The midsection can be a tricky area of the body to get just right. Life events like pregnancy and weight fluctuation can affect the abdomen in a significant way. Diet and exercise cannot get every person exactly where they wish to be, cosmetically speaking. This is why tummy tuck surgery continues to be a popular cosmetic procedure.
Dr. Charlotte Ann Rhee is a Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon in Huntington, NY that specializes in abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) For patients seeking more minimal results, Dr. Rhee also offers mini-Tummy Tuck surgery. If you are interested in this procedure, we offer free consultations at Charlotte Ann Rhee MD to discuss your concerns and desired results.
What Is A Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that focuses on the midsection to improve contouring. Also known as abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck involves the tightening and trimming of the abdominal muscle, connective tissue, and skin as needed to achieve a flatter, tighter appearance.
Benefits Of Tummy Tuck Surgery
The most profound change achieved with a tummy tuck is that you feel like yourself again. The physical changes that accompany pregnancy, weight loss, and aging can significantly degrade your sense of satisfaction with your overall shape. By removing stubborn fatty tissue and lax skin and muscle, a tummy tuck gives you back what you once had, your best body.
Depending on the extent of tissue tightening and trimming that takes place during abdominoplasty, the benefits gained may extend beyond the cosmetic. In some cases, tissue laxity causes a crease over which a flap of skin hangs like an apron. When tissue is properly lifted, the flap is eliminated and the resulting skin irritation caused by sagging skin also disappears.
Candidates For An Abdominoplasty
The best candidates for abdominoplasty are in good physical condition with pockets of fat or loose skin that haven't responded well to diet and exercise. Dr. Rhee can also help older, slightly obese people whose skin has lost some of its elasticity.
Abdominoplasty can also be useful for women with stretched skin and muscles from pregnancy. Results from the tummy tuck procedure will likely diminish if women continue to bear children, so we advise patients who plan to become pregnant to delay abdominoplasty. We also encourage patients who intend to lose a lot of weight to wait before undergoing the procedure, since skin in the abdominal area typically loosens after substantial weight loss.
To find out if you are a candidate for abdominoplasty, schedule a free consultation with Charlotte Ann Rhee MD.
Abdominoplasty Consultation With Dr. Rhee
When you consult with Dr. Rhee about smoothing and tightening your abdomen, you should be prepared to discuss various aspects of your health and lifestyle. You can prepare for your visit by considering your surgical goals ahead of time. This will enable you to communicate your expectations clearly. Knowing your expectations, Dr. Rhee is then able to compare them to your overall body shape to develop the best plan for your needs.
Your surgical consultation will also involve a medical history. Come prepared to discuss previous medical conditions, surgeries, and drug allergies. You may also notate medications you are currently taking, including supplements and vitamins. To properly plan a surgical procedure, Dr. Rhee also needs to be fully aware of your alcohol use, smoking, or exposure to other recreational drugs. It is vital that you discuss these aspects of your life openly and with complete honesty; they will have an impact on the safety and efficacy of your surgery.
Your consultation will also involve a physical evaluation. This part of your visit allows Dr. Rhee to observe the abdominal area as well as any other areas that may be treated with complementary procedures like breast augmentation. The physical examination observes the degree of looseness and sagging that have occurred. If you and Dr. Rhee decide to move forward with surgery, photographs may be taken to record your pre-surgery shape.
Real Patient Testimonial
“I was very pleased with Dr Rhee and her staff. My results are amazing!” – Kathleen B.
Tummy Tuck Before And After Photos
Should You Lose Weight Before An Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty tightens skin and muscle that has been stretched and affected by age. The removal of excess could lead to subtle weight loss. Some patients weigh as much as 15 pounds less after their tummy tuck. However, this procedure is not intended for weight loss. If you are not close to your ideal weight, you may be advised to postpone your tummy tuck until your weight has stabilized. This may be the case even if liposuction is planned as a complementary surgery.
Preparing For Abdominoplasty Surgery
As you await surgery day, there are specific preparations you can make. These include:
- Stopping certain medications 2 weeks before surgery if advised by our office.
- Stopping smoking as soon as your surgery is scheduled. The sooner this happens, the better.
- Nicotine chewing gum also needs to be avoided for 6 weeks prior to surgery.
- Some patients may be advised to have lab work or mammogram screening done before surgery.
- Arrange reliable transformation to and from the surgery center.
- Arrange for someone to stay with you for 24 hours or more after your surgery.
- Arrange child or pet care as needed for several days following surgery.
- Fill all prescriptions before the day of surgery.
- Consider meal-prepping and freezing dishes to easily heat and eat during the first days of recovery.
Tummy Tuck Techniques
There are two primary techniques employed to sculpt the midsection: a mini tummy tuck and a traditional tummy tuck.
Mini Tummy Tuck
A mini tummy tuck addresses tissue laxity and drooping in the lower abdominal area. The treatment area extends from the upper pubis at the hip line to just below the belly button. During a mini-tuck, only skin and superficial tissue may be tightened, or mild muscle laxity may be corrected. The procedure is tailored to meet the objectives discussed during the consultation visit.
Traditional Tummy Tuck
A traditional, or full, tummy tuck, extends from the hip line to the upper abdomen, above the belly button. This more extensive technique tends to be appropriate for most patients as it enables the degree of tightening to achieve smooth, symmetrical results
Tummy Tuck Procedure With Dr. Rhee
Most abdominoplasty procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. If additional procedures will be conducted simultaneously, Dr. Rhee may suggest an overnight stay at her surgical facility. Surgery is conducted under general anesthesia.
During abdominoplasty, a horizontal incision is made along the hip line. Some incisions may extend all the way from hip to hip and around to the flanks. If a full tummy tuck is being performed, a second incision is made around the navel. Through incisions, superficial tissue is separated from abdominal muscles. The muscle is then pulled and stitched into a tighter position to recreate firmness and a narrow waist. After stitching muscle tissue, Dr. Rhee stretches the superficial tissue flap down and trims excess before stitching this into place. Full abdominoplasty will also involve navel repositioning for a natural appearance. When the desired degree of tightening has been achieved, the incision is closed and covered with a surgical dressing. Drains may be placed to allow fluid drainage during recovery.
How Long Does The Abdominoplasty Procedure Take?
The tummy tuck surgery can take anywhere between 2 to 5 hours. The length of the surgery really depends on how much work needs to be done. This means patients who have more skin and muscles to tuck tend to have longer procedures.
How Much Weight Will I Lose After Tummy Tuck Surgery?
After tummy tuck surgery, patients experience a surge in self-confidence due to their new appearance. Abdominoplasty, on average, results in a loss of 12-15 pounds, but results vary. Patients who undergo abdominoplasty with realistic expectations achieve their weight goals and are happy with their results. Dr. Rhee will be sure to be clear about what to expect and how you can further achieve your goals after your surgery.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
After surgery, compression garments are worn and a temporary tube may be inserted under the skin to drain excess fluid from the surgical site. Recovery time ranges from two weeks to a few months. You should limit strenuous activities for at least six weeks and may need to take off from work for up to a month. Dr. Rhee will give you specific instructions for your individual recovery. Following these instructions can help speed up your recovery and reduce the risk of any post-surgery complications.
Will There Be A Scar After Tummy Tuck Surgery?
Surgical scarring from a tummy tuck sits along the hip line, where the visible line can be hidden beneath clothing. The scar fades over time and can be encouraged to nearly disappear with tactics such as cleaning the incision area as directed, contacting our office if any signs of infection occur, and following post-operative instructions carefully. The incision scar should be completely hidden from UV light during recovery to avoid darkening or thickening. Once scabbing has disappeared from the incision, scar ointment or silicone sheets may be applied to promote optimal healing.
Are Results Permanent After Abdominoplasty?
The results of abdominoplasty can last indefinitely, though aging will affect body shape over time. Patients are advised to manage weight after their procedure to prevent weight gain that may stretch muscles and skin once again. Pregnancy will also diminish the results of abdominoplasty surgery.
Alternatives To A Tummy Tuck
Liposuction is a popular cosmetic procedure that is often performed to decrease abdominal fat. This technique is beneficial but does not accomplish the same effects as abdominoplasty. In recent years, several nonsurgical treatments have been developed to naturally destroy fat cells and induce collagen production. These modalities are more effective with very subtle sagging. They do not correct lax muscle tissue and only tighten the superficial dermis by causing collagen contraction. If you want a noticeably flatter, tighter stomach, abdominoplasty is most likely your best option.
What Procedures Can Be Combined With An Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty is frequently combined with other procedures to make up a custom Mommy Makeover process. Men interested in body sculpting may also combine abdominoplasty with additional techniques to achieve more dramatic contouring. Some of the common procedures that are combined with a tummy tuck include breast augmentation, male or female breast reduction, breast lift, thigh lift, and arm lift techniques. During your consultation with Dr. Rhee, you have the opportunity to discuss your overall desires for your shape and how these may be achieved.
Risks Of Tummy Tuck Surgery
Though rare, post-operative complications from surgery are possible. They may include infection, blood clots, and poor healing, which may require further surgery.
Patients who have had previous abdominal surgery should know that their old scars could be raised, stretched or generally more noticeable after the procedure. A scar revision procedure after abdominoplasty may minimize the appearance of an unsightly scar.