Want to permanently remove loose skin and fat from your tummy?
In this ultimate guide, you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty).
This article will tell you about deciding on surgery, choosing a doctor, preparing for surgery, safety, aftercare, downtime, and much more.
All your questions will be answered.
This is the complete guide to tummy tuck surgery that everyone should read.
On this page
- What is a tummy tuck?
- The decision for a tummy tuck
- Risks and safety of an abdominoplasty
- Preparation for the operation
- The day of the operation and what to expect afterward
- How long does it take until the result of the tummy tuck is visible?
What is a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck is a great way to sculpt and shape your body.
This surgical procedure tightens the abdominal wall and removes sagging skin and excess fat, giving patients a slimmer, more toned midsection.
Both the upper abdomen and lower abdomen can be treated.
While a tummy tuck helps to shape and tighten the abdominal area, it is not a substitute for weight loss or bariatric surgery.
Why do people get a tummy tuck?
Tummy tucks have many benefits. Tummy tuck surgery can change your life by giving you the body you’ve always wanted.
Tummy tuck patients usually fall into two categories: Post-pregnancy or post weight loss.
Costs for consultation and tummy tuck
This is the time when you get to know the surgeon. Some people find a plastic surgeon after the first consultation.
Others go to many consultations to find the perfect fit. Both are normal. It’s up to you who you feel comfortable with.
It’s a good idea to come to the consultation with questions prepared. A one-on-one consultation with a plastic surgeon or cosmetic surgeon can be invaluable.
Keep in mind that many plastic surgeons or cosmetic surgeons charge a consultation fee.
Often, this fee is offset against the procedure if you decide to have surgery. However, this can vary from doctor to doctor. It is important to ask about this.
The cost of a tummy tuck in Thailand can vary greatly depending on the plastic surgeon or cosmetic surgeon.
In addition to the surgeon’s fee, there may be other costs associated with the procedure, such as medical tests, hospital or surgical facility costs, anesthesia costs, compression garments, etc.
When it comes to understanding the total cost of a cosmetic procedure, patients don’t like surprises.
Dr. [insert surgeon’s name here] makes sure that his pricing is very transparent.
Patients can find more information about his costs here.
Choosing a cosmetic surgeon
From medical training to the photos on this website, there are many factors to consider when choosing a tummy tuck surgeon.
References are important. You want to make sure that the surgeon you are considering has completed the appropriate medical training.
An [insert qualification here] surgeon is a specialized surgeon who is technically the only type of doctor guaranteed to have training in surgical procedures.
[Qualification here] stands for [Fellow of the Royal Thailand College of Surgeons]. (Search for the qualifying organization in Thailand).
Before and after tummy tuck photos
Another important factor is the before and after photos. Take the time to look at our website.
First, a good surgeon will have many before and after photos on his website. This shows that he has performed many tummy tucks and gives you the opportunity to see the quality of the results.
Keep in mind that every patient and every surgery is different. Results will always vary as no two patients are the same.
Great before and after photos are no guarantee of the results of your surgery. However, numerous before and after tummy tuck photos are a good sign.
Years of experience
When you’re on the surgeon’s page, read his profile. Does it mention how many years of experience the surgeon has?
There is no hard and fast rule regarding this, but Dr. [insert surgeon’s name] recommends choosing a surgeon like him with more than ten years of experience.
There is nothing inherently wrong with a surgeon who has fewer years of experience. But as with anything in life, pursuing a new profession comes with a learning curve.
A surgeon with a lot of experience should be a seasoned professional by the 10-year mark.
Another factor to consider: what is the surgeon’s specialty? Not all plastic surgeons are the same.
If your friend had an incredible nose job years ago, that doctor might also be able to perform a great tummy tuck. But just because a surgeon is good in one area of the body doesn’t mean they are good in another.
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Get to know your doctors. You can usually get a sense of them on the website (e.g., before and after photo gallery).
Word of mouth
A good way is to ask friends for suggestions, look at reviews on the internet, and look at before and after photos.
It’s also wise to choose a hospital that’s a little closer to your hotel since you’ll need someone to drive you to and from the hospital and to follow-up appointments.
What you can expect during a consultation
The consultation is your chance to meet the surgeon in person and get to know him or her.
You’ll probably have plenty of questions. It’s a good idea to bring a notebook so you can jot down your questions and answers during the consultation. Most surgeons charge a consultation fee.
Things to consider before having a tummy tuck
Before you decide to have a tummy tuck, there are some important factors to consider:
- A tummy tuck will permanently change your appearance
- If you are planning to have another baby, wait to have the surgery
- A tummy tuck is not a substitute for obese patients who need weight loss surgery (BMI 35+)
- Surgery can remove scar tissue and stretch marks, but tummy tucks are not meant for this purpose
- Tummy tucks are expensive
- Any surgery leaves scars that can be improved but are visible
- Most tummy tucks have a recovery time of 6-8 weeks
Which type of tummy tuck is right for me?
During your consultation, you can ask about the different tummy tuck options available to you.
There are more than twenty different types of tummy tucks. Each of them is designed to achieve different goals.
For example, a mini tummy tuck (mini-abdominoplasty) is ideal for women who have had a C-section and are left with a loose flap of skin on their lower abdomen.
Then there is a full tummy tuck (full abdominoplasty) and an extended tummy tuck.
A lower body lift (belt lipectomy) may be the right choice for certain patients who are after massive weight loss.
These are just a few of the many tummy tucks your doctor may recommend.
No two patients are the same, and of course, not all tummy tucks are the same.
During your consultation with Dr. [insert surgeon’s name], he will recommend the type of tummy tuck that he believes will help you achieve an esthetically pleasing appearance that will make you feel more confident and comfortable in your body.
Tummy tuck risks & safety
Is a tummy tuck safe? It is unlikely that a tummy tuck will cause serious health complications.
However, there is always a risk when you undergo surgery. A tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure. All surgical procedures can lead to problems.
As a plastic surgeon, it is important to educate patients about the potential risks of a tummy tuck before surgery.
Many doctors will provide you with a surgery packet to sign. This will inform you of the risks associated with the procedure. By signing, you agree that you have been informed of the risks.
Common side effects
- Discoloration of the skin
- Temporary numbness
- Irregular scarring (e.g., keloid scars)
According to one study, serious complications occurred in only 4% of patients who underwent a tummy tuck over a five-year period. The serious risks include:
- Blood clots
- Cardiac complications
Your medical history
Before surgery, Dr. [insert surgeon’s name] needs to know your complete medical history.
He needs to know about any health problems you have dealt with or are currently dealing with.
He also needs to know what medications you are taking and any allergies you have.
To minimize risks during surgery, Dr. [insert surgeon’s name] may require that you have blood tests, x-rays, or EKGs.
This is to ensure that you are completely healthy before your tummy tuck.
Safety during anesthesia
Anesthesia today is extremely safe. Healthy patients are unlikely to experience any problems. Smoking, advanced age, and certain health conditions may increase the risk of anesthesia complications.
Although anesthesia is considered safe, side effects such as temporary lightheadedness, feeling cold, dizziness, and nausea are common.
A trained anesthesiologist will monitor you during surgery for safety. After surgery, you will wake up in the recovery room until the anesthesia wears off.
Safety gets even better
Science is constantly making advances.
Tummy tuck techniques are becoming safer as surgeons develop better methods to reduce the risk of complications.
Doctors around the world are committed to making tummy tucks better and safer every day.
Dr. [insert surgeon name] keeps up with the latest improvements in tummy tucks. His method aims to reduce the likelihood of complications by causing less tissue trauma.
Dangerous tummy tuck techniques
Not all tummy tucks are the same. First of all, any tummy tuck that is not performed by a trained specialist surgeon with proper medical certifications is dangerous.
An improper tummy tuck can lead to infection, blood clots, excessive scarring, botched tummy tuck results, or even death.
Standard abdominoplasty with the floating umbilicus
This procedure is not dangerous in itself, but it can lead to botched cosmetic surgical results in patients who are not suitable for the procedure.
Typically, the navel (belly button) is repositioned during a tummy tuck so that it is in a natural position after surgery.
A flowing navel tummy tuck leaves the belly button intact by trimming away excess skin and then pulling the skin down to suture it in place.
If you only have a small amount of skin removed, this is fine as the navel will still be in a normal position.
However, most tummy tuck patients will have a large amount of skin removed. Therefore, the navel must be repositioned, or it will sit too low when the skin is pulled and sutured.
Older tummy tuck techniques
Tummy tucks have come a long way. In the past, the procedure was performed, and the entire belly button was removed.
Navel repositioning requires great skill. Back then, it was easier and safer to remove the entire belly button.
Today, this is no longer a common practice. However, in 2016, a woman made headlines when she woke up without a belly button after a tummy tuck.
She claimed the surgeon did not tell her this would happen.
Preparations for the operation
Make a recovery from a tummy tuck easier by preparing before surgery.
Book the appointment for the surgery
If you’ve made the exciting and life-changing decision to have a tummy tuck, congratulations!
Now you need to plan ahead for when you can take time off work. Most patients take an average of 2-4 weeks before returning to work.
If you have unused vacation or sick days, you can use them for recovery time after your tummy tuck.
Quiet times at work are also a good time to take time off. Make sure you give your workplace plenty of notice.
If you don’t want to say that you have a tummy tuck, you can simply say that you are “having a medical procedure done” and need time off from work to do so.
Prepare your home
Prepare your home for recovery.
Put important things like your phone charger, home phone, tissues, remote control TV, water bottles, snacks, and laptop in easy-to-reach places like the nightstand or living room.
Magazines, puzzles, and books can keep you from getting bored while spending time at home.
Put comfortable clothes like loose-fitting sweatpants in easy-to-reach drawers. You’ll also need to fill prescriptions before surgery.
Preparing meals in advance is very helpful.
Simply prepare your favorite foods and freeze them in portion sizes. This way, you won’t have to cook or shop when you should be resting.
Operation day and what to expect afterward
It’s the big day. The day of surgery has finally arrived. No doubt you are both anxious and excited.
Just before the operation
If you are nervous before surgery, this is normal. You will meet with Dr. [insert surgeon’s name] before surgery to discuss any final concerns, have surgical markers made for incision placement, and more.
Dr. [insert surgeon’s name] knows that surgery is a big deal for patients and that you may be scared.
Don’t worry. You are in good hands.
Your last fears will be calmed, and soon you will fall asleep under sedation.
You will be given a general anesthetic, so you won’t remember anything or feel anything from the operation.
The local anesthetic in the surgical area blocks the pain until the first 24 hours, so when you wake up after the operation, you may be surprised to feel hardly any pain.
Tummy Tuck Procedure Steps
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medication will be administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure.
Choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Step 2 – The incision
A full tummy tuck requires a horizontally aligned incision in the area between the pubic hairline and the belly button.
The shape and length of the incision is determined by the amount of excess skin.
Once the abdominal skin is lifted, the weakened abdominal muscles underneath are repaired.
A second incision around the navel may be necessary to remove excess skin in the upper abdomen.
The upper abdominal skin is pulled down like a window screen.
The excess skin is cut away and the remaining skin is stitched together.
A new opening is created for the belly button.
The belly button is lifted to the surface and sutured into position.
Step 3 – Closing the incisions
Sutures, skin adhesives, tapes or clips close the incisions.
Step 4 – See the result
The result of your tummy tuck is a flatter, tighter abdominal contour that better suits your body type and weight.
What to expect after the operation
When you know what to expect, you can better prepare yourself for a better outcome and recovery. Here’s what happens after surgery.
Length of hospital stay after tummy tuck surgery
This depends on the type of tummy tuck. For a mini tummy tuck, you can go home the same day.
A full tummy tuck or extended tummy tuck both require an overnight hospital stay. A body lift may require up to 2-5 days in the hospital.
Are tummy tucks really that painful? The truth is that it depends on the type of tummy tuck, surgical technique, and individual pain tolerance.
Dr. [insert surgeon’s name] uses newer surgical techniques that cause less tissue trauma than previous tummy tucks. This can reduce pain.
Pain medications can reduce discomfort. Non-narcotic pain medications are preferred, but NSAIDs should be avoided unless your doctor or anesthesiologist gives you permission to use them.
Of course, discomfort and limited mobility are a reality after a tummy tuck.
You may find that it is more comfortable to walk hunched over at first. It may take about 14 days before you can stand upright comfortably.
Notes on aftercare
Proper aftercare of a tummy tuck is important.
There is a lot you can do at home to improve your tummy tuck results and make a recovery easier.
Resting, walking, taking vitamins, eating healthy, scar treatments, silicone strips, exercising, and wearing compression garments can help. Let’s learn more.
After surgery, your abdomen will be swollen.
Swelling is the body’s response to tissue trauma. This is normal.
Most of the swelling will go down in the first few weeks, but it may take about six months to go down completely.
Compression garments help reduce swelling, provide support, and protect the wound. Dr. [insert surgeon’s name] provides high-quality compression garments to his patients.
Dr. [insert surgeon name] specializes in drainless abdominoplasty. His special technique eliminates the need for drains.
Postoperative drains can be painful and a source of infection. They need to be drained regularly and the contents measured and recorded.
Drains can also sometimes be uncomfortable. Nevertheless, many plastic surgeons still use abdominal drains today.
It is necessary to keep them clean and to keep track of fluid measurements.
A beautiful scar is a must for a great-looking tummy tuck result. Caring for scars is simple, but it is important to know that doctors cannot always control scarring.
Some people are naturally prone to keloid scars, raised scars, and other scar problems. It is not always possible to predict how your skin will respond to scar healing.
If you have other scars on your body from the past and the scar has matured well over the years, you probably have nothing to worry about.
Best exercises for tummy tuck
Exercising after a tummy tuck can tone your body and make your tummy tuck results look even better.
Regular exercise and physical activity are also recommended to prevent weight gain after surgery.
The results of a tummy tuck are permanent, but a lot of weight gain can undo those results.
A healthy lifestyle will help protect your investment and keep your body beautiful for life. A good diet is also important.
These are the best exercises you can do after a tummy tuck. Remember that you need time to recover before you start an exercise program.
However, you can start walking on the day of surgery. Light aerobics, such as on a rowing machine, can begin a few weeks later.
Many women are surprised at how quickly they can return to the gym after a tummy tuck.
How long does it take to see the results of a tummy tuck?
Finally, you can see the results of a tummy tuck. No doubt you are anxiously waiting to see your new body.
A tummy tuck is not an instant cure. The results take time. For most patients, it takes about a year to see the final results of the surgery.
However, you will notice a great improvement much sooner. You will start to see results after just a few weeks when the swelling goes down.
Most of the swelling goes down in the first six months. So you can get a good preview of the results of your tummy tuck. The swelling can take up to a full year to subside.
The scars will also change over time. Scars will remain red for the first year or more. Mature scars should fade nicely in the first two years and become lighter as the years go by.
Tummy tucks have a high patient satisfaction rate.
Thousands of men and women have improved their lives with this surgery.
For many, getting rid of unwanted loose skin is a huge relief.
This can be the beginning of a healthier, happier life.
It all starts with getting informed.
Follow the advice and tips in this article, and you will be well on your way to your dream body.
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