Have you recently lost a significant amount of weight, but now have loose and sagging skin in your abdomen? Have you had all the children you intended on having, and want your pre-pregnancy abdomen back? Or, have you seen your belly head south as you’ve aged, and no amount of sit-ups or planks seem to tighten it back up?
If you are in generally good physical condition but are concerned about abdominal fat deposits and loose skin that do not respond to diet and exercise, an abdominoplasty can potentially reduce your protruding abdomen. You will look slimmer, fitter, and be altogether healthier.* Who doesn’t want that?
What is an abdominoplasty?
Commonly referred to as a “tummy tuck,” abdominoplasty surgically removes excess fat and skin from the lower abdomen. The procedure also helps to flatten the abdomen by tightening the abdominal muscles, which can become stretched or separated and cause a “pooch” that just won’t go away. This is especially common for postpartum women, especially those who have had multiple pregnancies, though Dr. Kaplan recommends that female patients are done having children before considering abdominoplasty surgery. The reason isn’t medical. Many San Francisco women who have had tummy tucks go on to have healthy, full-term babies. However, the beautiful results of their prior tummy tuck are mostly lost if they become pregnant again, which is why Dr. Kaplan speaks with each of his female patients about her family planning goals and birth control plan.
Older San Francisco patients whose abdominal skin has lost some of its elasticity and have stubborn belly fat can also benefit from a tummy tuck. Abdominoplasty surgery begins with an incision just above the pubic region. Dr. Kaplan removes extra skin and fat from the lower and middle abdomen up to the level of the belly button.
The belly button is left attached to the abdominal wall. Dr. Kaplan then lifts the skin and fat from the abdominal muscles up to the level of the lower ribs. Stitches bring the two separated muscles (diastasis recti) of the abdominal wall together, narrowing the waist and making the abdominal muscles much tighter and firmer.* Dr. Kaplan then pulls down the abdominal skin and makes a small incision through the wall and pulls the belly button out. As a result, the San Francisco tummy tuck patient has a slimmer, trimmer midsection after abdominoplasty.* Although the scar from the incision is permanent, it will fade considerably over time and is so low that underwear or a bikini will hide it. And if you’re a woman who’s had a prior C-Section, your low-lying C-Section scar can be used, though it will be elongated during the tummy tuck procedure.
Mini and full abdominoplasty
Although all abdominoplasty surgeries differ, there are two common types: a complete abdominoplasty and a partial abdominoplasty (also known as a “mini tummy tuck”). Complete abdominoplasty surgery usually benefits patients with an excess of loose skin and weak abdominal muscles. Mini tummy tuck surgery is for those San Francisco patients who have separated abdominal muscles (diastasis recti) in the lower abdominal wall and little extra abdominal skin. Patients with muscle laxity extending beyond that, however, would be candidates for a full abdominoplasty.
Am I a candidate for abdominoplasty?
San Francisco men and women who want a tighter, trimmer abdomen need to meet certain criteria to qualify for a tummy tuck which include:
- Being in good general overall health.
- Being at or near your ideal goal weight, as a tummy tuck is not a weight loss surgery.
- Having realistic expectations for your tummy tuck.
- Being a non-smoker, as smoking can complicate both the abdominoplasty procedure and your recovery time.
- Being in good physical and psychological health.
What to Expect During Surgery
On the day of your abdominoplasty, you will either arrive at Dr. Kaplan’s state-of-the-art, in-office AAAASF surgical center or the hospital, depending on which surgical setting you and Dr. Kaplan have agreed on. You will be administered an anesthesia option to numb you and make you completely unaware during your tummy tuck procedure. Since abdominoplasty is major abdominal surgery, most San Francisco patients opt for general anesthesia, which will make you sleep throughout the entire surgery. During your tummy tuck procedure, your vital signs will be continuously monitored as your health and safety are of the utmost importance to Dr. Kaplan and the entire surgical team. After your surgery, you will wake up in a recovery room where you will be closely monitored until you are ready to be released home. Most men and women who get a tummy tuck are able to go home the same day as their surgery,* though some patients may require an overnight stay just to be extra safe.
Recovering from a Tummy Tuck
Most tummy tuck patients take between one to two weeks off work or school to recover. Your recovery will include a lot of rest and relaxation, although Dr. Kaplan will want you up on your feet doing some slow, gentle walking as soon as you can tolerate it. Pain is usually quite easily managed with prescription painkillers or even over-the-counter medications. Heavy lifting should not be performed during the first few weeks after a tummy tuck, including lifting or carrying small children. It’s essential that you have a plan in place for someone to take care of the day to day chores around the house. Activities such as cooking, vacuuming and doing the laundry cannot be performed while you are recuperating from surgery. If you have young children, someone will have to care for their needs too so your body can heal properly.
Consulting with Dr. Kaplan about a tummy tuck
During your consultation, Dr. Kaplan will help you decide if you need a mini or full tummy tuck. To schedule a confidential consultation to discuss abdominoplasty with him, contact our San Francisco office today at (415) 923-3005.
Click here, to check pricing on abdominoplasty/tummy tuck.
And learn more about postop recovery here.
*Individual Results May Vary