What is a Tummy Tuck?
As we get older, all of us have a degree of loosening in our abdomen area. Some of this is due to simple aging and the slackening of our tissues. However, for women who had children, or people who have gained and lost a large amount of weight, the tissues have been stretched for a period of time and they can no longer tighten back to their former contour. Muscles in the area can even become separated in the center with the localized weight gain.
Clinically known as abdominoplasty, the goal of a tummy tuck is to tighten and change the contour of the abdomen area. The procedure removes excess fat and skin and restores weakened or separated muscles, resulting in a flatter, more contoured abdomen.
Tummy Tuck procedure with Dr. Altamira
Who is a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck surgery?
Tummy tuck surgery is good for areas of fat or loose skin that have not responded well to diet and exercise. Abdominoplasty can also be appropriate for slightly overweight people whose skin has lost some of its elasticity, and for women with skin and muscles stretched from pregnancy. Anyone planning on losing a significant amount of weight, and women planning on having (more) children, should most likely wait before undergoing abdominoplasty.
Types of Tummy Tuck procedures
- Mini-Tummy Tuck
- Classic or “Full” Tummy Tuck
- Extended Tummy Tuck
Mini Tummy Tuck
When a patient has less excess skin but wants to address a stubborn belly bulge, Dr. Altamira may perform a “mini tummy tuck.” As you would assume, the goals of a mini tummy tuck don’t range as much as a full tuck. This procedure involves a much shorter scar along the bikini line, usually about the width of the pubic mound. A mini tuck aims primarily to tighten the muscles in the lower stomach. The goal is not to remove excess, sagging skin as in a full tuck. A mini tuck combined with liposuction of the love handles can really reshape the midsection.
Full Tummy Tuck
In a full tummy tuck, Dr. Altamira usually plans for two incisions, one along the bikini line and another at the belly button. The goal is to extensively tighten the contours of the stomach area, along with the removal of excess skin.
The incision along the bikini line is longer and usually runs from hipbone to hipbone. The length of the incision depends on the amount of excess skin that Dr. Altamira needs to remove. To tighten the upper abdomen, he will make a second incision around or through the navel, if possible. Once Dr. Altamira makes the incision(s), he then pulls the skin away from the underlying muscles that have become separated. He tightens and repositions those muscles more toward the center of the abdomen for a firmer abdomen and narrower waist. Then, Dr. Altamira pulls the upper and lower abdominal skin down and trims the excess skin. In certain cases, Dr. Altamira may move the patient’s belly button up.
Extended Tummy Tuck
In an extended tummy tuck, the goal is to include the flanks and even the lower back. Dr. Altamira simply extends the incision made with a full tummy tuck, moving beyond the hipbones and extending to the flanks or even around the back. The length is dependent upon the individual patient.
What to know before tummy tuck surgery
A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program. Results of a tummy tuck are technically permanent. It is not a guarantee that a tummy tuck will correct stretch marks. Although these may be removed or improved if located on the areas of excess skin that will be excised.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Abdominoplasty takes approximately 2 to 4 hours to perform and is almost always done under general anesthesia. Two incisions are made: one from hipbone to hipbone along the lower abdomen or “bikini” line, and another around the navel. Dr. Altamira then seperates the abdominal skin from the muscles below it, pulls the muscles together, and tightens them to achieve a firmer abdomen and narrower waist.
Then, Dr. Altamira stretches the abdominal skin down over the newly tightened muscles and removes the excess skin. At this point, it is very common to perform some liposuction of the sides or flanks in order to remove excess fat from these areas if needed. Finally, Dr. Altamira closes the incisions and applies sterile surgical dressings over the sutured areas.
Tummy Tuck Before and After
Tummy Tuck Recovery Time
After surgery, Dr. Altamira may place a drain tube to drain excess fluid from under the skin of the surgical site. However, with new techniques, the drain tube may not be necessary for many patients. The surgery is usually an outpatient or day-surgery, although some patients may elect to, or require an overnight stay. Recovery time ranges from 2 weeks to 2 months.
Does a Tummy Tuck Leave a Scar?
Abdominoplasty leaves a scar spanning the lower abdomen from hip to hip. However, it is low enough that a bikini can conceal it. The tummy tuck scar may take several months to a year to fade as much as it will.
How Soon will I see results?
The final results may be initially obscured by swelling and your inability to stand fully upright until internal healing is complete. Within a week or two, you should be standing tall and confident in your new slimmer profile. Maintaining weight with a balanced diet and regular exercise provides long-lasting results.
Tummy Tuck Patient Testimonial
TT, Back Liposuction and Tube Removal – Houston, TX
Dr. Altamira is great!!!! And his nurse Sonia is awesome, they were both very attentive to my needs and answered all my questions. He did a great job on my tummy tuck and back liposuction. Even my husband is very impressed with his work. Definitely recommend Dr. Altamira to others. If there were 100 star ratings here I would rate him that. Great surgeon!
Abdominoplasty risks and side effects
In addition to the usual risks associated with surgery and anesthesia, risks associated with abdominoplasty include the following:
- Unfavorable aesthetic result
- Unsightly scarring
- Residual loose skin
- Numbness of skin
- Need for revisional surgery
Tummy Tuck Scar Revision Surgery
Patients who have had previous abdominal surgery or abdominoplasties in the past may find that their scars are raised or thickened, have stretched or are more noticeable in general.
Undergoing a scar revision may greatly improve the appearance of these old scars. Dr. Altamira specializes in improving the appearance of patients who have had previous surgery done elsewhere and were not satisfied with their results.
Can I combine other procedures with a tummy tuck?
Other procedures can be combined with a tummy tuck, although you shouldn’t try to do everything at once, as a full tummy tuck does require a somewhat involved recovery due to the manipulation of stomach muscles and tissue. Dr. Altamira usually includes at least some degree of liposuction with tummy tuck procedures to remove pockets of fat along with the excess skin.
A thigh lift is often combined with a tummy tuck if the patient has sagging, loose skin on the upper thighs. And in a mommy makeover, a tuck is combined with a breast lift (sometimes with augmentation), along with liposuction, to counter the effects of pregnancy and breastfeeding.
You can discuss possible combinations of procedures with Dr. Altamira during your consultation. One advantage is that you will have just a single recovery, albeit a more difficult one, if you combine procedures.
Schedule a consultation
If you are interested in the Tummy Tuck procedure and would like to see if you are a good candidate, contact our office at (713) 271-9000 to schedule a consultation. Dr. Altamira has plastic surgery offices located in Houston and Sugar Land, Texas.