Abdominoplasty, more commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, targets the stubborn fat in the lower stomach area, beneath the belly button, also known as the “pooch.” This procedure aims to remove the excess skin and fat that sits on top of the abdomen, but it can also correct muscle separation that can occur in women after a pregnancy or a change in weight. However, even with its popularity among women, men are also candidates for this surgery.

This procedure can be performed in conjunction with many other procedures, but even on its own, it can take roughly four hours, meaning this surgery is extensive, complex, and something to consider seriously. If this is a procedure you’ve considered for yourself, then continue reading for our six things you must know before having a tummy tuck.

What is a tummy tuck?

You’ve done your research, read many articles, and you’re now certain that you want a tummy tuck. You want a slimmer waist, larger breasts, and a tighter tush…but, wait. Is it a tummy tuck you’re wanting or a mommy makeover

A tummy tuck is a standalone procedure that addresses only the excess fat and skin that sits on top of the abdomen and repairs muscles that have separated due to diastasis recti. Typically there is an incision made right below the panty line that extends from one hip to the other. 

While a tummy tuck is often accompanied by other procedures, it’s important to know exactly what you want and what you’re eventually signing up for. It’s also important to note that there are some risks associated with having a tummy tuck, but when performed in conjunction with other procedures, the risk for complications can be elevated.

Will there be scarring?

When it comes to scarring, there is no one-size fits all answer. Scarring will vary from person to person depending on skin color, skin type, and genetics. It is important to set reasonable expectations when it comes to scarring. You know your body better than anyone else and it is ultimately up to you to decide whether the potential for scarring is worth the surgery. 

While we do our best to mitigate scarring with well-known remedies and technologies, an incision that runs from hip to hip will take some time to heal, up to one year. Patience is a key along with treatments such as laser therapy, medicated creams, microneedling and even injectables. The takeaway: be patient with the healing process.

C-sections and tummy tucks

C-sections and tummy tucks – a tale as old as time. If you’ve ever had a c-section, then you’ll know roughly where a tummy tuck scar falls. Many women find that after having a c-section, they’ll have some excess tissue that hangs over the skin, which can be noticeable when sitting down or slouching. Tummy tuck can not only correct this overhang, it can also remove the scar left from the c-section. Yes, the c-section scar is replaced with a new scar, but oftentimes the tummy tuck scarring is lower down on the abdomen and leaves behind a tighter, flatter stomach.

Recovery time rundown

We cannot stress enough that this is an extensive and significant surgery, and we recommend that you allow extensive and significant recovery time post-op. Downtime is critical to a safe and full recovery and there will likely be some pain and discomfort along the way.

We typically prescribe a narcotic for after the procedure which is typically taken for anywhere from a few days, and sometimes is needed for 1-2 weeks. Some patients use our unique rapid recovery protocol to achieve a post-op recovery without the need for narcotics at all. Normal daily activities can usually resume after a two-week time period, but no strenuous activity or exercise for 45 – 60 days at a MINIMUM. It’s also critical to schedule and attend post-op follow-ups with your plastic surgeon during this recovery time. He or she will evaluate you and be able to tell you when you can expect to resume normal activities without hindering your recovery progress.

Family planning?

Tummy tucks are best suited for women who do not plan on having children in the future. With pregnancy, the tissue and skin around the belly will expand, fat will be stored differently, and the abdominal muscles can weaken. All of which can actually reverse the results of a tummy tuck.

Tummy tucks are a life-changing surgery, but they come with a price tag. If you want to make an investment that gives you long term returns, then we suggest waiting until you’re done adding to the family before undergoing this procedure.

Make sure you’re doctor has the appropriate credentials to perform this surgery

Just because a doctor has a website and calls himself or herself a plastic surgeon, does not mean they are, in fact, a plastic surgeon. We cannot stress this enough – DO YOUR RESEARCH. Make sure that your doctor is board-certified by the ABPS (American Board of Plastic Surgery) which is the only board that can certify doctors in the full range of plastic and reconstructive procedures. Board-certified surgeons have comprehensive education and experience that includes solid foundations in plastic surgery and an understanding of the body and all of its systems. 

Read through their credentials; read their reviews; and schedule a consultation beforehand. Come to your consultation prepared with any questions you may have and make sure your surgeon takes the time to answer them all. It is critical that you walk out of your surgeon’s office feeling not only comfortable, but informed.