Most men and women want to achieve a flat and well-toned midsection. Because of this, they often engage in exercise and a controlled diet, but, often times these methods are not entirely effective and do not give the expected outcomes.
Especially after pregnancy or significant weight loss, many people have overstretched or sagging skin, stubborn pockets of fat, and even separated rectus abdominis muscles. A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic surgery that eliminates excess fat and skin, and tightens separated abdominal muscles, to create a smooth and firm abdomen.
Types of Tummy Tuck
Dr. Jonathan Lee—our experienced plastic surgeon—will help guide you in determining the best option based on your individual body shape and proportions. The most common options are:
Traditional Tummy Tuck
This is the most common form of tummy tuck. An Incision is placed as low as possible within the pubic area and extends to either hip-bone and around the belly button. This allows Dr. Lee to access and tighten the abdominal muscles and remove any excess skin. The belly button is then repositioned to obtain a natural looking result. This procedure is often performed in combination with liposuction to obtain a slim, firmer, and flatter midsection. Dr. Lee will ensure that incisions are carefully planned so that they can ideally be hidden beneath underwear and bikinis.
Mini Tummy Tuck
This procedure is limited to the part of the abdomen that is below the navel. A smaller incision is typically used compared to the full tummy tuck and there is no need to reposition the belly button. Also, Mini tummy tucks often have less recovery time than the traditional approach.
Good Candidates for a Tummy Tuck
Both men and women may be candidates for a tummy tuck provided they are in good health, do not smoke, and have a stable weight.
Typical Candidates Include:
- Women with flab, stretch marks, excess skin, or a protruding belly that fails to improve with diet and exercise
- Men or women who have an excess amount of sagging skin due to significant weight loss
- Women who are planning to get pregnant in the future are advised to delay surgery until they are finished having children.
Dr. Jonathan Lee (MD, FRCSC) is an experienced, Canadian and New York fellowship-trained Plastic Surgeon based in Calgary. Well-established, he is board certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and specializes in both cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.
Before the Surgery
During your initial consultation, Dr. Lee will perform a thorough evaluation of your abdomen and body shape. He will determine if you are a good candidate for a tummy tuck and make a recommendation tailored to your specific goals. He may also advise combining your tummy tuck with liposuction should you have any excess fat in the lower back, flank area, or hips in order to create an hour-glass figure. Pre-treatment photos will be taken and any potential risks and complications will also be discussed.
Dr. Lee always encourages his patients to bring in photos of body shapes and sizes that they find attractive. This often helps in the discussion and visualization of the target goals.
After the Surgery
A tummy tuck is performed under a general anesthetic and will take approximately 2.5 hours to complete. Most patients are able to return home two hours following the surgery. Occasionally, a surgical drain is used to prevent any fluid build up and it is usually removed after one week.
Most patients will experience some pain along the abdominal wall that usually settles within a few weeks. Dr. Lee will prescribe you a pain reliever to ensure your comfort. Most patients can return to work after 2 weeks but no strenuous activity or going to the gym is advised until at least the fourth week.
A supportive compression garment is usually worn for the first three weeks following surgery in order to reduce swelling and aid in the healing process.
Dr. Lee will typically see you within one week after the surgery At this time, he will also provide you with detailed scar care instructions. The next visits will be after 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 1 year.
Tightening of the underlying rectus abdominis muscles