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Abdominoplasty Overview: Is a Tummy Tuck Right for You?

By: Austin-Weston


Are you constantly on a mission to achieve a taut and toned tummy? Sometimes all the exercise and dieting in the world can’t get rid of it tell me that showing the results of weight fluctuations, loose skin, or the effects of pregnancy. Common changes to the midsection like sagging skin, stretch marks, and even muscle separation, which are typical of pregnancy, can cause permanent damage that often no amount of exercise or dieting can resolve.

Fight the Belly Bulge

Tummy tuck surgery, or abdominoplasty, can improve the appearance of excess abdominal fat and skin for a more smooth, streamlined stomach. Individual conditions of the abdomen vary, and for that reason, there are different techniques to help you achieve a flatter and trimmer waistline.

The purpose of a tummy tuck is to refine and contour the stomach, fat bulges, and loose skin. The surgeons at Austin-Weston specialize in full tummy transformations and life-changing patient results. You and your doctor will work together to choose which type of tummy tuck is best fitted for you and create a customized treatment plan to achieve your goals. At Austin-Weston, The Center for Cosmetic Surgery, our main goal to create a streamlined look, which is why it’s important that the entire body is taken into consideration when considering cosmetic surgery and evaluating your options.

Most Common Concerns

If you notice loose or sagging skin around your middle area, a tummy tuck may work well for you. A good candidate for tummy tuck surgery includes men and women in good health. Typical patients are women who have had all of their children and are ready to reclaim their bodies.

We often see individuals who have experienced rapid and significant weight loss can end up with excess skin that will not tighten back into place. No amount of crunches can shrink overstretched skin. And similarly, muscles can be stretched to the point after childbirth that surgery is required to restore them back to the anatomic midline.

The most common concerns we hear from patients that help us classify them as a tummy tuck candidate include:

  • I have fat around my tummy that won’t go away. Localized pockets of fat don’t always respond to diet and exercise alone. As you age, it can be harder to see results from these types of healthy habits.
  • I have stretch marks covering my middle. Often occurring after weight gain, stretch marks can only be permanently removed via surgery.
  • My stomach still looks like I'm pregnant. Abdominal muscles often stretch out because of weight fluctuation and pregnancy. If your stomach does not return to its former shape, it can appear rounded and swollen.
  • I have excess skin on my abdomen. Skin laxity can result from rapid weight loss, pregnancy and loss of natural elasticity as your skin changes with age.

Many of us strive to have a flat, toned abdomen using diet and exercise. However, when these methods fail to help us achieve our goals, it may be time to explore other options.

If you are one of the many people considering a tummy tuck, you probably have several questions about the different options available and what is best suited for you. Begin your tummy tuck journey with this brief overview of the procedure and discover areas for further exploration.

What You Need to Know

A classic tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, involves removing fat and saggy skin and repairing the muscles that have become stretched out due to age, pregnancy, or weight fluctuation. If your muscles I become separated, the lower part of your abdomen will most likely look bloated and barrel-shaped, even if there is hardly any fat there. The only way to correct this is by surgically tightening the muscles. If you are not at or close your ideal weight, you will typically be urged to modify your diet and incorporate regular exercise into your routine, as weight fluctuations will affect your long-term results.

While there are variations of the procedure, such as an extended, modified, or mini-tummy tuck, the principles of the procedure remain the same and patients can elect to have all of their concerns addressed during a single surgery or to choose a longer or shorter operation based on their desired outcome and problem areas.

Since the waistline, hips, and thighs all border the stomach, it is also routine for these areas to be addressed when having your stomach operated on, too.

What to Expect

Under general anesthesia, an incision will be made at each hip bone. Fat will then be removed before the skin is lifted and tightened from the belly button down — any excess skin will also be removed. There will be some swelling and bruising, which will dissipate over the next week. The skin on your stomach maybe nine, due to minor sensory nerve trauma, but sensation generally return within one year, if not sooner in most cases. Not to worry, as this happens after any type of surgery to this area, whether it is cosmetic or not.

Keep in mind that abdominoplasty is a serious surgery. Allowing for the proper amount of recovery time, dictated by your body, is paramount. That being said, most patients can expect a recovery time of 1 to 2 weeks and resume strenuous activity in 6 to 8 weeks.

Other Tummy Tuck Options

There are many different types of tummy tucks, and whole textbooks are devoted to the operation, but the major principles of the most commonly performed tummy tucks are:

  • Full or Classic: The most common form of tummy tuck involves an incision from hip bone to hip bone and around the belly button. Through this, your surgeon is able to remove excess lower abdominal skin, tighten the rectus or ‘six-pack’ muscles, and trim away extra abdominal fat either directly or with liposuction.
  • Modified or Mini: For patients who do not have enough skin for a classic tummy tuck, a slightly shorter incision can be made, and often no incision is made around the belly button. Typically there is still muscle tightening as part of the procedure as well as some fat removal.

Another popular procedure for women is what we like to call a mommy makeover. This procedure combines a tummy tuck with breast surgery to restore your body back to its pre-baby state. If you are considering multiple procedures, it’s possible to have surgery done at the same time. Having multiples procedures performed during a single operation means one dose of anesthesia, one operation, one recovery period, and ultimately lower cost.

Important Considerations

It is important to remember that a tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or appropriate exercise.

A tummy tuck will only require one procedure in a lifetime if performed by a skilled surgeon and the patient is dedicated to their results by avoiding serious weight fluctuations. A perfect tummy tuck results can be ruined due to weight gain and for this reason, women considering future pregnancies or planning substantial weight loss should postpone tummy tuck surgery or elect to have a lesser operation without muscle tightening until family planning is complete.

In addition, some individuals carry their fat deep inside their abdomens under and around their organs. This is known as visceral fat. These individuals may not be able to achieve a perfectly flat abdomen after a tummy tuck the operation does not address visceral fat. This type of fat can only be addressed through weight loss. In order to tell how much of your abdomen might be affected by visceral fat, an in-person exam with one of our plastic surgeons is necessary.

Selecting a Skilled Surgeon

As you explore your options in your search for selecting a skilled and trusted surgeon for your tummy tuck, before and after photos are an invaluable resource. Compare the real patients and testimonial videos on our website to those of other plastic surgeons across Northern Virginia and Washington DC, as we believe our results speak for themselves.

In addition to judging results, make sure to verify that your surgeon has proper credentials. All of our surgeons at Austin-Westin are by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), which is the only plastic surgery board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Beware of surgeons with certifications that may sound official but have no credible board recognition, such as the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, as these are not recognized by the ABMS or accredited residency programs. Thorough research is essential in the selection of a plastic surgeon and practice you can trust.

A tummy tuck might be the answer to giving you the flat, beautiful abdomen you have been dreaming of but always remember that a major medical procedure is a major life choice.

If you live in the Northern Virginia or Washington DC area and are ready to reclaim your confidencecontact us to schedule a complimentary consultation at (703) 893-6168 or submit a form online to request an appointment.

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