Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, is an ideal surgical treatment to remove the stubborn tummy “pouch” that's otherwise resistant to diet or exercise. It is a popular procedure for women after pregnancy, and is usually recommended when there are no plans of having additional children. Dr. Paul Critelli is a cosmetic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and also offers this procedure for both men and women who have stretched skin in the belly area after going through a major weight loss. Patients considering a tummy tuck should be close to their ideal weight. The majority of patients who undergo this treatment report a significant boost in their self-confidence because of the improvement made to their physical appearance.
About the Surgery
Full Tummy Tuck
In patients who undergo a full tummy tuck, the incision is made from hip to hip just over the pubic area. This results in a scar line that is horizontal and can be hidden when wearing undergarments. It is commonly performed on women with significant skin folds after multiple pregnancies. This technique allows the surgeon access to a large portion of the abdomen while repositioning the belly button so that its placement appears natural. Liposuction is performed to remove excess fat preceding the skin tightening portion. The internal abdominal muscles are secured for a firm, toned appearance.
Mini Tummy Tuck
An alternative to the traditional technique is the mini tummy tuck, which is also known as a “Brazilian tummy tuck." The difference is that ideally the patients that undergo this procedure are already in relatively good shape with a healthy skin tone, but still have loose skin on the lower abdomen. Unlike the full tummy tuck, the belly button is unaffected and the incision is smaller. Liposuction is used (if needed) to remove excess fat, and the loose skin is removed and pulled tight.
Extended Tummy Tuck
In cases when major skin tightening and body contouring is needed, an extended tummy tuck is recommended. This is a necessary technique for patients who have undergone a significant weight loss. It was developed after some patients noted that even after a full tummy tuck, the parts surrounding the abdomen still showed excessive folds of skin. The incision may extend around the navel, flank and lower back depending where skin tightening is necessary. Liposuction is still used and excess skin is trimmed then tightened. Similar to a full tummy tuck, the belly button is repositioned.
A tummy tuck is done under general anesthesia. It is an outpatient procedure, but an overnight stay can be required specific to complex cases. As with any other surgery, abdominoplasty comes with risks so it’s best to discuss any health conditions you have prior to surgery. After surgery, pain medications are provided and a compression garment is worn. The patient will need to rest up to 48 hours. From then, it is recommended that patients make a concerted effort to move around to help blood circulation and reduce the risks of blood clot complications. Recovery may take up to 6 weeks.
The cost for a tummy tuck depends on a variety of factors, primarily on the technique recommended that will provide the best result of the patient’s condition. Schedule an appointment for a customized consultation with Dr. Critelli to determine the cost of your procedure.
Lipo or abdominoplasty?
Tummy tucks are reserved for patients who have stretched, loose skin in the lower abdomen as a result of pregnancy or obesity. Liposuction, on the other hand, is for those who want to remove excess fat in the abdomen but still have a healthy skin tone. During the initial consultation, we will provide a thorough assessment and determine if liposuction alone is all that is needed, or if a tummy tuck will provide the best results.
Normally, abdominoplasty is performed to improve loose skin and excess fat around the abdomen area. However, sometimes other cosmetic procedures, such as breast augmentation or a breast lift are done to further improve the overall look and feel of the body. When this combination type surgery exists, it is known as a “mommy makeover”. It is very popular among women after pregnancy who wish to get their pre-pregnancy body and shape back to normal.
How bad are the scars?
Unfortunately, with a tummy tuck surgery, scars are unavoidable. However, extra measures are taken to make sure that scarring is minimal. With proper technique and minimal tension of the skin layer scars can heal favorably. The incision line is placed in areas that can be concealed by undergarments. Previous C-section scars will be incised in the same spot for the tummy tuck. During the healing process, we will provide a post-operative protocol that includes scar treatment to help assist the scars in becoming less visible.
Pregnancy after tummy tuck?
It is our recommendation that women who decide to have more children delay a tummy tuck procedure. The stretching of the skin as a result of another pregnancy can compromise the results of this procedure.
The UT Health East Texas Tyler Bariatric Center offers several weight loss surgery procedures. Visit TylerBariatrics.com to learn more.