What is a Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, removes excess fat and skin and, in most cases, restores weakened or separated muscles creating an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer.
Abdominoplasty can be appropriate for people who have lost weight, whose skin has lost some of its elasticity, and for women with skin and muscles stretched from pregnancy. Anyone planning on losing a significant amount of weight, and women planning on having (more) children, should wait before undergoing abdominoplasty.
At what age is a tummy tuck typically performed?
There isn’t an average age for these procedures. The question is simply one of sagging, inelastic skin. This can be a result of the localized weight gain and loss of pregnancy, where the skin is stretched too far for too long and it cannot tighten back down. Or it can be a result of the gain and subsequent loss of a good deal of weight, creating the same problems. Because skin is the problem, more so than fat, there isn’t an upper age limit with abdominoplasty either. As long as the patient is in good health overall and is able to handle recovery, a tummy tuck can be a great procedure.
What if I plan on having more children, can I still have a tummy tuck?
Dr. Olack emphasizes that his tummy tuck patients need to be finished having children to have this procedure. This isn’t an arbitrary thing — if you again gain the localized weight with pregnancy that will negate all of the changes made by a tummy tuck. Plus, it would place serious stress on your incision, possibly distorting your scar. If you’re even considering having any additional children, then this is not the time for this surgery.
Will a tummy tuck get rid of my stretch marks?
Stretch marks occur when the skin is stretched more rapidly than it can accommodate the changes. Stretch marks are actually a type of scar created when the collagen and elastin in our skin rupture. As the skin heals, stretch marks can appear.
Tummy tucks will only remove stretch marks that are part of any excised skin. So, if your stretch marks are on your lower abdomen, they could be removed when the extra skin is cut away, but if they are higher on the abdomen or on the flanks, they will probably not be accessible.
What are the Different Types of Tummy Tuck Procedures?
There are three types of tummy tucks: full, mini, and extended. During your consultation with Dr. Olack, the two of you will discuss which will be right for you. Here are the differences between them:
Full tummy tuck
In a full tummy tuck, Dr. Olack makes two incisions. The first runs from hipbone to hipbone, descending down to the upper pubic area so the scar is easily hidden under underwear or a swimsuit. The second incision is made around the belly button to address sagging above the navel.
Mini tummy tuck
A mini tuck usually only requires the single lower incision. The length of this incision varies depending on the degree of loose skin. Mini tummy tucks are good for patients with less overall sagging who still have a small pooch in the center of their lower abdomen. These patients still need to have good elasticity in this skin.
Extended tummy tuck
An extended tummy tuck also targets the flanks. It basically is a full tummy tuck, but the lower incision stretches past the hipbones all the way out to the sides of the hips. This incision can even slightly advance around the side of the flanks to the back.
Can I combine abdominoplasty with other Body Contouring procedures?
Tummy tucks are a part of every mommy makeover, where they are combined with a breast lift (with or without augmentation) and liposuction. This targets all the areas affected by pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.
As for combining a tummy tuck with other procedures, you need to consider your recovery. Tummy tucks involve a fairly serious recovery period, due to the length of the incision made and the repositioning of stomach muscles. If you’ve had kids, a mommy makeover could be done, but otherwise, you may want to keep this as a stand-alone procedure.
What are the risks involved with a tummy tuck?
Abdominoplasty is major surgery, so it entails all of the risks involved with any surgery: bleeding, poor wound healing, infection, reaction to anesthesia, and the like. There are few complications with these procedures, as they involve large muscle groups with limited nerves.
The one side effect, although not actually a side effect, is the extensive scar. Full, mini, and extended tummy tucks all create a lengthy scar. Dr. Olack positions it to be hidden under a bikini bottom or panties, but you will have a scar.
What can I expect at my abdominoplasty consultation?
Dr. Olack views each of his consultations as a complete give and takes of information. In your consultation for a tummy tuck, you’ll start by detailing what you’re unhappy with and how you’d like to change your abdominal area. You’ll discuss the results you hope to achieve. Of course, you’ll also detail your medical history, so that Dr. Olack can ensure you’re healthy enough for this surgery.
From there, Dr. Olack will examine your body. He’ll note the condition of your skin, whether it has good elasticity or not. If you have good elasticity, liposuction could be all that’s needed. If you have sagging, stretched skin, a tummy tuck is the only way to correct the problem. He’ll discuss your options for this surgery, whether you need a full or mini tuck, or maybe even an extended tuck. He’ll discuss your recovery and the possible risks involved.
Throughout, Dr. Olack encourages you to ask any and all questions you may have about abdominoplasty. When your consultation is complete, whether you choose to move forward with surgery or not, you will be well versed in the procedure.
What Our Patients Have to Say
“Dr Olack has helped me with a couple of procedures to help me get back to the body I want after having kids. He & his office staff has always been kind, discrete & professional. Dr. Olack is timely with appointments, minimal wait times. He offers good advice and I trust his judgement in his approach. He explains things in a manner that is easily understood & spends time making sure you are comfortable with your decision. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking to have plastic surgery”
What Is Recovery Like After Abdominoplasty?
How difficult your recovery will be is correlated to the type of tummy tuck Dr. Olack performed. But every method involves lengthy incisions and a good deal of tissue excision and muscle repositioning. These are major surgeries on the abdomen area, and because these muscles are involved in so many human movements, full recovery can take some time. Patients will need to rest for at least two weeks and may need up to six weeks for more extensive tucks. You’ll need to arrange for help around the house, as you won’t be able to lift more than just a couple pounds. Any lifting of more weight or strenuous exercise will need to wait for at least six weeks. You will have soreness along your incisions for weeks, and this can stretch to months in some cases.
Dr. Olack will discuss the parameters of your recovery with you before and after your surgery.
Is Recovery After an Abdominoplasty Painful?
The long incision will have some pain, but it isn’t as much acute pain as soreness. You simply need to protect the incision from stretching. This is more of an obstacle than pain for most patients. These are large muscle groups in the abdomen and they only have limited nerves.
Before & After Tummy Tuck
How long will the results of my tummy tuck last?
These are permanent changes. The excess skin that Dr. Olack removes is gone for good. The separated muscles that he brought back to the center and re-anchored will not separate again (unless you put on a good deal of weight in the future). Any fat he removed with liposuction or manually is also gone for good.
Of course, you will have some slackening of tissues as the years go by. But as long as you maintain a healthy weight moving forward, you’ll enjoy your slimmer, flatter abdomen for the rest of your life.