Tummy Tuck in Chicago
The choice of body contouring surgeon you choose for your tummy tuck is critical for ensuring the best possible results. Dr. Anh-Tuan Truong is recognized as one of the best tummy tuck surgeons in Chicago, and his commitment to his patients is second to none. Read on for the top reasons why so many men and women visit Dr. Truong for their tummy tucks.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck, technically known as abdominoplasty, is a procedure in which excess skin and fat are removed from the upper and lower abdomen, and the underlying abdominal muscles are pulled together and tightened. Although viewed primarily as a cosmetic procedure that is performed for appearances rather than due to medical necessity, a tummy tuck can offer both physical and psychological benefits, particularly for women after pregnancy and either men or women who have lost a significant amount of weight.
Skin is designed to be elastic in order to compensate for the changes in the body that occur with growth, weight fluctuation and pregnancy. However, when those changes occur very quickly, as in the case of pregnancy or rapid weight loss, the stretched-out skin may not “snap back” to its former appearance the way it should. This can lead to a flabby appearance caused by extra skin around the tummy that remains behind even when living an active and healthy lifestyle.
Another major contributor to the appearance of a tummy paunch is lax or separated abdominal muscles. Like skin, muscles have some degree of elasticity, but can lose their natural firmness over time in response to age-related changes in the body. Here too, pregnancy and weight gain can both cause undesired changes in the tightness and muscle tone of the abdomen.
Diet and exercise are not able to make an effective difference in the appearance of a saggy tummy when excess skin and lax abdominal muscles are to blame. A tummy tuck can resolve these concerns for a firmer, flatter waistline that creates a slimmer, more youthful silhouette.
Both the choice to have a tummy tuck and the surgeon you choose are very important decisions, but there are a number of other aspects to take into consideration when it comes to abdominoplasty as well. The first step in seeing the best tummy tuck results is to start with a comprehensive consultation. During this time, your surgeon can go over all the following options with you, and answer any questions you may have so you can be sure you feel confident that you’re making the choices that are best for you and your body. After your consultation, you should have more information on the following details about your tummy tuck:
Step 1 – Anesthesia
A tummy tuck is typically performed under general anesthesia, which is administered by an anesthesiologist. This means you’ll be completely asleep through your entire surgery. Because not every surgeon has operating privileges at a facility that’s fully accredited for general anesthesia, it’s a good idea to verify your surgeon’s credentials ahead of time.
The use of general anesthesia can help you feel more comfortable before, during and after your abdominoplasty. In healthy individuals without a medical history of adverse reactions to anesthesia, the risk of complications is quite low.
Step 2 – Tummy Tuck Incision Placement & Surgical Technique
There are different abdominoplasty techniques your surgeon may use to perform your tummy tuck, depending on your personal goals:
- A full tummy tuck, sometimes called a “traditional” tummy tuck, uses an incision that runs horizontally from hip to hip, but is typically placed low enough on the abdomen that it’s easily hidden by everyday clothing after you’re fully healed. The exact length and shape of the incision will vary somewhat from person to person, as everyone has different amounts of excess skin that need to be addressed. An additional incision may be needed around the belly button if the upper abdomen has excess skin that needs to be removed as well. Finally, small incisions will be necessary to required to remove the existing belly button and create a new one.
- A mini tummy tuck uses a slightly shorter incision, although the general placement remains the same as for a traditional tummy tuck. During a mini tummy tuck, the original belly button stays in the same position, and less skin is removed overall. A mini tummy tuck is reserved for those men and women whose concerns are limited to the lower abdomen (below the navel) only.
In some very rare cases, a vertical incision may be used to perform a tummy tuck, but this is not common. You and your surgeon will talk more about how incision size and location and choice of surgical technique can impact your final results.
Step 3 – Tummy Tuck Procedure Steps
After anesthesia is administered, the first tummy tuck incision is made across the low abdomen. Through this access point, your surgeon can then tighten loose or separated abdominal muscles. Because the abdominal muscles join together at the midline, they can separate over time due to lifestyle factors like age, pregnancy or weight gain. Pronounced separation of the abdominal muscles is a medical condition known as “diastasis recti,” which can usually be best resolved with a tummy tuck.
After the underlying foundation of abdominal muscles is repaired and strengthened, your surgeon can next remove a limited amount of fatty deposits from the area. It’s important to remember that a tummy tuck is not intended to help with weight loss, and that the best results are seen in those people who have reached their goal weight prior to their procedure.
If needed, liposuction or Smartlipo™ may be performed to further sculpt the abdominal area. Liposuction offers a greater level of finesse when it comes to fine-tuning body shape compared to a tummy tuck performed on its own. However, liposuction only removes fat and won’t help improve the appearance of loose skin, so combining procedures may be recommended for those individuals who could benefit from both types of body contouring.
As the final step in your tummy tuck, the abdominal skin is pulled downward and any excess is trimmed away before the incision is closed. The new belly button is created and sutured in place as the finishing touch. As healing progresses, your final results should gradually reveal a smoother, firmer tummy that better accentuates your natural body shape.
Step 4 – Set Your Date and Prepare for Recovery
While cosmetic procedures like abdominoplasty are elective, remember that a tummy tuck is still a surgery that requires appropriate planning ahead of time. When scheduling the date for your surgery, be sure to leave plenty of time for your full recovery. It’s best to rearrange your existing routine around your surgery rather than the other way around. Although it’s unlikely, there is a possibility that additional healing time may be needed for some individuals. Those men or women who have a higher risk medical history may need to plan extra time before their appointment to allow for additional pre-operative tests or lab work as well.
It’s also important to have realistic expectations about your likely results before you schedule your surgery. While a tummy tuck can mean seeing significant improvements in your appearance, abdominoplasty isn’t a substitute for weight loss, won’t remove every single stretch mark and can’t help sculpt or tone nearby problem spots like the love handles. With proper planning, your cosmetic surgeon can work with you to address any additional appearance concerns you may have, or may suggest other procedures that can be performed instead of or in addition to your tummy tuck if he or she feels that different options may be better for helping you reach your personal cosmetic goals.
Overall, a tummy tuck is considered a very safe procedure with a low risk of complications and a high rate of satisfaction. Feeling great about your final results is more likely if you take the time to educate yourself about what to expect from your surgery and recovery. The best tummy tuck surgeon is one who will walk you through the decision-making process in a way that helps you feel confident and fully informed from your consultation through your recovery.
For more recovery tips, our latest post 7 Tips For Tummy Tuck Recovery