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Are sit-ups not creating the taut abdomen you desire? Have you developed stretch marks as a result of pregnancy? Is there a little too much excess skin and fat for which diet and exercise does nothing for? If so, then a tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, may be a worthwhile procedure for you.

What is tummy tuck surgery?

A tummy tuck involves removal of the excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen and tightens your lax core muscles, helping to define your figure. There are a number of different tummy tuck techniques, but our doctors’ technique (liposuction + abdominoplasty = lipoabdominoplasty) works on improving the entire abdomen. Our approach with lipoabdominoplasty at Florida Plastic Surgery Group does not simply address the lower half of the abdomen where skin and fat are removed because this method leaves many patients with a disproportionate upper abdomen. Rather, we contour the upper abdomen and flanks/”love handles” with precision liposuction to obtain the results you desire. During your initial consultation, one of our plastic surgeons will talk with you about your goals and answer any questions you may have.

What are the benefits of a tummy tuck?

Tummy tuck surgery is one of the most popular and effective cosmetic surgery options available and can provide numerous advantages for both women and men who are trying to achieve a flatter, more fit-looking abdomen. The potential benefits of tummy tuck surgery include:

  • Tightening of abdominal muscles
  • Reparation of torn abdominal muscles or diastasis repair
  • Removal of excess abdominal skin
  • Tightening of remaining skin for a smoother, flatter appearance in the abdomen
  • Removal of excess fat pockets
  • Abdominal rejuvenation after significant weight loss or pregnancy
  • Reduction in the appearance of stretch marks

Who is a candidate for tummy tuck surgery?

Both men and women who desire improvement in the shape and appearance of their abdomen as well as their love handles are typically good candidates for this procedure. Men and women who have lost weight through bariatric surgery and have excess skin are also excellent candidates, and this can be an ideal procedure to include in a comprehensive Mommy Makeover for women who are looking to restore their bodies after pregnancy. It’s important to note that tummy tuck surgery is not designed to be a tool for weight loss; candidates for this treatment are usually at or near the ideal weight for their bodies. Patients must also be in reasonably good overall health and have realistic expectations for the final result.

During your initial consultation, one of our plastic surgeons will evaluate your needs and goals and determine whether you are a candidate for tummy tuck surgery.

Tummy Tuck Vs. Liposuction

Tummy tuck surgery and liposuction are similar in that they are both procedures that can effectively renew body contours; however, they are also distinct in many ways. While liposuction can be utilized to remove pockets of excess fat that have accumulated in the abdominal region, it cannot eliminate loose, inelastic skin. Tummy tuck surgery gets rid of excess skin, tightens the abdominal muscles, and redrapes the remaining skin for a firmer, flatter look. For some patients, liposuction may be all that’s necessary to achieve their goals for abdominal enhancement. For others, tummy tuck surgery or a combination of tummy tuck and liposuction will be necessary. In most cases we see here at Florida Plastic Surgery Group, the best technique for patients who can benefit from tummy tuck surgery often involves both liposuction and tummy tuck (lipoabdominoplasty), which can typically provide the most comprehensive outcome and the more ideal contour. Ultimately, it is all dependent on the individual patient’s unique needs and expectations. Our plastic surgeons will talk with you about your goals and help you determine whether liposuction, tummy tuck surgery, or a combination of the two will be the best option to optimize your results.

Tummy Tuck and Pregnancy

Many women who consider tummy tuck surgery may also be planning to have children sometime in the future. While it is still possible for most individuals to have a normal pregnancy after a tummy tuck, our doctors recommend waiting until you are sure that you are no longer planning to bear children before undergoing this procedure. A tummy tuck after pregnancy is typically the better option because it can reverse many effects that a pregnancy has on the abdomen, such as stretched abdominal muscles and the collection of excess skin in the area. If an individual undergoes a tummy tuck before pregnancy, many of the procedure’s benefits may be negated, and may require an additional tummy tuck surgery to restore the results of the initial procedure. This is one of the more prominent reasons why it is advisable for patients to be sure that they have completed their families prior to having tummy tuck surgery.

How do I prepare for tummy tuck surgery?

You should be nicotine-free for at least four weeks prior to undergoing a tummy tuck. Good nutrition in the weeks leading up to surgery and ensuring you have nothing to eat the night before surgery are also important. A member of our team will provide you with detailed pre-operative instructions before the procedure to make sure you are properly prepared for the operation and the recovery process.

How is the tummy tuck procedure performed?

A full abdominoplasty involves a more extensive sculpting of the abdominal wall. Excess skin above the belly button is removed along with the underlying fat. The abdomen and flanks (love handles) are also liposuctioned to create a more attractive contour. The abdominal muscles are pulled taut and the remaining skin is redraped for a firmer, flatter, fit-looking abdomen.

Would a mini-tummy tuck be better for me?

A mini-abdominoplasty is ideally suited for patients with limited excess skin and who may have developed stretch marks below the belly button as a result of pregnancy. A mini-abdominoplasty is performed by a small excision of the lower abdominal fat and skin followed by liposuction of the upper abdomen and love handles to create a feminine contour. The abdominal wall is tightened via a minimally invasive approach, which can tighten your abdominal muscles and narrow your waist. The belly button is not transposed, and the scar is often easily hidden beneath an undergarment or swimsuit.

A full tummy tuck is often a more suitable option for most patients; however, our plastic surgeon will evaluate your needs during the initial consultation and determine whether a mini-tummy tuck can help you achieve your goals.

The Tummy Tuck Procedure

  • Incision
  • Skin Elevated
  • Skin Removed
  • Muscle Tightening

What is tummy tuck recovery like?

Most people are able to resume normal daily routines about two weeks following tummy tuck surgery; however, each patient has different needs and different rates of healing, so the recovery process varies among individuals. Our doctors utilize intraoperative long-lasting numbing medicine that will typically last for 3 to 4 days after surgery and will significantly reduce discomfort. A majority of our tummy tucks do not require post-operative drains. You can expect some degree of bruising and swelling in the treatment area after tummy tuck surgery. These effects should dissipate as the abdomen continues to heal. Medication can help manage post-operative discomfort. Our abdominoplasty surgery team will do everything possible to help ensure a rapid recovery.

EXPAREL® for Pain Control

The innovative EXPAREL® treatment involves the injection of a pain-control medication directly into the surgical areas, numbing these regions for roughly 72 hours. Our doctors can utilize EXPAREL® for tummy tuck procedures to provide patients with consistent pain relief during the first few days post-surgery. This treatment can often minimize the need for additional pain medication during recovery, ultimately providing continuous relief during the period of time when post-surgical discomfort is typically at its most pronounced levels.

Drainless Tummy Tuck Surgery

For some patients, a technique can be utilized during tummy tuck surgery that is designed to eliminate the need for drains during recovery. Drainless Tummy Tuck surgery uses a technique called progressive tension sutures (PTS) to allow patients to avoid having any drains after their tummy tuck, thereby decreasing pain and decreasing the time for recovery. Our doctor can talk more with you about this during the initial consultation and determine whether you might be a candidate for Drainless Tummy Tuck surgery.

How long does a tummy tuck last?

The firmer skin and improved abdominal contours that result from a tummy tuck can be maintained for many years, as long as healthy lifestyle habits are established. A good diet and regular exercise are two of the most important ways to keep your renewed figure for a long time to come. Staying hydrated with plenty of water (and avoiding sugary drinks), as well as significantly reducing or eliminating alcoholic beverages can also help you maintain the results of tummy tuck surgery.

What are the risks of tummy tuck surgery?

Risks associated with a tummy tuck include bruising, contour irregularities, and asymmetry. The procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia. Patients are encouraged to ambulate every few hours immediately following surgery to decrease the risk of developing a blood clot in your legs that can travel to the lungs and potentially be fatal. Our plastic surgeons are highly experienced with this procedure and will do everything possible to minimize risks. During your initial consultation, our surgeon will go over all potential risks with you in detail and explain the steps we take to reduce those risks. We are happy to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.

What do tummy tuck scars look like?

Full tummy tuck surgeries typically require an incision from hip to hip (just above the pubic region), as well as an incision to release the navel during the procedure. Fortunately, our plastic surgeons are extensively trained and experienced with these types of surgeries and will employ techniques that can minimize residual scarring as much as possible. Our practice carries medical-grade silicone scar gel therapy, which is included with the price of surgery, to help minimize scarring post-surgery. This treatment usually starts once the incision sites are fully healed and is applied twice a day for several weeks to minimize the appearance and coloration of scars. Tummy tuck scars can generally be well-concealed under clothing and swimwear. They also tend to fade by some degree over time, and there are other procedures available that can reduce their appearance even further.

How much does a tummy tuck cost?

The average cost of a standard tummy tuck surgery at Florida Plastic Surgery Group typically starts at approximately $7,899, including all fees associated with the procedure. This fee can increase in range if additional procedures (such as liposuction) are needed. The cost of mini-tummy tuck procedures start at $4,999. With this in mind, it is important to note that the overall cost of tummy tuck surgery is ultimately determined based on the customized treatment plan, so the total price of the procedure varies from patient to patient. The cost will include factors such as the surgeon’s fee, the complexity of the procedure, fees involving the operating facility and anesthesia, and other associated expenses. Once your preliminary treatment plan has been created, a member of our staff will put together a total cost estimate and talk with you about your options. Our practice accepts a vast range of payment methods, and we work with two of the most reputable plastic surgery financing agencies in the nation: CareCredit® and Alphaeon™ Credit. These companies offer low- to no-interest financing plans to qualified applicants, allowing patients to fit the cost of treatment into their budget with convenient monthly payment plans.

Is a non-surgical tummy tuck possible?

Although you may find various articles or online publications claiming that certain non-surgical procedures or exercises can provide the same results as tummy tuck surgery, the fact is that there is simply no other way to achieve the kind of outcomes possible with surgical abdominoplasty. A tummy tuck can do something that no non-surgical procedure or garment—like the “Tummy Tuck Belt®”—is capable of: remove excess skin and tighten the abdominal muscles. Loose, inelastic skin and lax underlying muscles are typically what cause a protruding abdomen or an undesired abdominal contour; tummy tuck surgery can address these concerns by eliminating the excess skin, pulling the muscles taut, and redraping the remaining skin for a smoother, firmer aesthetic.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Tummy Tuck Surgery

Does insurance cover tummy tuck surgery?

Since tummy tuck surgery is considered an elective cosmetic procedure, medical insurance policies do not typically provide coverage for the treatment. With that in mind, Florida Plastic Surgery Group offers patients the opportunity to finance their tummy tuck procedure through reputable lending agencies. These companies provide a full selection of convenient and affordable financing plans for qualified applicants who would like to pay for their tummy tuck surgery over time.

How painful is a tummy tuck?

Some degree of swelling, soreness, and bruising can be expected in the days following tummy tuck surgery; however, our practice can take extra steps to ensure patients do not experience excessive discomfort during recovery. We offer EXPAREL® injections for continuous pain relief while the surgical area heals, and some patients may be eligible for Drainless Tummy Tuck surgery, which can also be helpful for minimizing residual pain after treatment. The EXPAREL® and Drainless Tummy Tuck surgery sections above have more information on these advanced techniques.

Will I need to wear compression garments after abdominoplasty, and for how long?

Most patients will likely need to wear a compression garment following abdominoplasty. The garment is somewhat akin to an abdominal binder, and it is designed to help reduce swelling and ultimately promote healing after tummy tuck surgery. The unique needs of each patient will determine how long the garment should be worn; however, in many cases, four to six weeks is typically recommended. Our plastic surgeon will give you detailed instructions on how long you will need to wear your compression garment for optimal healing and will provide you with the binder garment at surgery.

How can I reduce swelling after tummy tuck surgery?

Swelling in the abdominal area is a perfectly normal reaction following tummy tuck surgery. While swelling is typically at its highest level in the four to six weeks after the procedure, it could take months before it fully dissipates. Swelling can often be more rapidly diminished by wearing the prescribed compression garments for the amount of time recommended by our surgeon. Even simple steps such as resting as much as possible and avoiding foods that are high in salt can help control swelling.

What is seroma after a tummy tuck?

A seroma is characterized by a collection of fluid under the skin, often resembling a lump or a sensation of “fullness” in the lower abdomen. This condition can occur after tissue has been removed or manipulated during a surgical procedure. Some seromas are quite small and disappear on their own in the weeks following surgery; however, other seromas may be very large or painful and will need to be examined and treated, typically in the office setting. Symptoms such as an irregular heartbeat, fever, and the chills may indicate that a seroma has developed into an abscess and will need medical care.

If you are interested in learning more about how a tummy tuck / abdominoplasty can help you achieve your cosmetic goals, or to schedule a consultation with one of our plastic surgeons, please contact our office today.