by Christine G. Adamo
A tummy tuck
isn’t a plastic surgery miracle. So, despite the myths floating around out there, focus on finding a board-certified plastic surgeon who’s clear about what abdominoplasty can and can’t do for you.
The benefits of a tummy tuck typically include:
- a reduction in loose, saggy abdominal skin.
- a tightening of weak abdominal muscles.
- a sleeker, more slender stomach line.
- a boost in body confidence.
- a sexier silhouette.
Caring plastic surgeons want to answer questions about their training and prior patient outcomes. They’re happy to show off tummy tuck before and after photos
. Another way to evaluate a plastic surgeon’s savvy is by educating yourself in tummy tuck truths and myths.
Tummy Tuck Truth or Myth?
#1: There’s only one way to tuck that tummy…
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to tummy tuck surgery. Your options may include a mini tummy tuck, a full tummy tuck, a mommy makeover
or some other body contouring combination. The only way to know which one suits you is to consult with an experienced plastic surgeon.
A mini tuck usually addresses the lower abdomen. A full tuck covers more territory, takes longer to complete and requires additional recovery. A full tuck typically involves repositioning the belly button. Depending on your needs, liposuction
or liposuction with breast augmentation (a.k.a. a mommy makeover) may also be recommended.
#2: Tummy tucks are a great way to lose weight!
A tummy tuck is not a weight loss strategy. Abdominoplasty changes your stomach’s appearance through the removal of excess skin and the tightening of weak muscles. This makes the ab area taut, but – at most – you may lose 10 lbs. of tissue or skin.
In fact, your weight must be stable before a tummy tuck is recommended. That’s because fluctuations in weight beforehand or afterward (ex: due to pregnancy) will alter your long-term results. Poor overall health, yo-yo dieting and a lack of regular exercise may worry your plastic surgeon.
#3: A tummy tuck is one surefire way to get rid of stretch marks!
A tummy tuck isn’t a stretch mark cure. Some skin removed may fall in areas where stretch marks appear. If so, you’re in luck! Before a tuck, your surgeon will map out areas to be worked on. That’s when you’ll know if stretch marks are included.
Remember, too, that this is still a surgery. Tummy tucks leave their own scars, but they’re usually strategically placed along the lower abdomen and/or around the belly button to help keep them hidden.
#4: It’s either liposuction or a tummy tuck – take your pick!
These procedures do not have to be done separately. When tummy tuck surgery is combined with liposuction, recovery times and post-surgical pain levels increase. But, an April 2012 report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons shows that tummy tuck patients rave about the results of liposuction plus abdominoplasty. Why? When combined, they markedly increased self esteem and quality of life.
#5: Real men don’t get tummy tucks!
Women aren’t the only ones interested in tummy tucks. The ASPS says that in 2012, men’s interest in cosmetic plastic surgery rose. The ASPS also shows that in 2010, 1.1 million plastic surgery procedures were performed on men (ex: Botox®, breast reduction, tummy tuck). So, real men do want to look young, fit and sexy – with tighter abs and a trimmer waistline.
Other Tummy Tuck Truths to Consider
A few other tummy tuck truths to consider…
Abdominoplasty is serious surgery. After a tummy tuck, it’s not uncommon to experience soreness, swelling, pain and/or numbness. You’ll be wrapped in bandages, may need to care for sutures and will be unable to bathe right away.
Most patients require 1-3 weeks of recovery before going back to work. You should double or triple that wait before resuming exercise or strenuous activity. If you’ve had a mini tuck instead of a full tuck you may recover more quickly.