Whether you’ve recently lost a significant amount of weight or just had a baby, excess abdominal skin will inevitably cause discomfort and frustration. What’s worse, stretched out skin on the abdomen cannot be fixed through diet and exercise. Only cosmetic surgery like a tummy tuck can amend this issue.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is an extremely common surgical procedure that is performed to smooth and flatten the contours of the abdomen by removing excess skin and tightening the muscles. Often, a tummy tuck is performed alongside other cosmetic procedures such as liposuction or breast augmentation.
The procedure itself involves one or more discrete incisions, through which your plastic surgeon will reconstruct and tighten the underlying abdominal muscles while pulling down the abdominal skin and cutting off the excess. The position of the belly button will then be readjusted to its original position, and the incisions will be closed.
Who Is a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
Although tummy tucks are extremely common, not everyone qualifies for this surgery. First, it is important that patients undergoing a tummy tuck be in overall good physical and mental health. Realistic expectations for surgery are critical. While a tummy tuck can certainly help improve your confidence and smooth and contour your abdomen by removing excess skin and tightening the underlying muscles, tummy tucks are not a solution for weight loss, nor are they procedures that will fix all your problems.
For this reason, it is also important that tummy tuck candidates be at a healthy weight before their surgery. The closer a patient is to their ideal weight, the better the results will be. Candidates should be non-smokers and free of underlying infections and serious illnesses. They should not be undergoing serious medical treatment such as treatment for cancer. Lastly, candidates should have a unique need for tummy tuck surgery, which means they have separated abdominal muscles and loose skin on the stomach that is causing them discomfort and emotional frustration.
What Type of Tummy Tuck Should You Get?
There are two main types of tummy tucks: traditional tummy tucks and mini tummy tucks. The following offers descriptions of both types of surgery. To determine which surgery is best for you, consult with Dr. Steinberg.
Traditional Tummy Tucks
Most patients seeking a tummy tuck are looking for a traditional tummy tuck. This procedure removes excess skin from both the middle abdomen and lower abdomen.
Also called a full tummy tuck, the procedure will also involve tightening the abdominal muscles, and the belly button will be relocated to its natural position after the skin is pulled down. Although the incision is longer with a traditional tummy tuck, the effects are more impactful, making it ideal for patients who have a considerable amount of skin they want removed.
Mini Tummy Tucks
Unlike traditional tummy tucks, mini tummy tucks do not remove skin above the navel. This procedure does not change the position of the belly button either, and incisions are slightly smaller overall.
Mini tummy tucks are the best option for patients who have only a small amount of skin they would like to remove in the lower abdomen, below the belly button. Although the abdominal muscles can also be tightened with this procedure as with a traditional tummy tuck, overall, the mini tummy tuck requires less surgery and less downtime during the recovery period.
Preparing for a Tummy Tuck
Several factors should be considered before scheduling your tummy tuck procedure. First, you need to schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Steinberg. Once she deems you a qualified candidate and you are cleared for surgery, you will then be able to start preparing for your procedure with help from a Patient Care Coordinator.
During preparations, make plans to take time off from school or work. Dr. Steinberg will give you additional instructions as well.
Your Consultation Appointment
Once you’ve decided that you want to learn more about the tummy tuck procedure, you should book a consultation appointment with Dr. Steinberg. At this appointment, it’s a good idea to bring a pad of paper with questions you have for the doctor written down.
Along with help from a Patient Care Coordinator, you and Dr. Steinberg will go over your anatomy, medical history, and ultimate expectations for the procedure. Dr. Steinberg will address your questions and concerns. She will also perform a physical examination, so it’s a good idea to wear comfortable clothes that are easy to take off.
Once you have all of the necessary information and Dr. Steinberg has deemed you a qualified candidate for surgery, you can schedule your tummy tuck surgery and start preparing for the procedure and your subsequent recovery.
Details About the Surgery
Once you arrive at the accredited surgical location, you will be welcomed by Dr. Steinberg’s staff and directed to a preoperative room where you can speak once more with Dr. Steinberg and ask any remaining questions you may have. You will then be led to the operating room where anesthesia will be administered for your comfort.
Typically, abdominoplasty lasts between three and four hours, but can last longer when combined with other procedures. Most of the time, the procedure involves a horizontal incision made above the pubic hair line in the panty line. Dr. Steinberg will tighten and reinforce the underlying muscles before removing skin from the middle and lower abdomen. Preparations will be made for the navel to be re-situated as the skin is pulled down, and excess skin will be trimmed off. Two drains will be placed on either side of the incision. The belly button will then be put into its new position, and the incisions will be closed.
Recovering From a Tummy Tuck
Despite being serious invasive surgeries, in nearly all situations, tummy tucks are outpatient procedures. This means that, after some time recovering at the accredited surgical location after your procedure, you will be able to go home with a trustworthy friend or family member who can drive you.
Before heading home, Dr. Steinberg will give you detailed instructions about how to care for the incision site and will provide important dos and don’ts for your healing. Most importantly, remember that compression garments must be worn 24/7. These garments will help tremendously with the healing process by reducing swelling and fluid retention and keeping the contours of your abdomen smooth and shapely. If patients fail to wear their compression garments 24/7 for the required number of weeks, they risk less-than-satisfactory results. For example, the abdomen may heal with ripples and or irregular contours.
In addition, strenuous activity should be avoided for at least six weeks, though you will be encouraged to eat a normal healthy diet and to walk around periodically throughout the day. As your recovery continues, you will meet with Dr. Steinberg several times for postoperative appointments. She will look at your incision sites and assess your healing.
Are There Risks Associated With Tummy Tucks?
As with any surgical procedure, certain potential risks are present with tummy tucks. These include swelling, bruising, and slight pain and discomfort — all of which are normal after surgery. Other risks include possible numbness and infection. Dr. Steinberg will discuss all of this with you at your consultation appointment and answer any related questions you may have.
In rare cases, complications such as the following may occur with tummy tuck surgery:
- fluid accumulation
- blood clots
- delayed healing
Frequently Asked Questions About Tummy Tucks
How much is a tummy tuck in Houston?
As with any type of surgery, the exact cost of a tummy tuck is subject to change and depends on a variety of factors. However, in general, you can expect to pay between $8,000 and $12,000 for a traditional tummy tuck procedure.
Most of the time, tummy tucks are not covered by insurance because they are elective procedures. However, in some cases, this is not so. You can always consult with your health insurance company to find out if your tummy tuck may be covered by your plan. In this case, it is called a panniculectomy and only deals with the excess skin.
How painful is a tummy tuck?
As with most surgeries, some pain and discomfort after a tummy tuck is normal. You will also experience some bruising and swelling, which will go away with time. Fortunately, pain medications, compression garments, ice, and lots of rest will help diminish the pain and discomfort over time.
To reduce pain and discomfort as much as possible, it is critical to follow the postoperative care instructions given to you by Dr. Steinberg. Don’t forget to be at all of your aftercare appointments as well.
For how long after a tummy tuck do you need to wear a compression garment?
The purpose of a compression garment is to reduce swelling and fluid accumulation in the abdomen during recovery. It also helps to achieve smooth contours in the abdomen as you recover. If you fail to wear your compression garment consistently after surgery, you may struggle with rippling or bulges on the skin after the healing process ends. These can be a challenge to amend and may require additional surgery.
As a result, in order to achieve optimal results from your tummy tuck surgery and to reduce swelling and complications as much as possible, it is crucial to wear your compression garment for at least 6 weeks. This means wearing the garment full-time until Dr. Steinberg allows you to periodically take the garment off throughout the day/night (while you sleep, for example). Always follow your surgeon’s care instructions.
Can you have liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck?
In some cases, your plastic surgeon may be able to perform liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck. While this is usually the case, there are also situations in which it would be unsafe or unwise to do this. Dr. Steinberg is happy to discuss your liposuction and tummy tuck options with you at your consultation appointment.
Does a mommy makeover come with a tummy tuck?
A mommy makeover is a cosmetic surgery that involves several distinct procedures. Most often, mommy makeovers include liposuction, a tummy tuck, and/or a breast augmentation or breast lift.
The physical changes that remain after pregnancy, childbirth, and breast-feeding often cause physical issues such as sagging breasts, loss of volume in the breasts, stretched skin and stretch marks on the stomach, a “pooch” or pocket of fat in the abdomen, and other lingering changes. The reason this combination of procedures is called a mommy makeover is that they are the most beneficial procedures for mothers who are done having children and are looking for a way to restore their pre-pregnancy body and improve the aforementioned issues.
Do you have scars after a tummy tuck?
Tummy tucks require one or more incisions. Therefore, scars are inevitable after surgery. Dr. Steinberg will discuss where she can situate your incisions and where the subsequent scars would be during your consultation appointment and as you plan for surgery.
Most tummy tuck scars are extremely discrete and hardly noticeable. This is due to the great attention to detail that Dr. Steinberg performs during surgery and because of modern scar reduction techniques that can be employed during recovery — another reason why it is so critical to closely follow your postoperative care instructions.
What if you get pregnant after a tummy tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery is recommended only for individuals who do not plan on becoming pregnant. This is because the muscles beneath the abdominal skin are tightened, and the skin itself is tightened as well. While it is not impossible to become pregnant after a tummy tuck, keep in mind that the results of your procedure will likely be undone by pregnancy as the skin and muscles will need to re-stretch.
Tummy Tuck Houston: Book Your Consultation Appointment Today
Dr. Steinberg has helped countless patients boost their confidence and achieve their aesthetic goals with plastic surgery.
By booking your tummy tuck consultation appointment with Dr. Steinberg, you will be well on your way to a smoother, more contoured abdomen that you can feel good about.
Schedule your appointment today to discuss your options for surgery.
Stunning Before & After Photos