Tummy Tuck Questions and Answers

The tummy tuck is a procedure in which excess fat and skin are removed from the abdomen area and the underlying muscles are tightened. A tummy tuck can help patients remove loose, baggy skin and achieve a smoother, firmer stomach profile. Even patients who adhere to a proper diet and exercise regimen and are close to their ideal body weight are often unable to eliminate a protruding abdomen with loose and sagging skin. This excess skin often results from pregnancy, significant weight loss, heredity or even congenital spine abnormalities that affect posture. A tummy tuck is one possible solution for these patients.

In addition to removing excess skin, the tummy tuck also involves tightening abdominal muscles that have weakened or separated, a condition known as diastasis. The stomach muscles often lose their elasticity as a result of major weight gain or pregnancy, and tummy tuck can resolve this issue. In addition, women who have undergone a C-section can have their scar revised at the same time as their tummy tuck, resulting in an enhanced body image and increased self-confidence.

Who is a good candidate for tummy tuck?

The tummy tuck is not a weight loss surgery and is not a substitute for appropriate diet and exercise. The ideal tummy tuck candidate is an adult who is at a stable weight, is in good health and has realistic expectations of the outcome. Patients who are considering pregnancy or a major weight loss should postpone their tummy tuck, as extreme weight changes can diminish the effects of the surgery. Women should not consider tummy tuck surgery until at least six months after delivering their last child.

When will I see results of my tummy tuck?

The results of tummy tuck are apparent fairly quickly. If you are having a large amount of sagging skin removed, the results should be visible when you have your first bandage change. In the majority of cases, swelling resolves in the first two weeks, revealing the full benefit of your surgery. The best news is that these results will be permanent as long as you maintain your weight.

How much does tummy tuck cost?

The cost of a tummy tuck can range from about $5,500 for a mini-tummy tuck to $9,000 for a full tummy tuck. This price includes the surgeon’s fee, the anesthesia fee, the facility fee, garments, pain pumps and an overnight stay, if necessary.

Because tummy tuck is a major, complex surgical procedure, finding the best surgeon is more important that finding a bargain. Select a plastic surgeon who is board certified and has hospital privileges in plastic surgery at a reputable local hospital. Once you have chosen your surgeon, then discuss fees.

Be careful of bargains or steep discounts. Looking for a good deal instead of picking the best surgeon for the job will increase your chances of having an undesirable outcome.

How much weight can I expect to lose from tummy tuck surgery?

Tummy tuck surgery is not a weight loss procedure. It is performed to reshape the abdomen, not to remove weight. Most patients will lose no more than one or two pounds. The exception is patients who have already lost a great deal of weight due to diet and exercise or bariatric surgery such as gastric bypass. Such patients often have a great deal of excess skin, which can weigh a significant amount.

The most our office has removed has been 63 pounds; however, that procedure was not a tummy tuck but a panniculectomy (in which skin is removed but underlying muscles are not tightened).

Is it okay for a General Surgeon to perform tummy tuck?

No. Only a board-certified plastic surgeon has the specialty training to perform tummy tuck and achieve the best outcome possible. General surgeons are not trained in plastic surgery and are not prepared to handle any complications that might occur. If you are considering a tummy tuck procedure, be sure to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience in this highly sophisticated procedure.

Liposuction vs. tummy tuck – What is the difference?

Tummy tuck addresses three areas: skin, fat and muscle. Liposuction, on the other hand, is used only to address fat. Liposuction does not address the muscle and relies on your skin to shrink after the surgery in order to create a slimmed-down look. Liposuction is best for patients who have good skin tone and no looseness to the muscle covering, or fascia, of their abdominal muscle, called the rectus abdominus muscle. While tummy tuck is performed for patients after pregnancy or extreme weight fluctuations, liposuction is typically indicated for patients who have localized areas of fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise. The best way to determine whether tummy tuck or liposuction is right for you is to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

How do I know if I need a mini or full tummy tuck?

If you have a lot of loose skin and significant muscle weakness, then you will likely need a full tummy tuck. It will remove the excess skin and fatty tissue as well as contour the shape of your abdomen by tightening the covering of your abdominal muscles. If your excess skin and fat, as well as your abdominal muscle weakness, is minimal or moderate, then a mini tummy tuck may be sufficient. The best way to find out which procedure is right for you is to have a full examination by a board-certified plastic surgeon.

Will I have a visible scar from tummy tuck surgery?

Anytime you have a cut on your skin, a scar will result. In fact, the first scar we receive in life is our belly button, but we accept is because we all have one.

Each patient must decide whether having a scar is an acceptable tradeoff for an improved abdominal shape. Tummy tuck scars are placed low enough that they are covered by most underwear and bathing suits. In order to help you decide whether it is worth it to you, your plastic surgeon can draw a scar on your skin to help you see what it will look like.

If you have any other questions about the tummy tuck procedure, contact St. Charles Plastic Surgery today.