The Typical Tummy Tuck Process

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal wall, tightening muscles to create a toned appearance. The muscles that are tightened provide the primary difference between a tummy tuck and a panniculectomy. Tightening the abdominal muscles is beneficial for patients who have weakened, separated, or damaged muscles due to multiple pregnancies or significant weight loss, and tummy tuck surgery can create a more athletic appearance. Finally, liposuction is generally used to remove excess fat and sculpt the remaining skin for a smooth, toned look. Even after substantial weight loss, stubborn fatty tissue may negatively impact the lower abdomen, so it is best to consider comprehensive cosmetic surgery that includes the removal of fat and skin. Our Natrona Heights Office, located 15 miles from Fox Chapel and 17 miles from Aspinwall, offers complete abdominoplasty procedures that can get you back to feeling like your normal self.

Tummy Tuck Procedure Candidacy

Most tummy tuck candidates have stretch marks, extra skin, and loose vertical muscles in the abdominal wall due to severe weight gain followed by massive weight loss or childbearing. They may also have stubborn excess fat deposits in the area that do not respond to exercise and damaged or separated abdominal muscles.

The best candidates for the procedure are at or near a healthy and stable body mass index. If you are overweight, you should be planning substantial weight loss before having any major surgery. They should be generally healthy and eat well-balanced meals to maintain a stable weight. Smoke causes an increased risk of wound infection and other complications, so quit smoking to avoid possible complications.

Some patients are better suited to a panniculectomy rather than a full tummy tuck. In a panniculectomy, we still remove excess skin, but we do not tighten loose muscles. This is generally considered a medical rather than cosmetic procedure, as the primary purpose is to relieve symptoms from excess loose skin. During a consultation, Dr. Falcon can review your symptoms, discuss your goals for the procedure, and examine your abdominal area to recommend the best option for you.

“I can say without hesitation that going to Dr. Falcon for surgery was one of the best decisions I have ever made! The work he did to remove the loose skin on my chest was simply amazing! I look "normal" in a shirt for the first time since I was a teen.”

-Matthew P

Tummy Tuck Surgery Recovery Expectations

Immediately after your tummy tuck, you can expect to have bandages and drainage tubes placed in the surgical site to drain excess fluid. You should also wear an abdominal binder or compression garment to ensure proper healing. You will need a trusted family member or friend who can drive you home after the procedure since you will still be affected by the general anesthesia. You will also want to ask them to care for you through your preliminary stages of recovery so you can properly rest per your surgeon’s instructions.

You can expect swelling and some discomfort around the incision site, but prescription pain medication can help you feel comfortable through the healing process. Dr. Falcon will give you detailed instructions regarding the healing period, including how long or how often to wear your compression garment and what medications you should take– follow these instructions to the letter to avoid any adverse reaction during the wound healing process. Too much stagnant activity can lead to poor circulation, so make sure to engage in light movements, when possible, to promote healthy blood flow and avoid blood clots, but steer clear of strenuous exercise to decrease the chance of poor wound healing.

Most patients need about 1-2 weeks to rest and recover before returning to work, school, or other routines– the downtime may be different for mini tummy tuck patients or patients with a complicated medical history. Dr. Falcon will monitor your healing during post-op appointments and advise when you can safely return to all activities including exercise. Most patients are fully healed from their complete tummy tuck after about 4-6 weeks. Your tummy tuck scar will be hidden below your bikini line right at the top of your pubic hairline, and your belly button will be treated carefully during the procedure to ensure it is not negatively impacted. With the excess skin removed, stretch marks are often smoothed out de-aging the torso by a significant amount.

Tummy Tuck Plastic Surgeons You Can Trust

Whether you choose a mini abdominoplasty or full tummy tuck, your operator matters. A qualified, experienced operator can ensure your safety throughout the entire process and will walk with you every step of the way. In Monroeville, PA, Falcon Plastic Surgery stands as a beacon to patients seeking medical and cosmetic enhancements. Dr. Falcon and his expert team are dedicated to your safety and results. We will listen to you and offer comprehensive care unlike anywhere else.

To learn more about tummy tucks, including whether you are a candidate, schedule a consultation with Dr. Falcon. Falcon Plastic Surgery’s Monroeville Office is conveniently located 15 miles from Downtown Pittsburgh. Call our office at (724) 226-3900 or contact us online to set up your first appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do you wear a binder after surgery?

You will wear a surgical binder for 6 weeks after surgery.

Do you get a scar from a tummy tuck?

There will be a scar present, however, following our scar care instructions for the first year after surgery will assure that scarring will be minimal and possibly fade almost completely.

Do men get tummy tuck?

Absolutely, tummy tucks are not gender specific.

How do I prepare for a tummy tuck?

You will be given a pre-operative bathing instructions sheet that explains how to bathe yourself for 3 days leading up to the procedure. This method will greatly help reduce chance of infection from any bad bacteria that may be present on your body.

When can I start working out after tummy tuck?

You will be able to do light exercises in 4 weeks after surgery, and regular exercise in 6 weeks.

Can you lose weight after tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck is not primarily a weight-loss procedure, although its benefits often encourage people to change their lifestyle to a more active and healthy one, causing them to lose weight in the long run.

Are tummy tucks dangerous?

When performed by an experienced plastic surgeon, tummy tuck surgery is not overly risky or dangerous.

Can I walk after tummy tuck?

Dr. Falcon encourages tummy tuck patients to move around while protecting their incision sites to encourage blood flow and promote the healing process.

Do you have to be skinny to get a tummy tuck?

Absolutely not, in fact, a tummy tuck might not be recommended for people below a certain BMI. This procedure is most often performed on people of average weight who have excess skin or other abdominal issues.

How are tummy tucks done?

Tummy tucks use an incision that crosses the pelvis above the pubic area from hip to hip. This allows Dr. Falcon to remove excess skin, access and rejuvenate the abdominal muscles, and remove or redistribute pockets of excess fat.

How long after a tummy tuck can you drink?

You should wait at least two weeks before consuming alcohol after a surgery like abdominoplasty. Dr. Falcon will provide more detailed instructions on what you should and shouldn’t do following your specific procedure.

How long is pain after tummy tuck?

Most tummy tuck patients experience low amounts of pain depending on their tolerance. The discomfort following surgery peaks after 2-3 days, after which it dissipates and is easily controlled with over-the-counter medication.

How long do tummy tucks last?

Tummy tuck surgery provides long-lasting results that won’t go away as long as your body proportions stay the same and you experience no body-altering events such as pregnancy.

Is it easier to lose weight after a tummy tuck?

Some people find it easier to exercise or are encouraged enough by their results to adjust their lifestyle to further increase their results. However, tummy tuck surgery alone does not make it any easier or harder to lose weight.

When can I wear regular clothes after tummy tuck?

Dr. Falcon will provide you the details regarding your tummy tuck recovery, including how long you should wear your provided surgical or compression garments.

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