A tummy tuck, also called an abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that sculpts the midsection to be flatter and appear more toned. Sometimes, a fitness regimen and eating well aren’t always enough to get the desired results for those concerned with the appearance of their abdomen. Aging, pregnancy, and genetics all contribute to the likelihood of developing stubborn abdominal fat. For patients that have undergone significant weight loss or pregnancies, loose sagging skin can also be a source of aggravation. A tummy tuck is an effective solution for both of these concerns. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 100,000 people had a tummy tuck in 2020 alone! (1) Alfred Sofer, MD is an award-winning surgeon with over 20 years of experience and performs over 1,000 cosmetic procedures every year. With his expertise in tummy tucks, BBLs, breast lifts, and more, and his commitment to safety, patients enjoy exceptional results. Call his location in Fairfield, Connecticut at (203) 336-9862 or White Plains, New York at (203) 336-9862 for a consultation or more information. You may also fill out our virtual assessment form to take the first step.
- 1 Before and After Photos
- 2 What to Know About Abdominal Fat
- 3 Candidates
- 4 Personal Consultation
- 5 Preparation for a Tummy Tuck
- 6 Procedure
- 7 Recovery and Results
- 8 FAQ
- 9 References
Before and After Photos
What to Know About Abdominal Fat
An excess of abdominal fat can accumulate for a variety of reasons- you don’t even need to be considered overweight or obese to have this issue. The skin of the midsection also naturally develops more laxity with time, meaning that the tissue becomes looser and sags. Like elsewhere on our body, abdominal skin laxity typically becomes noticeable between the ages of 35 and 40 due to the breakdown and loss of collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. (2) These fibers are what keep our skin firm and taut, so as they degrade, fat deposits can start to droop and appear more prominent. Stress, genetic predispositions, major weight loss or gain, pregnancy, and hormonal changes are just a few other factors that can affect the appearance of our abdomen.
During a tummy tuck, both drooping skin and subcutaneous fat can be removed. Subcutaneous fat develops directly under the skin. It makes up roughly 90% of your fat composition, alongside visceral fat, which is what surrounds our organs. While visceral fat is not visible, it still can impact health. Excessive subcutaneous and visceral fat were confirmed to be risk factors for insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. (3) Even though a tummy tuck isn’t designed to help you lose a significant amount of weight, it can reduce abdominal fat, which can improve your health and your confidence!
A tummy tuck is a popular procedure with people who have lost an extreme amount of weight and have excess sagging skin. It’s also common with women who have lost abdominal tone through pregnancy. Many mothers get a breast augmentation or lift at the same time as part of a Mommy Makeover package.
For a tummy tuck procedure, individuals should meet the following criteria:
- You should have no conditions that affect your healing ability.
- You should be at a stable weight with a BMI under 30.
- You are a non-smoker or planning to quit for some time.
- You have excess skin.
- You have excess fat that doesn’t respond to diet or exercise.
If you think a slimmer belly will help you feel more confident, get in touch with Dr. Sofer!
The personal consultation allows you to ask all the questions you need to understand the mommy makeover better. By booking a personal consultation or a virtual assessment, Dr. Sofer can help you figure out if the tummy tuck is right for you. You may get in contact with his locations in White Plains, New York at (203) 336-9862 or Fairfield, Connecticut at (203) 336-9862. As a highly accomplished surgeon with a growth mindset when it comes to learning about new techniques and innovations, Dr. Sofer takes patient satisfaction seriously.
Preparation for a Tummy Tuck
To prepare for a tummy tuck, you will first need to ensure that you are near your ideal weight. Weight loss isn’t the primary goal of a tummy tuck, but some people lose weight as an outcome of having excess skin and fat removed. A diet and exercise plan that will allow you to stay close to your ideal BMI will also highlight your newly contoured, sleek abdomen after surgery.
If you smoke regularly, you will be required to quit about 4 to 6 weeks before your tummy tuck. Nicotine and other cigarette chemicals place stress on the circulatory system, the lungs, and the heart during surgery, and can delay the healing process. In addition, you will have to quit taking blood thinning medication, anti-inflammatories, and certain supplements for roughly 2 weeks before your surgery. These kinds of supplements and medications can cause unwanted bleeding during the procedure and slow down the healing process.
Finally, obtaining gauze pads, comfortable clothing, ice packs, and the prescribed and recommended over-the-counter medications will ensure that you have everything you need to ease your discomfort during recovery. You will need to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and help with basic tasks for the first few days.
During your personal consultation, Dr. Sofer will recommend the type of tummy tuck that will best suit your needs. Each of the following tummy tucks addresses slightly different concerns.
Full Tummy Tuck
A full tummy tuck is the standard, traditional version of the procedure. It is performed under general anesthesia and may take anywhere from 1 to 5 hours– depending on how much tissue needs to be removed and modified. After you’re resting comfortably, Dr. Sofer will make a small incision around the belly button and a horizontal incision just above the pubic area that stretches between the hip bones. Any scarring from this incision is easily concealed under the waistline of clothing or swimsuits.
If necessary, Dr. Sofer will remove excess abdominal fat with liposuction. Tumescent fluid is injected. This solution contains lidocaine for numbing purposes and epinephrine to make fat extraction easier. Then, a thin suction device called a cannula removes fat to create a trim waistline.
After removing the fat and separating the overlying skin from the tissues below, Dr. Sofer will suture the muscles to promote a stronger core after recovery. Sometimes, women who have been pregnant experience diastasis recti (a weakening and separation of the abdominal muscles). The skin is then redraped, any excess is trimmed away, and the incision is closed with sutures. The belly button remains in place during this process, so a new opening in the overlying skin will be made to accommodate the navel. Most patients prefer an “innie” belly button. Dr. Sofer has mastered a variety of techniques to achieve this sought-after effect. With a full tummy tuck, external sutures will be used to close the incisions and will be removed approximately one week after the procedure.
Mini Tummy Tuck
A mini tummy tuck is performed for those who only have excess skin and fat in the lower abdomen.
Extended Tummy Tuck
An extended tummy tuck procedure involves the same incisions required for a full tummy tuck, but they are extended to the sides and lower back. With this method, Dr. Sofer can create a smaller waist and address the flanks as well. Since this is a more complex procedure, it is performed under general anesthesia. In both full and extended tummy tucks, the belly button may be repositioned.
Recovery and Results
After a tummy tuck, someone will have to drive you home. Ideally, you should get someone to help you with your household tasks so that you can focus on resting and recovery for at least one week. Dr. Sofer will prescribe you antibiotics to prevent the risk of infection as well as pain medication to relieve any discomfort. After 2 to 3 weeks, you will likely be able to return to sedentary work.
Within 3 months, you will be able to begin to see your final results as swelling improves. By staying healthy and active, the results of a tummy tuck can last 10 to 20 years! Tummy tucks have been clinically shown to improve quality of life and body confidence. (5)
Can I pair a tummy tuck with another procedure?
Yes, it is very common and popular for women to pair their tummy tucks with a breast lift or a breast augmentation. It may be part of a larger plan to complete a “mommy makeover”- a series of procedures to cosmetically restore a mom’s body after she gives birth.
Do tummy tucks leave scars?
Tummy tucks may leave subtle scars that can remain hidden under a bathing suit. To assist with scar fading, avoid corticosteroids, apply topical scar gels and creams, use scar massage (when you are healed enough) maintain a healthy weight and diet, eat plenty of protein, and avoid sun exposure.
How soon can I get a tummy tuck after pregnancy?
You should wait at least 6 months after giving birth to get a tummy tuck.
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2020 National Plastic Surgery Statistics.; 2021. https://www.plasticsurgery.org/documents/News/Statistics/2020/plastic-surgery-statistics-report-2020.pdf
- Rousseaux I, Robson S. Body Contouring and Skin Tightening Using a Unique Novel Multisource Radiofrequency Energy Delivery Method. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2017;10(4):24-29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5404777/
- Elffers TW, de Mutsert R, Lamb HJ, et al. Body fat distribution, in particular visceral fat, is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors in obese women. PLoS One. 2017;12(9):e0185403. Published 2017 Sep 28. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0185403
- Saariniemi KMM, Salmi AM, Peltoniemi HH, Helle MH, Charpentier P, Kuokkanen HOM. Abdominoplasty Improves Quality of Life, Psychological Distress, and Eating Disorder Symptoms: A Prospective Study. Plastic Surgery International. 2014;2014:197232. doi:https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/197232