A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, can correct a sagging or prominent stomach by removing excess skin and fat. Weak or separated abdominal muscles are tightened which aids in promoting a tight, toned-looking midsection. Diastasis recti is a common condition in which the abdominal muscles separate, creating the appearance of a tummy pooch when relaxed rather than holding everything tightly in.
Size changes from weight loss and pregnancy frequently leave loose skin. The abdomen may continue to protrude or sag from the remaining skin. Many patients have loose or wrinkly abdominal skin as well as small to moderate amounts of excess abdominal fat.
Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery has locations in Dearborn and Birmingham, Michigan. Our board-certified surgeons with 25 years of experience ensure that you receive the professional care a tummy tuck requires.
Your Tummy Tuck Procedure
Your surgery can be performed with either general anesthesia or local anesthesia combined with a sedative to keep you still and relaxed. After the incisions have been made, the abdominal skin will be lifted. This surgery may require an overnight stay, as well as standing and sleep modifications for up to a week. Drainage tubes are placed in order to remove any excess fluid that your body produces. This is normal and the tubes will be removed over one to three weeks.
Complete abdominoplasty – In this surgery, the plastic surgeon places your scar in the “bikini line” in order to disguise it as much as possible. Excess skin and fat will be removed and muscles may be repaired to create a flat contoured abdomen. A full tummy tuck requires an additional incision to be made around the belly button to allow removal of extra fat and skin above that point.
Partial or mini abdominoplasty – This type of procedure focuses on one part of the abdomen and requires a smaller scar. Endoscopic-assisted surgery is an option which is less invasive and reduces the amount of time required for the procedure. The size and position of your incision will depend upon the location and extent of your problem area. Generally, in a mini-tummy tuck, the incision is made just above the pubic bone running approximately from hip bone to hip bone which allows for the removal of excess fat and skin below the navel.
Dr. Masri will perform necessary muscle repair followed by pulling down the upper abdominal skin in order to tighten it, at which point excess skin can be trimmed. The skin is sutured in place. Drainage tubes may be placed to help remove potential excess blood or fluid. The whole procedure typically takes between two and five hours.
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Your Tummy Tuck Recovery
Abdominoplasty recovery is not rapid. For the first few days, your abdomen will be swollen, making it difficult to see your surgery results. Initially, it may be difficult to stand upright. Within a week or two, you should be able to stand although some swelling, bruising and numbness may remain for a few additional weeks. Your bandages, drains, and stitches will be removed generally within the first week, at which point you may resume most non-strenuous jobs. It will take another three to four weeks before you may engage in exercise. Most patients can expect some numbness for about six months. It may take a year or more for the scar to fade to its final level of visibility.
Other Cosmetic Surgery Options
The tummy tuck procedure is frequently combined with other cosmetic procedures. One of the most popular combination options is the “Mommy Makeover”. As the name suggests, after childbearing is completed, a patient may choose to combine a tummy tuck with other procedures like a breast lift, breast implants, body sculpting, and sometimes facial fillers or Botox. The combination of procedures depends upon the needs and desires of the patient and can be discussed in your consultation.
For those who are moderately overweight, abdominoplasty is frequently also combined with liposuction. A tummy tuck by itself can only remove a limited amount of fat, but the liposuction allows Dr. Masri to remove larger quantities of excess fat concurrently with the tummy tuck.
Consultation and Your Tummy Tuck Procedure
The physicians of the Masri Clinic will discuss your goals and surgical options. A full tummy tuck addresses the abdominal area located above and below your belly button. Patients who have less sagging skin and whose abdominal fat is confined to a pouch below the belly button often prefer the mini or partial tummy tuck.
Tummy tuck before and after photos will help evaluate your choices and your potential outcome. A discussion of your aesthetic improvement goals and expectations will help determine the best procedure options. Your skin’s elasticity will be evaluated. Your ideal weight, a realistic weight for you and the possibility of losing weight before surgery will contribute to the decision. Your plans for future pregnancies will be an important point for consideration.
Your medical condition and drug allergies and past surgeries will be reviewed together with your alcohol, tobacco and drug use. Your anticipated outcome is an important component of creating a comfort zone for you associated with this procedure. It is important to the Masri Clinic that patients feel comfortable with the options, potential outcomes, and associated risk.
Tummy Tuck FAQs
Will becoming pregnant after having a tummy tuck be a problem?
Pregnancy after abdominoplasty is perfectly safe. Ideally, a four to six-month wait after your tummy tuck which allows everything to heal before becoming pregnant is ideal. Unfortunately, the dramatic change associated with pregnancy in your size will generally ruin the results of your tummy tuck, resulting in a need for another abdominoplasty.
If you anticipate more children, a tummy tuck would be most effective after childbearing has been completed. There is, however, no real safety reason to avoid a tummy tuck.
Can a tummy tuck repair pregnancy damage other than loose skin?
Pregnancy can leave behind not only loose skin but separated abdominal muscles, stretch marks, and scarring for those that required a cesarean section. Abdominoplasty repairs muscle separation together with the remaining loose skin. A cesarean section scar can often be incorporated into the tummy tuck scar leaving only one scar. Though a tummy tuck will not repair stretch marks, there can be a significant improvement since 30-50% of the skin is generally removed during a tummy tuck and many sections of stretch marks will typically be removed as well.
I still have weight to lose. Should I wait for my tummy tuck?
An early tummy tuck before you have completely reached your weight goal may leave you with additional loose skin after the pounds are shed. Patients with more than a couple of pounds to lose are generally advised to wait until they’ve hit their goal weight and maintained it for a period of time before they have their tummy tuck.
How visible will the scar be?
A tummy tuck is not a scar-free procedure. There will be a visible scar. Typically, a lengthy scar remains that is noticeable but fades in time. The exact size and shape of the scar will depend on your needs, though typically the scare will be hidden in an area that is covered by a normal bikini. Tummy tuck before and after photos will demonstrate what you can expect in terms of residual scarring.
What if I just need the excess skin and fat gone but my abdominal muscles are fine?
While most people who have a tummy tuck require a bit of muscle work, the same basic procedure minus the muscle work can be performed. This procedure is known as a dermolipectomy. It is recommended for slender patients who have good muscle tone but have excess fat and skin to be removed to reveal the patient’s existing tone.
What are the potential risks associated with a tummy tuck?
Although abdominoplasty is considered to be a safe procedure, it does carry some specific risks in addition to the typical risks of bleeding and infection that accompany any surgery. The most common issue is fluid collection under the skin once the drains have been removed. While irritating, this can be corrected easily by removing the fluid with a needle. Fluid collection generally stops within a month and does not affect the final results.
Since the procedure requires cutting through a fair amount of skin and nerves, sensation modifications are also relatively common. Most patients experience skin numbness for several months after the surgery but this usually goes away. In a few cases, there will be some permanent numbness.
In addition to these more common but relatively minor risks, there are also slight risks of more serious problems like suture rupture, leg swelling, and skin necrosis. The physicians of the Masri Clinic will review potential risks and treatments at your initial consultation.
About Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery in Michigan
Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery is devoted to meticulous care. The physicians and staff at Masri Clinic through years of experience deliver the care and support an abdominoplasty requires. They work to answer your questions fully regarding the procedure and recovery.
Haitham Masri, MD is board certified in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, otolaryngology and in sleep medicine.
Raj Gupta, MD is a board-certified plastic surgeon.
The Masri Clinic’s staff includes a broad range of allied professional support including an allergy nurse, certified audiologist, medical assistant, and three board-certified physicians.