Tummy Tuck: What Are My Options?

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Are you starting to notice that your stomach isn’t as flat as it used to be? Perhaps you’re feeling self-conscious about excess fat, sagging muscles, or loose skin around the tummy region. Whether it’s caused by having a baby, surgery, gaining weight, aging, or losing weight rapidly, you’re not alone.

You may be wondering, what is a tummy tuck? How does a tummy tuck work? To put it simply, this procedure tightens the muscles of the stomach, removes excess skin, and eliminates fatty deposits to reveal a flatter tummy. You may have heard of a mini tummy tuck or an extended tummy tuck, but do you know the difference? Many patients are unaware of the numerous options available to customize your results. So, we’re here to help you understand the various tummy tuck techniques:

Types of Tummy Tuck Procedures

Mini Tummy Tuck

This procedure is for men and women with a small amount of belly fat that diet and exercise doesn’t seem to respond to. The typical candidate for a mini tummy tuck is a healthy, thin patient that wants to remove a little excess fat. Once the incision is made Dr. Z will remove excess skin and tighten the muscles producing a smooth, tight stomach. The recovery time for this procedure is about one week.

Standard Tummy Tucks

The traditional tummy tuck is designed for men and women with sizeable stomachs that wish to reduce sagging skin and tighten muscles. The typical candidate for this option are men or women that have lost weight or are experiencing trouble getting back into shape after pregnancy. As this procedure is targeting a larger “problem area”, the incision is bigger than the Mini Tummy Tuck incision. Often the belly button must be repositioned during this operation. This procedure often requires a brief hospital stay and two to four weeks of recovery time.

The Extended Tummy Tuck

The extended tummy tuck is geared to men and women with an abundance of excess fat or loose hanging skin. The excess fat often extends from the tummy to the patient’s hips and sides of lower back. In order to effectively target these areas, a long incision is made across the abdominal area. It reaches around the hips and lowers back so Dr. Z can remove the fats cells and drain fluids. Once this is done the surgeon removes skin and tightens the muscles. This procedure requires a few days in the hospital. Recovery time will take about two to four weeks.

Circumferential Tummy Tuck

This procedure is often performed on patients that have had gastric bypass surgery or have large amounts of fat and loose skin around the stomach area. The incision reaches all around the waist and Dr. Z removes the fat and excess skin. Often the outer thighs and buttocks are lifted and a new navel created. The procedure is designed to produce dramatic changes in the appearance of a person that has lost weight. Typically, patients have to stay in the hospital for two to four days for observation and treatment. Recovery time is about two to four weeks.

Preparation and Recovery

Dr. Z will give you a medical exam, determine the best procedure to use, and arrange to perform the procedure in his medical facility. You will be given intravenous sedation or local anesthesia for all of the Tummy Tuck technique options available. The size of the incision made depends on the type of tummy tuck you have. Dr. Z will remove excess skin, tighten muscles, and remove fat. Once finished the skin is closed with sutures, clips, and tape.

After surgery, Dr. Z’s staff will take you to the recovery room to supervise your progress. Some patients can go home in a few hours while others may have to stay in a hospital one or more days. A general rule of thumb is the more complicated the operation, the longer the recovery time. Dressing and bandages are applied to the incision and some patients are wrapped in a suppression garment that supports the abdomen and reduces swelling.

In some cases, small thin tubes may be placed under the skin to drain fluids and blood. When you go home Dr. Z will give you specific details on caring for your wounds. You may be given prescription medication for pain and swelling. He will tell how long the recovery process will take and what you have to do during the process. Recovery takes one week to a one month depending on the complexity of the tummy tuck. Strenuous exercise should be to be limited for about six weeks.

Not only can a tummy tuck reveal a flatter stomach, but it can also increase a patient’s self-esteem simply because they feel more confident. Contact Dr. Z at HZ Plastic Surgery to learn more about which tummy tuck procedure is right for you. At HZ Plastic Surgery, we offer financing options through United Medical Credit in the event that the procedure is not covered by your insurance.