Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Surgery

What Is Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) is a highly specialized plastic surgery procedure that can restore a toned, flat, and taut abdomen. This procedure can help men or women get rid of a belly bulge and correct the effects of weight fluctuations, fat accumulation, and pregnancy. Individuals who have excess belly fat, loose abdominal skin, and weakened or separated abdominal muscles can undergo tummy tuck surgery to achieve tight abs and a flat and smooth abdomen.

The Benefits of Tummy Tuck Surgery

  • Flattens and tightens the abdomen
  • Removes excess skin to smooth the abdomen
  • Tightens the abdominal muscles to improve abdominal tone
  • Relocates or reshapes the belly button to improve its appearance
  • Greatly enhances abdominal tone, contour, and shape
  • Reverses the effects of major weight loss and pregnancy (especially multiple pregnancies)
  • Strengthens confidence and self-image

Achieved With Tummy Tuck Surgery

Removal of Excess Skin

Pregnancy and weight gain can force the abdominal skin to stretch at an accelerated rate. After the baby is born or after the weight is lost, the skin does not always contract to its formerly taut condition. As a result, the abdomen is left with hanging, excess skin. Tummy tuck surgery removes the loose, stretched skin from the lower abdomen to create a flatter and smoother belly. The procedure also relocates or reshapes the belly button when needed to create a more natural abdominal appearance.

Elimination of Stubborn Fat

Persistent abdominal fat is an unfortunate concern for many adults and can be a result of weight changes, pregnancy, and aging. For countless patients, no amount of exercise can eliminate stubborn lower belly fat. Abdominoplasty removes unwanted abdominal fat and flattens out bulges to create a more youthful and toned abdominal contour.

Repairing of the Abdominal Muscles

During pregnancy, the uterus enlarges, causing the abdominal muscles to stretch and separate. This abdominal wall separation can give the continued appearance of pregnancy long after childbirth, and it cannot be corrected with exercise. A similar spreading of the abdominal wall can occur in patients who gain and then lose a significant amount of weight. Abdominoplasty incorporates rectus plication, or tightening of the separated abdominal muscles. The surgeon sutures together the abdominal wall muscles and loose underlying tissue to flatten the abdomen for improved abdominal tone.

Improvement in Overall Body Shape, Health, and Well-Being

Tummy tuck surgery can offer many benefits. By improving the contour of the waistline, it improves overall body shape and accentuates feminine curves or firm and toned masculine abs. Reducing the amount of fat in the stomach can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and other health problems, and it can also improve posture and core strength. Feeling better about your appearance can strengthen self-confidence and improve your emotional and psychological well-being. Overall, tummy tuck surgery can significantly boost your quality of life.

Your Tummy Tuck Surgery

While your tummy tuck procedure will be tailored to meet your needs, the details of your surgery will most likely go as follows:

  • IV sedation anesthesia will be administered so that you will be asleep for the procedure but breathing on your own.
  • Dr. Schlechter will make a lower abdominal incision in the panty line and excise the excess, sagging skin and fat to produce a smoother and narrower abdominal contour.
  • Dr. Schlechter will tighten your abdominal muscles by sewing together the covering of the muscles, creating a flatter and more toned abdomen. This is called rectus plication.
  • One or two drains will be placed at the incision site to remove any serous fluid that may accumulate during recovery.
  • If you have chosen it, EXPAREL® will be injected into your soft tissue before the incision is closed to improve comfort during your recovery.
  • Dr. Schlechter will close the incision with dissolvable sutures.
  • The procedure will take approximately two to three hours.

FAQs

Good candidates for this procedure are men or women with relatively good health who are bothered by excess abdominal fat and loose abdominal skin that do not respond to diet or exercise. Abdominoplasty is particularly helpful for women who, through multiple pregnancies, have stretched their skin and abdominal muscles beyond the point where they can return to normal. This procedure is appropriate for those who wish to get rid of an unsightly tummy bulge characterized by stretched abdominal skin, excess fat, separated abdominal muscles, and a sagging or misshapen belly button.
After abdominoplasty, you will return home wearing an abdominal binder. You should expect the first few days following surgery to be the most uncomfortable, though the pain will be minimal if you opted for EXPAREL®. Your abdomen will feel tight, and the muscles may intermittently spasm for a few days. It may be more comfortable to walk slightly hunched over during the first week of recovery, but by the end of the first week, you should try to straighten out your torso. Your drains will typically stay in for one or two weeks. If you have two drains, the left one to drain more than the right one. During the first two weeks, take it easy and avoid any strenuous physical activities to prevent bleeding or raising your heart rate and blood pressure. By week three of recovery, you may begin walking slowly on a treadmill. By week four, you may begin easing into a workout routine. By week five, you may begin gentle upper body exercises, and by week six, you may return to all preoperative exercise routines (including abdominal exercises).
EXPAREL® is a time-released pain medication that is injected into the soft tissue during a tummy tuck. It has been shown to significantly reduce discomfort during the initial recovery period. Our patients who choose to receive EXPAREL® are far more comfortable during recovery than the typical tummy tuck patient. Dr. Schlechter has extensive experience using EXPAREL® to make recovery more comfortable for his patients.
Abdominoplasty is not a weight loss procedure. A desire to lose weight should not be the primary reason for you to want a tummy tuck. Even though you are getting rid of excess skin and fat, the weight loss is minimal. On the other hand, the improvements to your body contour can be profound, and your new waist appearance may give the impression that you have lost weight.
Abdominoplasty and other elective surgeries are not covered by insurance because they are not considered medically necessary. We do offer patient financing options to help patients afford the cost of surgery.
If your stretch marks are limited to the lower abdomen only, you may be fortunate enough to have no more stretch marks after surgery. A tummy tuck will remove many of the stretch marks in the lower abdomen, but the upper abdomen may have minimal stretch marks that are still visible. As the skin of the abdomen is tightened during abdominoplasty, any stretch marks originally in the upper abdomen will be moved to the mid and lower abdominal area. Dr. Schlechter contours the abdominal skin in such a way as to achieve the best result possible for every unique patient. The overall result is a flatter and smoother abdomen with a significant reduction of stretch marks.
A mini tummy tuck applies the same principles as a standard tummy tuck for removing excess skin and tightening the abdominal muscles, but it does so on a much smaller scale. Far fewer candidates qualify for this technique because a mini tummy tuck only addresses issues below the belly button. For the mini tummy tuck, an incision is made at the panty line. Through the incision, the surgeon sutures the lower abdominal muscles and excises any loose skin. Because the procedure is less involved, the recovery is a bit easier, but the results are also more minimal. Individuals with loose skin and protrusion issues that are only below the belly button may be good candidates for this technique. During your consultation, Dr. Schlechter will determine whether a mini tummy tuck is all you may need to achieve the best results.