Tired of constantly wearing Spanx or covering up your tummy? For many women, pregnancy, aging, and weight loss can take a toll on the abdomen, resulting in loose, excess skin, bulges of fat, and the painful separation of abdominal muscles. If diet and exercise just aren't giving you the results you want, it may be time to consider a tummy tuck.
What is a tummy tuck?
The goal of a tummy tuck is to return a patient’s abdomen to a firmer, tighter contour. This is achieved by excising excess skin, removing excess fat, and repositioning weakened or separated muscles, giving the patient a flatter, smoother, more contoured abdomen.
Who is a Candidate for Tummy Tuck?
If you have loose or sagging skin on your abdomen or a separation of your abdominal muscles (frequently secondary to multiple pregnancies or prior surgery), you may be a candidate for tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty). You may also be a candidate if you are unable to tighten abdominal wall skin with exercise. The procedure is intended to give the patient a smoother, flatter abdomen.
Our board certified plastic surgeons are the premier Hampton Roads tummy tuck experts, and we will be happy to address all of your questions and discern if you are a good candidate for the procedure during a personalized consultation.
What are the benefits of a tummy tuck?
We all want to have a flat abdomen, but few of us actually have one. This is especially true for women who have had children, as the localized gain and subsequent loss of pregnancy stretches the stomach skin to such a degree it cannot return back to its former degree of tautness. The skin has been stretched too much for too long. In many cases, pregnancy also causes the abdominal muscles to separate. No amount of exercise or weight loss can do anything about the loose, sagging skin. And separated muscles can only be repositioned with surgery.
That’s what tummy tucks do. They remove loose, sagging skin and reposition muscles to flatten and firm the abdomen. Repositioning muscles actually also works to slim the waistline. For women who have hated their sagging loose tummies, these surgeries with our talented Hampton Roads team are very satisfying and the results are enduring. These changes will give you the flat, toned abdomen of your youth. It will make it fun to buy a swimsuit once again.
About Tummy Tuck Surgery
Your tummy tuck will be performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. Depending on your needs, your surgeon may recommend one of the following:
- Mini abdominoplasty to address skin on the lower abdominal wall only (results in the shortest scar)
- Modified abdominoplasty, which corrects either just the abdominal muscles or just the abdominal skin
- A standard abdominoplasty, the most common, which tightens all of the abdominal wall skin and muscles
- Lipo Abdominoplasty, an abdominoplasty that involves liposuction of the abdomen, hips and mons
All of these procedures have been met with great approval from patients who have journeyed to visit our facility and those from right here in Hampton Roads. Tummy tuck surgery is an ideal way to eliminate the signs of pregnancy or restore firmness to a sagging abdomen after weight loss.
How is a tummy tuck performed?
Our board-certified surgeons at Hampton Roads adapt these surgeries to the individual. Some patients need separated abdominal muscles repositioned. Others have more fat pockets. Others need different length incisions to be able to remove the sagging, loose skin necessary. Still, there some general methodology in abdominoplasty procedures. The procedures basically can be divided into full or mini tummy tucks.
In a full tummy tuck, a horizontal incision is made between the pubic hairline and the belly button. The goal is for the scar from the incision to be covered by a bikini bottom. The shape and length of the incision is dependent on the amount of excess skin involved. Full tummy tucks have a second incision at the belly button to remove excess skin on the upper abdomen. This is not always required and is based on each individual patient. After the incision(s) are made the upper abdominal skin is pulled away from the muscle beneath. The underlying muscles are pulled together and stitched into place for a firmer abdomen and narrower waist. Fat pockets may be removed with minor liposuction at this point. The skin is then stretched downward and over the newly tightened muscles, excess skin is trimmed, and the navel is moved to a new, natural position. The incisions are then closed.
In a mini tummy tuck, the incision made is shorter and the skin is only lifted to the navel area and the navel remains in place. A mini tuck is ideal for patients who don’t have large amounts of loose skin, and whose muscle strength is still relatively strong.
Abdominoplasty can be one of the more uncomfortable plastic surgery procedures and probably requires a more time-consuming and limiting recovery. You will be encouraged to be moving and walking within 1 to 2 days. Light activity is comfortable in 10 to 20 days. Sports will not be comfortable for about 6 weeks.
Can you combine a tummy tuck with other procedures?
Tummy tucks do not need to be stand-alone procedures. You’ve probably heard of a mommy makeover. These combine a tummy tuck with liposuction and a breast lift. Liposuction is often a part of most tummy tuck procedures, but it can be extended to the thighs and buttocks when combined with a tummy tuck. If you want to address loose skin on your outer thighs and buttocks, we can extend your lower tummy tuck incision past the hipbones and out around the flanks. This then adds the benefits of an outer thigh lift and even a buttock lift.
What alternatives are there to a tummy tuck?
Tummy tucks are really the only procedure that can remove the loose, sagging skin and repair the separated muscles on the abdomen. Some patients think they could simply have liposuction on this area, but if your problem is loose, sagging skin liposuction can actually make it worse by removing fat under the skin.
The problem is that the skin has been stretched to such a degree that it cannot tighten back down. You can think of it as similar to a rubber band that has been stretched over a large object for a long time. If you remove it one day, the rubber band remains stretched far beyond its original size. You can equate that to stomach skin and pregnancy or the gain and subsequent loss of a good deal of weight.
As for stomach muscles that have been separated by the localized gain of weight, there is no way to return them to the center of the abdomen without surgery. Only a tummy tuck can do so.
Will a tummy tuck help me lose weight?
Abdominoplasty is body-contouring surgery — it is not weight-loss surgery. We require our patients to be within 10 percent of their ideal weight to have this surgery. Why? If you lose extra weight, you will create additional sagging in your stomach skin, which is why you’ve had the surgery to begin with.
Bariatric surgery is weight-loss surgery. Abdominoplasty is body-contouring surgery. Once you lose the extra weight and maintain that weight for a period of time, then tummy tuck surgery is a great option.
Payment for Plastic Surgery
This procedure is now considered cosmetic and therefore is not covered by insurance. The patient is responsible for payment. Our patient counselors can help you with your financial arrangements, including financing.
The specific risks and the suitability of this procedure for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are unusual.
This procedure has changed the lives of countless patients who were dissatisfied with their bodies’ conditions, rejuvenating both their appearance and their self-confidence. Don’t wait any longer to talk to the Hampton Roads tummy tuck experts today!
Schedule Your Consultation Today!
For more information on abdominoplasty (tummy tucks) or to schedule your consultation, call Plastic Surgery Center of Hampton Roads today at 757-873-3500! Our practice serves Williamsburg, Newport News, and the surrounding areas of Virginia.