Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
What is a tummy tuck / abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty, often called a “tummy tuck,” is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the US. Tummy tucks help flatten and shape the abdomen and waist by removing excess fat and skin, and by tightening the muscles in the abdominal wall. Dramatic changes are achieved, restoring the abdominal contours to a more youthful and proportioned appearance. Many women report they are fully confident to wear a bikini again while most men claim a significant boost in self-esteem.
There are other tummy tuck variations, such as a “mini” tummy tuck and a “reverse” tummy tuck, which target excess skin and fat in either the lower or upper abdomen, respectively. A tummy tuck that is combined with breast surgery (augmentation, lift, or reduction) is often referred to as a “Mommy Makeover”.
Please note: Although many doctors perform tummy tuck procedures, it’s important to understand that plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, and cosmetic surgeons are not the same thing, plus board-certification matters. Learn more about specialization here.
Dr. Restifo is a Harvard-educated, board-certified plastic surgeon with over twenty-five years of experience performing surgery. He typically does over 100 tummy tucks each year.
Watch Real Patient Testimonials about Dr. Restifo!
Am I a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
The best candidates for abdominoplasty are in good physical condition with pockets of fat or loose skin that haven’t responded well to diet and exercise.
Often the surgery to remove excess skin and fat involves less effort than the weight loss itself, and many patients consider the tummy tuck to be their “reward” for achieving a much healthier body weight.
You may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck if:
- Your skin and muscles have been affected by pregnancy or massive weight loss
- You’ve got pockets of fat or excess skin in your abdomen that will not respond to diet and exercise
- Your body image or self-esteem has been compromised because of your abdominal contours
- Your skin has lost elasticity and/or you have stretch marks on your abdomen
- Your wardrobe choices and self-confidence are affected by excessive loose skin
- Your weight is stable
Patients who intend to lose a lot of weight should wait before undergoing the procedure since skin in the abdominal area typically loosens after substantial weight loss. Patients who plan to get pregnant should also wait.
Dr. Restifo’s Approach to Tummy Tucks
We take the time during every pre-operative consultation to learn what each patient wants to achieve from a tummy tuck, both for their bodies and for their self-confidence. By listening to what patients have to say and closely examining them rather than performing a one-size-fits-all procedure on every person, we provide patients with completely customized treatment that takes into account their specific goals. Both men and women can benefit from this extremely effective body contouring surgery.
Watch Dr. Restifo’s Video About TissuGlu & Drainless Tummy Tucks.
Liposuction is often used to remove excess fat in the abdomen and hip areas for both men and women. Frequently, women also combine a tummy tuck with breast augmentation or breast lift surgery as part of a “Mommy Makeover”.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Suck or Tuck: Which Procedure is Right For Me?
FAQs about Tummy Tucks / Abdominoplasty
Full Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty A full tummy tuck removes skin from above the navel down to the pubic area that has been compromised by pregnancies, genetic predisposition, or weight loss. A traditional tummy tuck includes the relocation of the navel. Mini Tummy Tuck / Partial Abdominoplasty
Partial abdominoplasty, or “mini tummy tuck”, is similar to the regular tummy tuck procedure, except it involves a shorter incision and the skin is only lifted to the navel, which does not have to be moved. The ideal candidate for a mini tummy tuck has laxity and protrusion below the navel. This procedure is ideal for patients who are in fairly good shape but who have been unable to achieve their aesthetic goals with diet and exercise alone.You can discuss the differences between these procedures, as well as weigh their pros and cons with Dr. Restifo in order to decide which procedure is best for you.
A. Abdominoplasty takes approximately two to four hours under general anesthesia. The steps are as follows:
- The abdomen is marked to indicate where two incisions will be made; one from hipbone to hipbone close to the public area and a second around the navel.
- A local anesthetic to control pain and a vasoconstrictor to control bleeding are injected.
- The skin is separated from the abdominal muscles.
- Sutures are placed in the fascia of the muscles to pull them together into a tighter position, creating a firmer abdomen and narrower waist.
- Excess fat is removed by liposuction or other methods.
- Abdominal skin is stretched down over the incision line and the excess skin is removed.
- In the case of a full tummy tuck, a small incision will be made and the navel will be reattached in a natural position.
- Incisions will be closed using internal sutures then surgical dressings will be applied.
- Drains may be inserted to prevent fluid buildup.
A.Though rare, post-operative complications from any type of surgery are possible. They may include infection, blood clots, and poor healing, which may require further surgery. Patients should carefully follow the postoperative instructions provided thereby minimizing the chances of complications.
Patients who have had previous abdominal surgery should know that their old scars could be raised, stretched or generally more noticeable after the procedure. A scar revision procedure after abdominoplasty may minimize the appearance of an unsightly scar.
Patients who gain a significant amount of weight following abdominoplasty may undo the benefits of the surgery. However, with a proper diet and exercise, the results of abdominoplasty should be long-lasting.
A.Prior to your consultation, you will be asked to fill out a complete medical history, which includes information about:
- Medical conditions, both past and present
- Current medications, vitamin and herbal supplements
- Previous surgeries, medical treatments, and non-invasive procedures
- Current use of alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs
- Weight fluctuations
During your initial consultation, Dr. Restifo will listen to your goals, needs, and concerns. If you are planning to lose weight, be sure to mention this in the initial consultation. Also be sure to mention any plans to get pregnant in the near or distant future. It is ideal to stabilize your weight before undergoing surgery to get the best possible long-term results.
Dr. Restifo will evaluate whether you’re a good candidate for a tummy tuck based on your anatomy, physical health, and aesthetic expectations and will determine a treatment plan accordingly.
At the initial consultation, Dr. Restifo will work with his assistant to measure and photograph your abdomen for your medical record. He will also evaluate the following:
- Location and amount of excess skin and fat.
- State of your skin’s elasticity.
- State of your abdominal muscles.
- Location of the navel.
- Location and state of scars from previous surgeries.
After the examination, you will be introduced to the Vectra 3-D Imaging device which will enable you to see how a tummy tuck will improve the shape your torso.
A. Although “tummy tucks” are considered a safe procedure, as with any other type of surgery, different issues may arise. Though rare, post-operative challenges from any type of surgery are possible. They may include infection, blood clots, poor healing, and old scars could be raised, stretched or more noticeable after surgery, which in turn may require further surgery.
The majority of the risks can be avoided if patients follow the post-operative instructions provided by Dr. Restifo.
A. Prior to your surgery, Dr. Restifo will ask you to:
- Stop smoking at least six weeks before undergoing surgery to better promote healing.
- Contact your primary care physician to schedule a preoperative physical for the following tests required for your surgery:
- A recent complete history and physical with medical clearance for surgery and general anesthesia
- Labs complete with CBC, PT, PTT
- Current EKG and report of the reading for patients over the age of 50 or those with a cardiac history
- Any other exam that you or your physician feel is indicated
- Avoid taking aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen) and/or herbal supplements that can increase bleeding.
- Fill any prescriptions that were provided prior to surgery (though you won’t need them until afterwards).
- Hydrate well both before and after the surgery for safe recovery.
- Arrange for a ride home after being discharged.
- Plan to have someone to stay with you for at least the first 24 hours following surgery.
- Make child care arrangements for several days.
- Plan to get lots of help around the house for several weeks.
Prepare your home:
- Set aside a space for your prescriptions, thermometer, and postoperative instructions close to your bed, sofa, or recliner.
- Place toiletries, tissues, medications, beverages, snacks, etc. within easy reach to minimize stretching and bending.
- Prepare your recovery space to include a remote control, reading material, a tablet or laptop, cell phone with charger, and lots of pillows
- Ensure your pantry/fridge is stocked with healthy, easy-to-prepare meals and bottled water.
- Set aside clothing that will be easy to put on and take off without a lot of bending, stretching, or twisting.
- Full postoperative instructions can be found under Patient Resources.
A. It is recommended that you plan to take from one to two weeks off from work, depending on the physical demands of your job. Recovery time ranges from two weeks to a few months. You may experience the following after the procedure:
- Your abdomen will feel sore and tender. Pain medications will be prescribed to help you manage the discomfort.
- Your incision site will be covered with surgical dressings and a wide elastic compression garment to provide support and to reduce swelling.
- A temporary tube may be inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site.
- Detailed instructions will be provided for managing drains, changing dressings, showering, and scar therapy.