What is a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)?
Board-certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Richard D’Amico specializes in body contouring surgery. He performs abdominoplasty, often called a tummy tuck, to help women and men have a flatter, younger-looking abdomen and a slimmer waistline. A tummy tuck can address all 3 layers of the abdominal wall – the skin, the fat, and the muscle. Dr. D’Amico can also customize the procedure to enhance only 1 or 2 layers as needed*. After carefully reviewing your cosmetic concerns, he will make this decision with you at your consultation.
Am I a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
Ideal candidates for abdominoplasty are healthy men and women who have sagging, stretched abdominal skin and lax or separated abdominal muscles caused by:
- Weight gain and loss: If you have lost weight through diet and exercise or surgical assistance (such as LAP-BAND® surgery or gastric bypass), Dr. D’Amico recommends that you lose most of the weight you desire before undergoing a tummy tuck. If you are not at your ideal weight, Dr. D’Amico can use liposuction to remove some of the fat that has collected on the torso and allow the tummy tuck to be performed sooner.
- Pregnancy: Tummy tuck procedures are particularly popular for women who have had children. You should wait at least 6 months after your last pregnancy to allow the abdominal skin and muscles to naturally tighten as much as possible. If you are planning future pregnancies, it’s usually best to wait and have the tummy tuck afterward. Another option is a Mommy Makeover, which generally incorporates a tummy tuck along with liposuction and a breast enhancement procedure such as a breast lift or breast augmentation. These combined procedures help restore your body’s contours and undo the changes of pregnancy.
- Natural aging: Dr. D’Amico also performs a Menopausal Makeover, which is a comprehensive program of diet, exercise, and localized body contouring to remove unwanted changes many women experience with menopause.
Abdominoplasty Before & After
Types of Tummy Tucks
Dr. D’Amico personalizes each tummy tuck to the unique needs and aesthetic goals of the patient. His surgical techniques include:
- Complete Tummy Tuck – This is appropriate for the majority of patients because it renews the entire abdominal area. With this technique, Dr. D’Amico removes excess skin and fat above and below the belly button, and he repairs and tightens abdominal muscles. This technique requires an incision that runs between the hip bones low enough to be concealed by underwear and swimsuits. A second incision is hidden within the natural creases of the belly button.
- Mini Tummy Tuck – Also known as a limited abdominoplasty, this involves a shorter incision than the complete tummy tuck, running just above the pubic bone. This technique tightens the abdomen below the belly button and is appropriate for a small number of patients. The recovery period after a mini tuck is usually shorter than for a complete tummy tuck.*
If your concerns are mostly below your belly button, then a mini tuck may suit your needs, but most people get better results from a complete tuck. Dr. D’Amico will discuss the advantages of each option with you and share his recommendation.
Risks and side effects of a tummy tuck surgery include the following:
- Unsightly scarring
- Loose skin
Due to some of these risks, some patients choose to undergo a revisional surgery. While some of these effects could sound daunting, it is best to know all the possible results and outcomes before making a final. Dr. D’Amico will brief you on all the risks and benefits of a tummy tuck during your pre-operative appointments.
Tummy Tuck Procedure
Dr. D’Amico performs abdominoplasty procedures in his nationally accredited (AAAASF), on-site surgical facility under appropriate anesthesia. For most patients, he makes an incision in the groin area (bikini line) and lifts the skin to expose the muscle layer. He repairs any separated muscles and re-drapes the skin, removing the excess before applying sutures. He can usually remove any stretch marks that were below the belly button along with the excess skin. Depending on your unique cosmetic needs, Dr. D’Amico may use liposuction to remove excess fat on the waist and flanks to put the finishing touches on your new contour.
Enhancing Your Postoperative Comfort
In the past, because of the surgical manipulation of abdominal muscles required during this procedure, significant postoperative pain was a deterrent for some potential patients. Fortunately, the pain can now be virtually eliminated with the use of what we refer to as the “pain pump,” which is a tiny catheter inserted at the time of surgery.
The pain pump drips numbing medication right onto the affected muscles, which are typically the cause of most of the post-surgical pain, 24 hours a day to relieve virtually all the muscle pain and avoid the need for heavy drugs or oral narcotics. This means a more comfortable, quicker, and better quality of recovery!
After tummy tuck surgery, you will wear an abdominal support garment continuously for several weeks to provide support and minimize swelling. During surgery, 1 or 2 surgical drains are inserted into the skin near the groin. This prevents the build-up of fluids that the body naturally produces as part of the healing process. These small tubes are usually removed within 1 to 2 weeks as fluid production decreases *.
It’s important to stand and begin walking within a day or 2 of surgery to promote healing and prevent blood clots from forming in your legs. For the first several days, expect to walk slowly and carefully, slightly bent forward. Most patients feel ready to return to work in about 2 weeks. You will need to avoid heavy work or strenuous exercise for 4 to 8 weeks. The final outcome will depend on the resolution of swelling, but it is usually seen in 4 to 6 weeks*.
Why Choose Dr. D’Amico
Through extensive experience, Dr. D’Amico has developed several improvements to traditional abdominoplasty surgery. These include:
- More comfortable and quicker recovery
- Decreased risks of negative side effects
- Painless muscle tightening with pain pump technology
Schedule a Consultation
The first step in achieving your cosmetic goals is to request a consultation with Dr. D’Amico, serving the New York metro area. To find out how a tummy tuck in New Jersey can improve your body contours, request a consultation with Dr. D’Amico using his online form or call (201) 567-9595 to schedule an appointment.
* = Results may vary