What is a "Tummy Tuck?" What does Abdominoplasty surgery do? My Medical Club offers the best prices for Members Only.
Abdominoplasty (pronounced ab·daa·muh·no·pla·stee) is surgery designed to remove sagging skin and tighten the abdominal muscles.
The stomach and belly area tends to be one of the most frustrating parts of the body! Normal physical changes caused by childbirth, prior surgery, significant weight gains and losses; not to mention the effects of heredity and the normal aging process; somehow excess skin and fat find a way to accumulate around the belly. Often, diet and exercise alone are just not enough to reclaim the toned and shapely waist of our youth.
Also known as a “tummy tuck,” the abdominoplasty is immensely successful at re-sculpting the waistline by repairing damaged and weakened muscles in the abdominal wall.
There are 4 different varieties of tummy tuck procedures:
- Mini Tummy Tuck: improves the lower stomach with less invasive surgery
- Full Tummy Tuck: the classic approach, an incision is made from hipbone to hipbone, improves the upper and lower abdomen
- Extended Tummy Tuck: improves the upper and lower abdomen and flanks (love handles)
- Circular Tummy Tuck: 360 degrees, incision covers the front and back, lifts the upper as well as lower body
Surgeons will usually draw a horizontal incision above the pubic hairline and below the navel. There is also, however, a fleur-de-lis (butterfly) incision that is a better fit for patients that have had massive weight loss such as bariatric surgery. The fleur-de-lis is the same horizontal incision, plus a vertical incision line in the middle of the stomach.
While the abdominoplasty is a cosmetic (elective) surgery procedure, additionally there is a panniculectomy procedure which is considered a medical necessity. Panniculectomy surgery involves the removal of excess skin and/or tissue – medically called “pannus.” This excess skin commonly occurs after massive weight loss (via obesity treatment) and often will hang over the genitals or thighs, making hygiene difficult. For some people, it can also impact mobility and make any kind of exercise problematic.
Things to know before you go!
It’s important to note that while both these surgeries target excess lower belly skin, they are not intended as weight loss procedures.
You need to be at a stable weight before either treatment and most surgeons will ask that patients be within 10 to 15 pounds of their ideal goal weight for anywhere from 6 to 12 months before surgery.
During initial consultation, a surgeon could determine that liposuction might be a better choice of procedure. It depends on a person’s physical fitness, underlying muscle tone, amount of excess fat and perhaps existing scars. My Medical Club’s network of certified plastic surgeons will discuss goals, all health care issues and anticipated benefits first, and then advise on the procedure to best meet individual desires and expectations.
Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) cost in Mexico
As is expected, a leading reason why people search out treatment in Mexico is the greatly reduced cost of cosmetic surgery, compared to home. That, plus the exceedingly high quality of care. Mexico offers internationally accredited (JCI) facilities and staff with a strong history of achievement and a commitment to quality health care.
In Canada and the USA, a panniculectomy will cost more than a tummy tuck, but there could be some coverage by medical insurance. This surgery will range from *$8,000.00 to *$15,000.00, plus operating room facilities, anesthesia and other extras.
An abdominoplasty (not covered by insurance as considered an elective procedure) will average around *$6,200.00 as per the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. It could, however, go as high as *$12,000.00, depending on the surgeon, geographic location and scope of treatment, etc.
A tummy tuck surgery in Mexico will usually run between *$2,500.00 to *$4,500.00; again depending on the scope of the procedure.
(*prices quoted in USD)
The costs show a clear win for Mexico and explains the steamroller boom in medical tourism in Mexico.
Here are a few helpful tips that My Medical Club put together in answer to common FAQ.
How to prepare?
Remember that you need to be close to your desired weight and have been able to maintain this for over 6 months.
Do not take any aspirin, aspirin products, medications with ibuprofen – check with your surgeon on your complete list of any medications (including birth control) well before the surgery date.
Do not smoke for at least 4 to 6 weeks before the surgery date. Smoking will contribute to a slower healing time.
Do not drink alcoholic beverages for a minimum of a week before the surgery date. Eat a nutritious, healthy diet and stay well hydrated.
How long does the surgery take?
An abdominiplasty will take somewhere between two to five hours from beginning to end. This surgery is often performed on an outpatient basis but you may need to stay overnight in the hospital. Your surgeon will advise you, depending on the complexity of your case.
How old is too old for abdominoplasty?
Men and woman well into their 60’s and 70’s are suitable candidates for a tummy tuck if they are in good medical health and live a generally healthy lifestyle.
How painful is an abdominoplasty?
Expect to be uncomfortable, but the worst will be over after the first few days. The pain will not be from the actual incision but the muscles which have been tightened. As practically just about every move we make involves using our abdominal wall, even basic movements will cause discomfort – sitting up, standing – even laughing will hurt at first.
MMC Members Only Tip: There is a long-acting, injectable anesthetic called Exparel which greatly improves patient comfort after surgery. As it lasts long after completion of the surgery, it helps ease the discomfort of initial healing.
How much weight will I lose?
A tummy tuck is more about losing inches than weight so it likely won’t be more than a few pounds; perhaps two to five. A woman, however, can expect to drop two to three dress sizes and men, several pant sizes.
How soon can I travel?
It’s best to wait a minimum of 10 days after surgery before flying. As a general rule, flying is not recommended for a week or two after any kind of surgery.
What to expect after surgery?
Depending on the technique your surgeon uses, you might require one or two temporary drains to help draw out excess fluid that gathers in the space between the muscle and overlying tissues after surgery. The drains eliminate a buildup of blood or fluids, keep the swelling down and ensure proper healing. While they may seem distasteful, drains are not painful and they do help facilitate recovery. If you have drains, they will need proper maintenance and cleaning. (Don’t worry – it’s not difficult.) They also cannot get wet, so no full showers until they are removed, usually within one to two weeks after surgery.
For the first 6 to 8 weeks, you will need to wear a compression garment to provide stability and minimize swelling to result in a smooth, compact abdominal shape. This clothing must be worn at all times following surgery and only taken off temporarily to clean the garment or bathing. You can also wear compression boots while sleeping or at rest as they will improve circulation and help prevent clotting.
How soon can I be active?
It’s critical to start moving and walking around very soon after surgery to encourage blood flow and healing. You will have to maintain a bent over, or jacknifed position when standing and when walking, for at least the first week or so. Once the tissues start to heal, it will be safe to stand a little straighter.
This bent over position is essential for the first week, minimum, even when sitting or lying down. A recliner chair helps immensely to keep the knees, feet and the head all elevated. It’s a good idea to have several pillows ready to help prop you up in the proper position. Following these guidelines will help protect the incision and ensure the best abdominoplasty results.
Avoid any straining, lifting anything or doing weight-bearing exercise.
Light to moderate activity after four weeks or so should be fine, and you will be good to resume all exercise and activity after six to eight weeks. Most doctors would agree to avoid sexual activity for at least two weeks after your tummy tuck.
MMC Members Only Tip
There are few things more relaxing than a nice massage. Manual lymphatic massage will expedite the healing process, so make sure you connect with your My Medical club concierge to arrange for this service.
How soon will I see results?
You probably won’t notice the benefits from your abdominoplasty surgery right away. In fact, for the first several weeks, you can expect redness, bruising, stiffness, swelling and general discomfort. This is all part of the normal and healthy healing process. Remember that this is temporary and be patient. Results will slowly start to show as healing continues during the next four to six weeks. Residual swelling can hang around longer, sometimes for up to six months. Any numbness or a loss of sensation along the incision line is normal and temporary. It’s possible that the scar will appear to worsen during the first three to six months after surgery, and it can take up to nine months to smooth and fade in colour. With proper care, however, scars can become nearly imperceptible.
Many patients continue to see improvements up to a year after a tummy tuck.
How long does a tummy tuck last?
While you will have to wait a while to enjoy all the benefits of an abdominoplasty, the good news is the results are very long-lasting, as long as you maintain a fairly constant weight.
Statistics show that the vast majority of patients are thrilled with their decision to undergo the procedure ... you will be too.