Abdominoplasty surgery, also known as a Tummy Tuck, is one of the most popular procedures nationwide for women who want relief from excess sagging skin and stretch marks of the abdomen that occurs almost invariably after multiple pregnancies, and for men who have lost a great deal of weight.
Once the excess skin is removed, the entire abdomen, love handle areas, and belly button can be reshaped and contouring to give you your old waist back, flatten your stomach, and improve the function of your abdominal muscles which sometimes carries the added benefit of improving your breathing during exercise. An abdominal muscle repair for split rectus muscles (diastasis rectii) is an essential part of most abdominoplasty procedures since the rectus muscles cannot keep the abdomen flat if they are widely split as they commonly are after multiple pregnancies. Poorly healed C-section scars can also be removed during a tummy tuck as an additional benefit.
Dr. Nicholas Vendemia performs Tummy Tucks, Mini Tummy Tucks, and LipoSculpting™procedures for women and men. He is a leading cosmetic surgeon in Los Angeles with a reputation for custom care and beautiful results. Feel free to give us a call at 917-703-7069 to schedule a personal consultation, or send us a message by clicking here.
You may also want to visit our Mommy Makeover Photo Gallery to see before and after images of real patients like you who chose to have Mommy Makeover surgery with Dr. Nicholas Vendemia at MAS.
What are the goals of a Tummy Tuck?
- Remove excess stretched out skin from the abdomen.
- Repair split abdominal muscles (rectus diastasis) and restore appropriate rectus muscle position and function.
- Restore a feminine, semi-hourglass or hourglass figure with a youthful shape to the waist and hips for a woman, or a tighter, more masculine waistline for a man.
Considerations for an abdominoplasty procedure:
Your plastic surgeon assess the following factors to determine whether you will benefit most from a full abdominoplasty, a mini abdominoplasty, or liposuction:
- The amount of excess skin on the abdomen, and the severity of the stretch marks in this area.
- The amount of distortion and stretching of the belly button.
- The degree of muscle separation of the rectus muscles.
- The amount of “squaring” of the waist because of excessive love handle formation.
How long is the recovery after a Tummy Tuck?
- Immediately after surgery. You’ll feel tired and very sore, but you will have plenty of pain medicine to make you comfortable. You’ll have to walk a bit hunched over because your new tummy will feel tight, and you’ll feel like taking a few naps during the day.
- Three days after surgery. By the third day, you’ll start to get your energy back, and you won’t need to take as many pain pills. You’ll be standing a little straighter when you walk, and everything will feel less sore.
- One week after surgery. Days 7-10 are usually the turning point in the recovery period. Most of your soreness will be gone, and you’ll probably be off pain pills altogether. You’ll be standing and walking straight up, and your energy levels will be much higher. Any drains and/or dressings will be removed, and you’ll have far fewer things to keep track of.
- Two weeks after surgery. At the 2-week mark, you’ll be able to get back into light activities like walking and low-impact exercise, but you won’t be allowed to lift anything heavier than 5lbs until week 6. You could theoretically return to work at this point (assuming that your job does not involve heavy activity), but you’ll wish you had taken a full month off (which is what we recommend).
- One month after surgery. You’ll most likely be back to work, and you’ll be feeling great! You may find that you get tired more quickly during the day, but this will pass as you get back into your normal routine. You’ll be loving the new clothes you had to buy, and you’ll be super happy that you had the procedure!
Can I have liposuction instead of an Abdominoplasty?
The short answer is “it depends.” If you’ve had children, especially multiple children, chances are that liposuction won’t help. If you have a lot of stretch marks on your abdomen, that saggy skin will probably not tighten up after liposuction alone, and in the worst case scenario it could actually end up sagging more. Liposuction only removes excess fat, but it doesn’t do anything for stretched out skin and/or split abdominal muscles (diastasis recti), which are the two most common problems after having children. Liposuction and abdominoplasty have very different recovery periods, risks, and costs, but they also have very different results, so make sure that you understand which procedure is appropriate for you.
For more information tummy tuck surgery, abdominal muscle repairs, or plastic surgery closures for scheduled C-sections, please call our office at 917-703-7069, or send us a message by clicking here. We offer the most innovative techniques and the quickest recovery times in the safest environment possible.
How long does an Abdominoplasty take?
A standard tummy tuck takes about 2-3 hours depending on how much tissue needs to be removed, and whether or not your abdominal muscles need to be repaired. It could take longer if you have had any other abdominal procedures in the past like C-sections, hernia repairs, gallbladder surgery, etc.
What does an Abdominoplasty scar look like?
A tummy tuck scar is usually well hidden below your pant crease or bikini line, and it travels all the way across the abdomen from hip to hip. Most of the time the scar can be covered by your underwear or bathing suit as long as those items are not lower (or smaller) than usual. The scar is permanent, and there is no way to perform a tummy tuck without a scar, so don’t waste your time or energy researching “scarless” procedures. Liposuction is the only alternative that would give you a smaller scar, but if you’ve been pregnant, chances are that liposuction won’t give you the results you’re after.
How painful is a tummy tuck?
The answer to this question depends mostly on whether or not your abdominal muscles need to be repaired during your tummy tuck procedure. If your muscles are not significantly separated, your procedure will be much more comfortable than an operation that involves an extensive muscle repair. If you have had multiple pregnancies, chances are that a muscle repair will be required for the best result, but the only way to find out for sure is to schedule a consultation so that the doctor can examine your abdomen. Most of the time, it is possible to decide whether or not a muscle repair is necessary after a physical examination. That being said, most patients do very well with oral pain medications taken at home even after the most extensive muscle repairs. It is rare for the procedure to be painful enough to require a hospital stay or anything other than oral pain pills.
When can I stand up straight after a Tummy Tuck?
On average it takes about a week for the abdomen to stretch enough to allow you to stand up completely straight. You’ll need to walk hunched over for the first few days after the procedure because your abdomen will be very tight and swollen, but as the skin stretches you’ll be able to stand a little straighter each day.
Will I have drains after my Tummy Tuck?
Yes, drains are a necessary part of abdominoplasty surgery. Without drains, the inflammatory fluid from the surgery could accumulate in your abdomen and require additional drainage procedures if the fluid collection becomes too large. Fluid that collects like this is called a seroma. Some seromas can require daily drainage procedures in the office for several weeks before the fluid production stops, so even though no one wants to have drains, they are much less of a nuisance than dealing with a seroma. Drains can usually be removed after 7-10 days, and although they do require some extra care and attention on your part, they are fairly easy to handle.
How long do I need to take off from work after abdominoplasty?
It depends on how physical your job is. If you work at a desk most of the day, you can probably go back to work in 10-14 days. If you have a job where you are on your feet a lot, or if you are required to lift anything heavier than 5-10lbs, you will need 3-4 weeks off work.
When can I go back to the gym after abdominoplasty?
You can start back at the gym with light, low impact cardio workouts after about 2 weeks, and gradually advance your level of exertion over the following 2 weeks. You shouldn’t perform and resistance training (machines or free weights), or abdominal exercises, until at least 6 weeks after your surgery.
Can I have an abdominoplasty if I smoke?
No, you shouldn’t have any elective surgery if you smoke, but especially not an abdominoplasty. Smoking dramatically increases your risk of complications like delayed healing, infection, DVT’s (clots in the legs), and PE’s (pulmonary embolus). It’s very important to be truthful about your smoking habits during your consultation so that your doctor can advise you to stop smoking at least 6 weeks prior to having surgery.