|Q: One of my friends recently had liposuction on her abdomen and another friend had a tummy tuck. What is the difference?
A: Abdominoplasty, otherwise known as a tummy tuck and liposuction are two separate procedures that treat separate concerns. Liposuction removes focused pockets of fat. These pockets of fat tend to be out of proportion with the rest of your body. Skin will not be removed and the abdominal wall won't be tightened. An abdominoplasty removes excess fat, but it also removes loose skin, stretch marks, and tightens the abdominal wall at the same time. The recommendation for either liposuction or tummy tuck will depend on the patients physical exam and their personal goals for their appearance.
Q: What is the difference between a tummy tuck and a mini tummy tuck?
A: A mini tummy tuck will flatten the abdomen below the belly button. A full tummy tuck will smooth the entire abdomen from the ribs just below the breasts to just above the pubic hair line.
Q: After having children, I've noticed that my abdominal muscles have weakened and my abdomen really bulges. I've tried exercising and it doesn't seem to change. Why?
A: Frequently during pregnancy the muscles and surrounding tissue, called fascia, are stretched beyond the point where exercising could tighten them to their pre-pregnancy condition. This can be very discouraging to someone who is working hard trying to get her body back in shape. This can easily be addressed during a tummy tuck. If this tightening is needed, stitches are placed on the inside and the abdomen is cinched in. It's like an internal corset, but only on the inside, so the stitches cannot be seen by you or anyone else. The result is a cinched in, tightened abdomen. You can resume abdominal exercising after healing if you wish.
Q: I'm 24 years old and I recently lost 35 pounds. As a result, I have a lot of loose skin, especially on my abdomen. I realize a tummy tuck can take care of my loose skin. Is it possible to have a tummy tuck and still plan to have children in the future?
A: No. A tummy tuck should only be considered after you are finished having children.
Q: Is having a tummy tuck painful?
A: Unlike other abdominal surgery, such as a hysterectomy, a tummy tuck does not go into the muscle or inside the abdomen. Therefore, the discomfort from a tummy tuck is significantly less, and easily managed with pain medication. Most patients are fairly comfortable the day after surgery. Many patients are done taking pain pills after the 3rd or 4th day.
Q: I'm a smoker. Can I still have a tummy tuck?
A: Yes. You would need to stop smoking for 2 weeks prior to your tummy tuck and can resume smoking a week or two after. Compliance is always important to promote normal, healthy healing.
Q: What restrictions will I have after my tummy tuck?
A: You will need to take it easy for 2 weeks. For 3-4 weeks you will wear a velcro binder which fits easily under clothing. For 6 weeks you will have lifting restrictions including no abdominal exercise. After that, all restrictions will be eliminated. You can resume any exercise program and return to all normal activities.
Q: What happens to my belly button during a tummy tuck? Will it stay in the same place?
A: Yes, your belly button will stay in the same place. During surgery a small incision is made around the rim of the belly button. Once the extra skin and fat are removed, the belly button is placed back in the same position as before. The result is a new smooth tummy and a little belly button in the same spot on your abdomen.
Q: Can stretch marks be removed during a tummy tuck?
A: Yes. Stretch marks are frequently associated with loose skin. The stretch marks with the loose skin will be removed during a tummy tuck.
Q: How much skin can actually be removed during a tummy tuck? I have so much loose skin, it hangs like a roll!
A: All loose skin is removed during a tummy tuck. Frequently there is enough loose skin after just one pregnancy that all the skin between the belly button and the pubic hairline can be removed along with the underlying fat layer. This will definitely include your roll! The remaining skin is then pulled down to the hairline leaving a snug, tighter abdomen. It seems hard to imagine this much skin can be removed, but its true. The results are amazing!
Q: A friend of mine said she had a tummy tuck at the same time as her hysterectomy. Is this possible?
A: Yes. The plastic surgeon does the tummy tuck portion while the gynecologist does the hysterectomy during the same surgery. Of course, the tummy tuck portion is not covered by insurance, but the hysterectomy portion frequently is.
Q: Can I exercise after a tummy tuck?
A: Yes. There are some restrictions you need to follow between 2 and 6 weeks. After that, you will return to any activity you wish.
Q: I understand if there is loose skin you need to make an incision to take it out, but will it leave an ugly scar?
A: The incision from a tummy tuck should follow natural skin creases, thereby healing exceptionally well and can be easily hid in a swimsuit. Because there are no outside stitches, there are no stitch marks or railroad tracks. The pinkness in the healing incision will gradually fade away, leaving a fine, white line.
Q: Will I be put to sleep for a tummy tuck?
A: Yes. You will be completely asleep during the procedure and wake up after it is all done and your tummy binder is in place.
Q: I had a hysterectomy 20 years ago and was left with a vertical scar from my belly button down to my hairline. The scar is indented. The loose skin and fat is bulging on both sides of the scar. I think it looks horrible and I'm very self-conscious. What can I do?
A: What you describe is what some patients refer to as "double butt" because it has the appearance of a vertical crevice with a bulge on either side, like the buttocks. This only happens after an operation on the abdomen has left a vertical scar. The entire scar, as well as the stretch marks, loose skin and fat can usually be removed without difficulty during a tummy tuck leaving a smooth, flatter abdomen, and a much happier you!
Q: Where is a tummy tuck performed?
A: A tummy tuck is usually performed in the hospital. Most patients feel more comfortable there and even choose to spend a night or two in the hospital before they go home.
Q: I have stretch marks on my abdomen since having my 2 children. Is there any way I can tighten the skin on my abdomen?
A: No. Once the skin has been stretched to the point that stretch marks have formed there is very little you can do, if anything, to regain the elasticity of the skin. You can try to tone muscles and lose weight, but you will not tighten the skin like before you were pregnant.
Q: Do men ever have tummy tucks?
A: Not usually. If men have a prominent abdomen its usually from excess fat. In this situation liposuction is usually the best surgical option.
Q: I'm 45 years old and I've never been pregnant, but I seem to be getting a rounded, bulging shape to my abdomen just like my mother and grandmother. Is it possible I need a tummy tuck, even though I've never had children?
A: Yes. A weak abdominal wall, poor skin elasticity, and/or a focused pocket of abdominal fat can all be inherited by genetics and a tummy tuck may be your best answer.
Q: How long do I need to take off work after a tummy tuck?
A: Depending on what type of work you do, most people take off about 7-10 days. You will still need to be careful about lifting restrictions and doing too much, even though you'll feel well enough to do just about anything.