Many women and men strive to achieve a flat and toned stomach through diet and exercise. Even with hard work and diligence, this feat is not easily accomplished. Weight fluctuations, pregnancy, and age-related tissue laxity contribute to loose skin, weakened muscles, and excess fat on and around the abdomen.Tummy tuck surgery is performed on individuals who are looking to sculpt their midsection by addressing loose hanging skin, excess fat, and weakened abdominal muscles. Dr. Lo performs tummy tuck surgery for patients in Philadelphia and South Jersey. Patients come from around the country to see Dr. Lo for tummy tuck surgery. Skype consultations are also available.
What Are the Benefits of a Tummy Tuck?
- Removes Excess fat and skin
- Firms abdominal contours
- Tightens loose hanging skin and skin rolls
- Corrects separated abdominal muscles or diastasis recti
- Improves posture
- Reduces back pain
- Repairs ventral hernias
- Removes abdominal stretch marks
- Increases physical comfort in and out of clothing
- Enhances confidence
Are You a Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery re-contours the abdomen by removing excess hanging skin, skin rolls, fat bulges, and stretch marks, and by repairing the abdominal muscles. This surgery is ideal for men and women who have tried to tone their abdomen through diet and exercise but are struggling to achieve results.
Candidates for a tummy tuck surgery have realistic expectations, are in good health, do not smoke, and experience at least one of the following:
- Loose skin on the abdomen from pregnancy or weight fluctuations
- Stretched or separated abdominal muscles that contribute to a stomach pooch
- Localized pockets of fat on the abdomen, flanks, and hips
- Are at a weight that they would consider either ideal or stable. However, tummy tuck surgery may be performed on patients who
- may not be at their ideal weight. Dr. Lo would determine whether you are a good candidate for not during your consultation.
What Does Your Tummy Tuck Entail?
A consultation with Dr. Lo is required before your tummy tuck surgery. During this consultation, Dr. Lo will discuss your goals for the procedure, evaluate your medical history and extent of abdominal laxity, and recommend the best technique for you.
Tummy tuck surgery is usually performed with general anesthesia, but it can be performed under spinal or twilight anesthesia if less correction is needed. This surgery takes around two hours to complete.
Endoscopic Tummy Tuck
An endoscopic tummy tuck is performed when patients require the correction of the abdominal muscles but do not have excess skin.
During an endoscopic tummy tuck:
- A short incision (four inches) is made across the pubic hairline
- Loose or separated abdominal muscles are tightened
- Liposuction is performed on the abdomen and/or flanks
- Only a small amount of loose skin can be removed
Mini Tummy Tuck
A mini tummy tuck restores abdominal fullness without requiring as much recovery or downtime. This technique allows for more correction than the endoscopic tummy tuck but cannot address as much as the full tummy tuck. It is ideal for patients with minimal to moderate skin laxity.
During a mini tummy tuck:
- The incision is made across the lower abdomen above the pubic region
- The abdominal muscles are repaired
- Liposuction is performed on the lower stomach and the flanks
- The belly button may be repositioned using a “floating belly button” technique
Full Tummy Tuck
A full tummy tuck, or traditional tummy tuck, is the most common technique used when contouring the midsection. This version trims excess skin, removes localized fat pockets, and tightens the muscles across the stomach. A full tummy tuck is ideal for patients with significant tissue laxity.
During a full tummy tuck:
- The incision runs from just inside the hipbone to above the pubic region. The length of the incision depends on the correction needed. Dr. Lo keeps the incision and resulting scar as short as possible.
- The abdominal muscles are tightened
- Excess fat is removed from the abdomen and flanks with liposuction
- Sagging skin is trimmed, and the remaining skin is redraped over the new contours
- An incision encircles the belly button to raise and reposition the belly button
Full Tummy Tuck With Lateral Flank Extension
Patients who have lost significant weight often have excess skin on their flanks or love handles, as well as the abdomen. A full tummy tuck with a lateral extension takes the full tummy tuck incision around the hips so that excess skin can be removed from the love handles or flanks. This incision will still run below the bikini line for easy concealment.
What You Need to Know
Tummy tuck surgery is an outpatient procedure, but you will need someone to drive and stay with you for the first night to assist with all activities and chores.
Your incision will be covered with a gauze dressing, and your midsection will be wrapped with an abdominal binder. This binder or compression garment should be worn beneath your clothing for at least two weeks to reduce swelling, promote blood circulation, enhance comfort, and facilitate the healing process.
Most tummy tuck procedures require drains at the incision sites to prevent fluid accumulation. These drains are removed after one week. Dr. Lo will provide you with instructions on how to care for and clean your drains.
You should rest and take it easy during the initial days of your recovery. You do not want to over-exert yourself, but you do want to get on your feet as soon as possible to ensure proper blood circulation. Most patients feel up to returning to work after seven to 10 days, but you should avoid light exercise for two to three weeks and strenuous activity for at least three or four weeks.
Tummy tuck surgery is performed under general or twilight anesthesia to prevent any discomfort during or initially following the procedure. Soreness and physical discomfort will develop over the following hours and days. Dr. Lo inserts a small pain pump into the patients thigh, which numbs the surgical area for 72 hours effectively minimizing the pain. This pain can be lessened with a prescription or over-the-counter pain medication and adequate rest.
Scarring will develop at all incision sites, and the extent of your scar will depend on how well your own body scars in general, and the type of tummy tuck that you underwent. These scars will fade with time but can be minimized further with scar creams, silicone strips, silicone gel, and sun prevention.
The results of your tummy tuck will be apparent immediately following the surgery and will continue to improve over the following weeks and months as the swelling continues to resolve—some patients experience slight swelling for several months.
Your results are long lasting and may be considered permanent as long as you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. Any significant fluctuations in weight or future pregnancies will impact the quality of your results. Your abdominal skin will eventually lose some firmness, but your abdominal contour will continue to look firmer and slimmer than it would have without the operation.
What Does Tummy Tuck Surgery Cost?
The tummy tuck is a highly specialized surgical procedure, and the overall cost of your operation will vary depending on your specific needs.
The average cost of a tummy tuck including Dr. Lo’s rate and the hospital and anesthesia fees is approximately $10,000.
The cost would be higher if additional liposuction of other areas was recommended or a combination procedure discussed.
What Are Some Frequently Asked Questions?
How should you choose your plastic surgeon for your tummy tuck?
Selecting your plastic surgeon is one of the most important decisions you can make during your plastic surgery journey. Plastic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons (ABPS). This certification ensures that the surgeon has met rigorous academic, professional, and ethical standards, and is therefore highly qualified to perform your surgery. Before choosing a surgeon for your tummy tuck, you should do your research and ask questions to ensure that you feel comfortable with the decision. Ask to see a surgeon’s before-and-after images to make sure that you are happy with the results that you see.
Dr. Adrian Lo is a top board-certified plastic surgeon in Philadelphia. He is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). He is also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS).
What procedures can be combined with your tummy tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery can be performed alone, or it can be performed alongside an additional body contouring procedure to enhance the quality of your results. Common combinations include:
What are the risks associated with tummy tuck surgery?
Tummy tuck surgery is safe, and side effects are rare. As with any surgical procedure, there is a possibility of postoperative complications. These risks include:
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia
- Delayed wound healing
- Poor scarring
- Temporary or permanent numbness
- Blood clots
Would You Like to Find Out More?
If you are interested in learning more about tummy tuck surgery, contact Dr. Lo by calling (215) 829-6900 or by filling out our online contact form. Dr. Lo offers tummy tuck surgery for patients in Philadelphia, Marlton, New Jersey, Delaware, and the surrounding Tri-state area.