What is An Abdominoplasty?
An abdominoplasty is a popular plastic surgery procedure commonly referred to as a tummy tuck. This surgery focuses on removing and trimming excess fat and skin around the stomach to slim and tighten the abdominal area.
Most people think of a tummy tuck as purely cosmetic surgery. But plastic surgeons use this procedure to restore weak abdominal muscles and sculpt your tummy. After your surgery and recovery, you should have an abdomen that’s firm, smooth, and flat.
Contrary to common belief, a tummy tuck, is actually quite affordable. Not to mention abdominoplasties are one of the most popular surgeries our Nashville patients opt-in for at Garza Plastic Surgery.
An abdominoplasty can cost as low as $3,500 – &8,000. Typically, mini tummy tucks cost less, while an extended tummy tuck can cost between $12,000 – $18,000.
What Is Tummy Tuck Surgery?
Surgery for abdominoplasty, or a tummy tuck surgery, involves the following steps.
Because abdominoplasty is a major surgical procedure, you will be put under general anesthesia and intravenous sedation during the operation. A qualified anesthesiologist will make sure you are given effective anesthesia for your comfort during your procedure.
After you go under anesthesia, Dr. Robert Garza, who performs abdominoplasties and other types of plastic surgery, will begin making the incision. The incision will be horizontal and it will be made between the pubic hairline and the belly button.
The size and length of the incision will depend on how much excess skin needs to be removed. Once the incision is made, the abdominal skin will be peeled back so your plastic surgeon can repair and strengthen your abdominal muscles.
Next, a new opening will be created for your belly button, and the remaining skin will be pulled down so the surgery can be completed.
Closing The Incisions
With the muscles strengthened, excess skin trimmed away, and a new space for your navel created, the remaining skin will be stitched back together with sutures. Depending on how your body responds to the surgery, a combination of surgical skin adhesive, medical tape, or clips may also be applied on top of the sutures.
Once the abdominoplasty operation is complete, you will be brought out of anesthesia. Next, you will be monitored in the hospital for a few hours or a couple of days, depending on your condition. You will also be given care instructions for your recovery process.
During your recovery, you will need to follow your care instructions to the best of your ability. Your instructions may include:
- How to clean and care for the incision and suture site
- Which medications to take to aid your recovery
- Specific instructions for any specific concerns you may have or that Dr. Garza might have for your overall recovery
- Scheduling a follow-up appointment with Dr. Garza
You should also avoid straining or lifting any heavy objects for at least six weeks after your surgery, or until Dr. Garza clears you for a return to full activity.
Possible Tummy Tuck Risks and Side Effects
Like any medical procedure, a tummy tuck comes with possible side effects and complications.
Immediately inform your provider if you experience:
- Side effects from a general anesthesia overdose
- Abdominal asymmetry
- Abnormal bleeding
- Blood clots
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and heart or lung complications
- Dead fatty tissue (fat necrosis)
- Fluid build-up (seroma)
- Infection at incision site
- Loss of feeling or numbness
- Loss of skin
- Pain that does not go away
- Loose skin that comes back
- Long-term swelling or skin discoloration
- Severe scarring
How Much Fat Can Be Removed With A Tummy Tuck?
It should be noted that abdominoplasty surgery is not directly a weight loss solution. The primary goal of a tummy tuck is to improve the look and shape of the abdominal area, not to shed pounds.
However, after a successful tummy tuck operation, patients may lose around 3 to 10 or more pounds of skin and fat. Keep in mind though that the results will vary from patient to patient.
Should I Have a Tummy Tuck?
One of the most important things we tell our patients who are considering plastic surgery is to have realistic expectations. The most effective weight-loss strategies will be managing your caloric intake and your exercise habits.
We encourage you to reach as close to your ideal weight as possible before your tummy tuck surgery. After a traditional tummy tuck, it is possible to gain the weight back. So you should strive to build a sustainable weight along with healthy eating and exercise habits.
What a Tummy Tuck Won’t Do:
It won’t make you lose a significant amount of weight. One of the false expectations that we run into when our patients first schedule a tummy tuck consultation is the idea that this procedure will help them lose a large amount of weight. It won’t.
However, it is possible to drop somewhere between 10-15 pounds with an abdominoplasty, but typically no more than that. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect significant weight loss after your surgery. If you’re seeking to lose more weight during your procedure, learn more from a specialized weight loss and bariatrics practice.
What Should I Expect After My Tummy Tuck?
We want all our patients to know that tummy tucks are more about contouring the body than they are about weight loss. But, you can still expect to see a thinner, firmer, and better contoured abdomen after your surgery. This could just be the motivation you need to continue building and living an active and healthy lifestyle.
FAQ About an Abdominoplasty | AKA Tummy Tuck Surgery
With weight considerations out of the way, you should also be aware of a few more things.
- Recovery from abdominoplasty takes time.
- You will have a permanent scar after your surgery.
- Surgical drains will be placed at the surgical site and must remain there for at least one or two weeks.
- It can take up to one full year for you to reach a complete recovery.
Does Fat Come Back After A Tummy Tuck?
If you do not maintain a healthy pattern of diet and exercise, it is possible for the fat to come back after your tummy tuck.
What is the Difference Between a Tummy Tuck and Abdominoplasty?
There is no difference between a tummy tuck and an abdominoplasty. Tummy tuck is the common term, while abdominoplasty is the medical term; both refer to the exact same cosmetic surgery to remove excess belly fat and skin and tighten abdominal muscles.
What Is The Difference Between Liposuction and a Tummy Tuck?
Liposuction is a procedure specifically designed to melt and remove fat deposits from under the skin. Lipo is an intense surgical procedure that is not for everyone.
Typically, liposuction involves making incisions around a patient’s problem areas, then washing the fat deposits with a solution that melts fat. The liquefied fat deposits are then suctioned away. The procedure can be used on any part of the body, including the stomach, arms, back, legs, and buttocks.
In contrast, a tummy tuck focuses on just toning and tightening the skin and muscle around the abdomen.
Can I Get Liposuction And A Tummy Tuck at The Same Time?
If you are in reasonably good health, it is possible to get an abdominoplasty with liposuction. The advantages to doing this are better fat reduction results from your tummy tuck, getting all of your surgeries done at once, and one recovery period.
However, if you do choose to get liposuction and an abdominal tuck at the same time, your recovery may last longer or be more intense.
Liposuction may be necessary if:
Depending on the amount of excess fat you’re carrying in your abdomen, liposuction may be a necessary step during your tummy tuck procedure. If a plastic surgeon does recommend this option, don’t be alarmed because it’s more common than you think.
Liposuction during a tummy tuck procedure (when needed) is almost like an added bonus, for it ensures you’ll receive the best results in the new contour of your abdomen.
Can A Tummy Tuck Be Justified As Medically Necessary?
Most cosmetic procedures are not considered medically necessary by insurance companies and are therefore usually not covered. However, there are some instances where a tummy tuck can be deemed medically necessary.
Women who have had multiple pregnancies can develop a condition called diastasis recti, where the abdominal muscles become weaker and cause problems. An abdominoplasty may be used to repair the abdominal muscles and correct these problems.
Hernias may occur for several reasons, including childbirth, pregnancy, straining, lifting heavy objects, and genetics. Abdominal hernias can be fixed with an abdominoplasty procedure. However, hernias are more commonly fixed with specific hernia repair surgery procedures offered by general surgeons.
People who recently lost significant weight and carry excess amounts of skin are more likely to experience poor posture and back pain. In this case, an abdominoplasty can be used to remove the excess skin and add support to the weakened abdominal muscles.
Can Tummy Tuck Correct Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are like scars in your skin, and as such if the skin remains, then the stretch marks will too. However, any excess skin that is being removed and has stretch marks on it–those marks will be gone for good. Also, any stretch marks near the affected area will be moved lower on your body, as the skin will be stretched and connected lower down.
Can the Tummy Tuck Incision be Vertical Instead of Horizontal?
Unfortunately, the incision used in the tummy tuck procedure will always be horizontal. However, your surgeon will do their best to make the incision below the bikini line, where it will not be noticeable.
Will The Scar Always Be In The Same Place?
Because each patient is unique, scar location will always vary between patients. But the scar should be located under your bikini line, so you don’t have to be embarrassed about it.
Scarring will also differ depending on if a “new” belly button needs to be created.
As you work with your Nashville plastic surgeon during your consultation phase, he will help you understand what to expect.
Is a Tummy Tuck Painful?
Like most surgeries, abdominoplasty patients will experience pain and discomfort for the first week or so. Most report their pain at a 6 or 7 out of 10 immediately following the surgery.
After a week, the pain goes down to a 3 or 4. To manage the pain, your surgeon will provide you with a post-operative pressure garment and a prescription for pain medication.
How Popular Are Tummy Tucks?
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that surgeons performed 97,988 abdominoplasties in 2020, making it the 8th most popular cosmetic surgery.
Regardless of your reason for getting this specific surgery, it’s essential for you to fully understand the procedure’s fundamentals. The more you understand, the better you can establish realistic expectations, and the better your tummy tuck experience will be.
Abdominoplasty at Garza Plastic Surgery in Nashville
Thinking of trying the excellent results of a tummy tuck for yourself? Call Garza Plastic Surgery, or send us an email to request a consultation appointment. Come prepared to ask questions, and Dr. Garza will help you figure out which surgery is the right option for you.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Alternatives
Curious about nonsurgical abdominoplasty alternatives to help remove belly fat or tighten your midsection? Some patients may benefit from trying less invasive options like BodyTite.
Schedule a consult with Garza’s board-certified surgeons to learn more!