With so many fantastic new options for nonsurgical aesthetic treatments available today, you may be curious whether any of them compare to the time-tested results of a surgical tummy tuck. My Columbus, Ohio, patients often ask me about things they have seen on their social media or heard on the radio advertised as an alternative to a tummy tuck. They are confused about these options, and no wonder—many are just too good to be true.
If you want the truth, nothing comes close to the stunning results achieved with a tummy tuck, and that’s why these patients are usually the happiest. The skin and fat are gone, and the muscles tightened in a way that just is not possible with nonsurgical alternatives. In this post, I will explain why a tummy tuck is the standard for sculpting the midsection and discuss the nonsurgical alternates that can work as tummy tuck enhancements.
What makes a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
At my Columbus plastic surgery practice, Aesthetica, I mostly have patients who are down-to-earth and realistic about their middle. Often their abdomens have been stretched out by pregnancy or weight changes, and they have excess skin, usually with stretch marks. These are the best candidates.
I usually counsel them that if they can grab the extra skin and pull it out, they will likely need a tummy tuck. If the skin is just a little loose, with just a little extra padding, it is possible a mini tummy tuck could be indicated or even just liposuction. We also have CoolSculpting® as an option, but this will not treat the extra skin and stretch marks, and it may make the skin even looser.
At your consultation, we will determine if you are a good candidate, but again, if you have excess skin, and especially if it folds over, you will probably benefit from the tummy tuck.
What exactly does a tummy tuck do?
In the tummy tuck, all the skin from the bellybutton down to the mons is removed in a large football-shaped excision. The upper abdomen skin is pulled down to close the gap, and this is made even tighter and flatter when I flex the operating table. The muscles are sewn together in the midline, like an internal corset or girdle, giving the lower abdomen a flat contour.
Do tummy tuck scars go away?
The tummy tuck incision is made low across the abdomen and extends out onto the hip area. The placement is very low, and if you have had a C-section, it will be below this scar. And like a C-section, it is covered by (most!) underwear and swimsuits, but the scar is real and permanent. You can see the low scar placement by looking at our tummy tuck patients’ before-and-after photos.
As with all surgical incisions, the scar quality depends on a number of factors–from the patient’s own skin and healing qualities to the types of sutures used. At first, the scar will be quite pink, and this can take up to a year to fade. During this time, I will recommend scar treatment modalities as needed. Some patients do not need anything placed on or rubbed on their scars to make them heal the best, while others will benefit from either a scar cream or tape regime.
All scars are permanent, so we consider this a trade-off. You are getting a flat middle section and a scar that is usually inconspicuous and hidden underneath your swimsuit or panties, and it’s usually well worth it.
I heard this is a big operation. Is a tummy tuck high risk?
As with any operation, there are real risks that should be evaluated. And if the benefit is not worth it, I will tell my patients just that! If they are just not bad enough, the benefit is not worth it. But if you are thinking you would qualify as an appropriate candidate, then the next best thing to do is schedule a consultation. We are doing these virtually, in the evenings and weekends, so we can cover the basics and determine if this is the best path forward for you.
How do I prepare my body for a tummy tuck?
To prepare for this operation, we ask that you optimize the outcome by following a sensible diet and exercise routine to get in your best physical condition. For patients who are overweight, with a BMI over 30, the risks do go up, so working on this ahead of time is well worth it.
How long do you have to be off work after a tummy tuck?
The time off work depends on your job, but most patients are able to get back to desk jobs in about 2 weeks. For those who have the option to work from home, a return to work could be even sooner. We recommend taking it easy after surgery, and if you can “commute” from your kitchen to your home office, this is an ideal situation since you would be able to get back to your job in as little as 4 or 5 days. These are important considerations to discuss with us as you are preparing for surgery.
In summary, the tummy tuck has earned the highest degree of satisfaction because you have done all you can do, and the surgery takes you the rest of the way. The result is immediately visible and immediately gratifying, as I discuss in a related blog post. The time off work and disruption to your usual schedule are short-term inconveniences for the long-term payoff.
The entire A-team at Aesthetica looks forward to assisting you on your journey to a new flat abdomen. To request a consultation, use our online form to contact us, or call us at (614) 569-2649 to schedule an appointment.