Besides breast augmentations, tummy tucks are among the leading plastic surgery procedures sought out by American women. And in recent years, they have also seen a surge of popularity among men. This is for good reason: tummy tuck results tend to be immediate and striking.
A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty will provide you with a flatter, firmer belly and a slimmer waistline. There are different types of tummy tucks, including the full tummy tuck, the mini tummy tuck and the extended tummy tuck.
During a tummy tuck, excess fat and skin are removed, and the abdominal muscles may be tightened or repaired. Liposuction may also be included in the tummy tuck procedure to allow for contouring and a reduction in excess fat. A tummy tuck may be right for you if you struggle with belly fat and are always trying to hide it.
To make sure you get the best tummy tuck results, there are several actions you can take:
1. Choose the Best Tummy Tuck for You
Learn everything you can about tummy tucks and mini tucks to make sure you choose the procedure that is best suited for you. Tummy tucks are not a one-size-fits-all solution. A mini tuck only addresses the area under the belly button and results in a smaller incision and a shorter recovery. A full or extended tummy tuck addresses the entire abdomen and involves the repositioning of the belly button before the incision is closed. Visit forums such as RealSelf and read blog posts by previous tummy tuck patients to learn about their results and experiences. In order to find a doctor you’re comfortable with, see one or several board-certified plastic surgeons for a consultation.
A surgeon’s time is limited, which is why most serious practices will charge a surgeon consultation fee. However, this fee is typically applied to your procedure cost if you choose that practice, or refunded if you’re not an eligible patient. While you may hesitate to pay this fee more than once while searching for the plastic surgeon you feel most comfortable with, it shouldn’t deter you from doing diligent research. In the end it will be worth it.
2. Ask These Important Questions During Your Consultation
Anesthesia: Ask what type of anesthesia will be used during your surgery, because this will make a difference for your recovery time. The “old school” approach is to use general anesthesia, but nowadays most plastic surgery can be performed without it. At NuBody Concepts, we use IV Sedation for our tummy tucks.
Incision location: Ask the surgeon where your incision will be located (ideally under the bikini line), and ask about steps that you can take to reduce scarring.
Before and After Photos: Ask to view before and after photos of previous patients – not just generic ones but ones of his or her recent patients. Point out to the surgeon the results you want to achieve.
Recovery: Ask about your post-surgical recovery and what to expect during and after the procedure. You will achieve the best tummy tuck results when following your doctor’s guidelines.
Alternatives: Ask if, based on your circumstances, there might be less-invasive alternatives. Great progress has been made with non-surgical skin tightening technology like BodyTite or Exilis, and you may decide that such an option is what you really want.
3. Set Up Aftercare Assistance with Friends and Family
Your recovery will go much smoother if you set up help ahead of time, especially if you have small children. Ask a friend or family member to keep a small child for a few nights. Or ask them to stay overnight at your home to prepare meals for the kids and to bring them to daycare or school.
Having a close friend, significant other or your spouse stay at home with you for the first 24 to 48 hours after the surgery will help you to keep daily chores to a minimum while you recover. Taking care of smaller children often involves a lot of lifting, which you’ll need to refrain from doing for some time after your procedure, depending on doctor’s orders.
Maybe you also want someone there to watch movies and generally spend time with you as you rest, or maybe you prefer to be alone. In either case, the better you plan your after-care ahead of time, the more likely it is to go smoothly.
4. Follow Your Your Doctor’s Post-Surgery Activity Recommendations
Listen to your doctor’s advice for post-op practices like when to return to work, how early to resume exercise, and how long to avoid sun exposure on the incisions. These details are important to your recovery and will ensure that you achieve the very best cosmetic results.
The recovery time after a mini tuck is shorter than a full tuck. Either way, let your doctor clear you before you return to your normal schedule; don’t get impatient and jump ahead of the time restraints that are recommended. You should follow all aftercare instructions, including limits on lifting children and climbing stairs, carrying groceries, etc.
Since most tummy tucks involve the repair of muscles, they require a little bit more post-op caution and healing time than other cosmetic surgery.
5. Wear Your Compression Belt for Best Tummy Tuck Results
Your surgeon will provide you with a heavily elasticized compression belt that must be worn around your midsection like a girdle. The garment will cover the area under your breasts down to your pelvic area and will apply even, steady pressure on the entire treated area. Wearing your compression belt is important because it will provide better contouring, encourage healing, promote circulation, and reduce pain and discomfort.
Most patients report that they take comfort in wearing this garment, even if they idea at first seems cumbersome. And again, your tummy tuck results will be directly affected by how diligently you wear your garment.
6. Belly Button Perfecting: Marble Placement
A new navel will be created for you if you have a full or extended tummy tuck (a so-called designer belly button). You may hear of the marble trick on a tummy tuck forum and think it’s weird! But, it has received good results according to some surgeons. Your new postoperative navel may evolve during the recovery process and become square, oblong, triangular or vertical, rather than round. But, once the incision is healed, and if your doctor approves, you could tape a small marble to your navel to encourage your belly button to recover in a circular position.
Patients leave the marble in for a few minutes a couple of times a day to gauge their comfort. The patient then leaves the marble in place for twenty minutes at a time twice a day. Cleansing the navel after each session is essential. This tip should only be applied under the direction of your doctor and after the incision has healed.
A tummy tuck isn’t something you’ll decide to have on a whim. But the reward can be immeasurable. Of all the treatments promising you a flat stomach, it is by far the most effective, giving you near-instant results. As long as you are mentally prepared and plan ahead, having a tummy tuck can be a life-changing experience for you. If you have any more questions, visit our FAQ page or contact us to set up a consultation with our plastic surgeon.