INITIAL RECOVERY TIME: 2 WEEKS
FINAL RESULTS: 6 MONTHS
Have you been spending hours in the gym and watching every calorie without getting closer to obtaining a tighter tummy? You’re not alone. A healthy diet and exercise routine is important for getting back in shape after pregnancy or weight loss, but even if you’re at your ideal weight, you may have a pouch of excess skin or protruding muscles on your lower belly, despite your best efforts. While no amount of crunches are going to help, a tummy tuck can.
By tightening loose or protruding abdominal muscles and removing excess skin and fat on the belly, a tummy tuck can help you restore a firmer, flatter, and smoother shape to your midsection.
While there’s little you can do on your own to address sagging skin, stubborn fat and stretched abdominal muscles, tummy tuck surgery, clinically called abdominoplasty, is specifically designed to deal with these unwanted changes. Abdominoplasty can also repair diastasis recti, a painful separation of the abdominal muscles.
The benefits of a tummy tuck include:
This patient underwent a tummy tuck along with VASER liposuction of her back, flanks, and abdomen.
If you’re bothered by loose, sagging skin and muscle on your belly, a tummy tuck can most likely help you get the firm, flat tummy you want. Like any surgery, certain patients are better suited to the procedure than others. If you can answer “yes” to the following, a tummy tuck may benefit you:
A consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is the best way to find out if a tummy tuck is right for you. Dr. Stephen Chen has performed tummy tucks for 12+ years for Richmond area patients, and he will take the time to explain your options and answer any questions you have about the surgery and recovery.
Depending on your body type and skin quality, your tummy tuck can be combined with liposuction to remove stubborn belly fat. You and Dr. Chen may also decide to add on addition liposuction or VASER liposuction to contour your flanks, thighs, back, or buttocks to enhance your abdominoplasty.
Dr. Chen recommends waiting at least 6-12 months after giving birth to have your tummy tuck. This is because your body will be adjusting to many transitions, such as hormonal rebalancing and breast size changes, following your pregnancy. Furthermore, initial recovery from abdominoplasty takes about 2 weeks, and you’ll want to make sure that you have time to prepare for your surgical recovery so that you can focus on healing.
Dr. Chen makes two incisions, one around the belly button and another running from hip to hip, just above the pubic bone. Once healed, the belly button incision is camouflaged by the natural contours of the navel, and the lower incision is easily concealed beneath a swimsuit bottom.
Through these incisions, Dr. Chen separates the skin from the underlying muscles, tightening muscles by placing permanent sutures in the surrounding connective tissue—your abs will work normally once healed. He then redrapes the skin, reshaping and positioning the belly button into a natural location and removing excess skin.
Dr. Chen really listened to what I wanted to achieve, which was to look great in clothes. He wants you to have the best possible results, and expects nothing less than perfection from himself as your surgeon. And that is what I have received. I like that type of personal investment from my surgeon. I wasn’t a number, but a person with unique issues requesting specific outcomes from my surgery.
-Actual Patient of Dr. Chen
Dr. Chen performs tummy tuck surgery using general anesthesia, so you will be completely unconscious during your procedure.
Recovery takes a little longer with a tummy tuck compared to other cosmetic procedures—but the dramatic improvements are usually well worth it. You will need around-the-clock care for the first 1 to 2 days after surgery to help you get in and out of bed, use the bathroom, etc. Post-operative pain and discomfort peak about 3 to 5 days after surgery, and then you begin to feel better and better each day. Dr. Chen will give you pain medication to manage discomfort.
Expect to need assistance with daily activities, including childcare, for at least 2 weeks. If you have a desk job, you may be ready to return 2 to 3 weeks after surgery, but physical work will require more time off. Lifting, straining and strenuous exercise are off-limits for about 6 weeks after your procedure, although easy walking for exercise can begin earlier than this. Remember—don’t resume any activity before Dr. Chen agrees you are ready. Sticking to your post-op instructions is important for your safety and results.