The abdomen is notoriously difficult to slim and tone, especially when pregnancy, bariatric surgery, gravity and aging complicate weight loss efforts. If spare belly fat and loose skin make you self-conscious, consider tummy tuck surgery with experienced plastic surgeon Dr. Tripti Burt. Tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, flattens and firms the abdomen for a more beautiful body contour.
Are You a Candidate for Tummy Tuck?
Most of our tummy tuck candidates are women from the Naperville or Hinsdale area with pregnancy-related changes in their abdomen, or individuals that have leftover loose skin after massive weight loss. Others may struggle with the effects of aging and gravity.
If you relate to any of those scenarios, you might benefit from tummy tuck. In order to qualify for surgery, you should be in good health, not smoke and not have any chronic medical conditions that could impair your healing or raise the surgical risks. You should not plan to gain weight or become pregnant in the future. To determine whether you are a suitable candidate for tummy tuck, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Burt today.
Important Issues to Consider about Tummy Tuck
One of the most important issues to consider about tummy tuck is timing. Dr. Burt strongly advises postponing tummy tuck until you are finished having children, as future pregnancies could reverse or partially undo the effects. Timing the procedure appropriately can maximize and prolong the results.
Another important consideration is the recovery period; you will need to get a lot of rest during your initial recovery and won’t be able to do any bending, lifting or straining as your body heals. Therefore, it is imperative that you recruit a spouse or family member to help with normal household chores, especially if you have young children that need constant care.
Many patients also wonder if they would be better off with liposuction. Liposuction will remove excess fat from the abdomen; however, unlike tummy tuck it cannot treat separated abdominal muscles or eliminate excess skin that has accumulated on the belly. Dr. Burt will advise which procedure is best suited to your particular needs and goals based on a physical examination and discussion.
Tummy Tuck Surgery
Tummy tuck is generally performed as an outpatient procedure. This is an outpatient procedure that can be performed at our onsite surgery center in Plainfield or one of the local hospitals. During a complete tummy tuck, Dr. Burt makes an incision right above the pubic hairline from one hip bone to the other. The incision is low enough that it is easily hidden by undergarments. Dr. Burt may make an additional incision around the belly button. Through the incision, skin is carefully separated from the underlying tissue; the muscles are tightened and stitched into place. Excess skin is then removed and the remaining skin is closed over the incision with sutures. Dr. Burt may also perform liposuction for optimal treatment results. Tummy tuck has several variations for patients’ diverse needs including a mini-tummy tuck to a complete tummy tuck. A mini-tummy tuck requires a more limited incision, similar to a C-section.
Tummy tuck is an outpatient procedure that can be performed at our onsite surgery center in Plainfield or one of the local hospitals. Dr. Burt will make a horizontal incision right above your pubic hairline from hip bone to hip bone. Through the incision, she will separate the skin from the underlying structures. Dr. Burt will repair separated or damaged muscles, remove excess fat and skin and tighten the remaining skin. She might make an additional incision around the navel and relocate it higher on the abdomen.
In some cases, a modified version of tummy tuck is more suitable. Mini tummy tuck is performed through a smaller incision and focuses on improving the area below the navel. Dr. Burt will advise whether you need a full or mini tummy tuck at the time of your consultation.
What to Expect During Recovery
It is normal to have mild to moderate swelling, bruising and soreness for the first few days after surgery. Wearing an abdominal binder or compression garment will help keep the swelling at bay. Initially, your energy levels and range of motion will be limited. Gradually, your energy will increase and you will be able to move around comfortably.
You will check in periodically with Dr. Burt as you recover. She will advise you as to when you can return to work (typically two to three weeks), exercise and socializing after surgery. You should wear your abdominal binder for four to six weeks.
Tummy Tuck FAQs
Our tummy tuck patients usually have a list of questions about the procedure and what they can expect.
The most frequently asked questions about tummy tuck include the following:
As stated above, Dr. Burt will recommend either tummy tuck or liposuction depending on a physical evaluation of your abdomen and a discussion about your needs and goals. In general, if your abdominal muscles have weakened or separated (due to excess weight fluctuation or pregnancy), tummy tuck is more appropriate and effective. If the skin is stretched and does not have good integrity, tummy tuck is the better operation because it will allow skin, fat and muscle improvement.
No, tummy tuck is not intended to be a weight loss procedure. In fact, Dr. Burt encourages tummy tuck candidates to be very close to their ideal weight (within 25 to 40 pounds or so). A better way to lose weight is to exercise regularly and follow a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Provided you do not gain a significant amount of weight (or become pregnant again), your tummy tuck results should last indefinitely. Please note that tummy tuck will not stop the aging process and the eventual effects of gravity.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of tummy tuck surgery is over $5000 (not including anesthesia, facility fees and other related expenses). This number varies depending on the particular surgeon, where he or she practices and the specific procedure being performed.
After consulting with you and developing an initial surgical plan, our team will provide you a customized tummy tuck cost quote. We will explain what is and isn’t included in that price.
Most insurance plans do not provide coverage for tummy tuck surgery, since it is considered an elective cosmetic procedure. However, please review your plan documents to make sure.
While the procedure can help you achieve a slimmer and more toned abdomen, it is not an appropriate tool for weight loss. Tummy tuck surgery is a body contouring procedure designed to remove excess skin and, if necessary, repair weakened or separated abdominal muscles. If you seek to lose weight, you should use diet and exercise or bariatric surgery instead of, or before, tummy tuck surgery.
Physically, you can have a baby after tummy tuck surgery, but for cosmetic reasons, Dr. Burt does not recommend it. Substantial weight loss or weight gain (like during pregnancy) can reverse the effects of tummy tuck surgery by stretching out the abdominal skin and damaging the muscles. It is recommended you undergo tummy tuck surgery only after you plan on not having any more children.
Every patient’s recovery time varies. Patients who have jobs with little physical activity typically are able to return to work one week after surgery. Patients with more physically demanding jobs may need two to three weeks to recover. During your follow-up appointment, Dr. Burt will evaluate your healing process to determine when it is safe for you to return to work.
During the first days of recovery, you will need to rest as much as possible and avoid vigorous activity, including exercise and heavy lifting. Most patients are able to exercise three to four weeks after surgery. Do not attempt to exercise until you get Dr. Burt’s approval.
Tummy tuck surgery, like all other surgical procedures, carries some degree of risk. Possible complications include infection, bleeding, prolonged numbness, poor wound healing and excessive scarring. Choosing an experienced board certified plastic surgeon, like Dr. Burt, and following pre-op and post-op guidelines, can minimize these risks.
While tummy tuck surgery does not correct stretch marks, some may be removed if they are located on the areas of excess skin that will be excised. The remaining stretch marks may become less noticeable once the skin has been made taut through tummy tuck surgery.
You will see a significant improvement in your abdominal area immediately following tummy tuck surgery. However, the final results may take up to a year to appear as residual swelling goes down and the body continues to heal.
Although the results of a tummy tuck are technically permanent, the outcome can be greatly affected by future weight fluctuations. The best way to preserve your tummy tuck results is by maintaining a healthy and stable weight. Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet will help keep your skin strong, firm and elastic following surgery.