The overall aesthetics of the abdomen are affected by three main components: the fat, skin and underlying muscle layer. When one or more of these are not in a desirable state, the attractiveness of the abdomen is adversely impacted. There can be unwanted fat accumulation ranging from small localized deposits to an overall increased thickness in the fat layer and even to hanging rolls of fat. The skin may be lax—locally and minimally in the lower abdomen or up to the degree where there is a massive excess both vertically and horizontally. Regarding the abdominal wall muscles, these can be slightly lax or they can be very loose, stretched out and separated resulting in a very protuberant abdomen.
Undesirable fat accumulation in the abdomen (abdominal wall, actually) is extremely common in women, not so much in men. Men actually store their fat intra-abdominally—around the colon and other vital organs. Pregnancy and significant weight loss are the most common causes of a loose, flabby abdomen which impact the skin as well as the underlying muscle layers.
Unfortunately, exercising and dieting rarely eliminate these problems. Especially when it comes to addressing excess skin and a lax underlying muscle layer, a Tummy Tuck (also known as an abdominoplasty) may be the answer. Plastic surgeon Steven Turkeltaub, MD uses leading-edge techniques to help his patients obtain more natural-looking and desirable results with less conspicuous scarring.
- Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction
- The Tummy Tuck Procedure
- Mini Tummy Tuck Surgery
- Recovery from an Abdominoplasty
- Tummy Tuck Scars
- Abdominoplasty After Pregnancy
- Abdominoplasty Before-and-After Photos
- Tummy Tuck Patient Testimonial Videos
Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction
Although both a Tummy Tuck and liposuction can be used to sculpt the abdominal region, the two procedures are designed to treat different concerns. The purpose of liposuction is to eliminate stubborn buildups of fatty tissue that remain resistant to traditional fat reduction methods like diet and exercise. In contrast, Tummy Tuck surgery is designed to remove loose, excess skin and repair stretched out or separated muscles of the abdominal wall. Since many individuals who are considering Tummy Tuck surgery have accumulations of extra fat throughout their midsection, liposuction is often employed in combination with abdominoplasty to simultaneously address all concerns and achieve a better overall result.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
An abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia. The typical incision is placed along the pubis and extends out to the sides above the groin. It can incorporate a previous C-section scar and be designed to fit in the bikini line area.
The surgery involves separation of skin and fat from the underlying tissues. The abdominal muscles and surrounding tissues are tightened and recontoured to yield a flatter, firmer and often more narrow figure. The belly button is preserved. Excess skin and fat are removed and the remaining skin is then re-draped on the newly sculpted abdomen.
Mini Tummy Tuck Surgery
In some situations, excess skin is confined to below the belly button. If this is the case, a mini-abdominoplasty may be the procedure of choice. This alternative allows for a smaller incision, shorter procedure, less discomfort and a briefer recovery time than the full abdominoplasty.
During the consultation, Dr. Turkeltaub can determine which option is best suited to the patient’s needs and goals.
Recovery from Abdominoplasty
Discomfort following an abdominoplasty can be significant for the first few days following surgery. Dr. Turkeltaub usually recommends staying twenty-four hours in an outpatient overnight facility. Patients will be far more comfortable, progress faster, have lower the risks for certain problems, 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 patients get out of bed several times and take short walks. This will also help lower the risk of blood clots developing in the legs. An elastic garment (binder) is worn around their abdomen for a few weeks after surgery that provides support and comfort as well as a sense of security.
Gentle exercises and activities in the first few weeks after surgery is encouraged. However, strenuous activities such as weight lifting and sit-ups are restricted for around eight weeks total though in the long-term there are no limitations whatsoever. For more explicit information on this, read: When Can You Resume Full Unrestricted Activities Following a Tummy Tuck?
Tummy Tuck Scars
There are a number of factors that can affect the final appearance of Tummy Tuck scars. In addition to one’s natural healing process and genetic predisposition for scarring, these can include whether or not a full or mini abdominoplasty is performed, how much skin is removed, 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 concealed by most bikini and underwear varieties and can often incorporate an existing C-section scar for women who have undergone a cesarean delivery. 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 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 ultimate scars.
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. Immune to diet and exercise, this “pooch” can be so prominent in some cases that it causes a woman to still appear pregnant long after she gives birth.
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 in the mid and lower abdomen
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 expanding forces during pregnancy. Diet and exercise do not typically work to correct the condition either since irreversibly stretched skin and muscle tissue do not respond to these efforts.
The only effective solution for skin and muscle-related bulging of the abdomen after pregnancy (or any significant weight gain followed by a considerable loss) is Tummy Tuck surgery. During the abdominoplasty, stretched or separated muscles of the abdominal wall can be tightened/repaired and extra skin is eliminated. Additionally, when issues like an umbilical or ventral hernia are present, they can be surgically treated concurrently. Undesirable accumulations of fat can be removed at the same time via liposuction.
Abdominoplasty Before-and-After Photos*
Dr. Turkeltaub’s Tummy Tuck patients enjoy amazing and dramatic benefits from this powerful procedure. View the abdominoplasty results achieved by patients at our surgical centers below.
*Individual Results May Vary
*Individual Results May Vary
For more information about an abdominoplasty, please read our Tummy Tuck FAQs (frequently asked questions) section.
Schedule an Abdominoplasty Consultation
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.