Tummy Tucks (Abdominoplasty) at Plastic + Hand
Tired of camouflaging a too-big tummy with creative fashion solutions? A tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty) makes it possible to regain your slim, taut abdomen.
Abdominal skin sometimes stretches past the point of elasticity. A tummy tuck tightens the slack skin improving your look and your self-image. Full recuperation can take two to three months, but, depending on how fast you heal, you can return to work much more quickly. This procedure is popular among women who have had multiple pregnancies and among women or men who have lost a great deal of weight.
With training from the country’s top medical centers, Plastic + Hand surgeons have the depth of experience and skills necessary to perform your tummy tuck surgery safely and successfully…all right here in Maine.
What does a tummy tuck involve?
A tummy tuck removes excess folds of skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and may tighten the abdominal muscles for a leaner, flatter tummy.
The procedure falls into two basic types: mini tummy tuck and full tummy tuck. Plastic + Hand performs both types at our state-of-the-art surgical center.
Mini tummy tuck
A mini tummy tuck takes an hour or less. For your comfort, we will use either general anesthesia or local anesthesia and intravenous sedation.
We recommend a mini tummy tuck (or partial abdominoplasty) when the problem area is mainly below the navel and involves a minimum of excess skin. For this procedure, we make a small horizontal incision low on the abdomen and leave the navel intact. Often liposuction of the upper abdomen is performed at the same time as a mini abdominoplasty.
Full tummy tuck
A full tummy tuck usually takes up to two hours. If the fullness and loose skin are more extensive and involve the entire abdomen, you are more likely to benefit from a full tummy tuck (or standard abdominoplasty). Your surgeon will make an incision across your lower abdomen that curves up toward your hips. We will also make a small incision around the navel so that we can position your belly button properly on your re-contoured tummy.
Extended tummy tuck
An extended tummy tuck is an expanded abdominoplasty procedure, in which the surgeon also removes excess skin from the patient’s sides and improves muscle laxity at the flank (or “love handles”) and hip region. The extended tummy tuck was developed after it was noted that, in some tummy tuck patients, although the abdomen was remarkably improved, the flank and back areas still had folds of extra skin and fat. This procedure has been performed on thousands of patients with excellent results.
What should I expect after a tummy tuck?
As procedure is completed, we may place small drainage tubes within your abdominal tissue to keep fluid from accumulating. We will carefully monitor your progress in the recovery room and may give you the OK to go home after just a few hours.
For several days after the procedure, you may be unable to stand up completely straight. However, we do encourage you to take short walks to promote good blood circulation. You should avoid straining, bending and lifting, and sitting for long periods of time.
Swelling and bruising are to be expected and will subside over the course of several weeks. Reddening of the incision areas may last for several months. There may also be some temporary numbness over parts of your abdomen.
Most likely within a week of your surgery, we will remove drainage tubes and change or remove your dressings. Stitches will be absorbed over time.
While incision lines will fade over time, it’s important for you to know that they will never completely disappear. Your Plastic + Hand surgeon will do everything possible to keep incisions within your underwear and bathing suit lines.
Will a tummy tuck fix my diastasis recti?
A tummy tuck procedure may involve muscle repair to address diastasis recti, a common condition in postpartum people, where the rectus abdominis muscles separate during pregnancy from being stretched and often results in a belly that “sticks out” or bulges. Diastasis recti may also occur when excess belly weight has spread apart the muscles.
Fixing diastasis recti depends on the integrity of the tissue. If someone has a little diastasis but tight tissues, there won’t be much cosmetic benefit in correcting it. If someone has more diastasis and lax tissue, the cosmetic benefit in bringing these abdominal muscles back together will be significant. Sometimes this will be evident at your consultation, and sometimes the decision to tighten your muscles will be made at the time of surgery based on findings.
This is something you can discuss directly with your Plastic + Hand surgeon in your initial consultation.
How long is recovery from a tummy tuck?
There are three primary phases of abdominoplasty recovery:
- Early phase (post-op – 2 weeks): Immediately after surgery, your body will start healing. This presents as inflammation and swelling. Your surgical drains will help drain fluids (removed by 2 weeks), and you’ll wear your (surgeon-provided) abdominal binder 24/7 (excluding bathing) for the first three weeks to manage swelling and help your skin adapt to its new contour. The initial tightness of the tummy tuck will relax during this time as well.
- Mid-phase (1-3 months post-op): Scar tissue is forming, and swelling (managed with compression) is still helping your body heal. Achiness and swelling will ebb and flow, especially as activity increases. The scar will firm up and redness along the scar will also develop.
- Late phase (3-5 months post-op): At five months, you will likely see swelling decrease. The scar will start to soften, and redness will start to fade. Compression is likely no longer needed, and you can likely resume all regular activity. Some patients like to continue compression during this time.
How long before I can resume activity after a tummy tuck?
Immediately after abdominoplasty surgery, you’ll receive specific post-op instructions, but here are some general recommendations for easing into resumed activity:
- Post-op: Immediately after surgery, you may be unable to stand up completely straight, and you should avoid straining, bending, and lifting. While rest is your priority, you should take short walks to promote good blood circulation. In general, lift nothing more than 5-10 pounds (equal to about a gallon jug).
- At 2 weeks: You can resume most sedentary activities.
- At 4-6 weeks: You can likely resume everyday activity and light workouts, without strenuous exercise.
- At 6+ weeks: You can likely resume all regular activity but listen to your body cues as you increase activity. Work your way up to your usual activity by 9 weeks.
If you have specific questions about resuming activities after a tummy tuck, please discuss it directly with your surgeon.
What kind of compression is best after abdominoplasty?
Swelling is your body’s natural way to heal after a tummy tuck. Gentle compression helps manage this swelling, helps your skin adapt to its new contour, and provides comfort. Most importantly, please know that when it comes to compression garments “tighter” is not better. Tighter can cause discomfort, and it does not improve the cosmetic result. Overly tight compression garments can create indents and/or impact your healing. Keep compression gentle and supportive.
Here is a general compression timeline:
- Post-op – 3 weeks: Wear the (surgeon-provided) abdominal binder 24/7, other than bathing or changing dressings.
- At 3 weeks: Wear the abdominal binder only during the day, and no longer at night.
- At 3-6 weeks: Wear gentle compression (i.e., high-waisted yoga pants that come up to the belly button, or high-waisted gently snug undergarments) in daily activity. If you will increase your activity (or bend over), wear your abdominal binder to prevent extra swelling with this increased motion.
- At 6+ weeks: While compression is no longer as necessary or helpful in this later stage, you can wear light gentle compression for comfort as needed. Some patients will have swelling that comes and goes throughout the day for several months and find gentle compression during the day comfortable.
What are the results of a tummy tuck?
It may be months before you see the final results of your tummy tuck, but it should be well worth the wait. Your abdomen will be flatter and firmer than it’s been in years, giving you a whole new level of confidence. Unless your weight shifts significantly, or you become pregnant, you can expect to enjoy your younger new shape for many years to come.
Who are the best candidates for a tummy tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery can make you look younger and slimmer, but it is not a substitute for weight loss. The procedure is most effective for people of normal weight who have weakened abdominal muscles and excess skin and fat that aren’t responsive to diet and exercise. A consultation at Plastic + Hand Surgical Associates will determine if a tummy tuck is right for you.
How much is a tummy tuck?
You’ll first discuss your tummy tuck surgery procedure options with your Plastic + Hand surgeon. During your initial consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your medical history, your tummy tuck surgery expectations, and set realistic goals for your abdominoplasty. Your Plastic + Hand surgeon will then recommend the abdominoplasty procedure that will offer the best results for your desired outcome.
After this personalized consultation, our Patient Care Coordinator will prepare a cost estimate that is specific to your upcoming abdominoplasty procedure. Costs vary by cosmetic surgery procedure, but all estimates include pre- and post-op visits, anesthesia, and use of the surgery facility. Our Patient Care Coordinator will also discuss payment options with you.
With a Plastic + Hand surgeon, you’ll get the results you want with the respect you deserve…all right here in Maine.
OUR PLASTIC + HAND SURGEONS ARE THE MOST TRUSTED FOR TUMMY TUCK MAINE PROCEDURES
If you’re considering a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) after pregnancy or after weight loss for excess skin removal, to tighten loose skin, or a body contouring surgery that gives you the appearance that you want, our Plastic + Hand team has the most qualified tummy tuck surgeons in Maine.
With training from some of the top medical centers in the U.S. (including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, UCSF, Mayo Clinic), Plastic + Hand surgeons have the depth of experience and skills necessary to perform your tummy tuck safely and successfully in the comfort of our accredited outpatient Plastic + Hand Surgery Center located on-site here in Portland, Maine.
It’s time to discover the results you’ll love. The first step begins here.
Schedule time to talk with us
Each and every patient is unique. It’s important to us that we listen to our patients from the outset, so a consultation with one of our Patient Care Coordinator is the first step in determining whether tummy tuck surgery is appropriate for you.