You step on the scales and the numbers show that you have reached your ideal weight. Congratulations on such an achievement! You should be proud of all you’ve accomplished with this major milestone. However, you may now find yourself focusing more on the loose skin that’s left hanging in your abdominal region, and how you still don’t feel comfortable being seen in a revealing outfit or swimsuit.
If you’ve been thinking about getting one step closer to your dream body, tightening the skin around your abdomen with a tummy tuck after weight loss is one solution. But before making a big decision about a surgical procedure, it’s recommended to research and learn about how effective it will be and expected results, especially if you have lost a significant amount of weight.
Many prospective patients also want to know how much skin can be removed in a tummy tuck, as that’s a determining factor in whether or not to move forward with the procedure. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Tummy Tuck Skin Removal
A tummy tuck can be an option to take care of skin that has stretched out from weight changes, pregnancy, or even a natural pooch. You may find it difficult to hide that excess skin as it causes bulges in your clothes, and is even more noticeable in a swimsuit. Tummy tuck skin removal can help you feel good about your body again.
A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that removes extra fat and tissue along with excess tummy skin removal along the middle and lower stomach. During this procedure, the surgeon can also tighten the abdominal wall muscles to give you the appearance of a flatter stomach. Dr. Leo Lapuerta has more than 20 years in performing plastic surgery procedures, such as the tummy tuck. His is an innovative approach, different from many other surgeons as he may include liposuction along the hip or flank to create a more feminine contour and a more natural looking silhouette.
Types of Tummy Tuck
There are two types of tummy tucks: full and mini. With a full tummy tuck, your doctor will perform the procedure under general anesthesia; this is the traditional tummy tuck and is used to address moderate or a large amount of excess skin in this area. The surgeon will make an incision that goes the length of one hip bone to the other, ensuring it is low enough to be concealed by undergarments or a swimsuit. Liposuction may be used to remove any excess fat in the area. Once the surgeon completes excess belly skin removal, the belly button will be repositioned if necessary and the patient will receive recovery recommendations following the procedure.
Mini Tummy Tuck
If you have less excess skin, a mini tummy tuck may be the best option. With a mini tummy tuck, the surgeon will remove any areas of excess fat below the navel. The loose skin in the lower abdomen will be removed and the remaining skin stitched together. The belly button won’t need to be moved, and the muscles in the abdomen wall should be tight and not need to be pulled together. This procedure requires a smaller incision, which can help reduce healing time.
Extended / Traditional Tummy Tuck
For patients who have lost a significant amount of weight, they may benefit from an extended tummy tuck. A surgeon may recommend an extended tummy tuck if the amount of loose skin hanging from the abdomen is significant and will require more attention than with a traditional tummy tuck. This procedure also addresses the love handles and excess skin and fat around the hips and lower back.
In this procedure, a longer incision is necessary, which extends the length of the abdomen and around the back of the hips. The surgeon also makes a second incision around the belly button. The surgeon may use liposuction for excess fat along the upper and lower stomach, sides and lower back as well as the hips to create a shapelier figure. while trimming away the extra skin. The belly button will also need to be repositioned.
Expect the surgery to take between two and three hours, depending on how much work needs to be done. An extended tummy tuck can take up to six hours and may include an overnight stay in the hospital.
How Much Skin Can be Removed in a Tummy Tuck?
The amount of skin that can be removed with a tummy tuck depends on which type of tummy tuck you choose. With a mini tummy tuck, you can only remove the excess skin below the navel. Since a mini tuck doesn’t require repositioning the belly button, it doesn’t address the area above the navel and less skin will be removed. Only a couple of inches at most of loose skin will be addressed with a mini tummy tuck. It can remove a scar from a C-section, replacing it with a smaller incision further down the abdomen where it isn’t as obvious.
You can remove more skin with a traditional tummy tuck since it allows for removal of skin above the belly button. The abdominal walls are tightened, which also means more loose skin will need to be removed. If you require liposuction to get rid of fat deposits, you could lose a few pounds, usually around five pounds and a few inches with a regular tummy tuck.
An extended tummy tuck enables you to remove the most skin. With a longer incision, the surgeon will have access to more loose skin and excess fat tissue. This procedure allows you to lose several pounds, often from the weight of the skin along with any excess fat removed with liposuction. It’s possible to lose 20, 30, or even more pounds with an extended tummy tuck.
The amount of excess skin that can be removed with a tummy tuck will vary by person. Several factors help determine the amount, such as the type of tummy tuck chosen, where the incision is located, and your individual goals. Dr. Lapuerta will sit down with you at a consultation and discuss what you need and consider your physical health. He will make a recommendation for how much skin can be removed.
When is a Tummy Tuck Appropriate?
A tummy tuck is a good option if you have lost weight and don’t want to be stuck with sagging skin. You may have difficulty finding clothing that looks good and doesn’t show the excess skin. This procedure is often the final step in a dedicated weight loss program or after having a baby.
You should be in good health and have reached your goal weight before planning a tummy tuck. Ideally, you will have finished having children. If you do get pregnant again, you may stretch out the skin and be left with this excess skin after childbirth.
Recovering from a Tummy Tuck
It takes about four to six weeks to recovery from surgery. You can usually return to work by three weeks, but you will still have some restrictions. The surgeon will have you wear a compression garment to help with healing. Swelling and bruising are to be expected after surgery, but it will dissipate in the coming weeks.
The surgeon may prescribe painkillers while some patients may only need over-the-counter pain medications. Patients often describe the pain as similar to an intense ab workout. You will begin to see the results of a tummy tuck right away, but final results can take several weeks until all swelling has gone away. You will notice that it’s easier to move around without that extra skin in the way. You’ll also appreciate the way you look and fit into clothes better after a tummy tuck.
Limits with a Tummy Tuck
A tummy tuck is able to remove excess skin, but there are limits as with any procedure. It’s important that patients are educated on what to expect and limitations they will need to take into account during recovery to minimize issues while healing.
For example, one limitation to keep in mind is that this procedure isn’t usually effective at removing stretch marks. For one reason, many stretch marks fall outside the area being worked on with a tummy tuck. The scarring that occurs also makes it an impractical choice just to remove a few stretch marks. Other treatment options will offer better results.
You are also limited in how much fat can be removed with liposuction during a tummy tuck. The doctor will set limits based on state regulations and how much they feel is safe for the patient.
Another limitation is with weight loss. A tummy tuck isn’t designed as a weight loss plan. It’s intended primarily for people who have already lost a significant amount of weight and want to reshape their body. With the amount of fat that can be removed, you will likely only lose a few pounds.
You will get the best results of a tummy tuck when you choose an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Lapuerta. He is a triple-board-certified plastic surgeon who has performed thousands of life-transforming surgeries. He can help you achieve your goals safely.
Schedule a Consultation for a Tummy Tuck
If you have more questions about a tummy tuck or want to take the next step in getting rid of your excess skin, contact us today to schedule a consultation. Dr. Lapuerta will answer your questions and help you feel confident about this procedure.