When dealing with weight gain or excess abdominal fat or skin after pregnancy or weight loss surgery, many wonder if it is worth getting a tummy tuck. The stomach, after all, is a very stubborn area for fat loss, and the appearance of our stomach often plays a big role in how we look in clothing and feel about ourselves. Tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is an extremely popular surgical procedure that focuses on the stomach area. The procedure sculpts the waistline and smooths the stomach to leave patients looking slimmer.
While abdominoplasty is very popular, it may not be right for everyone. And, as with any surgical procedure, it is still important that you consider a number of factors before determining if a tummy tuck is worth it for you and your goals. When considering whether to undergo a tummy tuck procedure, the following are things to think about:
A tummy tuck is not a weight loss solution, but rather a body contouring procedure. This means the procedure is best for patients who are generally near their ideal weight. Before surgery, ideal patients typically maintain their weight within 10-15 pounds of their goal post-surgery weight. Patients should also commit to a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. Although the procedure is long-lasting, exercise and good nutrition will help patients further maintain their results over time.
Typically, tummy tuck is considered a cosmetic procedure, which means it is not covered by insurance. Even when insurance agrees to cover the procedure following gastric weight loss surgery, what they are covering is for a panniculectomy, or simply, tissue excision below the umbilicus. This is not the same thing as a tummy tuck and the results are very different.
During your consultation, we will discuss your aesthetic goals, review your medical history, and do a physical exam to determine what will be necessary to achieve the look you want. This then guides the quote for the surgical cost, which will include the fee for a board-certified Anesthesiologist, Operating Room and staff, and all post-operative visits.
Take time to find a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic procedures, specifically tummy tucks. Review their before-and-after gallery, and ask questions so that you understand the treatment plan.
With the rising popularity of plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures, it’s important to remember that, legally, any licensed physician can offer cosmetic procedures – this includes general practitioners. As you might guess, when it comes to cosmetic surgery procedures, the experience and training of other physicians is not at all the same as of a board certified plastic surgeon. Do you homework and make sure you find a surgeon with the proper credentials and one that you can trust. Also it’s important to make sure that their bedside manner makes you feel comfortable, and that the connection you build with them helps you feel confident that they can help you achieve the look you desire.
Although a tummy tuck is an effective cosmetic procedure for stomach fat reduction, the incision will of course, leave a scar. For my patients, I ensure that the incision is placed very low in the bikini area, so that they can wear whatever clothing they want in the future and the scar won’t be visible. Furthermore, with the use of scar creams, the availability of lasers, and with proper care and the passage of time, tummy tuck scars will fade. I also spend a lot of time in the operating room working on creating a natural looking belly button, as this can often be a telltale sign that someone has had a tummy tuck.
Abdominoplasty recovery begins with surgical drains. Surgical drains are placed during surgery to eliminate buildup of fluids, and keep abdominal swelling down to ensure proper healing. Drains are temporary, can be well-hidden under clothing, and are typically removed within one to two weeks. Their removal in the office is quick and painless.
Most tummy tucks are outpatient procedures, which means you are able to go home the same day. Since you will be recovering from surgery, you will need someone to take you home, and may need some assistance for the first one to two days. For out of town patients, I recommend making arrangements to stay in town for at least one week.
Swelling and bruising are common for several weeks post-procedure, and vigorous physical activity should be avoided for at least one month.
While there are many factors to consider before proceeding with cosmetic surgery, aligning expectations, understanding cost, identifying a qualified surgeon, and being comfortable with recovery and downtime, are a great way to determine if a tummy tuck is right for you.
Dr. Mahmood specializes in plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery procedures such as tummy tuck. Contact Dr. Mahmood to learn more about tummy tuck surgery and determine if the procedure is right for you.
Dr. Mahmood is a board certified, double Ivy League-trained plastic surgeon practicing in Union Square, NYC.