Are you a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tuck and liposuction are two very different procedures. A patient’s individual goals determine which is best. In a previous article, we answered the question, “Are You a Good Candidate for Liposuction?” and explained the AquaShape procedure. Here, we will look at the pros and cons of a tummy tuck along with some other important considerations you should keep in mind. As I advise before undergoing a liposuction procedure, it is important to consider the anticipated results, recovery, cost, expertise, and trust when contemplating a tummy tuck surgery.
Understanding the Tummy Tuck Procedure
If you want the flattest tummy and maybe you have stretch marks, extra skin or roundness from pregnancies with big babies or multiples, there is no “fix” except to remove it. A tummy tuck is your best option to achieve the result you want. Inner tummy weakness needs to be tightened. There is no technology (not even lasers) that can predictably shrink skin and tighten the inner tummy. A tummy tuck may be the difference between wearing a bikini or hiding under a cover-up at the pool or beach this summer.
“Will a tummy tuck fix the extra skin and stretch marks I have from having babies?”
Yes. Pregnancies naturally stretch out the skin beyond its elastic limit. This is what causes the stretch marks. If you think about the fabric of your pants or dress, it may have some give, but more stretch will create a tear in the material. The stretch marks are the result of lots of “mini-tears.” Almost always, the stretch marks are in the skin that will be “tailored” with the tummy tuck.
“People ask me if I am still pregnant”, Can my tummy be flat again?”
Yes. Most women have some tummy wall laxity after having babies. This causes the lower tummy to pooch out. The inner layers stretch out with pregnancy. Sometimes the stretch on the inside is excessive. Like the stretch marks on the outside, an over-stretching of the inner tummy can leave you looking like you are still pregnant. This can be very embarrassing. This inner stretching is beyond a woman’s ability to “hold your tummy in.” The area on the inside is larger than it needs to be. The tummy tuck tightens the inner layers back to normal tension.
The 40 year old woman pictured here is in top physical condition still was asked if she was pregnant. Her tummy pooched out and she had to wear a girdle under her clothes. She is shown before and after a tummy tuck. Notice that after the surgery, she has been restored to a normal shape and flat tummy.
There will be a new belly button and a scar across the lower tummy, that will be covered by a bikini bottom or panties. Anesthesia is required for the 2-3 hour surgery. Recovery takes about two weeks for most activities and it may take 3-6 months to feel fully recovered. For body shaping, liposuction can be done at the same time. The cost of a tummy tuck starts at $8000 and a more complex tummy tuck with liposuction can be $10,000-25,000. (These costs include all fees.)
After the tummy tuck procedure, you will have a flat tummy, you will likely drop a size or two, and you will be able to wear that bikini. Having liposuction will also shape the body to address the frustrating disproportion. If you maintain your weight, the results last for years.
Result: Expect a big change in body shape and your tummy will be flat. This surgery can put you back into a bikini!
Recovery: It will take up to 2 weeks to return to 80% activity level, 3-6 months for full recovery.
Cost: The cost will be $8000-$15,000 (including anesthesia, operating room and overnight recovery). Adding liposuction with a tummy tuck can add $2000-10,000.
Expertise: This is complicated surgery and should only be done by a highly trained, experienced board certified surgeon.
Trust: Whatever you do, don’t look for a deal. Tummy tucks and liposuction are surgical procedures and have real risks. You want an experienced board-certified surgeon to understand your goals and make the safest plan to get you there. Make sure all your questions are answered and you are comfortable with the surgeon and the team who will take care of you. The results can be very powerful but the risks cannot be minimized. Ask yourself if you are comfortable entrusting your life to this surgeon.
I would be happy to meet with you to discuss your goals and help decide if a tummy tuck may be the best way to achieve them. Contact my staff to schedule a consultation.
Dr. Jeffrey Ditesheim is more than a credentialed plastic surgeon. He is a sensitive and experienced professional whose focus is always to help his patient feel more beautiful and confident. Learn more about Dr. Ditesheim and read his reviews.