Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, removes excess skin and fat from below your belly button to improve the appearance of your abdomen. Many people who undergo the procedure feel less self-conscious and more energetic afterward – and can fit into clothes they haven’t worn in years.
How is a tummy tuck performed?
During the operation, Dr. Oberhelman will make an incision across the bottom of the abdomen, remove as much excess fat and skin as possible, and create a new hole for your belly button. The procedure takes two to three hours and is done under a general anesthesia. Some surgeons require hospital stays but our Joint Commission accreditation allows us to do in-office procedures, releasing our patients the same day to be driven home by a family member or friend. During your consultation, Dr. Stephanie Oberhelman will examine your stomach, talk about the operation, answer any questions, and discuss what you should expect your body to look like after the procedure.
Does abdominoplasty hurt?
After surgery, most people feel tightness and discomfort in the abdomen area. Fortunately, these feelings tend to go away relatively soon, though the tightness is likely to remain for a week or two –pain medication may be prescribed to minimize the discomfort. In some cases, where liposuction is performed, aching and bruising may occur.
As it is customary after many surgical procedures, patients wear compression garments – usually for two weeks – to reduce the risk of blood clots. Most people can go back to the office or resume other sedentary activity within two weeks. You can drive and lightly exercise after a month, but no heavy physical activity should be done for about six weeks.
What to expect after abdominoplasty
A tummy tuck leaves a scar from hip to hip, just above the upper pubic hairline and usually hidden by underwear, bathing suits, and shorts. The scar is red at first but fades and becomes much less noticeable after a year or so. You also will have a scar around your belly button, as Dr. Oberhelman has moved it to maintain normal placement after fat and skin removal. Moisturizers and massages may help reduce the appearance of the scars.
Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
An abdominoplasty is a major procedure and certain things may help determine whether the timing is right for you. Dr. O will discuss these factors in further detail as they pertain to you during your consultation.
Common variables include:
- Stable weight: If you are losing weight as part of a weight loss program or diet, it is best to make sure your weight has been stable for six months before the operation. This is particularly true for people who have had a gastric bypass or gastric band operation. People who have had previous weight-loss surgery may benefit more from other operations, as a tummy tuck may not be able to eliminate all remaining fat tissue.
- Child bearing: If you may become pregnant in the near future, consider putting off the operation until you have finished starting a family.
- Height and shape: People with short frames do not have much space between the hip and ribcage, which can sometimes make it difficult to achieve the look the patient desires.