A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that is designed to remove excess skin and fat tissue and tightens the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall. It also can remove bulging muscle in the abdomen due to pregnancy, weight fluctuations, and genetics. Tummy tucks are suitable for both men and women who are in good health. For those interested in the abdominoplasty surgery, it’s important to choose a trusted surgeon that will have your best goals in mind. Tummy tucks do vary in scope and are often sub-divided into categories.
To help get a better understanding about this procedure, Jeffrey Gusenoff, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon at UPMC, answers some frequently asked questions.
Q: Who is a candidate?
A: Anyone, male or female, who has some loose skin of the abdomen that desires to have a smoother, flatter, tighter contour would be a good candidate. Many people have been successful at weight loss, either by diet and exercise or bariatric procedures, or are post-pregnancy and desire an improvement in how they look. Smokers and people with higher BMIs are not good candidates for a tummy tuck, but can be if they reduce their risk factors, such as quitting smoking or losing some weight.
Q: What type of results can I expect after my tummy tuck?
A: Typical results include a flat abdomen with removal of any skin rolls. The results of a tummy tuck are very long lasting, as long as there aren’t huge fluctuations in weight due to dieting or pregnancy.
Q: What are the risks and complications associated with this procedure?
A: Most of the risks are minor, such as wound healing issues, scar asymmetry, numbness, or some fluid buildup. More severe, but less common risks include blood clots to the legs or lungs, bleeding, or infection.
Q: How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
A: It’s always good to have someone help you at home for the first few days. You can expect to be bent over about 30 degrees for the first week, and then upright after that. No heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for 4-6 weeks. People can often return to desk work 2-3 weeks after surgery.
Q: What will be expected of me to get the best results following the procedure?
A: Making sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle is the best way to maintain and achieve the best results after body contouring procedures.
Q: What should you look for when selecting a plastic surgeon?
A: Always look for a plastic surgeon that is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. You can search on their websites to see if your surgeon has the correct credentials. You can also ask to see before and after pictures, or ask to speak to patients willing to talk to other patients about their experiences. Patients should do their homework before selecting a surgeon!
Taking the overall health of the patient into consideration, tummy tuck procedures can be life altering in very positive ways. Because abdominoplasty is a major surgery, it does require extensive research and understanding before consulting the proper surgeon to perform the procedure. Whether you’re looking to continue on a healthy trajectory or make a life change with an abdominoplasty, UPMC is always interested in helping you achieve your goals. If you would like to learn more about tummy tuck procedures as well as our other innovative surgical techniques following massive weight loss visit the Life After Weight Loss Program website.
UPMC BodyChangers, is a weight loss management and support program that helps members achieve their weight loss goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle through an array of exercise classes, education and support groups, and group outings. Based at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, UPMC BodyChangers creates a supportive community of like-minded individuals who want to be happy, healthy, energetic, and fit by taking better care of themselves.