For men and women alike, having a saggy or protruding belly can be a constant source of embarrassment. While diet and exercise alone will improve your overall health and aid in weight loss efforts, even the fittest and most health-conscious among us have difficulties achieving and maintaining that flat, toned midsection— especially after pregnancy or dramatic weight loss. Fortunately, a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a specialized cosmetic procedure that is designed to target this problematic region of the body by eliminating excess fat and skin while simultaneously tightening underlying stomach muscles for a more slender, smooth and attractive midsection.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, abdominoplasty was amongst the top requested cosmetic surgeries for both women and men in 2017 and has skyrocketed a whopping 107 percent in total procedures performed since the year 2000. However, while tummy tucks are an immensely popular procedure for helping patients get rid of stubborn flab and loose skin that is unresponsive to a healthy lifestyle, it isn’t for everyone. During your initial consultation, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Terrasse can help you determine if a tummy tuck is right for you based on factors such as your current weight and medical history, as well as your expectations and goals for the procedure.
What Can a Tummy Tuck Treat?
The reasons you may opt for a tummy tuck are entirely unique to you and your body. A tummy tuck can be highly effective for helping women to tighten weakened abdominal muscles after pregnancy and restore their pre-baby figure. It can also help men and women who were previously obese and are now plagued by excess skin. If you are at or within a reasonable range of your goal weight but are still troubled by the appearance of your belly, a tummy tuck can help you achieve a more proportional, flattering figure that you won’t feel compelled to hide. A tummy tuck may be right for you if:
- Your abdominal muscles and skin have become stretched as a result of pregnancy, weight fluctuations, genetics or aging
- Stubborn abdominal fat has not responded to diet and exercise alone
- Your midsection is disproportionately larger than your body
- You have loose skin present both above and below the belly button
- You are unhappy with the appearance of your midsection
An important distinction to understand about tummy tuck surgery is that it is not a weight loss procedure. If you desire to lose more than 30 pounds following your surgery, there is an added risk of adversely affecting your results. For this reason, patients should also not be planning any future pregnancies, as the changes your body endures can stretch out your tightened abdomen. Patients who are only looking to target excess fat and still have good skin laxity in their abdominal region may be better candidates for liposuction or Smartlipo, which are significantly less invasive fat removal procedures offered at Terrasse Aesthetic Surgery.
What to Expect During a Tummy Tuck
Despite its name, a tummy tuck is an extensive cosmetic surgery performed using general anesthesia, and will typically require an overnight hospital stay following your procedure. The operation itself can last anywhere between two and three hours depending on the extent of redundant skin and fat present on your midsection, as well as the condition of your abdominal muscles.
Dr. Terrasse will first make a slightly curved but horizontal incision directly above the pubic mound, extending from one hip bone to the other. Your abdominal muscles will be pulled tight and sutured closer together into their correct position. After repairing your muscles, excess fat will be removed from the area, and abdominal skin will be re-draped over your stomach to your incision line, with any excess skin being trimmed away. Your navel may also be repositioned, depending on the amount of skin removed, incisions will be closed and surgical drains may be put in place to aid in your recovery.
Terrasse Aesthetic Surgery also offers the partial abdominoplasty, also known as a mini tummy tuck, for patients who do not yet require a full abdominoplasty. The mini tummy tuck uses shorter incisions, requires less downtime and is ideal for patients who have fat pockets or loose skin limited to the region below the belly button. A mini tummy tuck can effectively eliminate a lower belly pooch while slimming and firming your abdominal wall.
Recovery & Results
After your tummy tuck surgery, you will be required to wear a compression garment and may have surgical drains in place for a few days to promote faster healing and help prevent complications. Most patients are able to return to their normal day-to-day activities between two to four weeks after the operation but will need to spend a considerable amount of time resting during this period due to the tightening and repositioning of your muscles. Strenuous activity is usually discouraged for about six to eight weeks, so ideal candidates will need to be comfortable with periods of minimal physical activity.
The results of your tummy tuck are designed to be lasting, with full results usually visible about three to six months after your procedure. However, it is crucial for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a balanced diet to avoid reversing your results. Once fully healed, a tummy tuck can not only significantly improve the appearance of your midsection but can also drastically improve your self-confidence for years to come.
If loose skin and belly flab are standing in the way of you achieving your aesthetic goals, an abdominoplasty may be the right for you. Dr. Terrasse has been recognized both locally and nationally as one of Chicago’s top aesthetic surgeons and is dedicated to helping patients enhance their natural beauty for a better quality of life. To discover more about what a tummy tuck can do for you, contact Terrasse Aesthetic Surgery today at 847-234-2400 to schedule a consultation.