Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

What Is Abdominoplasty?

Women and men in relatively good shape who have unsuccessfully attempted to firm and tone the abdominal region through diet and exercise are able to attain that goal with an abdominoplasty. Also known as a “tummy tuck,” this operation is intended to improve the aesthetic appearance of the abdominal region.

Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction

While liposuction is designed to reduce areas of excess fat, a tummy tuck focuses on eliminating excess skin and tightening any underlying musculature that has become lax, stretched, or torn. Both procedures can be used to slim the waistline for a more toned figure and improved body contours. The procedures can also be combined to optimize the final results. Neither procedure is intended for significant weight loss, and ideal candidates for liposuction are usually already at or near their target weight and possess good skin elasticity. During the consultation process, our experienced plastic surgeon, Jeffrey Copeland, MD, will perform a physical exam to determine your candidacy for each procedure, discuss your unique cosmetic goals, and help you decide which procedure is best suited for your needs.

What Are the Benefits of Abdominoplasty?

There are many reasons why men and women choose to undergo abdominoplasty, as there are many potential benefits of the procedure. A tummy tuck can be used to:

Who Is a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Ideal candidates for abdominoplasty are typically those looking to address excess skin and loose/stretched muscles in the abdominal area that are not responding to diet and exercise regimens. While this body contouring treatment is not designed to be a weight loss tool, the procedure can help many patients improve the effects of loose skin and musculature in the abdominal region for a firmer, flatter appearance.

Many patients who choose tummy tuck surgery are mothers who want to regain their pre-pregnancy figure. During pregnancy and childbirth, the muscles of the abdomen can be stretched or torn, resulting in a protrusion of the stomach. When these underlying muscles are damaged, no amount of exercise or dieting can correct the problem. A tummy tuck can tighten and repair these muscles and rejuvenate a woman’s abdomen for a more youthful appearance. Some women also choose to include a tummy tuck as part of a comprehensive mommy makeover procedure for a more complete rejuvenation.

Other common candidates for tummy tuck surgery have lost a significant amount of weight (MWL) and seek out the procedure to smooth the redundant, excess skin that remains. Dr. Copeland always provides prospective patients with an honest assessment of whether the procedure they are considering is the right approach for achieving their goals. It is important to know that individuals must have a BMI of less than 35 to qualify for tummy tuck surgery. In some cases, Dr. Copeland may recommend an alternative surgical option that is better suited to a patient’s needs. For the ultimate benefit of the individual, Dr. Copeland may choose not to operate if the conditions are inappropriate for him to do so. The safety of his patients and the quality of their results are always first and foremost in his mind.

How Is the Tummy Tuck Procedure Performed?

During a full abdominoplasty, excess fat and skin is removed and the abdominal muscles are tightened. When a less extensive procedure is necessary, there may be a smaller incision with little or no work on the muscles. The degree of laxity, along with the patient’s anatomy and cosmetic goals, help determine which procedure is right for them. Dr. Copeland determines whether the procedure is performed as an inpatient or outpatient procedure. This procedure can take anywhere from 2-5 hours to be completed. When combined with liposuction, the procedure may take longer.

What Can I Expect for Tummy Tuck Recovery?

As with any major surgery, patients can expect moderate soreness, swelling, and bruising after the tummy tuck procedure. Oral pain medication can be used to manage any post-operative discomfort. Patients are encouraged to walk around as soon as they feel comfortable, though the abdomen may feel “tight” for several weeks. Most patients can return to non-physical or sedentary jobs in one to two weeks. Dr. Copeland recommends patients avoid any strenuous lifting or exercise for a period of approximately six weeks. The incision for the abdominoplasty will be placed very low on the abdomen, and the resulting scar can be easily concealed with underwear or a swimsuit. The prominence of the scar should also continue to fade over time.

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How Long Do Tummy Tuck Results Last?

Results from abdominoplasty can last for many years when maintained properly. That can be done by managing weight fluctuations, as changes in weight can negatively affect the tightened skin and muscles. Additional ways to maximize tummy tuck results include avoiding sugary and alcoholic drinks, sticking to a healthy diet, and adhering to an active lifestyle.

How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost?

The cost of a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery at our practice typically ranges between $12,000 to $14,000; the addition of liposuction to another area will increase the cost. Dr. Copeland customizes each tummy tuck procedure to meet the needs of the individual patient. The exact price of your tummy tuck will depend upon the custom surgical plan. Common factors that influence the cost of the surgery include the volume of excess skin removed, the extent of any abdominal muscle repair, whether liposuction is combined, and the overall complexity of the procedure. At the end of your initial tummy tuck consultation, Dr. Copeland will give you an accurate estimation for the cost of your procedure. Some patients may benefit from financing options, which can provide qualified applicants with low to no interest loans or flexible monthly payments. To learn more about financing, please speak with a member of our staff.

Are Tummy Tuck Scars Noticeable?

Although scarring is unavoidable following a surgical procedure such as abdominoplasty, Dr. Copeland takes great care to place incisions in a way that results in scars that can typically be concealed by most undergarments or swimwear. The specific appearance of your scars will depend on a variety of factors, including your genetics and the technique used during your tummy tuck procedure. During your initial consultation, Dr. Copeland will go over the different surgical methods and explain which approach can produce the best possible outcome for your individual case. Scars should fade over time as they heal, but carefully following the aftercare instructions provided to you by Dr. Copeland can also help improve their final appearance.

Is It Safe to Get a Tummy Tuck Before Having Children?

Abdominoplasty may not pose any health or safety risks to women who become pregnant later on; however, most board-certified plastic surgeons advise patients to wait until they are done having children before considering the procedure. The physical changes associated with pregnancy can alter the outcome of your initial tummy tuck, which may be a concern for some women. Although these changes might only be minimal, some women can experience significant changes. In these cases, if the patient desires to restore their previous results, Dr. Copeland can perform a tummy tuck revision surgery at a later date.

Is Tummy Tuck Included in a Mommy Makeover?

A mommy makeover is a comprehensive surgical plan that includes multiple procedures, based on the patient’s aesthetic goals, and almost always includes a tummy tuck. Most women choose to include abdominoplasty as part of their mommy makeover, since it can help repair abdominal muscles that have been stretched or torn during pregnancy, as well as remove excess, inelastic skin. Additionally, women can customize their mommy makeover by incorporating other treatments and procedures such as breast lift (with or without implants), liposuction, RF Microneedling, laser skin resurfacing, and more.

Is a Non-Surgical Tummy Tuck Possible?

While there have been claims that certain types of non-surgical alternatives to a tummy tuck can produce similar results, this is simply not possible. A tummy tuck removes excess skin, tightens and repairs abdominal muscles, and re-drapes the remaining skin to produce a firmer result and an enhanced contour. Non-surgical treatments cannot accomplish these same goals. With that in mind, there are minimally-invasive treatments available that can address different types of cosmetic concerns affecting the abdomen. For instance: CoolSculpting® treatment can remove stubborn fat deposits in the abdominal area by “freezing” fat cells and stimulating their elimination from the body through the natural metabolic process. This option can help renew contours in the abdomen as well as other areas of the body, such as the thighs, hips, and back. During the initial consultation, Dr. Copeland can talk with you about your concerns and goals and determine whether tummy tuck surgery or another option is best for your needs.

Contact Copeland Cosmetic Surgery

To find out if abdominoplasty is right for you, schedule a consultation at our St. Peters cosmetic surgery practice today.