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Whether from age, lifestyle (diet), or life events (weight loss or pregnancy), many women and men struggle with sagging skin and stubborn fat in their abdomens. These aesthetic concerns can cause men and women to feel self-conscious about their appearance. Luckily, body contouring procedures can help correct these issues and give you a more defined and contoured midsection.

Tummy tuck, also known as “abdominoplasty,” is a plastic surgery procedure that produces a flatter and more slender abdomen by removing excess skin and fat. This procedure can also tighten stretched abdominal muscles to achieve a more toned midsection.

Do I Need a Tummy Tuck?

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, a tummy tuck may be right for you:

  • Are diet and exercises unable to achieve the abdominal appearance you desire?
  • Do you have excess fat and hanging skin following weight loss or pregnancy?
  • Does your abdomen have a loss of skin elasticity or diastasis recti (stretched or separated abdominal muscles) due to pregnancy or aging?
  • Do you want to remove unsightly skin and fat deposits, as well as properly align your abdominal muscles, to produce a more flattering appearance?
  • Is loose skin camouflaging your contours after significant weight loss?
  • Do you have an umbilical hernia that could be treated with a tummy tuck?
  • Are you looking to revamp your midsection?

The ideal tummy tuck patient should be a non-smoking individual who is in good general health and has realistic expectations for their results. At your consultation, Dr. Knowling will evaluate your condition to determine if tummy tuck surgery can help give you the body physique you desire.

What Can a Tummy Tuck Do?

The benefits of tummy tuck surgery are both physical and psychological.

Tighten Abdominal Muscles

Pregnancy, natural aging, and weight gain can cause the abdominal muscles to stretch and separate. These loose muscles often cause the abdomen to permanently protrude from the body, and it is extremely difficult to completely repair these muscles through exercise. After the skin and underlying tissues are separated from the abdominal wall, your abdominal muscles are tightened to improve definition and shape in the midsection.

Remove Stretch Marks

Weight gain and pregnancy are nearly always accompanied by stretch marks as the skin expands. Stretch marks that appear on the skin of the lower abdomen are eliminated as this excess skin is removed. After your tummy tuck surgery, your skin will look and feel smoother and clearer. While a tummy tuck will only remove stretch marks that are located on the excised skin, many patients feel as though their remaining stretch marks are less noticeable.

Eliminate Stubborn Fat

Patients who have achieved a healthy weight are often left with areas of fat deposits that are difficult to eliminate through diet and exercise alone. Liposuction can be performed during the tummy tuck procedure to remove this stubborn fat and produce a more slender appearance. Following your tummy tuck, you’ll be able to wear the clothing you’ve always wanted but could never fit comfortably in.

Improve Confidence

Sagging skin, excess fat and weak muscles in the abdominal region can cause embarrassment and detract from a person’s self-confidence. Many men and women try to cover their midsections with baggy clothing, but hiding your body away is no way to live. Tummy tuck surgery eliminates these problems to produce a flatter and more attractive abdominal area that you won’t be afraid to show off.

How Is a Tummy Tuck Performed?

Tummy Tuck Illustration 1 An incision just above the pubic area is used to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen.
Tummy Tuck Illustration 2Skin is separated from the abdominal wall all the way up to the ribs.
Tummy Tuck Illustration 3The surgeon draws underlying muscle and tissue together and stitches them with internal sutures, thereby narrowing the waistline and strengthening the abdominal wall.
Tummy Tuck Illustration 4Abdominal skin is drawn down and any excess skin is removed. With complete abdominoplasty, a new opening is cut for the navel so that the belly button can be repositioned. Both incisions are then stitched closed and you will be ready to begin your recovery.
Tummy Tuck Illustration 5After surgery, the patient will have a flatter, trimmer abdomen. Scars are permanent, but they will fade with time.

Are All Tummy Tucks the Same?

While the tummy tuck process always follows the above steps, there are several variations of the surgical treatment that targets varying degrees of laxity and excess fat.

  • Standard tummy tuck / traditional tummy tuck: This follows the above diagrams. This technique is commonly used for patients with loose skin and excess fat on the lower and upper abdomen along with some muscle separation. The full tummy tuck is ideal for women after pregnancy or moderate weight loss.
  • Mini tummy tuck: This is a less invasive version of the standard tummy tuck. The mini tummy tuck targets primarily the lower abdomen (below the navel) and does not often recontour the belly button. While this comes with a much shorter incision and recovery period, it is not appropriate for all individuals.
  • Extended tummy tuck / lower body lift: This technique, also known as a circumferential tummy tuck, extends the standard tummy tuck so that it also addresses the hips and lower back. This is most commonly chosen by patients who experienced massive weight loss and now have excess skin.

What Should I Expect for My Tummy Tuck Recovery?

After your tummy tuck, you will experience some bruising and swelling in the surgery area. You may also experience some general soreness; however, these side effects will dissipate over the next several weeks.

It is important that you rest and allow your body time to recover. This means making sure that you do not engage in any strenuous activities, which includes exercise. You should also make sure that you drink plenty of water. Additionally, it is important to not bend at the waist, as this will put pressure on your sutures. Most patients are able to return to their normal, daily activities after about eight weeks.

When Will I See My Tummy Tuck Results?

The results of your abdominoplasty will be evident immediately; however, bruising and swelling will conceal and camouflage their full extent. Most patients notice that their results gradually show over the following one to two months (as swelling subsides), and final results can take up to six months to develop.

How Long Does a Tummy Tuck Last?

The results of a tummy tuck are generally permanent and will last as long as you maintain a healthy weight and do not have a future pregnancy. Abdominal muscle toning exercises are a component of shape maintenance and usually begin at six to eight weeks after the date of procedure.

How Much Is a Tummy Tuck in Alabama?

The exact cost of a tummy tuck procedure will depend on the severity of your condition and several other factors, including surgeon’s fees, anesthesia fees, and facility fees.

During your consultation, Dr. Knowling will evaluate you, listen to your desires regarding body shape and size to help determine the cost of your procedure.

Financing options are available to help you split the cost of your surgery into smaller payments.

Is a Tummy Tuck Covered by Insurance?

Health insurance companies usually do not cover the cost of a tummy tuck if it is undergone solely for cosmetic purposes.

However, Dr. Knowling will physically examine you to determine if there is any medical reason, such as a hernia, that may qualify you for insurance coverage. You may wish to contact your health insurance provider to learn the details of your coverage.

Tummy Tuck FAQ

A: Besides the cosmetic and confidence-boosting benefits offered with abdominoplasty, this procedure can also help to repair umbilical hernias, reduce stress urinary incontinence (SUI), and improve posture.

A: Because tummy tuck surgery is performed under anesthesia, you will not feel any pain or discomfort during your procedure. However, it is common to feel soreness and tightness in the surgical area after your surgery. This discomfort should lessen within a week or two, and any pain can be alleviated with prescribed or over-the-counter pain medication. If pain persists or increases, please contact Dr. Knowling immediately.

A: Most tummy tuck patients require the placement of a drain following their surgery. This will help to remove any excess fluid from the abdomen and prevent seroma. If drains are used after your surgery, they will usually remain in place for about a week. During that time, it will be up to you to empty and monitor the amount of fluid. Dr. Knowling and his team will help guide you through that process.

A: Yes. Abdominoplasty patients are required to wear a compression garment/abdominal binder for at least six weeks after their surgery. This will help reduce swelling and protect the healing incision. It will also help restore some comfort to the area.

A. The incision for tummy tuck surgery is strategically placed along the lower abdomen so that the resulting scar can easily be hidden beneath undergarments and bathing suits. Your scar will continue to improve and fade over time, and protecting it from the sun will help prevent it from darkening.

A: Yes! Many patients choose to combine their tummy tuck surgery with other cosmetic procedures. Combining procedures allows for a more dynamic physical transformation to your body, and doing so will also reduce the overall cost and recovery time, as you will be having the procedures and recovering from them at the same time. Some of the procedures most commonly combined with tummy tuck surgery are:

When the above procedures are combined with a tummy tuck, it is known as a Mommy Makeover since it addresses the areas most commonly affected by pregnancy and childbirth.

A. Most patients plan for a two week recovery off work, some longer. Exercise activities can generally resume in a limited fashion at two weeks after the date of the procedure. Strenuous exertion or resistance training usually resumes at six weeks. Be sure that you are cleared by Dr. Knowling before resuming any strenuous activities.

A: Most patients can resume driving two to three weeks after their tummy tuck. Before you return to the road, however, you need to have stopped taking all prescription medications and should have full range of movement back in your upper body.

Have additional questions about the Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) in Huntsville, AL procedure? Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Knowling for further information.