What Is a Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery, also called abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic procedure Dr. Rick Silverman performs on patients that involves removal of skin and fat from the abdomen. This plastic surgery technique corrects the deflated and loose appearance to abdominal tissue that results from pregnancy or weight loss.
Abdominoplasty refines the size and shape of the waistline by strategically tightening the abdominal muscles and removing excess skin. This procedure can also minimize or eliminate the appearance of stretch marks on the lower abdomen.
Ideal Candidate for Abdominoplasty
Women who have been pregnant and have excess skin after child birth are great candidates for abdominoplasty. Both men and women who may require skin removal after significant weight loss could benefit from a tummy tuck. Patients who have undergone bariatric surgery are sometimes left with a large apron of abdominal skin after their procedure. This excess skin can cause challenges with clothing and mobility, and can cause rashes. Tummy tuck will address these functional issues as well as the cosmetic element.
Common Types of Tummy Tucks (Abdominoplasty)
There are a few different approaches when performing a tummy tuck. These include:
- Mini Tummy Tuck
- Full Tummy Tuck
- Extended Tummy Tuck
- Fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty with a vertical incision in addition to the horizontal one
Dr. Rick Silverman will recommend the best approach depending on the extent of tissue excess during the consultation.
Mini Tummy Tuck
Mini tummy tucks are performed when the tissue positioned below the belly button and above the pelvic bone has become loose and saggy. A mini tuck is conducted through a horizontal incision located along the swimsuit line, where it can be discreetly hidden. Through this incision, muscle tissue across the lower abdominal wall is tightened, and excess skin is removed. Ideal candidates for this modified abdominoplasty procedure have a desire to smooth and tone the lower abdomen and have no stretching or sagging around the belly button.
Full Tummy Tuck
A full tummy tuck is an excellent treatment option for individuals who have loose skin around and above the belly button. The complete tuck procedure can release the attachment between skin and the belly button to remove excess skin after tightening abdominal muscles that may have stretched or separated.
Muscle separation and fascia stretching may occur during pregnancy, causing the upper tummy to protrude forward. This is cosmetically problematic and may also mean that the abdominal wall is not providing adequate support to the bowels. During a full tummy tuck, the fascia, muscle, and skin can all be corrected to lie smooth and tight. In some cases, the fascia of the lower abdomen has become lax. In such instances, it is necessary to observe the relationship between the fascia below the belly button and that which is situated above the belly button. Tightening the lower without evaluating the potential effect on the upper area could lead to unsatisfactory results.
Extended Tummy Tuck
An extended tummy tuck contours the front and the sides of the midsection to reduce waist circumference. A longer incision is necessary for this procedure to facilitate access to the sides, or flanks. The extension of the incision and correction of side tissue is the primary difference between a full tummy tuck and an extended tuck. The incision is made low enough to make it concealable beneath a swimsuit.
Abdominoplasty Before and After Photos
View our Tummy Tuck gallery for more before and after photos.
Tummy Tuck Procedure
Dr. Rick Silverman typically performs an abdominoplasty between 2 and 5 hours. Patients go under general anesthesia for the procedure. To begin the procedure, two incisions are made: one to from hip to hip near the pubic area, and one around the navel. The skin is separated from the abdominal muscles which are pulled tightly together to create a firmer abdomen and narrow waist. The skin is stretched down over the tightened muscles and the excess is removed. The navel is reattached where it looks natural and all incisions are closed. Sterile surgical dressing are applied over the sutures for protection.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
After surgery, Dr. Rick Silverman suggests patients have one week of rest for recovery. In the case of an abdominoplasty, there will be drain tubes in place for about a week. Patients can gradually return to exercise activities starting with a week of low-impact cardio. After two weeks, resistance training can be added but nothing heavy for about six weeks. This is to avoid compromise of any deep tightening stitches. Depending on the demands of a job, many patients can return to work within a week, or after the drains come out. Patients cannot do any strenuous activity or heavy lifting for four to six weeks.
Does the Procedure Leave Any Scars?
Unfortunately, the abdominoplasty procedure will leave a visible scar from hip-to-hip. The scar is usually not visible when wearing a bathing suit or shorts.
As with all surgery, there are anesthetic risks, but these rarely occur in healthy individuals. Surgical risks include bleeding, infection, scar formation, contour irregularity, persistent numbness or sensory alteration in the treated area, tissue loss, and need for further surgery. In uncomplicated cases, the outcome is a flat abdomen with a scar across the lower abdomen and around the belly button. These scars generally fade well over time, though it is possible that they could be visible, but easily coverable.
What Other Procedures Can Be Combined with A Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery is often combined with other body contouring procedures, such as breast augmentation or mastopexy. Shaping and lifting the breasts at the same time as abdominoplasty enhances the overall results of both procedures because the adjustments that are made to these companion areas complement the overall proportions of the body.
In addition to breast procedures, abdominoplasty is also frequently performed with liposuction. This fat reducing procedure may be performed on the abdomen, hips, flanks, or thighs to add to the contouring achieved with tissue tightening.
Schedule a Consultation
If you would like to learn more about a tummy tuck, call (617) 965-9500 to schedule a consultation with Boston Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Rick Silverman.