The abdomen is an area of concern for many women. But at Karol Gutowski, MD, in Chicago, IL, we are proud to help women of all ages achieve a tighter, slimmer, and overall more appealing abdominal contour via abdominoplasty — also known as a tummy tuck.
You probably have lots of questions about tummy tuck surgery, and we’re here to answer them. Keep reading to learn the answers to eight of the most frequently asked questions about tummy tucks.
1. What Is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is a type of plastic surgery. It consists of taking away excess skin and fat from the abdomen. During a tummy tuck, we make an incision along the very bottom of your abdomen. Then, we pull the abdominal skin taut, trim off the excess, and suture the skin back together.
A tummy tuck is not a weight loss procedure, but it can help you achieve a firmer and better-toned abdomen.
2. What Are the Different Types of Tummy Tucks?
Everybody has a unique body. That’s why no two tummy tuck procedures are ever identical. We offer the following tummy tuck procedures to address loose and sagging skin of all sizes and shapes:
- Full tummy tuck
- Extended tummy tuck
- Mini tummy tuck
The type of tummy tuck that is right for you will depend on how much loose skin you have and where it is located.
Full Tummy Tuck
A full tummy tuck is meant to address loose or sagging skin along the entire length of your abdomen — both above and below your navel. During this procedure, we make a horizontal incision just above the pubic area, from one hip to the other.
If you have had a C-section in the past, we can make the incision in the same place so you won’t have any additional scarring.
Some patients have a little excess fat in this area. We can remove this fat using liposuction before tightening your skin.
Extended Tummy Tuck
People who have undergone extreme weight loss journeys often require an extended tummy tuck to address the loose skin on their sides and around their flanks. With an extended tummy tuck, we make a wider incision that extends over the hips on either side to create a more cohesive 360-degree image.
Mini Tummy Tuck
A mini tummy tuck is ideal for people who have moderate loose skin centralized around their lower abdomens. During a mini tummy tuck, we target the area below your belly button. This type of tummy tuck requires the smallest incision and does not alter the appearance or location of your belly button.
3. Can a Tummy Tuck Repair Damaged Abdominal Muscles?
Yes! Weakened or separated abdominal muscles are a common occurrence during pregnancy or as a result of weight fluctuations. We can tighten and repair these damaged muscles using strategic sutures during a full or extended tummy tuck.
If the separation is wide enough, we can even use a unique form of absorbable mesh to provide additional support and hold the muscles in place.
4. What Is a No-Drain Tummy Tuck?
A no-drain tummy tuck is a unique approach developed to eliminate the need for plastic drainage tubes during the recovery process. Using absorbable internal barbed sutures, we are able to effectively prevent fluid buildup while simplifying and shortening the recovery process.
5. What Is Tummy Tuck Recovery Like?
As with any surgical procedure, tummy tuck recovery doesn’t happen overnight. Following your tummy tuck, you will need to wear a compression garment for the duration of your recovery and take meticulous care of your incision.
One major benefit of our no-drain tummy tucks is that you will be able to resume light activities and exercise in just one to two weeks. This is significantly sooner than you’d be able to with a traditional tummy tuck.
It’s important that you take any medications we prescribe and follow our aftercare instructions carefully. The no-drain tummy tuck recovery process can take up to six weeks.
6. How Big Is a Tummy Tuck Scar?
The size of your tummy tuck scar will depend on what kind of tummy tuck you receive. Extended tummy tucks require larger incisions, while mini tummy tucks require smaller ones. We carefully make these incisions in discreet areas, and any tummy tuck scars should be minimal with proper care.
7. Can Tummy Tucks Be Combined with Other Procedures?
Tummy tucks are often combined with other procedures, such as the following:
- Breast lift
- Breast augmentation
- Fat transfer
- Thigh lift
- Arm lift
- Butt lift
If you have multiple cosmetic concerns, it’s a good idea to combine procedures to save you time, money, and office visits.
8. Who Is a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?
In general, there are only a few guidelines you must meet to be a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery. You should:
- Be in good overall health
- Be a nonsmoker
- Be at a healthy weight
- Have realistic expectations for the surgery
- Have no plans to become pregnant in the future
Getting pregnant after a tummy tuck may reverse the effects of the procedure, so we recommend waiting until you have finished growing your family to have a tummy tuck.
Experience the Benefits of Tummy Tuck Surgery in Chicago, IL
Whether childbirth has left you with the notorious mom pooch or major weight loss has led to loose skin on your abdomen, a tummy tuck at Karol Gutowski, MD, can help you love your tummy again. Contact us today to schedule your personalized consultation.