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What You Need to Know about Tummy Tucks

Overview A tummy tuck removes excess stomach fat and skin, while also tightening abdominal muscles to produce a flatter, firmer midsection.
The Ideal Candidate Someone who has already lost weight through diet and exercise, but is concerned with stretched muscles, loose skin, or a belly that protrudes more than it ought to.
Target Areas Midsection
Average Cost $6,000 – $10,000
Recovery
  • 10 days off work
  • 6-8 weeks without strenuous exercise
Overview
A tummy tuck removes excess stomach fat and skin, while also tightening abdominal muscles to produce a flatter, firmer midsection.
The Ideal Candidate
Someone who has already lost weight through diet and exercise, but is concerned with stretched muscles, loose skin, or a belly that protrudes more than it ought to.
Target Areas
Midsection
Average Cost
$6,000 – $10,000
Recovery
  • 10 days off work
  • 6-10 weeks without strenuous exercise

Find out If a Tummy Tuck Will Be Right for You

Schedule a Tummy Tuck Consultation

What Is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck, sometimes called an abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that removes excess stomach fat and skin while also tightening the mid and lower abdominal muscles to reduce stomach protrusion. This helps patients achieve flatter, firmer midsections and healthier, more youthful appearances.

It’s important to understand that a tummy tuck is not a weight loss solution. The best candidates are ones who have already reached or neared their ideal weight, but continue to struggle with loose skin, excess fat, and weakened muscles.

 

Why Do People Undergo a Tummy Tuck?

Patients choose to undergo tummy tucks for a variety of reasons, whether they want to:

  • Achieve a more defined waistline.
  • Remove stubborn fat, sagging skin, and stretch marks.
  • Tone the muscles in their abdomen.
  • Boost their confidence and self-esteem.

Tummy tucks are popular for both men and women, especially those whose bodies have experienced dramatic changes due to weight loss or pregnancy.

Find out If a Tummy Tuck Will Be Right for You

Schedule a Tummy Tuck Consultation

Who Is a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is a good option for someone who has:

  • Already lost weight through dieting and exercising, but whose abdomen still protrudes and lacks tone
  • Stretched or sagging abdominal muscles due to pregnancy
  • Lost a significant amount of weight and has loose, excess skin around their belly
  • Always had a belly that protrudes more than it ought to, despite being in good shape

After a tummy tuck, patients can expect skin folds, stretch marks, loose skin, and excess fat to be greatly reduced.

Dr. Sleightholm’s Approach to Tummy Tucks

Dr. Sleightholm specializes in body shaping procedures, including tummy tucks, and takes great pride in ensuring scarring will be as discrete as possible. He typically makes incisions below the bikini line, an area normally covered by underwear, to keep scars hidden after they heal.

Keep in mind that individual approaches to tummy tucks will vary. Some patients (typically men) will benefit from a less invasive procedure that targets excess skin and fat, leaving the muscles untouched. Women whose muscles have become stretched due to one or more pregnancies usually require a full or normal tummy tuck that addresses surplus skin and fat as well as weakened muscles. Regardless, scarring will be the same (hip to hip) for all tummy tuck procedures.

Ultimately Dr. Sleightholm will work with you to assess your needs, goals, and desires to determine what approach will be best for you.

Find out If a Tummy Tuck Will Be Right for You

Schedule a Tummy Tuck Consultation

What to Expect

Before Your Procedure

The first step you’ll need to take will be the consultation with Dr. Sleightholm and his surgical consultant. During your consult, you can expect to discuss things like:

  • Why you’re considering a tummy tuck.
  • What your goals and expectations are.
  • Which areas of your body you’d like to address.
  • Your medical history, including any medications you’re currently taking.

Your consult also gives you time to learn about and get to know each cosmetic surgeon and clinic. Reflect on things like how comfortable they make you feel, how much experience they have in performing the procedure you’re interested in, and what credentials they can demonstrate.

If you choose to have a tummy tuck at Brampton Cosmetic, we’ll give you some resources you’ll need to read and complete before your surgery:

  • Consent Forms: You need to sign these to confirm you understand the nature of the procedure as well as any risks that might be associated with it.
  • Preoperative Instructions: These will go over a range of topics including how you should prepare in the days leading up to your surgery, any medications you should and shouldn’t take, and more.

If you have any questions or concerns about the procedure itself or any of the documents, be sure to talk about them with your cosmetic surgeon in advance.

During Your Procedure

Your surgery will be performed under general anaesthesia. During the procedure, Dr. Sleightholm will typically make two incisions: the first a horizontal one extending along the bikini line (from hipbone to hipbone) and the second one around your bellybutton (or navel).

After lifting the skin, Dr. Sleightholm will begin by realigning the weakened muscles beneath and suturing them vertically. He will then remove any excess fat and skin (stretch marks included) left below the incision. Dr. Sleightholm will reposition your naval and suture it into place as well. Finally, the remaining horizontal incisions will be closed.

After Your Procedure

It’s important to emphasise that a tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure affecting the body’s core muscles that are responsible for helping you stand, lift, and even sit up straight. As a result, you should expect that recovery times will be longer compared to other procedures.

The First Few Days

Expect to spend your first three days relaxing and taking it easy. You should not yet shower and will need to keep your compression garment on at all times, though you should start taking short walks when you feel well enough. This will encourage good circulation and ease swelling. Take pain medication and antibiotics precisely as instructed in order to keep pain under control and reduce risks of infection.

You’ll also need to monitor your drain, which Dr. Sleightholm will put in place to reduce the amount of fluid that accumulates in your body. You’ll need to measure outputs and empty drains as often as is required. We, Dr. Sleightholm and Brampton Cosmetic, will provide written and verbal instructions about how to look after your drain.

On the fourth day you’ll be able to bathe, keeping in mind that someone will likely need to assist you as you will neither be able to bend nor lift your arms, and wash your compression garment. Let your compression garment air dry completely before putting it back on.

We’ll schedule your follow-up appointment for about a week after your procedure. We’ll use this opportunity to ensure you’re healing well and answer any questions you have. Dr. Sleightholm might choose to remove the drain at this stage, though you might need to keep it in place for an additional week.

The First Few Weeks

As you begin to feel better, you can start extending the length of your walks and getting back into other light exercises. You’ll want to avoid workouts that are too strenuous, especially anything that puts tension on your core, for at least six weeks.

Dr. Sleightholm will ask that you continue to wear your compression garment for up to six weeks as well in order to minimize swelling, keep you more comfortable, and support your abdominal muscles as they heal. We will provide you with your first-stage compression garment, though you will need to purchase your second-stage garment when you’re ready to transition into it.

The First Few Months

Patients are typically able to fully resume their normal day-to-day activities (including more demanding exercises) after approximately eight weeks. Remember that, although you will notice some positive changes right away, complete recovery will take up to one year. The key is to be patient with your body as it heals, giving it time to adjust to its new shape, and following your surgeon’s advice in order to achieve the best results.

Maintaining Your Healthy Lifestyle

Undergoing a tummy tuck doesn’t mean you get to lay off your healthy lifestyle. In order to maintain your results over the long term, you need to keep up with the diet and exercise regimens that got you there.

Remember—staying healthy is the key to sustaining your results!

Surgical Procedures That Can Complement a Tummy Tuck

Liposuction

Breast Augmentation

Breast Lift

Liposuction permanently removes excess fat in cosmetically important areas to sculpt an improved body contour. Some of the areas commonly targeted include the hips, abdomen, arms, thighs, love handles, spots around the chest, buttocks, neckline, and areas around the chin.

Liposuction is popular for both men and women, especially those who want to eliminate unwanted fat in one or a few key spots.

Learn More

A breast augmentation is a procedure to enlarge breasts by one or more cup sizes and enhance their shape. This is done by placing implants underneath the chest wall muscle or behind existing breast tissue. In either situation, the implants are centred beneath the nipples.

The ultimate goal is to produce beautiful, natural-looking results that give patients confidence in their figures for many years to come.

Learn More

A breast lift is a procedure to lift or elevate sagging breasts, resulting in a more youthful breast contour.

Before the procedure, patients typically have large breasts that sag due to age or weight. After the breast lift procedure, patients typically look forward to a fuller contour that is elevated. Your breasts will have a more youthful shape to meet your desired appearance.

Learn More

Liposuction

Liposuction permanently removes excess fat in cosmetically important areas to sculpt an improved body contour. Some of the areas commonly targeted include the hips, abdomen, arms, thighs, love handles, spots around the chest, buttocks, neckline, and areas around the chin.

Liposuction is popular for both men and women, especially those who want to eliminate unwanted fat in one or a few key spots.

Learn more

Breast Augmentation

A breast augmentation is a procedure to enlarge breasts by one or more cup sizes and enhance their shape. This is done by placing implants underneath the chest wall muscle or behind existing breast tissue. In either situation, the implants are centred beneath the nipples.

The ultimate goal is to produce beautiful, natural-looking results that give patients confidence in their figures for many years to come.

Learn more

Breast Lift

A breast lift is a procedure to lift or elevate sagging breasts, resulting in a more youthful breast contour.

Before the procedure, patients typically have large breasts that sag due to age or weight. After the breast lift procedure, patients typically look forward to a fuller contour that is elevated. Your breasts will have a more youthful shape to meet your desired appearance.

Learn more

Find out If a Tummy Tuck Will Be Right for You

Schedule a Tummy Tuck Consultation

Frequently Asked Questions about Tummy Tucks

Can a tummy tuck help me lose weight?

One of the most important things to emphasise about a tummy tuck is that it is not a substitute for healthy dieting and exercising and is not a weight loss solution. The best candidates will have already reached or neared their target weight, but find themselves plagued by excess fat in key spots or loose skin.

Tummy tucks (like liposuction) cannot get rid of visceral fat, which builds up in the abdominal cavity in between and around internal organs and can only be reduced through healthy dieting and exercising. Instead, tummy tucks target subcutaneous fat, which is located directly beneath your skin.

Can a tummy tuck help me get rid of stretch marks?

In a way, yes. Although a tummy tuck is not specifically meant to remove stretch marks, if there are stretch marks on the skin that is excised then they will be removed also.

Will my results last permanently?

A tummy tuck can produce long-term results provided you maintain a healthy lifestyle, diet, and weight.

Keep in mind that there are things that can negatively impact the longevity of your results including weight fluctuations and the natural effects of aging. Future pregnancies can also compromise the results you’ve achieved by re-stretching your abdominal muscles (though undergoing a tummy tuck won’t prevent you from becoming pregnant down the road), which is why we typically recommend patients wait to have a tummy tuck until they’re done having children.

Can I have a baby after undergoing a tummy tuck?

Undergoing a tummy tuck won’t prevent you from having children later. Future pregnancies, however, will likely have a negative impact on the results you have achieved by re-stretching your abdominal muscles. It’s for this reason that we typically recommend patients wait to have a tummy tuck until they’re finished having children.

Can I treat more than one area during a single session by combining a tummy tuck with other procedures?

Oftentimes, patients combine a tummy tuck with liposuction and breast procedures (like an augmentation or a lift) as part of a Mommy Makeover. This type of combination treatment can be an effective way to address a range of issues including stubborn fat deposits, stretch marks, weakened muscles, and sagging breasts.

The types of procedures that tummy tucks cannot be combined with simultaneously are those that target your back or butt. If you are interested in complementing your tummy tuck with something like a Brazilian butt lift, however, we will work with you to plan your treatments in a way that maximizes your safety, comfort, and long-term success.

Is there a right time of year to undergo a tummy tuck?

Ultimately, the correct answer to this question is based on your own personal preferences. Fall and winter tend to be popular choices, as you’ll be ready to rock your new body in time for beach season. Compression garments can also be warm and easier to hide under thicker clothing. If you’re an avid skier or skater, though, spring or summer might be ideal for you.

Discuss these types of lifestyle factors with your cosmetic surgeon to determine what will make the most sense in your situation.

How are tummy tucks done?

The exact details of tummy tucks vary depending on their complexity. Dr. Sleightholm will review all necessary details relating to your specific procedure with you in advance to ensure your comfort and satisfaction.

In general, Dr. Sleightholm will start the operation by making an incision above the pubic hairline. This area is typically hidden, as it is covered by underwear, swimming shorts, and bikini bottoms. The skin is then lifted and the abdominal wall tightened. Finally, Dr. Sleightholm will remove excess fat or skin to tighten your midsection.

Will a tummy tuck leave a scar?

The incision above the pubic hairline and around the umbilicus will leave a thin scar. Scars typically improve over a prolonged period of time, however they will never disappear completely.

Will a tummy tuck hurt?

Patients receive tummy tucks while under general anesthesia. After the procedure, you may feel moderate pain, which can be controlled with medication.

Your cosmetic surgeon will ask you to wear a compression garment for up to six weeks. This will reduce swelling and increase patient comfort.

If you have any questions or concerns as you are healing, please get in touch with us.

How do I choose the right compression garment after my tummy tuck?

We will supply a “medical” garment or binder specific to your needs (type of procedure, areas treated, etc.).

Keep in mind that there is a significant difference between the compression garments available for purchase in stores and the medical-grade garments we offer. The garments we supply our patients with are sturdy, washable, and designed with holes, zippers, and seams in places that prevent incidents and minimize discomfort. We give each patient a first-stage compression garment. Patients are welcome to purchase second-stage garments (which do not have the holes and zippers that are needed immediately after surgery) if they would like.

What are the risks associated with tummy tucks?

There are certain risks associated with tummy tucks, however they are rare. If you have concerns, contact Dr. Sleightholm to discuss them.

Procedure-related risks may include:

  • Skin Sensation Loss:Patients commonly have areas of partial or complete skin numbness around their abdomen. It may take several months for some sensation to return.
  • Fluid Accumulation:Though it is a rare occurrence, tissue fluids may collect under the skin. Should this happen, contact Brampton Cosmetic promptly. Dr. Sleightholm will remove the fluid with a needle and syringe until the fluid accumulation is resolved.
  • Skin Loss:Skin loss can result from an infection or excessive tension, though this occurs very rarely. The incision will still heal, but the process will be slower.
Will I have to take time off work or my daily routine following a tummy tuck?

Tummy tuck patients should expect to spend a few days relaxing at home after the surgery, but they should be able to work two weeks after the procedure, provided their job does not require lifting or straining. Patients are up and moving around the next day. They can usually resume more physically strenuous activity after about after six weeks.

How long do I have to wait to exercise after my tummy tuck?

We typically encourage patients to begin taking light walks two or three days after their procedure (provided they feel comfortable) to encourage circulation and healing. You will need to wait six weeks, however, before resuming more intensive exercise and workout regimens.

When will I be able to drive after my tummy tuck?

The rule of thumb is that a patient can drive as long as they are not taking pain medications are completely comfortable.

How will having a tummy tuck affect my ability to fly?

You should not fly within the first two weeks of your tummy tuck procedure due to the increased risk of blood clots (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) in your legs. If you need to travel within the few months after your surgery, we recommend taking the necessary precautions (wearing compression stockings and getting up to walk around throughout the flight).

If you have any concerns or are thinking about taking a trip, make sure you discuss them with your cosmetic surgeon. They will be able to provide individual advice based on the type of procedure you will undergo (how long it will be, the type of anaesthesia used, etc.).

Resources

Feb
28
2017
The Top 4 Dos and Don’ts after a Tummy Tuck...
Dr. Robert Sleightholm
A tummy tuck is a popular cosmetic surgery...
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Oct
13
2016
When is the Right Time for a Tummy Tuck?...
Dr. Robert Sleightholm
After regimented dieting and exercising, do you still...
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Sep
15
2016
What Time is the Right Time for a Mommy Makeover?...
Dr. Robert Sleightholm
Having children and becoming a mother is a...
Read More
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