Home/Body Procedures/Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty

Tummy tuck also known as abdominoplasty, is a body contouring procedure designed to remove excess fat known as fatty tissue and skin from the abdomen. In most cases, a tummy tuck can also repair weakened or separated muscles to create an abdominal profile that appears smoother, tighter, and firmer. This often allows tummy tuck surgery to achieve the flatter, more toned abdomen that exercise and dieting alone cannot achieve. While the outcome of abdominoplasty is usually a leaner physique, a tummy tuck is not considered a method of weight loss. This cosmetic surgery is simply meant to target and reshape the abdominal area. The most successful results are typically achieved when patients are already at or near their ideal weight. Future pregnancies can affect the outcome of the procedure, so we recommend to do a tummy tuck after you have finished with childbearing.

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What Can a Tummy Tuck Accomplish?

Tummy tuck is the only cosmetic procedure that can target the skin, fat, and muscles of the abdomen at once to achieve a more body contouring formation and a flatten look in the abdomen area. This treatment option is commonly pursued by patients who have experienced weight fluctuation which changes in the size of the fat cells or undergone pregnancy. Dr. Payne, our board-certified plastic surgeon in Houston, can perform a tummy tuck to:

Tummy tuck surgery can also be performed in combination with a well-known treatment option in different areas of the body. The type of tummy tuck procedure will be discussed at your consultation. A Mommy Makeover is one of the possible cosmetic procedures, which can include liposuction, breast lift surgery, and/or a breast augmentation depending on your area(s) of concern.

Am I a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?

The best candidate for a tummy tuck are those who are concerned about excess fat in the abdomen and abdominal skin, but are close to a healthy ideal weight by maintaining a healthy diet with no significant medical history. Although this cosmetic surgery can be performed on before pregnancy, for best results it is suggested to have surgery done after you are finished having children.  Tummy tuck is not necessarily a procedure to make you appear slimmer or project a weight-loss appearance. We recommend you reach your ideal body weight prior to an abdominoplasty procedure.

During your initial consultation our board-certified plastic surgeon can assist to determine if you would be a good candidate for this procedure.

What are the Benefits of an Abdominoplasty?

Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck can provide you a body contouring and a balance look. Some of the benefits of abdominoplasty are to reduce stress urinary incontinence, decrease back pain by removing excess fat and tightening the weak muscles to support the abdomen and to help improve your posture. Some stretch marks can be eliminated in the excess skin that is removed during the surgery.

Patient Results
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How is the Tummy Tuck Procedure Performed?

A tummy tuck is performed under general anesthesia. Abdominoplasty requires a horizontal incision in the midsection area of the body between the pubic area and belly button, allowing Dr. Payne to access the abdominal wall. If a hernia is present it will be repaired at the time of the surgery. The length of the incision, as well as how much loose skin needs to be removed in the lower abdomen, will be determined by Dr. Payne. Once the abdominal skin is lifted, the underlying weakened musculature is repaired and a second incision around the navel may or may not be necessary to remove additional skin.

After Dr. Payne completes your surgical procedure, you will be transferred to the recovery room, where our hospital surgery center nurses will help you prepare to resume your recovery at your home. A post-op appointment will be scheduled so Dr. Payne can monitor how your body is healing.

Tummy tuck Pre-Op

It is recommended that you stop smoking or avoid secondhand smoke and any nicotine products for approximately two months prior to surgery. We recommend stopping aspirin, Motrin, herbal medication supplements and NSAIDs at least one week before surgery. Avoid sun damage to the skin for at least two weeks prior to surgery and avoid any tanning beds. Approximately 1 to 2 days prior to surgery use Hibaclens soap in all areas of the body which can be found in a green bottle at you local pharmacy. You will want to clean the areas around the circle sites thoroughly including the entire body. Pay specific attention to cleaning the groin and general area as well as the belly button as these are areas where bacteria resides the most. We want to avoid any infection after surgery to ensure optimal tummy tuck results.

We recommend eating a healthy diet with high fiber low fat diet for approximately 1 to 2 days prior to surgery. This will prevent you from feeling bloated and gassy at the time of surgery. You will not be able to eat any thing by mouth after midnight prior to surgery and the morning of surgery. You may drink clear fluids or liquids approximately two hours prior to surgery for instance if you have surgery at 7:30 AM then you can have clear liquids at 5 AM. The outpatient surgery center typically recommends drinking Gatorade or Pedialyte.

Do not put any lotion or make up on the day of surgery. Do not wear any jewelry or piercings to surgery. We do recommend wearing loose fitting clothes that are easy to remove and put on after surgery. The use of a button up shirt or a zip up jackets and sweatpants is recommended.

Tummy Tuck Post-Op

After your abdominoplasty procedure you may bathe 24 hours after surgery, but keep drain sites clean and dry. We recommend for you to keep incision site clean and inspect daily for signs of infection. Drainage tubes are removed when less than 30ml for 24 hours. External sutures are removed 14 days after surgery. No tub soaking while sutures or drains are in place. We recommend for you to wear garment continuously for 2-4 weeks, and a few weeks more at night. The longer you wear the garment, the better the results. Some areas may feel numb for a while; sometimes it may take time to have full skin sensation. It is normal to feel burning and soreness during the recovery. Avoid high or low temperatures to those areas as sensation is not the same. No contact sports for 8 weeks. No swimming for 3weeks. No strenuous activity for 2 weeks. Do not drive until you have full range of motion with your arms and no longer taking narcotics. Avoid exposing scars to sun for at least 12 months. Always use a strong sun block with zinc oxide, if sun exposure is unavoidable (SPF 30 or greater). Take pain medications as prescribed. Do not take aspirin or any products containing aspirin. You may take arnica supplements to help reduce bruising postoperatively.

What is the Tummy Tuck Recovery Period Like?

Before your operation, you will be evaluated by Dr. Payne. Our office staff will provide you with information regarding surgery, and answer any questions you have about recovery. After your tummy tuck procedure is completed, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incision site. Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect. These drains, along with compression garments, will help you achieve your desired outcome. You will additionally be wrapped in an elastic bandage or compression garment to minimize swelling and support your abdomen as it begins to heal. Post-operative instructions will be provided by Dr. Payne and our staff for you to achieve best results. We advise for you to avoid strenuous activity for at least two to three weeks. Full recovery time can vary between patients but typically can be anywhere from six to eight weeks. Once fully healed, patients typically enjoy a flatter abdomen and a stronger core.

When Can I Return To Work After a Tummy Tuck?

The healing process can vary between patients, but we do recommend for you to take it easy during the first five to seven days after your cosmetic surgery. We do advise for patients to avoid physically demanding work responsibilities while they are healing. If you job consist of an office job, you may be able to return to work sooner compared to those who have more strenuous work responsibilities. Dr. Payne will assist to help determine on when are expected to return to work during one of your post-operative appointments. While we encourage plenty of rest, Dr. Payne also recommends going on light walks after surgery to prevent potential blood clots in the legs.

Will I Have Visible Tummy Tuck Scars?

A scar from abdominoplasty in the treated area is unavoidable, but should be easily concealed with a swimsuit bottom or underwear. The location of incision from a tummy tuck typically extends from hip to hip along the waistline just above the groin area in the bikini line. We encourage you to explore the tummy tuck before-and-after photos in our patient gallery so you can learn what to expect with regard to the shape and size of an abdominoplasty scar. A more limited version of the tummy tuck procedure, known as a “mini tummy tuck or mini abdominoplasty,” may produce a smaller scar, but this technique cannot treat the abdominal muscles or remove significant excess skin. While tummy tuck scars will be visible, they may fade and lighten to some extent over time—especially if patients closely follow the wound care instructions that will be provided by Dr. Payne during recovery.

Will I Have Sutures or Drains?

Typically you will not have sutures that need to be removed from the incisions. There are sutures used to hold in place the drains. Drains are necessary to prevent seromas which is a common side effect of complete abdominoplasty surgery. Drains are usually removed between 7-14 days depending on the amount of drainage noted. Your board-certified plastic surgeon will be looking at the drain chart provided for documenting these amounts.

How Long Does Tummy Tuck Surgery Take?

Tummy Tuck surgery will be approximately 2-5 hours as determined on a case by case basis. This is done as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia, but in some cases an overnight stay may be necessary and will be determined by the board-certified plastic surgeon here in Houston, Texas.

What Kind of Pain Can I Expect After a Tummy Tuck?

You may experience moderate to high depending on your pain tolerance. Dr. Payne is a board-certified plastic surgeon and will give prescriptions to ensure that you will be comfortable during your recovery.

Is a Tummy Tuck Permanent?

As long as you are maintaining healthy lifestyle habits, the result of the tummy tuck surgery can last many years. You can maintain a stable weight by maintaining a healthy diet and exercise. Eliminating fatty and sugary foods is the key. Laxity is possible for patients that have had a significant amount of weight loss.

How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost?

In Houston, Texas the cost of abdominoplasty can range from $8,000 to $10,000 for a mini tummy tuck, and $14,000 to $16,000 for a full tummy tuck with liposuction. These estimates include the various fees usually associated with plastic surgery, such as expenses for the anesthesia, surgical facility, surgeon, post-operative care, etc. That said, each person’s surgical costs are personalized according to the unique details of their treatment plan. A body lift procedure is even more extensive since it also involves removal of excess skin on the lower back. After you visit our practice for a consultation with Dr. Payne, our office will be able to present you with a personalized quote of your tummy tuck expenses.

Dr. Payne accepts financing plans through credible healthcare lending companies like CareCredit® and Prosper® Healthcare Lending, which both offer very low or zero interest rates for patients who qualify. Many patients find that their surgical costs are more easily manageable with the flexible payment options provided by plastic surgery financing. Please don’t hesitate to call our Houston office at (713) 461-8866 if you have any questions about the application process, or about the cost of tummy tuck surgery in general.

Schedule a Consultation

Contact Texas Liposuction Specialty Clinic in Houston today to schedule a consultation for your Liposuction with Dr. Payne.