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Tummy tuck surgery, also called abdominoplasty, is a procedure to tighten and sculpt the upper and lower abdomen. During this procedure, excess fat and loose skin are removed, and the abdominal muscles are tightened to create a more youthful-looking midsection. Columbia Tummy Tuck Specialist Dr. Sarah Mess is experienced in restoring a flat, toned tummy after pregnancy, weight loss, or aging.
Thinking About Having a Tummy Tuck?
In 2018, more than 130,000 people had tummy tuck surgery in the U.S.1 There are many potential benefits of tummy tuck surgery:
Remove Sagging Abdominal Skin
Sagging abdominal skin can result from weight loss, pregnancy, or the natural aging process. It often appears very wrinkled and can even hang past the pubic hair line. Tummy tuck surgery will remove this unsightly skin to provide a slimmer and toner result that will boost both comfort and confidence.
Tighten Loosened Abdominal Muscles
Diastasis recti, or loosened abdominal muscles, can occur from pregnancy or weight gain. Even after weight is lost, the separated muscles push outward, leading to a permanently protruding abdomen. Exercise is often ineffective in improving diastasis recti, but tummy tuck surgery can tighten these muscles to create a firm, sculpted foundation.
Restore Your Pre-Pregnancy Body
Even women with “great genes” experience significant changes in their body after pregnancy. Tummy tuck surgery will repair and restore stretched abdominal muscles, remove excess fat, and tighten the skin to reveal a youthful-looking midsection.
Remove Stretch Marks
Stretch marks occur as a result of weight gain, pregnancy, or aging. They often appear on the lower abdomen where much of the skin is removed during an abdominoplasty. If stretch marks coincide with the excess skin that is to be removed, they will be removed along with it.
Combine with Other Procedures for Comprehensive Body Contouring
An abdominoplasty is often a foundational procedure in a mommy makeover, which is a personalized treatment plan to restore a youthful body. Tummy tuck patients often add liposuction, and one study reported a 99% satisfaction rate among patients who had abdominoplasty with liposuction.2
Increase Comfort During Routine Activities
Excess abdominal skin can lead to difficulty performing exercise and routine activities. With this extra skin out of the way, patients are freed from these limitations.
VECTRA® 3D Imaging
Our office utilizes VECTRA® 3D Imaging to provide a high-resolution, three-dimensional simulation of how your results may appear. During your consultation with Dr. Mess, your preferences and goals will be discussed to determine which procedures can achieve your desired results. You will have multiple photos taken from various angles, and the images are then transferred to our computer system. Using these photos, a three-dimensional model is created, and your simulated procedure results are added to display the expected outcome. This process allows a visual aspect for more accurate treatment plans and procedure result estimates.
Your Tummy Tuck Options
During your consultation, Dr. Sarah Mess will personally evaluate your body to determine if a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck will give you the results you desire.
Mini Tummy Tuck
A mini tummy tuck will remove excess skin and fat in the lower abdomen using a smaller incision than a full tummy tuck. The abdominal muscles are also tightened if necessary.
- Addresses the lower abdomen only
- Involves a shorter scar than a full tummy tuck
- Involves a shorter recovery time than a full tummy tuck
Full Tummy Tuck
A full tummy tuck removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen, both above and below the navel, and tightens stretched abdominal muscles.
- Addresses the upper and lower abdomen
- Tightens the abdominal muscles
- Removes excess fat and tightens skin
Alternative Procedures to Tummy Tuck
For patients who are looking to remove stubborn fat deposits but who retain good skin elasticity, liposuction may be an appropriate treatment. Liposuction is a surgical treatment that removes pockets of fat.
CoolSculpting® addresses fat deposits for patients who are interested in non-surgical fat removal. The device uses super cooling technology to eliminate fat cells from smaller areas such as bra fat rolls, love handles, the back of the arms, and the inner thighs.
Emsculpt® utilizes electro-magnetic energy to help tone muscles as well as eliminate fat. The treatment is best used on the abdomen, buttock, or thighs of patients who are at or near their goals weight but who would like more toned, sculpted muscles.
Tummy Tuck Before And After Photos
Age 38, 1 month post procedure
Age 39, 5 months post procedure
Age 34, 11 months post procedure
Age 29, 3 months post procedure
Age 42, 8 months post procedure
Age 42, 2 months post procedure
Age 30, 2 months post procedure
Age 65, 1 month post procedure
You’ve just had a Tummy Tuck. Now what?
Dr. Mess will give you detailed postoperative instructions and guidelines regarding what you can expect for recovery and results. In general, you can expect the following:
Immediately after surgery, your incisions will be dressed in bandages, and you will likely be instructed to wear a compression garment, which will help reduce swelling and help your skin adhere to the newly sculpted contours. You will have arranged for someone to drive you home and care for you during the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery, when you will be getting plenty of rest.
Weeks 1 and 2
Most patients can resume work after one to two weeks as long as it does not involve strenuous activity. Swelling and bruising will still be apparent at this time but will subside over the next few weeks. Prescribed medications will ease any discomfort you may experience.
Weeks 3 and 4
Many patients can be cleared for light physical activity after the third week, but they should still pay attention to the way their body responds. It may be wise to continue to rest and drink plenty of fluids for another week.
By the fifth week, most of the swelling and bruising has dissipated, and patients usually feel able to resume regular activities and exercises. Follow-up visits should be scheduled to ensure recovery is going smoothly and that the results meet your expectations.
How much does a Tummy Tuck cost?
We believe patients make better decisions when they understand the options and cost ranges for tummy tuck surgery. We are happy to provide a basic price range for Tummy Tuck surgery, but final costs cannot be determined prior to your consult with Dr. Mess.
Most tummy tucks are scheduled from 3-4 hours. Some will take a little less time, and others will require more. Many patients combine back or thigh liposuction with their tummy tuck to achieve 360 body contouring results. Dr. Mess will help you determine the best options to achieve your aesthetic goals.
The best way to determine your procedure pricing is to come in for a consult with Dr. Mess. Our Columbia office is conveniently located and easily assessable from both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
Our surgical estimates are comprehensive. Your tummy tuck surgery quote will include:
- Surgeon’s fee for tummy tuck
- Operating room fees and supply charges
- Anesthesia fees
- Post-surgical garments
- Exparel (long acting, non-opioid for post-operative pain management)
- All appointments before or after your surgery
Price Range for a tummy tuck: $8000- $12000. (budget an additional $2,000-3,000 if adding back liposuction). Your costs may fall outside of this range.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tummy Tuck Surgery
Do Men Get Tummy Tuck Surgery?
Yes! Dr. Mess has helped many male patients get the toned, sculpted body that they want with abdominoplasty. A tummy tuck can help men who are not able to get the results they want from diet and exercise and men who have loose abdominal skin from weight loss.
What Will My Tummy Tuck Scars Look Like?
Dr. Sarah Mess is experienced in strategic incision placement and she will place your tummy tuck incision as low as possible so that it can be hidden by underwear and swimsuits. Your genetics, skin type, and your aftercare will also play a part in how much your scar fades.
What Are The Risks of Tummy Tuck Surgery?
All surgical procedures carry some risk of complications or side effects. Possible risks of abdominoplasty include bleeding, infection, unfavorable scarring, and changes in skin sensation.3 Dr. Mess upholds a high safety standards in order to optimize your surgical outcome.
Am I A Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?
If you have loose skin on your stomach or distended muscles as a result of aging, weight loss, or pregnancy, then a tummy tuck could be the solution for you. Ideal candidates for abdominoplasty are non-smokers who are at a healthy weight, which they have maintained for at least one year.4
1 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2018 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report. Available: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/documents/News/Statistics/2018/plastic-surgery-statistics-full-report-2018.pdf Accessed January 2, 2020.
2 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Liposuction and Tummy Tuck Improve Quality of Life, Reports Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Available: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/press-releases/liposuction-and-tummy-tuck-improve-quality-of-life-reports-plastic-and-reconstructive-surgery Accessed January 2, 2020.
3 Mayo Clinic. Tummy Tuck. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/tummy-tuck/about/pac-20384892 Accessed January 2, 2020.
4 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Who is a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery? Available: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/tummy-tuck/candidates Accessed January 2, 2020.