Do you follow a healthy diet and maintain a consistent fitness routine, yet still cannot achieve the lean, sexy stomach you desire? Do you have loose skin that hangs off the abdomen? If so, you might benefit from having abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery, with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Florence Mussat.
Why People Pursue Tummy Tuck Surgery
Over time, the natural aging process, hereditary traits, major weight loss or pregnancy can wreak havoc on the midsection. The body gradually stops producing collagen and elastin, two proteins that are crucial for healthy, elastic skin. Without these proteins, the skin loses its elastic quality and begins to sag. Substantial weight loss or pregnancy can compound this cosmetic concern, stretching out the abdominal skin so it cannot shrink back to a smaller size and shape once the extra weight has been lost.
Pregnancy can also damage the abdominal muscles, often causing them to separate. Once these developments occur, no amount of diet and exercise can restore muscle tone throughout the midsection; surgical intervention becomes necessary to restore the look of a lean, sexy stomach.
Appropriate Tummy Tuck Candidates
To find out whether you are an appropriate tummy tuck candidate, it is best to visit Dr. Mussat at her Chicago plastic surgery clinic for a consultation. During your consultation, she can listen to your aesthetic concerns and goals for cosmetic surgery. Dr. Mussat will also evaluate your physique and determine your candidacy before suggesting an appropriate treatment plan to satisfy your cosmetic goals and anatomical needs.
Suitable tummy tuck candidates generally include individuals who:
- Cannot shape their midsection through diet and exercise alone
- Are frustrated with loose, sagging abdominal skin and / or damaged abdominal muscles
- Have poor skin elasticity (Those with good skin elasticity who are bothered by excess abdominal fat may be better candidates for liposuction alone.)
- Are in good overall physical and mental health
- Are near or slightly above their ideal body weight and are at a weight they feel they can maintain after surgery
- Are not pregnant and are finished having children (The aesthetic benefits of abdominoplasty can be reversed by gaining a substantial amount of weight after surgery.)
- Seek cosmetic improvement, not necessarily perfection
- Understand the possible risks and rewards of tummy tuck surgery, and feel the rewards outweigh the risks
About the Tummy Tuck Procedure
Tummy tuck surgery is generally performed on an outpatient basis and is always performed with the use of general anesthesia. The procedure takes about three hours, depending on the complexity of your surgical needs.
To begin the tummy tuck procedure, Dr. Mussat first performs liposuction throughout the abdominal area, if necessary. She then makes a horizontal incision that runs from one hipbone to the other. Although the incision is significant, Dr. Mussat carefully positions it in an area that can be easily concealed by the bathing suit or underwear line.
The plastic surgeon then removes excess skin before repairing the abdominal musculature. She places permanent, internal sutures in a crisscross pattern in the muscle fascia. This pulls the separated or otherwise damaged muscles together and holds them in place after surgery.
Dr. Mussat re-drapes the remaining skin over the flatter, firmer abdominal profile, pulling it taut, and closes the incision with sutures. Using a second, hidden incision the navel area, she readjusts the position of the belly button, so it is in line with the new abdominal contour. The plastic surgeon dresses the treatment area with soft bandages and may place a compression garment over the bandages to minimize swelling and provide added support to the tissues while they heal.
Voilà — you have a sexier, leaner stomach.
Start on Your Way to Achieving a Sexy Stomach
If you are tired of working out and eating right without seeing the results you desire, contact Dr. Mussat for help. To schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Mussat, contact her office by calling (312) 751-9000. You can be on your way to achieving a sexier stomach today.
Tummy Tuck FAQs
To help you learn more before scheduling a consultation, our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Florence Mussat, provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this body contouring procedure.
Am I a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
It would be best if you were in good overall physical and mental health and without any active diseases or serious pre-existing medical conditions.
If you are near or slightly above your ideal body weight or are at a weight you can maintain after surgery, then you should be a good candidate.
You should have realistic expectations of the outcome of your surgery and understand the possible risks and rewards of tummy tuck surgery.
At What Age is Abdominoplasty Usually Performed?
While there is no “normal” age to have an abdominoplasty, it is most often carried out once a woman has completed giving birth and not planning to have any more children.
What are the Different Types of Tummy Tucks?
Abdominoplasty generally results in the tightening of the abdominal muscles, the excision of excess skin, and the removal of fat via liposuction.
For a full tummy tuck, a horizontal incision will typically be made low on the abdomen, extending from one hip to the other and below the bikini line.
The incision for a mini tummy tuck, while shorter in length, will also be concealed low on the abdomen.
The main difference between the two techniques is that the full tummy tuck typically looks to rejuvenate the areas both above and below the belly button (and includes the belly button). In contrast, the mini tummy tuck is generally applied only to the lower abdomen below the belly button.
What Does it Feel Like to Recover From Abdominoplasty?
The drain tubes inserted below your incision will need to be left in place for about one week. You may experience some bruising and swelling, and these will subside over a few weeks. Understandably, the skin of your abdomen may feel tight.
You should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous physical labor for at least six to eight weeks. You are encouraged to start walking around three or four times a day for a few minutes each time.
For several days, expect not to be able to stand completely straight up, and perhaps be a little hunched over for several days.
Will There Be Much Pain After Surgery?
The amount of pain with abdominoplasty varies from one person to the next. Mild to moderate discomfort may be experienced in the days following your surgery, but you can often manage this with medication.
Will My Scars Be Noticeable?
The incisions for both tummy tuck procedures are made low on the abdomen below the bikini line and near the pubic region, and this means that you can often hide potential scarring by bathing suits and most articles of clothing and underwear.
Is There Much Swelling Involved With an Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty can be considered invasive surgery, and the procedure may remove a significant amount of tissue. As a result, some swelling is inevitable and should subside within a few weeks.
When can I return to work?
It may take a long time for your abdominoplasty to heal completely. While the drains are in position, you should rest in bed or on a couch, but frequently get up to take short walks.
We may advise you to wear a compression garment, which is usually a girdle or wide band of elastic material for up to 6 weeks.
You might be able to return to work after two weeks following your tummy tuck surgery, but this will depend on how extensive your surgery was as well as your occupation. In some cases, you may find that you need to be off work for four or more weeks.
For How Long do the Results of a Tummy Tuck Last?
As long as you maintain your weight without any significant weight gain and have no further pregnancies, your results can last for many years.
With age, some relaxation of the tissues can be expected, but not to the same extent before surgery.
May I Have Tummy Tuck Surgery Before Having Kids?
Pregnancy and childbirth after a tummy tuck are safe for both you and your baby. Your little one will have plenty of room to grow and thrive, and the best way to preserve the results of your procedure will be to avoid gaining too much weight during the pregnancy.
After having had an abdominoplasty, your abdominal wall and tissue will still stretch as usual to accommodate the new baby and might not stretch out as much as it did before.