Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Frequently Asked Questions
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- Where and how will you perform my procedure?
- What surgical technique is recommended for me?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
- What are the risks and complications associated with this procedure and how are they handled?
- How can I expect my stomach to look over time? After pregnancy?
1. Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
A tummy tuck is suitable for both men and women who are in good general health overall.
- Women who have muscles and skin stretched by multiple pregnancies may find the procedure useful to tighten those muscles and reduce the excess skin.
- A tummy tuck is also an alternative for men or women who were obese at one point in their lives and still have excessive fat deposits or loose skin in the abdominal area.
2. Where and how will you perform my procedure?
You will receive general anesthesia, which will put you to sleep during the operation. There are two options for a tummy tuck. You and Dr. Hsu will discuss your desired results, and he will determine the appropriate procedure during your consultation. The first option is a complete abdominoplasty. The incision will be made low, at about the same level as your pubic hair. Dr. Hsu will then manipulate and contour the skin, tissue and muscle as needed. Your belly button will have a new opening if you undergo this procedure, because it's necessary to free your navel from surrounding tissue. Drainage tubes may be placed under your skin and these will be removed in a few days as your surgeon sees fit.
The second option is a partial or mini-tummy tuck. Mini-tummy tucks are often performed on patients whose excess skin is located below the navel and require shorter incisions. During this procedure, your belly button most likely will not be moved. Your skin will be separated between the line of incision and your belly button.
3. What surgical technique is recommended for me?
These decisions will be based on the requirements of your specific procedure and in consideration of your preference and Dr. Hsu's best judgment. Dr. Hsu and the assisting staff will fully attend to your comfort and safety.
4. How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
Whether you're having a mini or complete tummy tuck, your incision site will be stitched and bandaged. It's very important that you follow all Dr. Hsu's instructions on how to care for the bandage in the days following surgery. The bandage or compression garment used will be a firm, elastic band that promotes proper healing. Dr. Hsu will also instruct you on how to best position yourself while sitting or lying down to help ease pain. You will have to severely limit strenuous exercise for at least six weeks. Dr. Hsu will advise you on this as you go through the process. You may need to take some time off of work after the surgery to ensure proper recovery. Again, Dr. Hsu will help you determine this based on your personal situation.
5. What are the risks and complications associated with this procedure and how are they handled?
As expected, you will have pain and swelling in the days following surgery. Dr. Hsu can prescribe a painkiller if needed and will instruct you on how to best handle the pain. Soreness may last for several weeks or months. You may also experience numbness, bruising and overall tiredness for that same time period. As with any surgery, there are risks. Remember, this surgery affects a very crucial part of your body. Though they're rare, complications can include infection, bleeding under the skin flap or blood clots. You may carry an increased risk of complications if you have poor circulation, diabetes or heart, lung or liver disease. You may experience insufficient healing, which can cause more significant scarring or loss of skin. If you do heal poorly, you may require a second surgery. The scars from a tummy tuck are fairly prominent and though they may fade slightly, they will never completely disappear. Dr. Hsu may recommend certain creams or ointments to use after you've completely healed to help with the scars.
6. How can I expect my stomach to look over time? After pregnancy?
The result of a tummy tuck should last several years under normal circumstances. Once the skin is tightened, it will get a little looser with the aging process, but not much. If, however, one was to gain then lose a large amount of weight after tummy tuck, the abdominal skin could stretch out again, negatively impacting the overall contour. Likewise, if childbirth occurs, the abdomen will loosen again.