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Tummy Tuck

What Is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck (otherwise known as an abdominoplasty) is designed to remove excess skin and fatty tissue from the abdomen. When the underlying abdominal muscles are stretched or torn, a tummy tuck can also tighten and repair these tissues. Our plastic surgeon can use tummy tuck surgery to target all three layers of the outer abdominal wall and can create a flatter, more toned, athletic-looking silhouette.

Being a petite build woman and having gone through 2 successful pregnancies, one of which was twins, I was unhappy with my midsection. I chose to have an abdominoplasty done. After going to 3 local surgeons for consultations, I was most impressed by the professionalism of Dr. Zemmel and his staff. They are extremely committed to helping you feel confident about yourself and working with you every step of the way in order to achieve the realistic look you are striving for. Not only is Dr. Zemmel honest but he is also trustworthy! The surgery along with the recovery was not as terrible as I had planned it to be. You will definitely need help for the first week or two, which the office prepares you with all of this information during your pre-op visit. Any questions or concerns that you have, even up to the day of the surgery they are right there with you, every step of the way. If I was asked now, being 4 months post op, would I change anything or have done anything differently. I would have to say ‘no.’ If anything, I would not be as nervous as I rightfully was going into the surgery, had I known how supportive and helpful Dr. Zemmel and the wonderful ladies in his office are!

Devyn O

August 26, 2013

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Who Is a Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Tummy tuck surgery can benefit men and women who are at or near their ideal weight but have excess abdominal skin that prevents them from attaining their ideal figure. Some tummy tuck candidates have undergone massive weight loss and have a significant amount of lax skin remaining. Patients who wish to eliminate areas of excess fat as well as excess skin can combine a tummy tuck with liposuction to maximize the impact of their procedure. Mothers often choose to undergo a tummy tuck to repair the muscles stretched or torn during pregnancy, reduce the visibility of stretch marks, and regain their pre-pregnancy figure. The best way to determine your candidacy for tummy tuck surgery is to schedule a consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon.

A tummy tuck can also be performed as part of a more comprehensive mommy makeover.

How Is the Tummy Tuck Procedure Performed?

A tummy tuck (full abdominoplasty) can effectively address overhanging abdominal skin and protrusion due to lax musculature. By tightening the abdominal muscles, your plastic surgeon can create a firmer abdominal wall and a narrower waistline. Since all excess skin and fatty tissue is removed, the stomach can also appear flatter and smoother.

The tummy tuck procedure begins with an incision along the abdominal wall. This incision is typically placed as low as possible, just above the pubic area, and can be easily concealed beneath underwear or a bikini bottom. Once the skin is lifted from the abdomen, your plastic surgeon can tighten the underlying musculature (the rectus abdominis muscles) and repair any tears. The skin and fatty tissue are then pulled taut across the abdomen and any excess tissue is removed. Stretch marks or C-section scars can often be excised in the process. Finally, the navel (umbilicus) is repositioned to its proper height and can be tailored to achieve the most natural appearance. Tummy tuck surgery usually takes 2-3 hours to complete, depending upon the patient’s unique needs.

What Is a Mini Tummy Tuck?

Some men and women may not need a full abdominoplasty to achieve their goals. A mini tummy tuck targets just the area of the lower abdomen below the navel, but can still achieve a flatter, more toned silhouette. During the consultation process, your plastic surgeon will perform a physical examination, thoroughly discuss your expectations for the procedure, and help you decide if a mini tummy tuck is right for you.

A mini tummy tuck begins with a small incision low on the abdominal wall. This incision is often shorter than full tummy tuck surgery and can be easily concealed with underwear or a bikini bottom. Only the abdominal muscles below the navel can be tightened during a mini tummy tuck, and a smaller amount of excess skin and fatty tissue can be removed compared to a full tummy tuck. Some stretch marks and any prior C-section scars can still be eliminated. During mini tummy tuck surgery, the navel remains in the same position. This procedure typically takes 1-2 hours to complete.

What Is Tummy Tuck Recovery Like?

Immediately following the tummy tuck procedure, patients can expect mild swelling, soreness, and bruising. These side effects should subside in a few days, and any discomfort can be easily managed with oral pain medication. Dr. Zemmel typically performs tummy tuck surgery as an in-patient procedure, allowing our highly trained staff to ensure your safety and make you comfortable during your first night. Dr. Zemmel will visit you again in the morning before you are discharged.

When moving around during the first few days after tummy tuck surgery, soreness and stiffness is common. However, moving around the house when you feel comfortable enough to do so can reduce the risk of blood clots. Drainage tubes are usually removed after 5-7 days during a follow-up appointment with Dr. Zemmel. At that time, you may choose to return to work, although some patients choose to wait longer. It takes some patients several weeks to feel “like themselves” again after surgery.

Patients are encouraged to resume light exercise after 2-3 weeks. Strenuous activity, vigorous exercise, and lifting heavy objects (as well as small children) should be avoided for 4-6 weeks. Dr. Zemmel recommends wearing a compression garment 3-4 weeks after your procedure to help facilitate the healing process. After six weeks, your body will have mostly recovered and you can see the results of your tummy tuck. However, as residual swelling resolves and your body completely recovers, you may continue to notice improvements for the next 6-12 months. Scarring will also continue to fade over the course of the first year, though this mark can be easily concealed with underwear or bikini bottoms.

How Much Does Tummy Tuck Surgery Cost?

Each tummy tuck procedure is customized by Dr. Zemmel based upon the unique needs of the patient. As a result, there is no fixed cost for tummy tuck surgery. Variables that may influence the price of a tummy tuck can include the volume of excess skin, if there is abdominal muscle damage, and which type of tummy tuck (full or mini) is performed. Additional procedures, such as the removal of excess fat with liposuction, will also add to the total cost. When comparing the cost of tummy tuck surgery among different practitioners, Dr. Zemmel reminds patients that the experience of the plastic surgeon as well as the geographic location of the practice are often factored into the price. With our plastic surgery financing options, patients at Richmond Aesthetic Surgery can take advantage of low monthly payment plans with little to no interest. To learn more about the opportunities available with our third-party lenders, please contact a member of our staff.

Contact Richmond Aesthetic Surgery

For more information about tummy tuck or mini tummy tuck surgery, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Zemmel at Richmond Aesthetic Surgery today.