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Tummy Tuck: An Overview

before after tummy tuck
Before and after tummy tuck by Dr. Aldo Guerra.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 127,633 tummy tucks procedures were performed in the United States in 2016. Of this figure, there were 123,000 female patients, and 4,902 were male, amounting to 4% of the overall procedure statistic. 

Surprisingly, the procedure is a hit not only among the older population but the youngish generation as well. According to the same source, 20-29 year-olds amounted for 10% of the statistic with 12,192 procedure performed for the age bracket, while 30-39 year-olds amounted for 35% or 45,088 procedures. Meanwhile, 40-54 year-olds took 41% of the procedure, with 52,697 incidences, and 17,656 or 14% of tummy tuck procedures were performed among patients 55-years-old and older. A total of $740,016,134 was spent on tummy tucks in 2014, averaging to $5,798 per patient. 

These figures clearly indicate that a tummy tuck is a popular procedure, embraced by both young and the old. Here’s everything that you need to know about it.

Definition

According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery,  a tummy tuck “tightens and reshapes the abdominal area, helping to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing, slimmer overall appearance.” Also referred to as abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck helps patients have a flatter, more attracting midsection by removing excess skin and fat, as well as tightening the muscles in your abdominal wall. Coupled with other cosmetic surgery procedures, a tummy tuck can give you washboard abs and give you the perfect midsection that you have always wished for.

Similar to most plastic surgery procedures, a tummy tuck is performed for a number of reasons. Most people who want to get a tummy tuck are those who have done everything in their power to lose the belly flab, but it won’t go away. However, what is worth pointing out is that a tummy tuck is not a weight loss solution. Rather, doctors would advise patients to be at their target weight BEFORE getting a tummy tuck.

tummy tuck looking left
Dr. Aldo Guerra's tummy tuck before and after result, actual patient.

Types

There are three types of tummy tuck: a full tummy tuck, a mini-tummy tuck and an extended tummy tuck. The differences are as follows:

Complete tummy tuck – a complete tummy tuck means the doctor will cut the patient from hipbone to hipbone, remove the excess skin, and contour or shape the skin, tissue, and muscle as needed. The belly button is often removed and repositioned in the firmer and more attractive tummy. 

Mini tummy tuck – mini abdominoplasty are perfect for those who already have desirable abdomens above the belly button, but have fat deposits below it. For this procedure, the surgeons do not need to remove the belly button, but would instead make a small incision that can be hidden along the bikini line. However, what most people do not realize is that if they do decide to go for a mini tummy tuck, the surgeon will not touch the area above the navel. This means that they have to ensure that they are happy with their upper abdomen.

Extended tummy tuck - is available for patients that have lost a lot of weight and require more excessive skin removal where the incisions are further back to be able to remove more skin.

tummy tuck incision treated by embrace
Before after tummy tuck incision treated with embrace® Active Scar Defense.

One of the things most people factor in when it comes to tummy tucks would be the scarring. Some surgeons would leave a long scar along the hip, while others are more conservative when it comes to stitching. On the other hand, some surgeons find it cumbersome to reposition the belly button and would instead stitch the patient with a horizontal line. If you have any concerns about scarring, bring them up with your surgeon immediately so that he may be able to plan accordingly. Dr. Aldo Guerra offers the #1 Scar Therapy Solution embrace® Active Scar Defense to treat tummy tuck incisions.

Now, another thing you have to consider about tummy tucks is that tummy tucks are primarily designed just to remove excess skin, and not fat. When it comes to fat, most surgeons would advise you to also get a liposuction while getting the procedure. This way, the liposuction would do away with the fat, while the tummy tuck will ensure that you get a tighter abdomen. This would also minimize your downtime, as you only need to rest for a couple of weeks or so for the two procedures, instead of having two weeks each if you decide to get them individually.

Candidacy

Unfortunately, a tummy tuck is not for everyone. The procedure is appropriate for men and women who are in good health and have already achieved their ideal weight. Women who have had several pregnancies or have already been pregnant would also find the procedure useful, but is not ideal to those who are still planning to conceive in the future. Likewise, it is a good option for people who were previously obese and just have stubborn fat or loose skin around the belly area that won't disappear despite exercising or dieting. 

Tummy tucks are not ideal for people who want to get pregnant, or those who are still unhappy with their weight. As was mentioned above, tummy tucks are not alternatives to weight loss and should not be treated as such. Lastly, people who are very conscious about scarring (such as models), should talk in detail with their surgeons about their expectations to ensure that the surgery would go on as planned. 

Preparation

Preparing for tummy tucks is similar to how you would usually prepare for other surgical procedures. As in all cases, a thorough consultation with your surgeon is a must to thoroughly prepare you for surgery. During your consultation, you should discuss your complete health history, the medications you are currently taking, and other concerns. Be as honest to your surgeon as possible, as doing so would ensure that you would have a smooth and successful surgery.

Next, you may be asked to completely stop smoking two weeks before the procedure, and two weeks after. Smoking can inhibit your body from recovering faster, not to mention have adverse effects to your health.


Finally, do try to eat a healthy diet in the weeks before your surgery. Do not try to get into a crash diet or to try to lose weight in the weeks leading to it, as you can only be compromising your health.

In the following blogs, we will discuss more in detail about what you can expect from a tummy tuck. 

If you are interested in learning more about tummy tucks and if you’re a potential candidate for it, Please call Guerra Plastic Surgery Center at  480-970-2580 or schedule a consultation online.

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