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Tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) is an extremely very popular procedure in my practice. These surgeries are also incredibly rewarding to perform as they can, and do, have dramatic effects on a person’s self esteem and quality of life.
In 2017, there were 129,753 tummy tucks performed, up 2 percent from 2016, according to the latest statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Despite the meteoric rise of non-surgical body shaping and fat reduction systems on the market, tummy tucks are once again in the top five cosmetic surgical procedures after falling from the list in 2016. The renewed interest in tummy tucks is likely due to improved techniques and a better understanding of the benefits – which can be both functional and cosmetic. The excellent contouring results this procedure can yield in the hands of a board certified plastic surgeon are transformational.
There is no substitute for eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise including the dreaded sit-up and other core strengthening moves, however genetics, pregnancy, childbirth, fluctuations in weight and advancing age can make it close to impossible to achieve washboard abs. A tummy tuck will flatten and contour the abdomen, over and above what is seen with diet, exercise and/or minimally invasive energy-based fat reduction methods.
In general, an abdominoplasty involves removing excess skin and fat, repairing the abdominal muscles and tightening sagging skin in the area. But there is no one-size-fits all tummy tuck. I customize the procedural steps to meet each patient’s specific needs, body and goals. I often pair it with liposuction to remove excess fat around the waist, hips and upper back and enhance contours.
Tummy tuck types differ mainly by incision type and scope of the procedure. For example, a “classic” abdominoplasty incision extends across the abdomen and lifts the skin above the belly button. A “mini tummy tuck” involves a shorter incision and the skin is only lifted to the belly button whereas we lift the skin higher in the classic procedure.
If you are thinking about a tummy tuck, the first step is a thorough evaluation. Tummy tuck candidates must be physically and psychologically healthy, non-smokers, at, or close to, their goal weight and not planning to become pregnant, among other things. Men are also candidates for tummy tucks, especially after weight loss.
Tummy tuck is often part of a mommy makeover as it can help to restore a woman’s pre-pregnancy body. I advise my patients who are considering a tummy tuck as part of a post-pregnancy makeover to wait at least six months or longer if they are breastfeeding or have gained a lot of weight during their pregnancy.
A tummy tuck is a comprehensive surgery, and all procedures do have some risks and involve a recovery period. It’s important to refrain from heavy lifting or straining during their initial days after the surgery, the incision must be kept clean, and the incision must be kept clean. You also must wear a compression garments to avoid prolonged swelling. In general, most of my patients go back to work after about two weeks and can get back to the gym in six weeks. Scarring fades over time, but will not disappear completely. In some cases, we may use the Sciton BBL and Profractional Laser Treatments to reduce redness and thickening much faster.
Tummy tucks produce a tighter and more toned-looking abdomen. You will look slimmer and leaner from the side profile view, and your waist looks narrower. Any stretch marks will also be greatly improved if not altogether gone.
There are benefits to tummy tuck outside of a flatter stomach and a slimmer waist. New research shows that tummy tuck surgery can improve back pain and urinary incontinence after childbirth, two of the most common complaints women have. The findings appear in the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. These improvements may result from restoring strength and stability in the abdominal and pelvic region that can occur after pregnancy, the study authors note.
When performed by the right surgeon on the right patient, tummy tuck results can be quite dramatic and can last forever if you keep up your part of the bargain by maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly.
Dr. Mark H. Schwartz is a board-certified plastic surgeon who practices in Manhattan. Reach him at drmarkschwartz.com