A “tummy tuck” (or abdominoplasty) reduces excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and tightens the abdominal wall. This procedure can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen or unsightly navel and can provide waistline definition.
A tummy tuck surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through pregnancy, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal. Loss of skin elasticity in older patients, which frequently occurs with slight obesity, can also be improved.
Why get tummy tuck surgery?
There are many reasons why a person may have excess skin and fat in their abdomen, including:
- Significant changes in weight
- Previous abdominal surgery (such as a C-section birth)
- Natural body type
An abdominoplasty procedure effectively eliminates sagging skin and extra fat while tightening weakened fascia (dense connective tissue that surrounds and supports various structures within the body). Additionally, a tummy tuck can address stretch marks and surplus skin below the bellybutton in the lower abdominal region.
Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
In general, you may be a good tummy tuck candidate if:
- You are bothered by the appearance of your abdomen
- You are physically healthy and at a stable weight
- You have realistic expectations
- You are a nonsmoker
It’s important to note that a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that involves recovery time and should not be considered a substitute for weight loss or a healthy lifestyle. A consultation with Dr. Doolabh can help determine whether a person is a good candidate for a tummy tuck based on his or her individual circumstances and desired results.
What results should I expect following a tummy tuck?
The results of your tummy tuck will be long-lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight and a healthy lifestyle. Once the swelling has gone down and healing is complete, your tummy tuck will result in a flatter and firmer abdomen that is more proportionate to your body type.
What is the difference between a tummy tuck and liposuction?
Liposuction will only remove some of the fat underneath the skin; a tummy tuck will tighten a lax abdominal muscle wall, reshape a belly button, and fully remove excess skin. Liposuction can be added to lessen the thickness of the flanks, waist, and hips for maximum contouring.
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More Frequently Asked Questions
Traditional tummy tucks would have drains (small, thin tubes temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect) to ensure the flattest contouring of the abdomen and avoid collections/pockets of fluid from forming. The drainless tummy tuck technique involves closing this space under the skin flap with sutures (some surgeons use adhesives) which provides less shearing of tissues and more comfort.
The best candidate for a drainless tuck is a patient who will not require a long incision and requires less surgical manipulation of tissues for reshaping the tummy. Dr. Doolabh would make this determination during your physical examination consultation.
In addition, drainless tummy tuck patients are more mobile and released to shower sooner, as soon as 48 hours after the procedure. In general, drainless tuck patients express having less discomfort and an overall better quality postoperative recovery.
Patients who have minimal excess skin or an issue only with lower abdominal wall tone may be good candidates for a mini-tuck. Benefits of a mini-tummy tuck include a shorter, less involved procedure, and quicker recovery. Most patients can return to work with limited activities within two weeks after surgery.
During your consultation, Dr. Doolabh will make an assessment whether a full tummy tuck or mini-tuck is warranted. A mini-tuck can create imbalance if your tummy protrudes both above and below the belly button because it only corrects the central lower tummy with a short incision. The scar should be long enough to remove all excess side tissue as well. A mini-tuck may not include reshaping of the belly button, and any stretchmarks above the belly button will remain unchanged.
During your tummy tuck recovery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and you may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimize swelling and support your abdomen as it heals following surgery.
Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
You will be given specific instructions that may include:
- How to care for the surgical site and drains
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
- When to follow up with Dr. Doolabh
The incision required to perform a tummy tuck will leave a horizontal scar along your lower abdomen. A tummy tuck scar may take up to a full year to fade but will never disappear fully. For mothers who have undergone a C-section birth, any existing scars have the potential to merge with the new scar.
A few ways to help reduce scar tissue include:
- Wearing your bandage & compression garment after surgery as directed by Dr. Doolabh
- Keeping the incision clean and covered
- Using silicone sheets or gels to keep the skin moisturized
- Massaging the scar to help break down and soften scar tissue
- Avoiding sun exposure
- Avoiding picking or stretching the scar
Stretchmarks themselves represent a tear, with fewer collagen & elastin fibers and thinning of the skin. Stretchmarks that are above the belly button may be less noticeable when the skin is stretched, and those in the lower abdomen will get cut away during a full tummy tuck. Partial improvements in stretchmark color may be obtained with laser treatments, and retexturizing may be accomplished with micro needling. Check out the Medical Spa menu!
We hope the information on our website helps you understand a little more about the abdominoplasty procedure.
Why Choose Contemporary Plastic Surgery for a Tummy Tuck in Jacksonville, FL?
With her friendly, approachable manner and years of training, Dr. Doolabh is an excellent resource to help you better understand all your options when it comes to improving the appearance of your lower abdomen, and to develop a customized treatment plan tailored to meet your unique goals. With convenience, privacy and safety as our priorities, Contemporary Plastic Surgery offers fully equipped AAAASF accredited surgical operating suites, with a separate preoperative and recovery room unit, within the facility. The Contemporary Plastic Surgery family includes an experienced operating team of registered nurses, surgical specialists, and anesthesia providers for your safety. Dr. Doolabh encourages patients’ inner motivations for self-improvement and well being in a dignified and discreet atmosphere.