Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

tummy tuck patient

It’s no secret that our abdomens tend to expand as we age. Magnified by weight loss, weight gain or pregnancy, tightening and flattening the area around the belly can be difficult and frustrating, especially when efforts like dieting and exercise do nothing for stubborn subcutaneous fat or excess skin. At Ciaravino Total Beauty, Dr. Ciaravino can help you achieve a flat abdomen through a procedure known as a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). A tummy tuck removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen and also tightens the abdominal wall muscles. The results are transformative and striking.

The following information will give you a general overview of a tummy tuck; however, a consultation with Dr. Ciaravino is the best way to determine if a tummy tuck is the right procedure for you.

Am I a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck?

Men and women who are frustrated with excess skin and fat in their abdomen are good candidates for a tummy tuck. A consultation with Dr. Ciaravino is the best way to determine if a tummy tuck is right for you. However, you may be a good candidate for the procedure if:

  • You have a significant amount of excess skin and fat in the abdominal area
  • Liposuction alone didn’t flatten your abdomen
  • The muscles in your abdomen are weak and stretched
  • A C-section left unsightly scarring on your abdomen

It is important that patients seeking a tummy tuck are healthy, don’t smoke, and maintain a stable weight, with a BMI under 30. It is also imperative that patients have realistic expectations of the procedure. Thankfully, you don’t have to figure this out alone. Dr. Ciaravino will guide you every step of the way, starting with a consultation to assess your health, review the areas of concern you want to be treated, and discuss the results you hope to obtain. He will help you determine if a tummy tuck or another procedure would work best to help you achieve your body contouring goals.

The Procedure

Abdominoplasty is performed in an outpatient surgery center or hospital using general anesthesia. A horizontal incision is made below the bikini line, in a half-moon shape, extending from one hip bone to the other. The incision is placed here to limit the visibility of the scar so that it is easily hidden under underwear or a swimsuit bottom. The abdominal skin and fat below the incision are lifted to the appropriate position and removed. Next, sutures are placed internally along the vertical center of the abdomen to tighten and repair the muscles, giving them strength and definition. Then, an additional incision is placed around the navel to pull down and remove the excess skin and fat in the upper abdomen, and a new belly button is created. At this point in the procedure, liposuction can be used to remove fat from the sides of the abdomen and further contour the abdominal area. Finally, sutures and skin adhesives are used to close all incisions.

Prior to being discharged, small drain tubes may be placed in your abdomen to allow blood and fluid to drain from the surgical area. In addition, bandages will be applied to your incisions and a compression bandage or abdominal binder garment may be worn around your abdomen to limit swelling and provide support to area to aid in healing.

Most patients go home the day of surgery. Someone will need to drive you home and stay with you for the next day or two. You will receive detailed post-op instructions from Dr. Ciaravino and his experienced staff to guide you through the recovery process. Follow his instructions closely and call Ciaravino Total Beauty at any time if you have questions or concerns about how you are healing.

Recovery and Down Time

During the first week following a tummy tuck, you will experience mild pain, discomfort and swelling in your abdomen. This is normal and can be managed by pain medication and wearing an abdominal compression garment. During this time, you will need to sleep on your back with your upper body elevated and your knees raised. This position decreases the pressure on the abdomen, internal sutures and incisions.

While walking is important throughout your recovery, you will need to be cautious when moving for the next six weeks. You have internal sutures, as well as external incisions, that need time to heal. Limit movement that stretches or strains the abdomen or the incisions. Don’t exercise or exert yourself. Be patient and careful—doing so will help you heal properly and get you back to your busy, active life faster. Most patients return to work one to two weeks after surgery; however, a full recovery usually takes six to eight weeks.

A tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure, yet thousands are successfully performed each year with beautiful outcomes. However, as with any surgery, certain risks and complications are possible. Although rare, complications from a tummy tuck can include: infection, bleeding, blood clots, poor healing or numbness along the incision, changes in skin color, severe scarring, seroma (fluid accumulation) beneath the skin or continual pain in the abdomen.

Dr. Ciaravino will discuss all of the risks with you before surgery. After surgery, you will be sent home with care instructions. Following the post-op instructions will help to reduce the chances of complications and ensure a full recovery. If, at any time, you have questions or concerns about how you are healing, please contact the staff at Ciaravino Total Beauty.

What Results Can I Expect with a Tummy Tuck?

Removing excess skin and fat in the abdominal area can create a tight, flat, smooth abdomen. You can expect these beautiful results to be permanent by maintaining a stable weight and healthy lifestyle.

Most of Dr. Ciaravino’s patients have experienced positive and dramatic results following a tummy tuck. Some patients have combined a tummy tuck with other procedures, such as liposuction or breast augmentation, for a total body makeover. If you are interested in discussing what a tummy tuck can do for your figure, call Ciaravino Total Beauty today at (713) 627-1200 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ciaravino.

tummy tuck before and after