If you’re interested in abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a tummy tuck, you’re likely to have a lot of questions about what the procedure can do for you. At Ditesheim Plastic Surgery, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey A. Ditesheim can respond to each of your questions and concerns to ensure that you are comfortable and confident about moving forward with cosmetic surgery.

Am I a candidate?

Ideal candidates for a tummy tuck have undergone significant weight loss or have been pregnant. If you’re bothered by loose, excess abdominal skin, lingering fatty deposits around the abdomen or separated abdominal muscles, you may be a good candidate for abdominoplasty. Women frequently pursue tummy tuck surgery after they have completed their families, while both men and women can be excellent candidates if they have lost any amount of weight that leaves them with baggy abdominal contours. Candidates should reach their goal weight prior to surgery, be in good physical and mental health and have realistic expectations about their results.

What’s the difference between a full and a mini tummy tuck?

Either a full or mini tummy tuck can deliver beautiful results in the right candidate. At your consultation, Dr. Ditesheim can explain in detail the difference between the two tummy tuck types and evaluate your current skin laxity, abdominal contours and the state of your abdominal muscles to help determine which tummy tuck is right for you.

  • A mini tummy tuck focuses on excess skin and fatty tissue below the belly button. While keeping the belly button intact, Dr. Ditesheim removes small amounts of fatty tissue through a small incision just above the pubic mound. He can also tone the lower abdominal muscles before pulling the skin over your new shape and trimming away any extra. A mini tummy tuck is best for patients with little to no excess skin or fatty tissue in the upper abdominal region and minimal abdominal separation.
  • A full tummy tuck is a more comprehensive procedure that addresses skin and muscle laxity throughout the abdomen. Through a slightly longer incision, Dr. Ditesheim can remove excess tissue throughout the stomach and repair the upper and lower abdominals. He will then pull the stomach skin tight, excise any extra and reinsert the belly button in a natural position. A full tummy tuck is common for patients who have undergone dramatic weight loss, multiple pregnancies or have contouring concerns throughout their midsection.

When is liposuction used in conjunction with a tummy tuck?

While Dr. Ditesheim removes small amounts of fatty tissue during a tummy tuck, the procedure’s ability to reduce pockets of subcutaneous fat is limited. For patients with stubborn fatty deposits in and around the abdomen, Dr. Ditesheim can use AquaShape® water assisted liposuction to remove fat cells in problem areas. While not every patient will require liposuction to reach their goals, this combined technique can result in greater contouring possibilities than either procedure alone.

Are the results of a tummy tuck permanent?

A tummy tuck is intended to create long-lasting results. However, it’s important that patients understand that their bodies will continue to respond to lifestyle changes, diet, age and hormones. Post-weight loss patients are encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to keep their new contours. Additionally, women who plan on becoming pregnant in the future are often recommended to wait until they have completed their families before getting a tummy tuck. While abdominoplasty won’t affect a woman’s ability to carry a child to term, future pregnancies may reverse some of the contouring accomplished in a tummy tuck.

Will I have permanent scars?

As with any surgery, the scars from a tummy tuck are permanent. However, Dr. Ditesheim takes special care to place the incisions as discreetly as possible. The scar from a tummy tuck should fall below the bikini line so as to be well hidden. With proper care, many patients find that their scars fade dramatically within the first one to two years following surgery.

When can I see results?

You should notice a difference in your figure immediately after surgery, although your results will initially be obscured by any swelling or bruising you experience as you recover. By the middle of the second week, most patients can return to most of their daily activities, easing into more vigorous exercises over the next several weeks. You should have a good idea of your final results within 4 to 6 weeks after your tummy tuck.