Your Tummy Tuck Questions Answered by Top Plastic Surgeon in NYC

Tired of loose, saggy skin in your midsection due to pregnancy or weight loss? Then you’ve probably been considering a tummy tuck. Let us answer some questions you may have about tummy tucks by a board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Kevin Tehrani.  

WHAT IS A TUMMY TUCK?

A Tummy Tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen while tightening underlying muscles and fascia (connective tissue beneath the skin). A tummy tuck removes the skin from the upper and lower abdomen to achieve a flatter, more toned midsection. Depending on which procedure you have, usually, a new navel is created as well. There are multiple tummy tuck procedures depending on your individual case, your surgeon can help you decide which is best for you.    

LATERAL TENSION ABDOMINOPLASTY

A lateral tension abdominoplasty not only includes tightening abdominal muscles but tightens the upper thighs as well. A lower incision is created from hip to hip and liposuction is performed in conjunction with the abdominoplasty. This procedure allows blood supply to the abdomen which lowers risks you may experience with a standard tummy tuck.  

MINI TUMMY TUCK

A mini tummy tuck is less invasive than a traditional tummy tuck with lower incisions on the midsection (similar to a C-Section incision). During a mini tummy tuck, liposuction is performed and the navel is not moved with abdominal muscles only tightened if needed. This procedure is reserved for candidates that have loose skin and extra fat beneath the navel.  

EXTENDED TUMMY TUCK

An extended tummy tuck is performed when there is substantial loose skin and fat that needs to be removed, usually following extreme weight loss. The incision is larger and may also extend to the back if there is loose skin to remove there. Muscles are tightened and liposuction is performed to remove any extra fat.  

FLEUR DE ABDOMINOPLASTY

Named from incisions being shaped similar to the French signet, a Fleur de Abdominoplasty requires a horizontal and vertical incision to correct loose skin around the abdominal wall. This procedure is usually reserved for patients who have lost significant weight. Abdominal muscles are tightened and liposuction is performed during this procedure.  

HOW IS A TUMMY TUCK DONE?

During a tummy tuck surgery, the patient is put under general anesthesia so that they will not experience any pain during the procedure. From there, Dr. Tehrani will make an incision on the abdomen and remove any excess tissue, skin, and fat while tightening up the abdominal muscles below.  

HOW LONG DOES A TUMMY TUCK TAKE?

The length of a tummy tuck procedure can vary depending on the type of abdominoplasty being performed, the size of the abdomen, and the amount of skin and fat that is being removed. Generally speaking, a tummy tuck procedure can take anywhere from 1-4 hours.  

IS A TUMMY TUCK DANGEROUS?

Many considering a tummy tuck wonder if this procedure is dangerous. No medical procedure is risk-free, however, a tummy tuck is a safe surgery as long as it’s performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon who has had extensive experience with performing abdominoplasties.  

DOES A TUMMY TUCK HURT?

When considering elective surgery people want to know what pain and discomfort they can expect after surgery. While a tummy tuck does not hurt while being performed, it is normal to experience some pain after surgery. Dr. Tehrani will prescribe pain medication to manage pain and may also recommend lymphatic massage to help with discomfort following your procedure. A lymphatic massage helps blood flow and drains the lymphatic system to speed up healing and reduce discomfort. We are excited to offer our patients a speedier recovery with EXPAREL injections to help alleviate pain and accelerate the recovery process. EXPAREL is injected during surgery and is not an opioid pain-killer. It slowly releases into the body which can dramatically reduce pain usually experienced in the first 72 hours after surgery.  

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TUMMY TUCK AND LIPOSUCTION?

Abdominoplasty and liposuction are two very different procedures. The main difference between a tummy tuck and liposuction is that liposuction removes fat from various areas of the body; including the stomach, thighs, hips, butt, and other areas deemed necessary by your surgeon. Whereas a tummy tuck is strictly a surgical procedure that only removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen. Even though liposuction and a tummy tuck are two vastly different procedures, they can be performed at the same time if necessary.  

HOW LONG IS RECOVERY FROM A TUMMY TUCK?

Recovery from a tummy tuck depends on your case and procedure. Tummy tucks are considered a more invasive cosmetic procedure resulting in slightly longer recovery time. We recommend a minimum of two weeks off work although this time may vary based on your procedure. Dr. Tehrani can give you a more accurate idea of your recovery time after outlining your specific case.  

HOW LONG DOES SWELLING LAST AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?

Many patients wonder how long will swelling last after a tummy tuck. Swelling, bruising and discomfort are expected after your procedure and for several days (and possibly weeks) following your abdominoplasty. If swelling becomes worse in the days that follow, the skin around your incision feels warm to the touch, or you experience a fever over 100.4, please contact our offices immediately.  

WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER A TUMMY TUCK

If you’ve decided to have a tummy tuck, you may be wondering what to expect after your tummy tuck procedure. While everyone’s individual case and experience will differ, there are a few things to expect after your surgery:
  • Soreness, swelling, discomfort.
  • Take all medications prescribed to you after your procedure, especially the antibiotics your surgeon has prescribed.
  • Drains may be in place after your surgery, these will be removed within 7 days of your procedure by medical staff.
  • An abdominal dressing/binder will be put in place during your surgery. You will need to wear this for up to 6 weeks after.
  • Take it easy. Avoid using your abdominal muscles until you are told to resume regular activity by your plastic surgeon.
  • Do not drive or engage in any strenuous activity until cleared by your doctor.

HOW LONG DO I WEAR A COMPRESSION GARMENT AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?

During your tummy tuck procedure, once the surgery is complete but before you wake up, your Dr. will place a compression garment around your abdomen. You will wear this garment for up to six weeks post-op. Do not discontinue using your compression garment until your plastic surgeon has specifically told you to do so.

DO TUMMY TUCKS LEAVE SCARS?

It is understandable to wonder if a tummy tuck will leave scars. Before any surgery, especially a cosmetic procedure, it is natural to wonder what you will look like after. Like with most surgical procedures, an incision will need to be made for the surgeon to access the area of the body they are operating on. A tummy tuck is no different and you can expect some scarring as this is a natural part of healing and unavoidable. Although there are many treatments, including topicals, you can begin using as soon as your incision is healed to help minimize the appearance of your scars post-surgery. Please discuss your scarring concerns with your plastic surgeon to help determine what product(s) would work best for you.

HOW LONG DOES A TUMMY TUCK INCISION TAKE TO HEAL?

A tummy tuck incision can take anywhere from three to six weeks to heal. Although your scar will continue to fade as time goes on. Depending on the type of tummy tuck procedure you have had, you will have usually one or two incisions. Either a horizontal incision from hip to hip, or a horizontal incision as well as a vertical incision.

CAN YOU HAVE A BABY AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?

Women contemplating a tummy tuck may inquire as to whether you can have a baby after your surgery. While it may end up affecting your results, you absolutely can have kids after your tummy tuck. While most surgeons will advise you to wait to have a body contouring procedure until after you have finished having children, this is not a rule. You should be aware that getting pregnant after a tummy tuck may cause your scar to stretch, becoming more prominent, and may also weaken your abdominal wall. This may require you to have revision surgery after you have completed your pregnancy. If you are planning on having more children after your tummy tuck, please discuss your intentions with your surgeon prior to your procedure.

HOW SOON AFTER A C SECTION CAN I HAVE A TUMMY TUCK?

After you have finished having children you may be considering tummy tuck surgery. You may be asking yourself how soon after your c section you can safely have a tummy tuck. Usually, plastic surgeons will recommend waiting until you are done breastfeeding / 6-12 months postpartum to have a tummy tuck procedure for best results. It is recommended that you wait until you have decided you are finished having children before considering tummy tuck surgery.

DO I NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT FOR A TUMMY TUCK?

Wondering whether you need to lose weight for a tummy tuck is a common question before a procedure in which weight plays a large factor. It is recommended that you lose any excess weight before your procedure as a tummy tuck is not a weight loss procedure. A tummy tuck can help flatten and tighten your midsection, however, if you still have excess fat in your intra-abdominal area, it will not remove all the fat you already have. It is best to have your procedure done once you are at the weight you intend to stay at. Then your surgeon will be able to remove any excess skin in your midsection as well as tone your abdominal muscles underneath.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR A TUMMY TUCK

To prepare for your tummy tuck procedure you should begin by finding a board-certified plastic surgeon and have an initial consultation. Do proper research and make sure you discuss all questions and concerns with your surgeon. You pre-op appointments are the time where you and your Dr. can set expectations and help you fully understand what to expect before, during, and after your procedure. Your Dr. will take a medical history and have you do some preliminary blood work to make sure you are medically able to undergo surgery. You will be asked to stop smoking and avoid taking any anti-inflammatory medications to decrease your bleeding risks. It is important to understand that you will need to allow yourself enough time off from work or other commitments to recover after an extensive procedure such as a tummy tuck.

CONCLUSION

Hopefully, we have answered any questions you may have when deciding if a tummy tuck surgery is right for you. The information in this article should not replace having your questions answered in-depth by a board-certified plastic surgeon. Please contact us at our offices in Great Neck or Manhattan and have all your tummy tuck questions answered by one of New York’s top plastic surgeons, Dr. Kevin Tehrani, and the rest of the staff here at Aristocrat Plastic Surgery and MedAesthetics!