skin in that area must be surgically tightened to see a difference.

Loose Skin From Weight Loss

Sometimes when people lose large amounts of fat, they leave behind loose pockets of skin. When an extreme amount of weight has been lost, there can be a great deal of skin left behind. The skin can be on any part of the body, but most of it tends to occur in the abdominal area.

Unfortunately, when people experience this issue, they are sometimes forced back into the same emotional problems they had before their weight loss. They may feel insecure about the way their bodies look, and they may be afraid to wear certain clothing or show skin. An abdominoplasty can bring people to a place where they can truly celebrate and show off their weight loss efforts.

Back Pain

Weak abdominal muscles often cause back pain. The back needs the muscles of the abdomen to support the entire upper body. When those muscles are weak, it causes strain to the back. Chronic pain can often be the result.

A tummy tuck kansas cost procedure will pull those muscles tighter and pressure will be relieved from the back. This can drastically reduce or even eliminate the back pain that resulted from a weak abdomen.

Scarring

People who have scarring from a previous medical procedure, particularly if the scar is vertical. Many women have found that the procedure successfully removed the scar from a Cesarean section birth. The abdominoplasty can also remove some other marks on the stomach like stretch marks, especially if they are below the belly button.

Ventral Hernia

A ventral hernia occurs when tissue is pushed through the abdominal muscles and can usually be detected went the muscles are strained such as during a cough. These hernias can be repaired, but they will often return. A tuck can be used to keep that from reoccurring by tightening the area so that the tissues cannot come through between the muscles.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Abdominoplasty?

Most healthy people can successfully have the procedure. Men do sometimes have a tummy tuck cost, but patients are usually women. 

 

Before the Procedure

Consultation

The first step in the procedure is to have a consultation. We invite you to schedule a time to come into our office and talk with us about whether abdominoplasty is a good option for meeting your goals. We will talk to you about the procedure and answer any questions you might have. We will also make sure that you have realistic expectations and fully understand what the results will be.

We will also use the consultation to ask you some questions about yourself and your background. We will want to know if you exercise and whether or not you smoke. We will also ask about any previous surgeries you have had done, especially if they were in the abdominal area. We will ask you to list all of the medications you are taking and let us know if you have any kind of chronic or recurring illnesses.

Preparation

Before it is time for your tummy tuck cost procedure, you will have some tasks to complete. We will ask you to refrain from smoking if that is something you do. We may also ask you to stop taking certain types of medication for a period of time before the day of the surgery.

You will also need to prepare for your recovery. This will mean making arrangements for someone to drive you home after the procedure and stay with you during the first part of your recovery. You will need to take time off from work and be sure that all other responsibilities are met so you can focus completely on healing once the procedure is over.

The Procedure

You will come to our comfortable office where we will make sure you are ready for your abdominoplasty. We will give you a general anesthetic to keep you comfortable during the procedure. When you are ready, you will have several incisions made to remove the skin between your belly button and pubic hair in an elliptical shape. The fat underneath the skin will then be removed, revealing the abdominal muscle area.

The tissue over the abdominal muscles will be pulled tight with a series of sutures that will hold it into place. Then the skin around your belly button will be replaced, and your belly button will be put back into its original position with sutures. Any incisions will then be closed with sutures. This can take about 2 to 3 hours depending on how much work needs to be done.

Recovery

We will help make your recovery as quick and comfortable as possible. We may prescribe antibiotics to guard against infection. We will also provide you with an abdominal binder and show you how to wear it. This garment will support your abdominal area as it heals from the surgery. We will schedule you for several additional office visits to see how you are doing and to answer any questions that come up.

It will take several weeks before you can go back to all of your daily activities, but most people go back to office jobs after about 2 weeks. As your incisions heal, you will begin to see rapid changes in your body. After about 6 to 8 weeks, you will see excellent results.

How Long Does a Tummy Tuck Surgery Last?

Your abdominoplasty is a permanent procedure. Any skin and fat that was removed will not return, and the sutures will stay in place indefinitely. You can, however, grow new fat cells and stretch the skin again. That’s why it is important to put in the work that will maintain your good results.

You will need to commit to a healthy lifestyle and take steps to make sure that you don’t gain weight that will cause the fat to be replaced and the muscles to stretch and weaken again. You will want to keep up an exercise routine designed to keep your muscles strong and working efficiently. Pregnancy will cause damage to the area and result in a loss of benefits, so it advised that you only have the procedure done when you are no longer planning to have children.

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