Among the most important tummy tuck results are a flatter, more toned abdominal area and a smoother body contour. As with many other cosmetic surgery procedures, a tummy tuck can benefit a patient by improving self-image and self-confidence. It is, however, important to keep in mind the aesthetic limitations of the procedure. Communicating openly with your surgeon during the planning stages of your abdominoplasty can help ensure that you have realistic expectations and that your surgeon has a clear idea of the results you expect. Selecting a cosmetic surgeon who is experienced in performing tummy tuck procedures and following all post-surgical recovery instructions will decrease the likelihood of complications that could result in more conspicuous tummy tuck scars.
In the vast majority of cases, a patient’s appearance is greatly improved after undergoing abdominoplasty cosmetic surgery. The stomach is flatter and better toned, and the contour of the waste is narrower. The abdomen is also genuinely firmer. Many patients report that they feel much more comfortable with their bodies after completing the process of recovering from surgery. Their clothing fits better and overall they feel more confident about their appearance. Many patients undergo the liposuction procedure in combination with tummy tuck surgery.
Prior to undergoing the procedure, however, it is important to have realistic expectations about the results that are possible with abdominoplasty. It may not be possible, for example, to achieve an absolutely flat abdomen in every patient; some roundness or softness may remain. In addition, although tummy tuck surgery may remove stretch marks on the lower abdomen, it may not remove all stretch marks. Most patients are satisfied with their tummy tuck results, but it is always a good idea for patients to discuss their personal cosmetic goals with their surgeon.
Tummy Tuck Scars
Post-surgical tummy tuck scars are unavoidable. The length and location of incisions, which depend on the type of tummy tuck surgery you undergo, will determine how visible and extensive the resulting scars will be. Tummy tuck scars range from a single small scar produced by a partial abdominoplasty to the more noticeable tummy tuck scars that circle a patient’s abdomen after a circumferential tummy tuck procedure. Most abdominoplasty surgeries involve a scar from hip to hip and a scar around the navel. The larger the amount of skin you would like to have removed during the tummy tuck procedure, the longer the scar will be. Although tummy tuck scars can be fairly prominent, they are placed so that they are easily hidden by a person’s underwear and swimsuit.
By selecting a qualified cosmetic surgeon to perform your abdominoplasty and carefully following post-surgical care instructions, you can help to ensure that your scarring will be as discreet as possible. Even so, the success of your body’s tummy tuck recovery process usually has a greater effect on the visibility of your scars. Note that smoking may lead to larger tummy tuck scars, in addition to the higher risk of developing complications after the surgery. If you smoke, it is very important that you quit for two weeks before and at least two weeks after your abdominoplasty. Exposing yourself to cigarette smoke causes the blood vessels in your skin to constrict, decreasing the amount of oxygen being delivered to the skin cells. This, in turn, will slow the body’s immune response.
The general rule regarding tummy tuck scars is that the longer and more difficult the tummy tuck recovery process, the more noticeable the tummy tuck scars will be. Most tummy tuck scars become lighter and flatter with time, but they may appear to grow more noticeable before they begin to fade. This is a common experience for many abdominoplasty patients, and although you should feel free to contact your surgeon if you are concerned, it is usually just a natural step in the healing process. Tummy tuck scars never completely disappear. In the latter stages of the healing process, your cosmetic surgeon may recommend a cream or ointment to use on your scar.
Visit the DocShop gallery to view abdominoplasty before and after photos.
Photo credit: Pacific Plastic Surgery
How Long Do Results Last?
Unless an individual who has undergone tummy tuck surgery gains a significant amount of weight or becomes pregnant, the results of the surgery will last for many years. Over time, the aging process will naturally reverse some of your tummy tuck results. Your abdominal muscles, for example, will likely regain some of their laxity in the years following surgery. The best way to maintain the results of your tummy tuck surgery for a longer period is to exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet.
Find a Tummy Tuck Surgeon
Getting the results you want is largely a matter of researching, screening, and selecting a qualified cosmetic surgeon. DocShop can help you find an experienced cosmetic surgeon in your area. All of the surgeons in DocShop’s directory are members of trusted nationally recognized medical associations such as the American Medical Association, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. Arrange to speak with a tummy tuck surgeon in person about the likely results of your abdominoplasty procedure and how extensive the tummy tuck scars are likely to be for your particular surgery.