What is a Tummy Tuck?
A traditional abdominoplasty procedure (also known as a tummy tuck) is used for cases that require the muscles to be tightened and repositioned as well as the removal of tissue. An extended abdominoplasty involves an incision from the lower abdomen to the hips. Tummy tucks are appropriate for a wide range of patients. Post pregnancy to weight gain and weight loss are typical situations that leave someone with lax muscles and skin of the abdomen. You should consult a skilled plastic surgeon you can trust.
Dr. Benjamin Lam serves patients from Bucks County, Philadelphia and surrounding areas. He has extensive experience and spends as much time as necessary discussing your needs to ensure you achieve the best possible results. Providing your weight remains stable, the effects of a tummy tuck are permanent.
Am I a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
There are a couple things to think about with a tummy tuck. First, you need to be finished with having any additional children. Tummy tucks repair separated stomach muscles caused by the localized weight gain of pregnancy. They remove excess, sagging skin. If you get pregnant again, all of the same stretching will occur. Plus, the weight gain will likely distort your incisions.
Second, this isn’t a weight-loss procedure. A tummy tuck is meant for women whose abdomen area has sagging, stretched skin. This is the result of pregnancy or the gain and loss of a significant amount of weight. If you have a tummy tuck, but then go on and lose more weight, you may create additional sagging, which is what the procedure is meant to address. Dr. Lam generally wants his tummy tuck patients to be within 10 percent of their ideal weight to qualify for this procedure. It’s best to have been at a stable weight for a few months.
Tummy Tuck Cost
The usual cost of a tummy tuck is around $7500, though pricing may vary. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Lam today so that he may best address your case.
Does Insurance Cover a Tummy Tuck Procedure?
There are specific instances when abdominoplasty or components of abdominoplasty will be covered by insurance. Insurance carriers have strict criteria a patient must meet before a tummy tuck is covered. Documentation of recurrent, persistent rashes must be provided formally to the insurance carrier in the form of medical records from a primary care physician, pictorial documentation of rashes, and excess skin folds extending to specified measurements. Dr. Benjamin Lam and his staff will direct you should you fall into an insurance covered option.
At What Age Can a Tummy Tuck be Performed?
Age really isn’t the determinant with a tummy tuck — it’s all about the degree of sagging in your lower abdomen, regardless of your age. Younger people may have gained and lost weight or had a couple children, and now they have a noticeable loose tummy that won’t tighten back up. Or an older person may simply not like the pooch in his or her stomach area that has developed due to the muscles and support tissues slackening with age. Age is not relevant with the tummy tuck procedure, as long as the patient is in good overall health.
Can a Tummy Tuck Be Combined with Other Procedures?
Dr. Lam usually includes some amount of liposuction to remove pockets of fat with his tummy tuck procedures. If you want to have liposuction on another area around the hips — the flanks, for example — this could be combined with a tummy tuck. Modern liposuction is easy to recover from, so it won’t exacerbate your recovery.
If Dr. Lam extends the incision around the flanks and even to the back, he can provide some lifting of the thighs and even the buttocks. You’ll have to discuss the possibility of this with Dr. Lam, if the two of you see the need for lifting in these areas.
What Can I Expect From Tummy Tuck Surgery?
An abdominoplasty or a tummy tuck is a procedure designed to contour the abdomen by removing excess skin from the lower stomach area; commonly referred to as the “pouch” by some patients. This is commonly known as part of the “mommy makeover”.The tummy tuck procedure is commonly combined with tightening of the muscles in this area where it’s been previously stretched out by such things as pregnancies. The resulting contour is a more tightened and flattened stomach. The incision is placed low on the abdomen; immediately above the pubic area so it will remain hidden under clothes.
Is There a Lot of Pain Following a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck with Dr. Lam involves one large incision and possibly a second incision at the belly button. In most cases, the stomach muscles, which have become separated by pregnancy, are brought back to the center and sutured into place. The skin is separated from the underlying muscle and excess skin is trimmed. The skin is then re-draped.
As you would assume, this will create an involved recovery. Because the large incision from hipbone to hipbone is made is an area that involves lifting, sitting, squatting, and many other movements, you need to be prepared to take it slowly in recovery. Your pain along your incision will be more intense for the first few days. From there, you will have residual soreness for weeks.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Tummy Tuck?
The amount of recovery time needed after an abdominoplasty is dependent on a patient’s occupation as well as daily activities. This ranges from 2 to 6 weeks. Drains are necessary for the tummy tuck procedure and they usually come out in about a week and a half to two weeks. Patients are encouraged to limit their activities during this time to avoid any accidental trauma to the drains.
What is the Recovery Like After a Tummy Tuck?
In the post-op period, most patients report “tightness” and not pain in the operative area. This is usually well controlled with oral pain medications. Tummy tuck patients are also required to wear an abdominal binder for four to six weeks in order to keep this area well supported.For maximal contouring, patients are put in a “sit up” position during the tummy tuck operation in order to maximize the amount of skin being removed. Because of this, patients need to adopt this hunched over (bent at the waist) position for a few days after the procedure. This extends to nighttime when patients may elect to sleep in a lazy boy chair in a semi-upright position.
The patient can straighten up slowly and gradually after the first few days. Typically, they are pretty much back to the upright position at the time of their first post-op appointment.
Can I Have a Tummy Tuck if I’m Not Done Having Kids Yet?
Dr. Lam stresses to his patients that they need to be finished having children to have the tummy tuck procedure. That is not an arbitrary thing — pregnancy and childbirth will negate the improvements made with this surgery. Plus, the localized weight gain will likely distort your incision scar.
Are There Any Risks of Tummy Tuck Surgery?
The tummy tuck procedure is extremely safe since the dissection is in an area above the abdominal organs separated by a thick muscle layer.
Will a Tummy Tuck Help My Stretch Marks?
This depends on where the stretch marks are. If your stretch marks occur in the area where Dr. Lam is trimming excess sagging skin, they can be fully removed. But stretch marks above the navel will not be removed, although because the skin will be stretched downward their appearance should lessen somewhat.
How Long Will the Results from a Tummy Tuck Last?
The changes made by Dr. Lam with a tummy tuck are permanent. Of course, there will be slackening of the skin as part of natural aging as you move forward. Still, if you maintain your weight and do some exercise, you should enjoy your new flatter abdominal profile for a long, long time.