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The aesthetics of the abdomen are affected by four components: the skin, fat layer, abdominal wall muscle layer and intra-abdominal fat deposition. When one or more of these are not in a desirable state, the attractiveness of the abdomen is adversely impacted.

The skin layer may have relatively good tone with minimal laxity and few if any stretch marks. There also can be very poor elasticity with diffuse stretch marks and considerable skin excess leading to the formation of cascades or folds of hanging skin. Most situations lie somewhere between these extremes.

The fat layer may be of minimal thickness such as in individuals who are thin and, therefore, have a low BMI (body mass index). People who are very overweight can have a fat layer six to nine inches or more in thickness which will definitely and markedly impair the ability to achieve good results.

More deeply situated, the abdominal wall muscles may have good tone with minimal disruption of the normal, ideal anatomy or they can be stretched out and loose to varying degrees. This can also include separation of the (rectus) muscles along the midline of the body resulting in an even more protuberant abdomen. Substantial weight fluctuations, pregnancy and aging do lead to the deterioration of this muscle layer.

The volume of the intra-abdominal contents, specifically fat, also negatively affects the appearance of the abdomen and limits the ability to obtain more impactful results. This is largely a problem in men because most of their fat stores are contained around the bowels and, therefore, not accessible to surgical treatment (most women store their fat outside the abdomen proper where it can be addressed surgically). In these situations, the abdomen can’t be made flatter because this intra-abdominal fat physically prevents it. Consequently, the only way to address this issue is by weight loss as surgery is not an option.

It would be great if exercising and dieting could magically resolve these issues and improve the appearance of the abdomen without the need for surgery but this is rarely the case. In order to appropriately address the excess skin and fat as well as the lax underlying muscle layer, a tummy tuck (also known as an abdominoplasty) would be the solution.

Plastic surgeon Steven Turkeltaub, MD uses leading-edge techniques in order to help his patients obtain more dramatic abdominoplasty results with less conspicuous scarring.

What Is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is the aesthetic surgical procedure designed to address excess skin and associated fat as well as muscle separation and laxity of the abdomen. Treatment entails the removal of this skin and fat along with repair of the underlying muscle layer and contouring of the abdominal wall. The final outcome is a flatter, tighter, more sculpted appearance.

Abdominoplasty continually ranks as one of the top cosmetic surgeries performed every year due to its dramatic results and high rate of patient satisfaction. It is particularly popular among women who wish to restore their pre-pregnancy figure and in those who have lost a considerable amount of weight through dieting and exercise or bariatric surgery.

Abdominoplasty Before-and-After Photos*

Dr. Turkeltaub’s tummy tuck patients enjoy amazing and gratifying benefits from this powerful procedure. View the abdominoplasty results achieved by patients at our surgical centers below.

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*Individual Results May Vary

Tummy Tuck Gallery

Abdominoplasty After Pregnancy

A common aesthetic concern numerous women experience after having children is the noticeable bulge present in the mid and lower abdominal region that can be so prominent in some cases that it causes a woman to still appear pregnant long after she gives birth. Issues like this are immune to diet and exercise.

Three factors are generally responsible for the development of a post-pregnancy bulge. These include:

  • Stretching of abdominal wall musculature
  • Widening of the space between the left and right rectus muscles down the midline of the abdomen (diastasis recti)
  • Loss of skin elasticity

While there is some degree of natural tissue tightening that occurs in the postpartum period, it is frequently not substantial enough to counteract the physical changes caused by the expanding forces during pregnancy. Diet and exercise rarely work to correct this condition due to irreversibly stretched skin and muscle tissue.

The only effective solution for skin and muscle related laxity with/without bulging of the abdomen after pregnancy or massive weight loss is tummy tuck surgery. During the abdominoplasty, stretched or separated muscles of the abdominal wall can be tightened/repaired and extra skin eliminated. Additionally, when issues like an umbilical or ventral hernia are present, they can be surgically treated concurrently. Undesirable accumulations of fat may be able to be removed at the same time via liposuction.

Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction

Although both a tummy tuck and liposuction can be used to sculpt the abdominal region, the two procedures have different primary focuses and benefits. The purpose of liposuction is to eliminate stubborn buildup of fat that is resistant to the traditional fat reduction approaches of dieting and exercise. It is also generally recommended in those individuals with increased levels of fat but who have relatively good skin tone without laxity. In contrast, tummy tuck surgery is designed to remove loose, excess skin along with the underlying fat and to repair stretched out or separated muscles of the abdominal wall.

Panniculectomy vs. Abdominoplasty

A panniculectomy is the surgical procedure designed to remove excess skin and fat hanging down over the groin region in the lower abdomen that is usually a result of massive weight loss. In most cases, this procedure is performed when the degree of excessive hanging skin and fat is so significant that it causes chronic chafing, skin infections, hygienic problems and/or mobility issues but, for whatever reason, a tummy tuck will not be performed. A panniculectomy, in contrast to an abdominoplasty, does not treat concerns in the remainder of the abdomen including repair of the abdominal musculature. Consequently, tummy tuck surgery is a more effective and comprehensive option for individuals seeking abdominal rejuvenation and contouring following weight loss.

Most often, a panniculectomy is reserved for specific limited situations where it is the most expedient and “safe” choice as compared to other options or no surgery at all. This includes high surgical risk individuals such as those having significant medical problems or risks and those with extreme morbid obesity.

How Is the Tummy Tuck Procedure Performed?

An abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia. The typical incision is placed along the pubis, usually below the top of the hairline and extends out to the sides above the groin. It can incorporate a previous C-section scar and be designed to fit in the general bikini line area.

The procedure involves the separation of skin and fat from the underlying muscle layer. Abdominal muscles are tightened and contoured so as to yield a flatter, firmer and often narrower figure. The belly button is preserved and appropriately positioned. Excess skin and fat are removed with the remainder being re-draped on the surgically sculpted abdomen.

Mini Tummy Tuck Surgery

In some situations, a mini tummy tuck may be more appropriate than a full abdominoplasty. A mini tummy tuck is designed to target lax and excess skin as well as bulging of the lower abdomen (below the belly button). It entails the removal of extra skin and fat along with the tightening of the underlying muscles if indicated.

As a result of the limited area that is being addressed with this technique, a smaller incision is employed as compared to a full tummy tuck. Furthermore, because this is a less extensive operation, postoperative discomfort is typically reduced and the general recovery period is often shorter.

The abdominoplasty technique that would be most appropriate for you can be determined at the time of your consultation. It would be based on several factors including your goals, anatomy and general health so as to help you obtain your desired results with minimization of risks.

What Is Recovery from Abdominoplasty Like?

Discomfort after an abdominoplasty can be significant for the first few days following the procedure. Most of the time, Dr. Turkeltaub recommends staying overnight in an outpatient center overnight facility. The reason for this is that you will be far more comfortable, have better immediate pain management, progress faster, have decreased risks for certain untoward issues and, importantly, not create more undue stress on family members or friends.
At home, pain medication and muscle relaxants will help to minimize discomfort. It is crucial in the first few days that you get up and around at least several times a day and don’t just lay in bed. This will also help lower the risk of blood clots developing in the legs. An elastic garment (binder) is worn around your abdomen for a few weeks after surgery that provides support, comfort and a sense of security.
Gentle exercises and activities such as walking is encouraged during the first few weeks after surgery. However, strenuous activities such as weight lifting and sit-ups must be avoided until at least eight weeks postoperatively. There are no long-term activity restrictions whatsoever. For more explicit information on this, read: When Can You Resume Full Unrestricted Activities Following a Tummy Tuck?

What Will My Tummy Tuck Scars Look Like?

There are a number of factors that can affect the final appearance of your tummy tuck scars. In addition to one’s natural healing process and genetic predisposition for scarring, these variables include whether a board-certified plastic surgeon is doing your surgery – or not, the surgeon’s skill and experience, whether or not a full or mini abdominoplasty is performed, how much skin is removed, one’s general medical state, your general nutritional state including postoperative consumption of adequate and diverse proteins and nutrients, which scar treatment products are utilized and how closely postoperative care instructions are followed.
The incision for a full tummy tuck is made along the pubis and extends outward above the groin. It is designed to be better concealed by most bikini and underwear varieties and usually incorporates an existing C-section scar if one is present. The mini abdominoplasty incision is a shorter version of this. Consequently, it may allow for an even greater variety of clothes to be worn without it being seen.

While the final length and width of abdominoplasty scarring will ultimately vary by individual, the vast majority of patients feel the benefits of tummy tuck surgery far outweigh any concerns regarding the appearance of the ultimate scars.

How Long Does a Tummy Tuck Last?

When a relatively stable weight is maintained after surgery, tummy tuck results can last many years—if not a lifetime. In fact, without significant weight fluctuations or a subsequent pregnancy, it would be very rare that one would require a second tummy tuck years later. Of course, there can be some deterioration of results over a long period of time as a consequence of advanced aging or certain major health issues. If you are planning on having another child, at least in the relatively near future, it may be advisable that you postpone your tummy tuck surgery until you are finished growing your family since the physical changes of pregnancy can negatively impact the results of a previous abdominoplasty.

What Does a Tummy Tuck Cost?

Based on patient submissions to RealSelf, the cost for tummy tuck surgery in the greater Phoenix area spans from $5,000 to $15,000, with an average price of $9,800. The reason for this broad range in pricing is due to the numerous components that factor into the total expense of treatment including even whether this is a full tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck. Some of the most common elements that impact abdominoplasty cost include:

  • How much skin and fat needs to be removed
  • The extent of muscle tightening/repair required
  • Whether the procedure is combined with other treatments as part of a Mommy Makeover
  • The expertise and experience of the plastic surgeon
  • Whether it is being performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon or another type of doctor
  • Operating facility and anesthesia fees
  • Overnight facility costs that may or may not be included or offered
  • Pre- and/or post-operative medications
  • The geographic location of the practice

To obtain a personalized tummy tuck quote, Dr. Turkeltaub will need to meet with you in person to discuss your specific needs and goals and perform a physical evaluation. Based on the information gathered at that time, he can develop a customized treatment plan and provide you with a detailed breakdown of the cost of your abdominoplasty.

If you wish to explore financing options to help pay for treatment, a knowledgeable member of our team can introduce you to CareCredit®, Alphaeon® Credit and various other healthcare lenders that offer affordable monthly payment plans for cosmetic surgery.

Are There Possible Tummy Tuck Complications?

As with any surgical procedure, just like life in general, there are risks and complications that can occur. These can be minimized by choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon who is highly trained, experienced and skilled in tummy tuck surgery. Of course, that is only part of the equation and medical condition and compliance play a substantial role in outcome as well. That said, all surgical procedures carry some degree of unpredictability, so having a full understanding of all aspects of abdominoplasty is quite important.

Some potential tummy tuck risks and complications that may occur include:

  • Contour irregularities
  • Seroma (accumulation of fluid deep to the skin)
  • Hematoma (bleeding or accumulation of blood in the wound site)
  • Infection
  • Problematic healing
  • Necrosis of abdominal skin, tissue and fat
  • Wide and/or thick scarring
  • Suboptimal scar placement
  • Negative reactions to anesthesia

In addition to selecting the right board-certified plastic surgeon, key factors that can help diminish the occurrence of any of these issues include being in good general health, eating a well-balanced, high protein healthy diet before and after surgery, avoiding detrimental habits (such as smoking, vaping and excessive alcohol consumption) and fully adhering to the pre- and postoperative instructions provided to you by your doctor.

Is a Non-Surgical Tummy Tuck Possible?

Although a variety of aesthetic procedures can be used to improve the appearance of the abdominal region, there is absolutely no non-surgical alternative to an abdominoplasty. Treatments like CoolSculpting® and laser skin tightening are sometimes marketed as non-surgical tummy tuck alternatives but these techniques DO NOT remove (excess) skin or tighten the remaining skin with results anywhere near comparable to an abdominoplasty. In addition, they don’t address the stretched out and apart abdominal musculature that leads to the bulging of the abdomen in a majority of tummy tuck patients.

There may be certain instances in which non-surgical treatments can be used to address specific concerns in combination with abdominoplasty to enhance the final outcome, but tummy tuck surgery is the sole solution for the treatment of excess skin/fat removal and muscle laxity in the abdomen.

At the time of your consultation, Dr. Turkeltaub can discuss all of the options with you and formulate a personalized treatment plan designed to yield the best outcome possible based on your particular needs and desires.

Additional Abdominoplasty FAQs

I have a lot of loose skin and stretch marks of my tummy since my pregnancy. No matter how much I work out, including doing sit-ups, I can’t improve the appearance. Is a tummy tuck a good option for me?
Yes, tummy tuck surgery can be an excellent option for many mothers seeking to address aesthetic issues in the abdomen following pregnancy. Abdominoplasty is the treatment for excess skin and lax muscles of the abdomen that are often a consequence of pregnancy or considerable weight loss. The procedure involves removing excess skin, redraping and recontouring what remains and tightening the underlying muscle layer. The result is a tighter, more sculpted abdomen.
Will I have drains in place following my tummy tuck? If so, for how long?
Most people will have one or two drains present that may be left in for one to two or more weeks. They serve to empty fluid that may otherwise accumulate deep to the skin and fat until proper healing has occurred.
Should I take it easy and stay in bed for a few days after surgery?
It is very important that you get up and walk around with assistance several times a day including even the day of your surgery. This will help decrease the risk of developing postoperative medical problems such as the formation of blood clots in your leg veins. You are also to wear the supportive stockings that provide compression and help reduce the risk of forming these clots.
I was told that I had an umbilical hernia from my pregnancies. Can this be treated at the same time as my tummy tuck?
An umbilical hernia is a weakness of the abdominal wall resulting in a bulge that can be particularly noticeable when sitting up or doing sit-ups. This can be easily treated at the same time as your tummy tuck.
I am a runner. When can I start running after my tummy tuck?
In most situations, Dr. Turkeltaub’s recommendation would be for you to wait until around eight weeks. However, you may be able to get on a treadmill at around four weeks but walk no faster than around 4.0 to 4.5 miles per hour – but this needs to be specifically approved.
Should I use a scar cream after my surgery? If so, when?
Yes, a scar cream or another scar mitigating agent is recommended to be used after your surgical procedure. Dr. Turkeltaub’s usually starts most of his patients on such agents at around three to four weeks but this time frame does vary among plastic surgeons as well as on individual patient variables.

Tummy Tuck Patient Testimonials*

*Individual Results May Vary

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Dr. Steven Turkeltaub is committed to helping his patients look and feel their best. To schedule an appointment for tummy tuck surgery, please contact us online or by phone today.

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