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"I'm a perfectionist, and I could tell right away that Dr. Repta was a perfectionist, too. He made me feel comfortable and confident, and he has the best bedside manner of any doctor I've ever known. My results exceeded my expectations."View Real Patient Stories Request Your Consultation
patients share their stories
"Dr. Repta was very unhurried. He encouraged me to ask questions, and he listened to everything I had to say. I could tell he cared that I wanted to know everything about plastic surgery before going through with my tummy tuck."View Real Patient Stories Request Your Consultation
About Tummy Tuck Surgery
Tummy tuck surgery has the potential to create amazing improvement in both physical appearance and self-esteem in men and women who have either lost weight or have had children.
Although the tummy tuck procedure has been around for a while, it has been constantly improved over the years to provide better results and a quicker recovery for a wider variety of patient body types.
A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is actually a general term for a number of procedures that surgically improve the appearance of the abdomen and waist. The most common tummy tuck is also referred to as a full tummy tuck, and it is the procedure that most patients are candidates for. A full tummy tuck involves the following:
- A horizontal incision near the lowest part of the waist. This allows access to the abdominal muscles and belly button (umbilicus), as well as the ability to free up the abdominal skin and soft tissue all the way up to the rib cage. The length of the incision varies for each patient depending on the amount of extra skin present.
- An incision around the belly button. This releases the belly button stalk from the abdominal skin and soft tissue and allows the appearance of the belly button to be rejuvenated when it is sutured back into the abdominal skin that gets pulled down as part of the tummy tuck procedure.
- Tightening of the abdominal wall commonly referred to as muscle repair. This helps to narrow the waist and gives a flatter side profile.
- Liposuction. Excess fat on the abdomen, flanks, and waist is thinned to match the anticipated effect of the tummy tuck procedure. Doing so helps "blend" the tummy tuck results into the waist.
There are various other types of tummy tuck procedures, such as mini tummy tuck, extended tummy tuck, circumferential tummy tuck, endoscopic tummy tuck, and reverse tummy tuck. More in-depth information of these different types of tummy tuck procedures can be found on the specific pages of the website.
Most tummy tuck procedures are performed as outpatient surgery. Depending on patient preference, availability of a home caregiver, and the complexity of the specific tummy tuck procedure, some patients may benefit from an overnight stay in a recovery center.
Top Concerns Addressed
Although the tummy tuck procedure can provide amazing results and a profound transformation, it can be a scary process to consider and go through. The more you know about the process of undergoing a tummy tuck, the more confident and secure you will feel about starting the journey. So let's cover some of the most common questions and concerns that prospective tummy tuck patients often have.
"I am scared about how much pain I will be in after a tummy tuck."
Tummy tuck surgery is a big procedure, and you should be prepared to take some time off and experience some discomfort while recovering. Long-term injectable numbing medication or a pain pump often helps. With this medication that is injected at the time of surgery, discomfort is often around 1 to 3 on a scale of 10. Patients should plan on taking at around 2 weeks of time off work for recovery.
"I want to get a tummy tuck but don't want the ugly scar."
When performed properly, a tummy tuck incision should be very low and hidden within the bikini bottoms. The quality of the incision is determined by how the incision is repaired but also by genetics and how carefully the patient takes care of himself or herself during the recovery. I don't think I remember a patient who has not been happy to trade the presence of the incision scar for the results obtained from a tummy tuck procedure.
"How much does a full tummy tuck cost?"
The total cost of a full tummy tuck will vary based on the plastic surgeon, the area of the country, and how much work is required for the patient. In general, most full tummy tuck patients should expect to pay anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000.
"Am I a good tummy tuck candidate?"
Many patients who have loose abdominal skin are often candidates for some type of tummy tuck procedure. General health and weight status (BMI) are often the most important factors considered in determining whether someone is a good candidate for a tummy tuck procedure.
"What are the possible risks or complications of a tummy tuck procedure?"
There is always risk associated with surgery. Complications are best thought of as either minor or major. The most common complications are minor and often involve a suture knot being exposed ("spitting") or seroma fluid accumulating (healing fluid collecting). These minor complications are easily taken care of in the office and have essentially no impact on the final result. Major complications include blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis, DVT) and large wound healing issues. Luckily these are very rare, and educating the patient as well as refining the tummy tuck surgery process can reduce the chance of such complications.
"What if I get pregnant after a tummy tuck?"
Ideally, tummy tuck surgery would occur after a woman's final pregnancy. Doing so would be beneficial because future pregnancies would undo some of the tummy tuck results. A tummy tuck procedure will not, however, impact the general safety of pregnancy should it occur. For some patients, especially after significant weight loss, a tummy tuck may be needed prior to pregnancy. When this occurs, a revision tummy tuck can be performed later on to correct and improve the appearance of the abdomen after the final pregnancy.
"I want to get a tummy tuck but I am really scared of being under general anesthesia."
It's not uncommon to have some anxiety about undergoing general anesthesia. The good news is that general anesthesia is safe. In my practice I use a board-certified anesthesiologist who understands the tummy tuck surgery process and provides just enough anesthesia to keep you comfortable and safe. I always place a lot of numbing medication prior to starting, which allows the anesthesiologist to give less general anesthesia during surgery.
"Will I have drains after the tummy tuck?"
There are different types of tummy tuck procedures, and some benefit from a drain while others do not. In my practice I have found that using one drain, which comes out just beneath the incision on the right side, provides the best balance of results and comfort. The drain stays in only as long as the body needs it, often about 1 week.
"I am concerned about the appearance of my belly button after the tummy tuck."
The belly button is perhaps the most important part of the tummy tuck. The ideal tummy tuck belly button is centered, rejuvenated, appropriately sized, and has an incision that is well healed and hidden.
"I just want a mini tummy tuck incision."
It's normal to want a shorter incision and perhaps avoid having to undergo a bigger procedure. The mini tummy tuck procedure, however, is only beneficial for certain patients who are ideal candidates. Full tummy tuck patients that undergo a mini tummy tuck are often disappointed with the results. I always tell my patients to strive for the best contour and result possible and then accept the procedure and incision that will help them accomplish that.
I hope that the information above and the information on this site will help you feel better informed and empowered about your tummy tuck journey. I encourage you to read my blog and ask any questions you may have. By sharing information and experience, current and future tummy tuck patients can help one another.