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What is a Tummy Tuck?

Sometimes you can’t achieve the flat and toned abdomen you want just through diet and exercise. Weight fluctuations, prior pregnancies, prior surgery, and aging can all make it more difficult.

Tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, improves your abdominal contour by removing excess fat and skin, and tightens abdominal muscles weakened or separated by pregnancy. Liposuction can be added to optimize results. A tummy tuck can be part of a “mommy makeover,” a combination of procedures to help restore women’s shape after childbearing. Men also are candidates for abdominoplasty after weight loss, and in combination with liposuction to improve their waistlines.

You’ll have the best results from a tummy tuck if your weight is stable, you are otherwise healthy, and you don’t smoke.

How is an Abdominoplasty Performed?

Santa Rosa plastic surgeon Kristen Yee, MD, FACS typically does abdominoplasties under general anesthesia. Depending on your abdominal contour, you might have a limited incision, or you might have a longer incision extending to the hips; usually the scars are easily concealed under swimsuits or underwear.

The abdominal skin and soft tissue are separated from the underlying muscle, and then the muscles are tightened, like an internal corset. Often there is a separate incision to relocate the umbilicus (belly button) or sometimes a vertical incision is added to remove excess skin when indicated.

What is the Recovery From an Abdominoplasty Like?

You should have someone stay with you for the first few days and help you with your first shower. You will have drains at the surgical site and need to take it easy for several weeks postoperatively. Depending on the kind of work you do, you should plan several weeks off from work, and cutting back on exercise during the recovery period. Because the goal of a tummy tuck is to tighten the abdominal area, you will wear a compression garment and need to limit abdominal movement and stretch by walking with knees bent, getting up and moving carefully for the first few weeks. Keeping a high protein diet, avoiding bloating and staying mobile are all important parts of recovery.

For more information and personalized recommendations on your options for abdominoplasty, please call to schedule a consultation with Dr. Yee.