“When diet and exercise are not enough, a tummy tuck may be the answer for a flatter belly.”
Common name – Tummy Tuck.
Technical name/also known as – Abdominoplasty.
Benefits of a Tummy Tuck
This surgery is for women or men with sagging abdominal skin and abdominal wall muscle separation who are at or close to their goal weight. This surgery is not intended for weight loss.
How it is done: How the tummy is “tucked”
This procedure removes excess skin at the abdomen and tightens the rectus abdominis (the six pack) muscle. This is typically performed after a woman has had one or more children or in men or women with history of large weight loss. This operation makes the abdomen flatter and helps to restore the continuity of the abdominal wall muscles often alleviating the “still pregnant” appearance of the abdomen. It can remove stretch marks if the stretch marks are below the belly button. The muscle repair may make core exercises more effective and in some can help back pain.
For a stretched abdomen with stretch marks and hanging skin, a tummy tuck gives a flatter abdomen which responds better to toning exercises. Patients report feeling better in bathing suits and clothing and increased self confidence.
The tradeoff for a flatter abdomen is a long scar that spans hip to hip, and sometimes longer, as well as one around the belly button. Drains must be used and may stay for two weeks or so. Skin sensation may decrease below the belly button. Not all stretch marks can be removed. Sometimes, the excess skin may continue around the back for which a belt lipectomy (a tuck for the back) may help. The end of the scar may stick out after healing is over (called a dog ear) and need revision.
Who pays for this
This is a cosmetic procedure, paid for by the patient. For some patients with severe rashes and significant skin overhang after gastric bypass or other large weight loss, health insurance may cover a portion of the procedure. It almost always requires precertification, meaning there is a list of qualifications that must be met in order to meet criteria the insurance company puts forth to meet medical necessity. This can only be determined by examination. If criteria are not met, cosmetic pricing is offered.
What to expect
Length of operation
2 – 4 hours (depending on the extent of procedure).
General anesthesia, you will be asleep and monitored the entire time.
In or out patient
Outpatient, you will go home the same day.
Temporary swelling, bruising, and some pain. For the first 7-10 days after surgery, expect to walk slightly hunched over. Sensation of the skin of the lower abdomen will be different initially. Fluid collections below the skin are possible. Dog ears or excess skin at the end of the scar may occur but can be removed in the office.
Risks of procedure
Pain, bleeding, infection, damage to nearby structures, need for other procedures, recurrence of skin and abdominal laxity, dissatisfaction with the appearance of the abdomen, asymmetry of the scar and umbilicus, inability to remove all stretch marks, seroma, sensory changes including permanent loss of sensation, wound healing delays requiring wound care, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolus.
“I love when patients tell me their friends and coworkers ask if they’ve gone on vacation or lost weight—their results are seen as a natural improvement. They look like themselves, just better rested.”
– Dr. Danielle DeLuca-Pytell
While we are under social distancing and shelter at-home instructions, I am offering virtual consultations for new patients interested in meeting with me.
You can do this from a computer (via an invitation) or a smartphone (via an invitation and the Google Meet app).
There are four parts to the consultation:
1. Arrange a consultation by phone or email,
2. Download the new patient forms. Click here.
After you fill them out, you can either fax or email them to me.
3. Once the consultation is arranged, a meeting invite will be sent to you with the link for the consultation. At our prearranged time, follow the link to our secure and private consultation.
There, you and I will have time to talk about your goals, medical history, and all about the procedure.
While the examination is limited to observation in two dimensions, I should be able to determine whether or not you are a candidate for surgery.
4. If you are indeed a surgical candidate, you will be contacted by Andrea, my patient coordinator, to get a surgical quote (or if insurance-based, your expected out of pocket costs), and an opportunity to hold a surgical date.
You will also be given a follow-up visit to confirm with your exam that you are a candidate and preoperative visit time for us to prepare you for surgery.
I hope to virtually see you soon!
Your Next Step!
Call or email us to schedule an appointment and find out if you are a suitable candidate for this procedure.
Our phone number
Give our office a call Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 3pm.
Our email address
Please also email us anytime with questions you have.
Quick Contact Form
Before and After Gallery
When you come into the office for your appointment, you will be able to see more ‘before and after’ photos of this procedure including different options.
If healing proceeds as expected:
Rest at home (princess treatment) for 2 weeks (no housework, direct childcare, or exercise). Outsource housework and child care while you rest. Walk around the house, but do not work out.
Return to gentle exercise such as walking or stationary biking and household chores after two weeks, but no heavy lifting or strenuous activity for six weeks.
Return to full activity 6 weeks after surgery.
Returning to Work
This depends on the type of work that you do. Many women can return to sedentary work at three to four weeks, though not everyone is ready to return to work by then. Surgery affects different people differently. If your work is more strenuous, six weeks off work may be needed.
Time until final appearance
3 to 4 months, depending on how swelling resolves
Length of results
Long-lasting, especially when diet and exercise regimen is maintained.
Smoking and Surgery
If you smoke, it is imperative that you quit six weeks both before and after surgery. To better understand why, please click this link:
A binder will be placed after surgery to help support the abdominal repair, similar to the idea of a splint for a sprained wrist. A high waisted girdle or compression garment is to be worn for a total of six weeks. It is recommended you begin to wear this after your first postoperative appointment. The scar after a tummy tuck usually takes a long time to fade, often a year and a half.
If you color your hair, do so right before surgery as you will not be able to color your hair until three weeks following the procedure. Plan to bring a scarf with you to the hospital on the day of the procedure as well as dark glasses to camouflage your temporarily swollen appearance on leaving the hospital.
See what her patients have to say about their surgical experience.
Follow the link to read some of the many letters received by Dr. Danielle DeLuca-Pytell.
When you visit the office for your appointment, we will talk about the side effects and risks of this procedure.
You will have the chance to ask any questions you might have.
Don’t forget: it is your body! There is no such thing as a bad or silly question!