Tummy Tuck

Abdominoplasty, often called a tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure that can help you tighten abdominal muscles and remove loose skin and fat, getting you well on your way to enjoying a flatter, more sculpted stomach. There are many reasons why tummy tuck patients from Phoenix and Scottsdale are ready to improve their abdominal appearance.

Receive a cosmetic consultation with Dr. Cohen or Dr. Sigalove to learn more about tummy tuck. Our facility is conveniently located for women and men living in Tempe, Paradise Valley and other areas of Greater Phoenix, AZ.

Considering a Tummy Tuck?

The abdominal wall (which contains the abdominal muscles) can become stretched out during pregnancy or as a result of significant weight gain. If the elastic tissue of the abdominal wall is stretched too much, or too many times, it will not “snap back” to its original position. It is similar to an old rubber band, which is loose and no longer works well. This weakened abdominal wall provides less support and allows the internal organs to bulge out, giving the belly a fuller appearance. This problem is particularly common in women who have had multiple pregnancies.

Other tummy tuck patients have excess skin of the abdominal area, usually after significant weight gain and then weight loss. In this case, the skin itself (as opposed to the abdominal wall) becomes loose and stretched out. If a person loses more weight, the skin often sags to an even greater degree.

The stretching of the abdominal wall and skin can occur individually or in combination, and will not improve with exercise or sit-ups. Luckily, for patients with these problems, we are able to flatten and tighten their midsections with a tummy tuck.

What Is Diastasis Recti and How Do You Repair It?

Diastasis recti is the name for a separation of the abdominal muscles that normally run vertically down the front of the abdomen. This condition usually occurs during pregnancy but is also associated with C-section deliveries. In men, heavy lifting and sudden weight gain can cause diastasis recti. In most cases, tummy tuck surgery is needed to repair the abdominal muscles.

Choosing Plastic Surgery

As with all surgeries, our plastic surgeons, certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, draw on their knowledge to specifically customize the technique they use for each person to address each of their issues. For mild sagging of the lower abdominal skin, a mini-abdominoplasty often will be enough to remove the excess skin and smooth and flatten the abdomen. With more significant excess skin, we perform a greater degree of skin tailoring. Frequently, the abdominal wall needs tightening as well. In these cases, your surgeon will create an “internal corset” that tightens the abdominal wall and narrows the contour of the waist. After the internal corset is finished, the excess skin is tailored to fit snugly against the flatter, narrower abdominal wall.

Do I Need a Tummy Tuck, Liposuction, or Both?

Tummy tuck and liposuction are body contouring procedures used for different purposes.

  • Tummy tuck surgery removes lax abdominal skin and reduces a tummy bulge caused by stretched and separated abdominal muscles.
  • Liposuction removes isolated pockets of fat. It can be a good choice on its own when the skin and abdominal muscles are not a concern.

Many patients attain excellent results from a tummy tuck combined with liposuction of the flanks (love handles) and waist, which can be performed through the tummy tuck incision.

Tummy Tuck Recovery

While patient experiences vary, recovery after a full tummy tuck typically includes the following milestones:

Return to work: Patients can return to nonstrenuous jobs in about 2 to 4 weeks.

Wear compression garments: Patients will need to wear a supportive abdominal wrap for 4 to 6 weeks to minimize swelling and support the surgical area as it heals.

Stand upright: To avoid putting tension on the incision, keep your abdomen flexed (bent over) for the first 10 to 14 days.

Lifting restrictions: Avoid lifting anything that weighs more than a pound for the first 2 weeks. From week 2 to 4, limit lifting to 5 to 10 pounds. After week 4, the weight can gradually be increased. At 6 weeks, most patients are ready to go without restrictions.

Resume exercise: Gentle walking is important starting the day of or the day after surgery to avoid blood clots and help the healing process. At 3 weeks, patients can begin easy, non-impact activities. Most patients can resume strenuous exercise without restrictions at 6 weeks. It’s important to listen to your body and get your doctor’s clearance before jumping back into your regular routine.

Back to normal: At 3 to 5 months, swelling has faded significantly, tightness has eased, and patients feel like themselves again.

If you want to learn more about what to expect during the recovery process following a tummy tuck, we encourage you to read our Post-Op FAQ. It covers post-operative issues such as incision care, time away from work, and the ability to engage in exercise and other activities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is tummy tuck surgery painful?

Discomfort, mainly due to muscle tightening, is most significant the first week after surgery; however, it is typically controlled with prescription medication. The vast majority of tummy tuck patients say that any discomfort after surgery is well worth the improvements they gain.

How long before I’ll see my final results after surgery?

Most of the swelling dissipates within 3 to 5 months, allowing the majority of patients to enjoy the results of their surgery. It can take up to a year to achieve final tummy tuck results.

Does a tummy tuck get rid of stretch marks?

A tummy tuck removes excess lax abdominal skin and any stretch marks below the bellybutton. It also moves stretch marks and skin above the bellybutton down where they can usually be covered by underwear and swimsuits.

Will I have surgical drains?

Most tummy tuck patients have surgical drains for about 2 weeks to prevent the buildup of fluid within the abdomen.

How long does a tummy tuck last?

Tummy tuck results last indefinitely as long as you maintain your weight and do not become pregnant.

How many sizes will I lose?

While most patients do not lose a significant amount of weight, many lose 2 to 3 pant sizes after a tummy tuck with the removal of excess skin and fat and abdominal muscle repair.

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