During pregnancy, the two six-pack muscles stretch and separate, creating weakness and bulging in the midline. This separation is also known as “diastasis.” Abdominoplasty restores the abdominal tone and shape and flattens the bulge in the midline.
There are different types of abdominoplasty. They all involve an incision placed in the lower waist or bikini line. Traditional abdominoplasty corrects the areas both below and above the belly button and tightens the muscles in the midline. Mini abdominoplasty is less extensive and usually corrects minimal skin laxity below the belly button. Circumferential abdominoplasty removes skin from the lower abdomen, flanks and lower back in a belt-like fashion. Liposuction of the abdomen and flanks is usually performed at the same time to sculpt contour of the abdomen and waist.
During consultation, Dr. Alghoul will address all the cosmetic concerns, including the loose skin, stretch marks, amount of fat and degree of diastasis. A procedure will be recommended based on your body analysis. It is very important to point out any previous abdominal surgeries and any scars on your abdomen during consultation.
What to Expect
Tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is usually performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation, depending on the extent of surgery. An overnight stay may be recommended if combined with other procedures.
You may engage in light activity the following day of surgery. Return to more normal activity may take up to two weeks. Return to work my take one to two weeks depending on the extent of surgery. You may feel tight and unable to walk straight for a few days. Your body will stretch back to a straight posture gradually over the following two weeks.
The results are long-term but may become compromised if you gain weight or become pregnant.
Who is a candidate for Abdominoplasty?
Women or men with excess and lax skin in the abdomen (stomach area) combined with stretch marks are good candidates for abdominoplasty. The excess skin is usually caused by previous pregnancies or significant weight loss. The presence of fat deposits under the skin varies between patients. In some patients, fat deposits are present in the entire abdomen above and below the belly button while in others it is more concentrated in the upper abdomen or lower abdomen. Women with prior pregnancies can develop a bulge in the upper stomach due to weakness and separation of the abdominal muscles. This separation is known as “rectus diastasis”. The bulge or fullness in the upper stomach area results from the inner organs pushing against that weak spot. Patients who have this bulge are good candidates for abdominoplasty, which tightens and brings the muscles back together.
Important Issues to be Considered about Tummy Tuck
A Tummy Tuck procedure typically addresses three different components, the skin, fat and muscle. Some patients only have skin laxity and stretch marks in the lower stomach area and have no separation or weakness in their core muscles. In these patients a “mini abdominoplasty” or mini tummy tuck can be performed where the extra skin in the lower stomach is removed and the belly button is left undisturbed or moved down with the skin depending on the patient’s figure and body dimensions. When the skin above the belly button is lax and will need tightening and/or if the muscles need repair then a full abdominoplasty is needed.
A tummy tuck procedure is usually combined with liposuction, which helps with contouring and sculpting of the stomach area and waistline and really complements the results of the procedure.
Incisions for Tummy Tuck
Incisions for a tummy tuck are placed in the lower abdomen or stomach in an area that would be naturally hidden by clothing “bikini line”. The incision is usually marked on the day before surgery using the patient’s favorite pants or swimsuit as a guide for incision placement. The length or extent of the incision is determined by the amount of skin excess in the waist and lower back. Sometimes, especially in massive weight loss patients, in whom the skin laxity extends to the lower back, the incision extends around the waist in a full circle. This procedure is called “circumferential abdominoplasty”.
In a traditional or full abdominoplasty, a circular incision is made around the belly button and a new hole is made for the belly button at the end of the procedure. A circular scar is to be expected around the belly button, which is usually well hidden. If the hole created from the incision around the belly button is not cut out with the excess skin, then it is usually closed in a vertical line in the lower abdomen.
Recovery from a Tummy Tuck
Recovery depends on the type of procedure performed. You will need two weeks off work if you are considering a full abdominoplasty. If muscle tightening or repair is not performed then you may be able to go back to work earlier. Your stomach will feel tight immediately after the procedure. It will be difficult for you to walk with a straight posture after surgery and you should expect to be hunched over to a degree to minimize tension on the incisions. On an average, it takes patients 2 weeks to gradually stretch their body back to a straight posture. Depending on the amount of tension, this may take less or more time. Most of the pain after tummy tuck is due to the muscle-tightening portion of the procedure. Swelling and loss of sensation is expected after surgery, your stomach will feel numb. Sensation recovery takes several weeks. Patients are advised not to place any warm pads over their abdomen after surgery because they can burn themselves without noticing. Return to exercise may take 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Cost
There are three fees associated with any surgical procedure: surgeon’s fee, anesthesia and facility fee. Depending on the extent of your procedure, and whether or not you require muscle tightening, the anesthesia and facility fee will vary based on the time needed. Dr. Alghoul will be able to assess your specific needs during your consultation and give you a specific Tummy Tuck surgery cost estimate at that time based upon your needs.
Contact Dr. Alghoul
If you’d like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Alghoul to discuss your Tummy Tuck in Chicago, please call (312) 695-3654 or contact us via email.