Tummy Tuck – All You Need to Know
Tummy tuck surgery or abdominoplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure in which excess skin and fat are removed from the abdominal region. The goal with abdominoplasty is to create a smooth, flat abdominal contour that looks aesthetic and athletic. You may also combine it with other procedures for better results.
When we discuss the procedure, you will see that tummy tucks involve quite literally tucking away the tummy. To ensure completely natural-looking results, your plastic surgeon will adjust the procedure for the best results.
Tummy Tuck Surgery and Mommy Makeover
This procedure is also a staple of the mommy makeover. It is one of the most common procedures women post-pregnancy use to regain their pre-pregnancy bodies.
When women undergo multiple pregnancies, their skin often loses its natural elasticity and starts sagging. They also retain more subcutaneous fat from dietary changes and cravings during pregnancy. Subcutaneous fat is the layer of fat lying right under the skin surface. It is challenging to burn this layer. This is where a tummy tuck surgery helps.
That said, you should also note that regardless of how qualified your surgeon is, the chances of getting exactly the body you had in mind is near impossible. After multiple pregnancies, getting your body back to its pre-pregnant look will make it very unnatural. This is because your body has changed, and its natural contours may also have changed. Tummy tucks aim to use these natural contours to determine your abdominal shape, therefore guaranteeing very natural-looking results.
Who else can get a tummy tuck surgery?
While post-pregnancy women are usually the candidates for abdominoplasty, they are not the only people who can get tummy tucks. Other potential candidates include:
- Someone who has undergone massive weight loss, leaving a lot of extra sagging skin. These patients may also benefit from a panniculectomy – a procedure to remove the extra sagging skin. Hanging skin creates sweaty folds, which become a breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria can then cause rashes, infections, and ulcers under the sagging skin. A panniculectomy uses two incisions to remove the excess skin and then sutures you back up. Panniculectomies are abdominoplasties done for medical reasons rather than purely cosmetic reasons.
- Patients who have divarication of recti, i.e., the separation of recti muscles due to pregnancy. Divarication can increase the chance of a hernia while also preventing the muscles from being toned. Abdominoplasties mend this, allowing you to tone your muscles better.
- Patients wanting fat removal and skin tightening through Liposuction. We will discuss this in further detail below, but this procedure targets the stubborn subcutaneous fat. Tummy tuck often incorporates fat removal while also focusing on removing excess skin, so the result is tighter. Dr Priya Bansal also does circumferential fat removal, where she removes fat from the back and front. She also uses the latest cosmetic surgery technology to minimise damage to the surrounding blood vessels.
- Older patients (50+ in age) skin loses its elasticity with age and becomes sagging or more susceptible to retaining fat, adding to the subcutaneous fat content. Many women over 50 wonder if they can get a tummy tuck surgery They absolutely can – today’s high-quality technology ensures that tummy tucks are safe for all ages. As long as the 50-year-old is otherwise healthy, they are at very low risk. In fact, operating on a healthy 50-year-old is always safer than operating on a 30-year-old smoker or drinker. Therefore, health remains a more significant factor than age in tummy tucks.
Women over 50 may also get other procedures alongside tummy tuck surgery for more balanced results. These include:
- Breast lift
- Eyelid Surgery or Blepharoplasty
- Neck lift
By using the most sophisticated technologies, abdominoplasties deliver ideal results, often surpassing patient expectations. While the abdominoplasty itself refers to excising the sagging skin, it is often combined with fat removal for Lipoabdominoplasty.
Therefore, in this article, we will be discussing Lipoabdominoplasty to its full extent, so we understand precisely how tummy tucks are performed.
The Tummy Tuck Surgery Step One – Fat Removal
Removing fat around the abdomen and back ensures much more symmetrical, balanced results. The figure patients get is often more toned and can follow the hourglass shape closely. However, one big fear with this kind of circumferential fat removal is the possibility of damaging the blood vessels.
The latest MicroAire and VASER tools help plastic surgeons circumvent these possible risks. They minimise damage to the neighbouring blood vessels by allowing an unprecedented level of precision. They also cause minimal damage to fat cells, which means these cells can be reused to enhance and augment other regions (e.g. the face).
MicroAire and VASER also help in Hi-Definition Abdominal Etching. This procedure involves using these tools to strategically remove fat so that the natural abdominal muscle contours are visible. Also known as 6 Pack Abs Surgery, this process creates washboard abs in the desirable V-shape, making the patient’s body look naturally more athletic, toned and fit.
So, now that we understand the benefits of MicroAire and VASER, let us see how they work.
Power-Assisted (PAL) Tool in the Tummy Tuck Surgery – MicroAire
MicroAire is a Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL) technique that significantly reduces traditional fat removal’s physical challenges. It is considered “power-assisted” because the cannula fitted onto the MicroAire tool is power-assisted and moves back and forth gently in the subcutaneous layer. This gentle movement allows it to better penetrate through the fibrous fat tissues and break them apart.
The fat can then be removed and grafted into any other areas that require enhancement. This also means that PAL ensures that the fat cells remain viable outside the body. The more traditional methods may destroy these cells, preventing reusability.
Ultrasound-Assisted (UAL) Tool in Tummy Tuck Surgery – VASER
VASER stands for Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy and Resonance. It is a highly sophisticated, state-of-the-art Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (UAL) technique. Being painless and minimally invasive ensures a quick and easy recovery.
VASER involves a device that produces high-frequency sound saves which loosen or liquefy stubborn fat deposits. Often used after MicroAire to target these leftover deposits, VASER’s high-energy ultrasonic waves melt the fat, allowing your board-certified plastic surgeon in Gurgaon to suction them out successfully. The heat produced by the VASER tool also helps your skin contract during the procedure, creating tighter results. Additionally, the VASER tool is 3mm in size, which means the incision required is equally tiny. Therefore, the procedure ensures minimal trauma and a speedy recovery.
PAL and UAL are often used in association for the best results. Specifically in PURE Contouring – a specialised technique developed by experts like Dr Bansal at RG Aesthetics – they are combined with Radiofrequency-Enhanced technology for beautifully contoured results. PURE Contouring stands for Power-Assisted Ultrasound-Assisted Radiofrequency-Enhanced Contouring. Applying these devices ensures that your fat is removed and your abdomen is perfectly contoured.
In a tummy tuck surgery, your surgeon needs to go a step further. While VASER and radiofrequency contouring can tighten skin to an extent, tummy tucks are specifically for people with a lot of excess skin. Excising this skin ensures that the tummy is tucked back and the abdomen is defined.
This brings us to the next step in Lipoabdominoplasty.
The Tummy Tuck Surgery Step Two – Excess Skin Removal
Done under anaesthesia, abdominoplasty begins with making a low incision along the bikini line. Placing the thin incision so low ensures that the resulting scar is hidden. While scars are nothing to be ashamed of, we understand if apprehension about visible scarring holds patients back from seeking abdominoplasty. However, the happiness that comes from the results of an abdominoplasty outweighs the impact a scar leaves. Also, the surgeons use refined techniques that can successfully hide the scar.
After making the incision, your surgeon lifts the skin flap and begins removing the excess skin. Simultaneously, they also perform muscle plication, i.e. tightening the abdominal muscles with sutures, for more toned results. Dr Bansal uses vertical and horizontal muscle plication for the best results.
Earlier, muscles were only tightened vertically, which placed a lot of pressure on the skin flap since the skin would naturally start hanging downwards. By tightening muscles horizontally, this pressure is more evenly distributed. Therefore, there are also fewer wound complications. An additional bonus is that horizontal tightening also narrows the waist for a better hourglass shape.
Hi-lateral Tension Tummy Tuck Surgery
Another sophisticated technique alongside horizontal and lateral muscle plication is hi-lateral tension abdominoplasty.
When your surgeon makes the incision, they create an upper and lower layer – both excised as necessary. In regular abdominoplasties, the surgeon pulls down the upper layer to meet the lower layer, with sutures holding it in place. However, in this procedure, the skin layer is brought in laterally, from the side, further narrowing the waist. This process helps ensure the lateral correction in addition to the vertical correction. Therefore, the point of connection does not seem bulky or create a “muffin-top” appearance.
Other than these procedures, in the regular full tummy tuck, the umbilicus, aka navel or belly button, is repositioned. This is usually avoided in a mini tummy tuck surgery since that procedure focuses only on your lower abdomen.
Once this repositioning is done, the flap is closed with progressive tension sutures. This specialised technique allows tension to be equally distributed along the abdomen, rather than concentrating it in the lower incision line. Progressive suturing also keeps the stitch line healthy and prevents the scar from stretching as the sutures heal and the skin becomes more elastic.
By doing the progressive suturing vertically along the midline and laterally along the natural muscle contours, your surgeon ensures that the underlying muscles are further defined. The definition creates an enhanced 6-pack effect, especially when combined with strategic fat removal from the previous step in the procedure.
Recovery and Results after a Full Tummy Tuck Surgery
Abdominoplasty is a very safe procedure, especially due to the advanced technology. Additionally, having a board-certified surgeon makes all the difference in minimising risks and post-surgery complications. With the technology we have discussed here, patients can be back on their feet completely within 2-3 weeks.
Here are some things you may experience during your recovery process from abdominoplasty:
- Swelling, bruising and discomfort for up to 48 hours after the surgery
- The ability to resume daily activities from the next day
- Resuming a desk job after three days
- Avoiding sudden movements or heavy lifting for up to 6 weeks
- Using a compression garment (like a corset) for at least six weeks to keep your results intact
- Most swelling, bruising, and discomfort disappearing after a month
The minimally invasive techniques and the additional care taken by your board-certified plastic surgeon in Gurgaon further ensure that you stay safe and have a comfortable recovery. You may feel pressure on your abdomen, but it will be equally distributed, making recovery much better. With regular post-op follow-ups, patients get a better idea of their recovery timeline and understand how quickly they can recover.
The results are generally very natural-looking and sure to meet your standards. By tightening muscles vertically and horizontally, alongside removing fat carefully, your tummy is not only tucked, but you also get abs etched out. How defined you want your abdomen is your choice, and your surgeon will tell you how possible your results are. A good board-certified cosmetic surgeon will always keep your expectations realistic and never promise more than they can deliver.
While the high-quality technology and board-certified expertise can increase your tummy tuck surgery cost, it is better to pay more for your procedure and get what you want than need secondary corrective surgery. Corrective surgery is much more complicated, and there are higher risks involved. Remember, tummy tuck surgery is an investment in yourself and your happiness. You want your outside to reflect who you are on the inside.
At RG Aesthetics, board-certified expert Dr Priya Bansal is completely transparent about every cosmetic procedure. She understands and caters to her patients’ needs thoroughly, using MicroAire and VASER facilities to her (and your) maximum advantage. By following international standards of patient care and state-of-the-art infrastructure, she produces long-lasting, natural-looking, gorgeous results that reflect her patients’ inner beauty on their outer bodies!
Dr Priya Bansal
Board-certified plastic surgeon
Dr Priya Bansal is a gold medalist plastic and cosmetic surgeon with a Plastic Surgery degree from Maulana Azad Medical College and 11+ years of experience in plastic surgery. She specialises in high-def liposuction, mommy makeover, tummy tuck, Brazilian butt lift and breast procedures for body contouring and sculpting.