Abdominoplasty is a cosmetic procedure that tightens the appearance of the stomach through removal of excess fat and loose skin. It is most commonly sought by women seeking to restore their appearances following childbirth or patients who have lost a significant amount of weight.
Tummy Tuck Prices
Tummy tuck costs vary, depending on the amount of fat to be removed and the method the surgeon uses to remove it. However, you should anticipate a price range of about $5,000 to $9,000.
If you're considering abdominoplasty, your surgeon will ensure you are in good overall health and that you have no coexisting conditions that may interfere with your tummy tuck recovery (such as heart disease or hemophilia). Well in advance of surgery, you will have a consultation session in which the surgeon will evaluate your abdominal region and recommend a procedure.
Is plastic surgery right for you? Doctors will only perform tummy tuck surgery on patients who have tried and failed to correct their appearances through diet and exercise. You'll be advised to try to lose weight the natural way before you'll even be considered for a mini tummy tuck.
Tummy Tuck Procedures
The tummy tuck procedure itself can take anywhere from one to five hours, depending on the amount of skin and fat to be removed. Generally speaking, there are three types of abdominoplasty procedures used to correct the appearance of the stomach:
- Partial tummy tuck. Also known as a mini abdominoplasty, a partial tummy tuck procedure involves small incisions in the hip region, allowing the surgeon access to the muscle fascia in the lower abdomen. The surgeon separates the excess fat and skin from the muscle, removes it, and may use liposuction to clean up the area further before stitching the incisions shut.
- Complete tummy tuck. A full abdominoplasty begins with two incisions: one from hip to hip, and another in the navel region. The surgeon then sutures the muscle wall to tighten it, removes surplus skin and fat, creates a new belly button hole for the abdominal stalk and refines the region with supplementary liposuction.
- Extended tummy tuck. This tummy tuck procedure is identical to the full abdominoplasty, except that the surgeon extends the reshaping into the patient's sides and upper thighs.
If you have weak lower abdomen muscles but tight skin, your surgeon may prefer to use an endoscopic abdominoplasty procedure. This technique uses a microscopic camera mounted on surgical instruments, which allows the doctor to perform the surgery with smaller incisions.
Abdominoplasty Risks and Possible Complications
Every surgery comes with a degree of risk. While tummy tucks are considered very safe, you should be aware of the possible complications that can occur. These include:
- Excess bleeding
- Heavy tummy tuck scars
- Reactions to the anesthesia
- Skin or tissue death
- Ruptured sutures
Serious post-operative problems are rare. However, infections and blood clots can occur. Being moderately active following surgery can prevent the development of blood clots. It is very important that you follow your surgeon's post-operative instructions to the letter.
Recovering from the acute effects of surgery can take anywhere from one to four weeks, depending on your overall health. During this time, you should avoid strenuous activity and take some time off work. Your surgeon may recommend that you wear a compression garment to support your stomach and keep swelling and bruising to a minimum.
Tummy tuck scars continue to fade throughout the recovery period. It can take up to six months for all the post-surgical effects to resolve and the final results of the surgery to show.
Alternatives to Surgery
If your only problem is loose skin, surgeons can perform a "skin-only" abdominoplasty procedure that leaves your muscles intact but tightens your stomach's appearance. Liposuction is a commonly indicated alternative to abdominoplasty as well.
Diet and exercise are the best way to reduce fat deposits in the abdominal region. Even if you plan to have a tummy tuck, you should still lose as much weight as you can using natural, traditional techniques before you undergo surgery.