Tummy tuck surgery, clinically known as abdominoplasty, is as common as facelift surgery in the U.S., but far fewer people are familiar with the procedure and its goals. Tummy tuck patients at my Sacramento and Granite Bay offices are among the most satisfied because of the dramatic changes the surgery can produce. In this post, I’ve outlined information that some people are surprised to learn about tummy tuck surgery.
It isn’t weight loss surgery.
A fairly common misconception is that tummy tuck surgery is similar to bariatric surgery — such as a gastric bypass — which is meant for severely overweight patients. Actually, tummy tuck patients should actually be at or within 10 to 15 pounds of the weight that they intend to maintain. Tummy tucks, in fact, are often sought by patients who have already had weight loss surgery and want to remove excess, sagging abdominal skin. Which brings me to my next point…
It’s not just for moms.
It’s true that tummy tucks are considered an essential part of mommy makeover procedures, but both men and women can benefit from abdominoplasty. As I mentioned, people who have lost a significant amount of weight through surgery or lifestyle changes are often left with excess skin. A tummy tuck may be combined with other body contouring procedures, such as an arm lift, to provide comprehensive results.
Liposuction can enhance the results.
Besides removing excess skin, a tummy tuck can also repair and tighten abdominal muscles that may be stretched by pregnancy. But often there are small pockets of fat that liposuction removes to create well-sculpted flanks and abdominal area.
Expect some downtime.
A tummy tuck is major surgery. If you hear a plastic surgeon say otherwise, find another surgeon. All patients recover at their own pace, but I recommend planning to take at least a week to 10 days off from work (some patients will need additional time off). Strenuous exercise and other activities such as team sports should be avoided for at least 6 to 8 weeks. Trying to do too much too soon increases the risk of complications and can compromise the surgical results. (Learn more about tummy tuck recovery.)
One other common concern of patients is scarring. A full tummy tuck requires an incision that stretches from hip to hip. I make the incision as low as possible — usually just above the pubic area — so it’s easily concealed by bikini bottoms or shorts. Review our gallery of real patient photos to see for yourself. The trade-off of a hidden scar for a smooth stomach is one that most patients are happy to make.