A tummy tuck is an operation that can be suitable for a wide range of patients. It is performed on young women in their twenties and on women in their seventies on heavy patients and on thin patients. It is done on people who have lost significant amounts of weight following diet and exercise or bariatric surgery procedures, and it is done on patients who have not lost any weight at all. The most common candidates for a tummy tuck, however, are mothers, because a tummy tuck is an operation that corrects many of the changes that occur as a result of pregnancy. Changes from major weight loss can mimic or accentuate the changes that result from pregnancy.
Essentially any woman who has gone through a pregnancy may be a candidate for a tummy tuck. One of the changes that occurs in every woman during pregnancy is the separation of the abdominal muscles. The medical term for the persistence of this separation is diastasis recti. This separation may lead to a more square figure that is squarer than the hourglass figure the woman had prior to pregnancy. The separation of muscles can also distort the belly button and give the illusion of a hernia being present. Following pregnancy, the abdominal skin that was stretched out often does not fully contract back to its pre-pregnancy size. Some mothers may still look as if they are pregnant, and stretch marks may also occur. Whereas diet and exercise have many healthful benefits and are strongly encouraged in all patients, diet and exercise alone will not address any of these post-pregnancy or post-weight loss changes. Only a tummy tuck can repair the muscle separation and remove the excess skin and fat.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is an operation performed by Ft. Lauderdale-area plastic surgeon Robert E. Rothfield, MD, FACS to improve the appearance of the midsection through the removal of excess skin, tightening/repair of the abdominal muscles, and/or sculpting areas of excess fat. Each tummy tuck is customized to suit the specific needs of the patient for an optimal outcome. The overarching goal of a tummy tuck is to restore a tighter, more youthful-looking waistline, eliminate loose sagging skin, and restore the muscular structure of the abdomen.
What Are the Benefits of a Tummy Tuck?
Both men and women can enjoy the advantages a tummy tuck can offer. The potential benefits of this body contouring procedure include:
- Removal of loose abdominal skin
- Repair of stretched or torn abdominal muscles
- Smoother skin at the lower stomach and abdomen
- Reduced amount of stretch marks
- Correction of umbilical hernias
- Slimmer, more toned waistline
For patients who also struggle with isolated pockets of excess fat at the lower abdomen, liposuction can be integrated into the tummy tuck procedure. When combined, these two procedures can achieve an even greater body transformation.
Doctor Rothfield is amazing. I’m really pleased for the results. I had a tummy tuck and after years of looking for the right time and the best plastic surgeon, I found doctor Rothfield who explained the procedure, pre and post steps in a very detailed way . I was really confident that everything would be great and it was. I highly recommend doctor Rothfield and his staff. No regrets , only great results .
July 01, 2018
Who Is a Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?
Tummy tuck candidates primarily seek to reduce excess skin or correct skin laxity on the abdomen. Since the tummy tuck procedure is not intended for weight loss, patients should already be at or near their ideal weight prior to surgery. Typical candidates have a body mass index (BMI) below 30. As with any surgery, patients should be in good overall health. Patients who use tobacco products must quit before surgery, as this will increase the risk of post-operative complications. Many candidates for tummy tuck surgery are women who have had one or more children. These women may choose to include tummy tuck surgery into a more comprehensive mommy makeover. Tummy tuck surgery can also be greatly beneficial for patients who have undergone bariatric surgery or lost a significant amount of weight and struggle with sagging, excess abdominal skin. In these cases, a tummy tuck may be combined with additional procedures as part of a post-weight loss surgery.
How Is the Tummy Tuck Procedure Performed?
A one-on-one consultation with Dr. Rothfield is the first step of any tummy tuck procedure. During the consultation, Dr. Rothfield will perform a physical exam, carefully listen to your cosmetic goals, determine your candidacy for the procedure, and design a customized treatment plan that can meet your expectations. On the day of surgery, the procedure will begin with an incision made just above the pubic area and typically under any C-section scar. Dr. Rothfield will place the incision at a location that can be easily hidden by underwear or a swimsuit bottom. During surgery the stretched abdominal muscles can be tightened and the separation repaired. Liposuction can also be performed at this time if needed. The skin is then pulled taut and any excess skin is removed before the incision is closed. In many cases, C-section scars and stretch marks can be completely removed in this process. A tummy tuck surgery is typically completed in a little over one hour. Tummy tuck surgery can be performed as an in-patient procedure performed by Dr. Rothfield at either Memorial West Hospital or Memorial Miramar Hospital, or as an outpatient procedure at the Surgery Center of Weston. All three locations are JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) accredited facilities and anesthesia is provided for by board-certified anesthesiologists.
What Is Recovery from Tummy Tuck Surgery Like?
Patients can expect mild swelling, tightness, and moderate discomfort immediately following tummy tuck surgery. These side effects usually resolve within a few days, and the moderate discomfort can be easily managed with oral medication. Dr. Rothfield encourages walking immediately in the post-operative period. Patients who have undergone a C-section may find the recovery to be similar but in most cases, easier. Dr. Rothfield recommends that patients who have small children arrange for assistance during the first five days after surgery. In most cases, patients can drive again after six days. Within two weeks, patients should be able to return to work and resume light exercise. Normal exercise can be resumed after one month.
What Do Tummy Tuck Scars Look Like?
A scar low along the hipline after a tummy tuck should be expected, but Dr. Rothfield places incisions during surgery in a way that can help the scar become less noticeable and easily hidden, once healed. In a typical abdominoplasty procedure, the incision extends hip to hip, and is positioned low—just below the beginning of the public hair line. After the scar has healed, it can be concealed by most bathing suits and undergarments. Additionally, adhering to the aftercare instructions provided by Dr. Rothfield can help ensure the scar heals properly and fades well over time. Attending all follow-up appointments during the recovery period is also crucial, as Dr. Rothfield can assess your healing progress and make recommendations to improve your final outcome.
Is A Tummy Tuck Surgery Safe?
Tummy tuck surgery is generally considered to be a safe procedure when performed by highly qualified and experienced plastic surgeons. However, like virtually all other surgical procedures, there are some risks that come with it. With a trained and skilled plastic surgeon conducting your surgery, the chances of something going wrong are greatly reduced. Our plastic surgeon, Robert E. Rothfield, MD, and the team at our practice prioritize the safety of all patients at all times. During the consultation, Dr. Rothfield will review your medical history and your ultimate needs and goals to determine if a tummy tuck procedure is right for you. He will also thoroughly detail the pros and cons of tummy tuck surgery so that you clearly understand any potential risks involved in the process.
What Are the Side Effects of Tummy Tuck Surgery?
As mentioned above, there are some risks involved with tummy tuck surgery, but these can be mitigated by a trained and experienced plastic surgeon, as well as proper care in recovery. The potential side effects of tummy tuck surgery include: seroma, bleeding, skin sensation changes, swelling, scarring, and pain or discomfort. Patients are typically able to combat these side effects with pain medication, a compression garment, healthy diet, resting, and thoroughly following all post-operative guidelines to achieve the smoothest, safest recovery possible.
How Much Does Tummy Tuck Surgery Cost?
The average cost of tummy tuck surgery can range between $6800 and $9800. This price fluctuates based on your individual treatment plan—each patient has unique needs that are taken into account when personalizing the procedure, ultimately affecting the final cost. Some variables that can impact the total price include anesthesia, pre- and post-op testing, the surgeon’s fee, and hospital fees. In your consultation with Dr. Rothfield, our staff can provide you with a customized estimate, based on your specific surgical plan. To help make tummy tuck surgery more accessible, our practice offers plastic surgery financing through several reputable lending companies, allowing patients to make monthly payments with low or no interest.
When Is the Best Time to Schedule a Tummy Tuck if You Plan to Have Children?
If you are a candidate for tummy tuck surgery but plan to become pregnant in the future, Dr. Rothfield typically recommends waiting until after having children to consider your procedure. However, undergoing abdominoplasty prior to building your family is still considered safe, and should not affect any future pregnancies. If you become pregnant after a tummy tuck procedure has been completed, the stretching of muscles and skin can potentially affect your results, but Dr. Rothfield is able to perform a revisional tummy tuck in the future, if desired.
Additional Tummy Tuck Frequently Asked Questions
What can I eat after tummy tuck surgery?
During recovery from tummy tuck surgery, your surgeon will likely recommend a general nutritional guideline to follow while you heal. Sticking with healthy and nutritious foods that contain increased levels of antioxidants and vitamins are ideal at promoting and boosting the natural healing process. Additionally, some types of foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, can help manage swelling. A key dietary restriction is to limit the overall amount of salt that is consumed, which can help greatly in mitigating residual swelling.
What is a seroma after tummy tuck surgery?
Seroma is a condition that may develop following tummy tuck procedures. It typically occurs as a result of fluid buildup beneath the skin’s surface after tissue has been removed, and often appears as a lump or bump. In most cases, seromas settle on their own and the fluid within the buildup is naturally reabsorbed by the body. Larger seromas may require additional treatment due to the risk of infection; these seromas may also become quite painful. If you notice what may be a seroma, whether small or large, or any other irregularities our office should be notified immediately so an evaluation can be performed.
How can I reduce swelling after a tummy tuck?
Soreness, stiffness, and swelling are common side effects patients experience immediately following their tummy tuck surgery. A compression garment is often necessary for the first few weeks following the procedure—this can aid the healing process and help reduce swelling. Other ways individuals can control swelling during recovery include: drinking plenty of water; maintaining a healthy and low-sodium diet; and getting proper rest.
Will I need to wear a compression garment after my tummy tuck?
All patients are provided with a special compression garment to wear temporarily after surgical procedures like a tummy tuck. The compression garment helps to aid in recovery as well as maintain the results from the surgery. Primarily, the garment is able to mitigate swelling and help control excess fluid buildup. Generally, the compression device will be worn for at least two to four weeks following surgery.
Is a tummy tuck included in a mommy makeover?
The mommy makeover is a highly customized surgical plan that incorporates various treatments, based on each patient’s goals and preferences. A tummy tuck is one of the most common procedures included in a mommy makeover, but some women may choose to forego it and focus on other areas of the body that have been affected by pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing. Other procedures frequently included in a mommy makeover include breast lift, liposuction, and breast augmentation. Dr. Rothfield can work with you in a one-on-one consultation to evaluate your concerns and determine which treatments are most appropriate for achieving your desired outcome.
Great experience! Dr. Rothfield was very knowledgeable and comforting. Plastic surgery is a serious step that takes a lot of research, evaluating of risk vs reward etc. But no one can escape the scare of a surgery few days prior. I loved the fact that Dr. Rothfield and his staff was available to me at all times, spoke with me regarding my fears and made me feel very safe. My TT surgery went fast, easy and painless. Now (2 months later) I could not be happier with the result! I know I was in the right hands.
June 30, 2018
For more information about tummy tuck surgery and potential risks associated with the procedure, please view our Informed Consent patient form. To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Rothfield, please contact Weston Plastic Surgery.