What is a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, removes excess fat and skin in the midsection and, in most cases, restores weakened or separated muscles creating a smoother and firmer appearance. Liposuction is often used as well to create a more sculpted abdomen.
Tummy tuck vs. liposuction. Which one is right for me?
While liposuction is an effective choice for many patients when it comes to removing fat in the abdomen, some may need a more aggressive approach in order to achieve the results they desire.
A tummy tuck is more invasive than liposuction. Excess abdominal skin is removed and the abdominal muscles are tightened, which is usually necessary for women that have had multiple children or lost a significant amount of weight.
Liposuction is more appropriate if you have excess abdominal fat but with a strong abdominal wall and good skin tone.
Typically, an abdominoplasty requires a longer recovery time than just liposuction and your scar is much longer, typically from hip to hip. It can take weeks to months before you feel back to your normal self.
Am I a good candidate for a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?
The best candidates:
- Have a generally healthy lifestyle
- Don’t dramatically fluctuate in their weight
- Are a non-smoker
- Have tried exercise and diet to improve their abdominal fat
Does smoking affect my results?
It’s very important that you stop smoking before and after your abdominoplasty procedure. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor that decreases blood flow to the tissues. This can be a major problem when you are having a tummy tuck surgery because large incisions are created, interfering with blood supply. When there is decreased blood flow to the tissue, there is a much higher risk of the tissue dying, which can result in scarring.
It is ideal if you stop smoking altogether; however, it is important to at least stop smoking 6 weeks prior to your surgery and at a minimum of 2 weeks following.
Tummy Tuck before and after pictures
Viewing tummy tuck pictures is an important part of choosing your surgeon. You can view some of our photos online; however, we encourage you to schedule a consult with Dr. Freed to learn more about the tummy tuck procedure as well as view before and after pictures of tummy tuck procedures that he has performed.
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What causes excess abdominal fat?
There are a number of reasons why one may have excess abdominal fat that seems difficult to get rid of.
Excess abdominal fat may be caused by:
- Diabetes and other medical conditions
- Dramatic weight fluctuation
One may also be appropriate for a tummy tuck if they have excess loose skin. Loose skin may be caused by a dramatic weight loss or due to pregnancy.
Tummy tuck vs. mini tummy tuck. Which one is right for me?
A mini tummy tuck is not as extensive as a full tummy tuck or abdominoplasty. With a mini tummy tuck, the excess skin below the navel is tightened by removing the loose skin. The skin and muscle that are addressed are only below the belly button area, so the belly button is not repositioned and will stay in the same location. The skin and fat above the navel are not generally treated with this procedure.
Dr. Freed may at times include a small amount of upper abdominal liposuction, which will address the upper fat; however, the tightening of the skin will not be addressed unless you have a full tummy tuck.
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What is tummy tuck recovery like?
Bandages and dressings will be applied to your incision sites during your tummy tuck recovery. Dr. Freed also provides each patient with an abdominal binder, which will help compress your abdomen to help with swelling and overall support of your abdomen during the healing period.
Dr. Freed also places a thin tube slightly under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that might be collecting.
Once you have decided to have an abdominoplasty procedure, you will meet with our patient coordinator 2 weeks prior to surgery to receive all the surgical instructions. She will provide pre-operative and post-operative instructions that will explain what you will need to do in order to be prepared for your surgical journey.
- How to care for your surgical sites and drains
- Medications that will be prescribed and given to you
- When stitches will be removed
- All follow-up appointment recommendations
- How long you will wear the abdominal binder for compression
- How long until you can take a shower
- When you can return to normal exercise and activities
What do tummy tuck scars look like?
Patients are often concerned about the scar that will remain after a tummy tuck. This is a valid concern considering the length of the scar.
A full tummy tuck surgery or abdominoplasty involves an incision across the lower abdomen and removing excess skin to improve the appearance of the abdomen. There is a horizontal incision across the abdomen. Most of the time, Dr. Freed is able to place the scar low enough so that it’s hidden by undergarments or bikini bottoms. If Dr. Freed is not able to have the scar low in the abdomen, it is because there is not enough loose skin to pull from.
What should I do to prepare for surgery?
- Discontinue smoking. Nicotine can impair and delay the healing process.
- Discontinue all blood thinners prior to surgery. Blood-thinning medications include, but are not limed to, Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, and Aleve. These types of medications can increase your chance of bleeding and increase complications. Dr. Freed will let you know how many days prior to surgery to discontinue the specific blood thinner.
- Discontinue diet pills, herbal medications, fish oil, flaxseed oil and vitamin E.
- Dr. Freed requires an EKG (electrocardiogram) for women that are of age 55 or older and for men that are 50 years of age older. However, if you have had an EKG within the last 6 months then you can just provide our office staff with that report.
- 2 weeks prior to surgery you will meet with our patient coordinator, for what we call a Surgical Orientation. At that time, you will sign your consent forms, be educated on the specifics of surgery, what to do to be prepared, what the day of surgery will be like as well as all your follow care and instructions. You will also pay your remaining surgical balance at this appointment.
- Our anesthesiologist will contact you the day before surgery as well as our nurse manager to remind of what you can and cannot eat or drink prior to surgery as well as review what the process of surgery will be like as well as answer any questions you may have.
How long will my tummy tuck recovery time be?
First two weeks
- During your tummy tuck recovery, bandages and dressings will be applied to your incision sites. Dr. Freed also provides each patient with an abdominal binder, which will help compress your abdomen and help with swelling and overall support of your abdomen during the healing period.
- Dr. Freed also places thin tubes slightly under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that might be collecting. This is usually removed at your first post-operative visit.
- Empty drains twice a day and record the amount of fluid for each side on the drain log that will be provided for you. You may need to empty them more often the first day or two. It is normal for the drainage to change colors the first week, starting with red, dark red, pink then a clear yellow.
- The drain is usually removed 1 week after surgery; however, it may be longer if Dr. Freed feels it’s necessary.
- Call Dr. Freed at 530-885-4151 or 530-889-5841 immediately if you notice a significant increase in swelling, pain, redness, drainage, or bleeding in the surgical area, or if you develop a fever, dizziness, nausea or vomiting.
- Avoid strenuous exercise for the first 2 weeks.
- The day after surgery, you will be encouraged to get out of bed and take short walks around your home, this keeps the blood flowing and prevents blood clots.
- The first 24 hours, you may take 1 to 2 pain pills every 4 hours as needed for pain. It is very important to eat a small amount of food with the pain medicine to help prevent nausea. If you are not experiencing pain you do not need to take pain medication. You also may take ibuprofen for pain instead of the prescription strength medication.
- You may shower 24 hours after surgery, using regular soap and shampoo. Please have someone with you the first time you shower. Take the garment off and sit on the side of the bed first, wait until you do not feel dizzy or light-headed, and then get into the shower.
- Apply antibiotic ointment to your incision twice a day for the first two weeks.
- Do not bend over at the waist or pick up heavy objects greater than 20 lbs for the first two weeks.
- Bruising, swelling and discomfort is expected after surgery. Dr. Freed will prescribe a pain medication for you, however typically within less than a week, you will be able to take an over-the-counter pain medicine such as Advil or Tylenol.
Weeks two to six
- Each week you will start looking and feeling better. After the first few weeks, you will begin to return to normal activity and work.
- You may not have normal sensation for up to a year after surgery. Our consent forms will go into greater detail about this.
- Within two weeks following surgery you may return to an exercise routine, however, it’s still important to do it in moderation so that swelling and fluid accumulation does not worsen.
- After 2 weeks of wearing your abdominal binder (garment), Dr. Freed will have you change to Spanx or other brands of compression garment for another month but only during the day. This will help compress the abdomen and prevent fluid build up after surgery.
How much is a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?
Tummy tuck costs vary, based on whether or not it’s a full or mini tummy tuck, whether or not liposuction is recommended for your particular case, or if it’s a procedure that’s added to other surgeries such as a Mommy Makeover, which also can include a breast augmentation and lift.
The quote you will be given will include
- Operating room fees
- Dr. Freed’s professional fee
- Pre-op, post-op, and follow-up visits
- Abdominal garment
- A gift from Vibrance Medical Spa
Can I finance a tummy tuck?
Financing for your cosmetic procedure is an option as well. We work with a variety of excellent financing companies that can be used for all types of cosmetic procedures. CareCredit and Alphaeon Credit are both reputable companies that offer a variety of easy monthly payment plans.
Learn more about financing your tummy tuck
Why choose Freed Plastic Surgery for my tummy tuck procedure?
We believe that choosing a plastic surgeon is a very important decision and there are many questions that must be answered when considering cosmetic surgery. You want to make sure your physician is board certified, experienced, confidential, caring, provides excellent care, and many other things.
We have listed just a few reasons why we believe Freed Plastic Surgery is the best option for you:
- Dr. Freed uses the latest techniques including tailor tacking sutures and lipo-abdominoplasty (full abdominal wall liposuction).
- At Freed Plastic Surgery we include extensive liposuction around the waist.
- Dr. Freed and our staff have a wonderful reputation in the Sacramento, Roseville, and Auburn areas for being kind, patient-focused, and providing excellent care in a private setting.
- Dr. Freed has over 25 years of post-residency experience with this procedure, resulting in beautiful tummy tuck results.
- There is no professional fee for ‘touch-up’ procedures
- We have a private on-site fully accredited operative suite.
- We have an on-site medical spa and all cosmetic patients receive 10% savings for a year after surgery at Vibrance Medical Spa. Schedule a skincare consultation and receive a complimentary full size medical grade skincare product.
Schedule a tummy tuck consultation
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Freed and our caring staff to learn if a tummy tuck is right for you.