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A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that can improve the appearance of the abdomen. This procedure is best for those who have experienced substantial weight loss, pregnancy, or a loose or sagging abdomen due to the natural aging process. When the stomach muscles weaken, our mid-sections begin to experience a loss of elasticity and tone, which cannot be corrected through diet and exercise alone.

Who Is a Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Ideal candidates for this surgery are looking to improve their abdomen. Patients should be in good shape and close to their ideal weight. A tummy tuck is not a procedure for weight loss; instead, it targets loose skin and pockets of fat that have not responded to diet and exercise. 

While this procedure can be performed on patients of any gender, it is beneficial for women after childbirth. The abdominal skin can stretch during pregnancy and leave women with loose skin and weakened muscles. Other patients who benefit are those who are older and have lost skin elasticity.

Timing Your Tummy Tuck Procedure

In some cases, patients should wait before having a tummy tuck procedure. Because of the nature of the surgery, some patients may want to postpone their tummy tuck. This includes those who are planning to lose weight in the future, as well as those who are planning future pregnancies.

Smokers should also ensure they quit smoking at least one month prior to surgery. Smoking can lead to poor skin healing after surgery and is highly discouraged. It is important to note a tummy tuck can not fix stretch marks. However, stretch marks may be removed if they are found along the excess skin that will be removed during the procedure.

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Your Tummy Tuck Consultation

Before your procedure, you will have a consultation with Dr. Espinoza. During this time, he will evaluate your overall health, review your medical history, and determine the extent of surgery required. This includes establishing the quality of your skin tone and the volume of fat deposits. Then Dr. Espinoza can decide which type of tummy tuck is best for you.

Some patients may only have excess skin below the navel, in which case Dr. Espinoza can perform a less invasive procedure called a mini-tummy tuck. This is a partial abdominoplasty and is performed on an outpatient basis. Others may benefit from an abdominoplasty combined with liposuction to remove fat deposits from around the hips and areas near the abdomen. This can lead to a better-contoured shape, and in some cases, only liposuction may be required.

How the Procedure is Performed

A tummy tuck takes roughly 2 to 6 hours to perform. General anesthesia will be used during the surgery, ensuring you are relaxed and asleep for the procedure. The incisions used for a tummy tuck can vary in length but are placed horizontally along the pubic line. The incision can run from hip to hip, depending on the extent of required removal. An incision will also be made above the belly button. From these incisions, your surgeon will be able to remove the excess skin and fat deposits. The abdominal muscles will also be tightened and pulled taut. Finally, the belly button will be repositioned, allowing it to be symmetrical to your new abdomen.

The Mini Tummy Tuck

A mini tummy tuck is a shorter and less complex procedure. Local anesthesia and sedatives can be used to keep you comfortable but away during the surgery. This procedure is best for those whose primary areas of concern are below the belly button. This technique uses a shorter incision along the abdomen and does not stretch from hip to hip.

After Your Procedure

Once the procedure is complete, some patients require an overnight stay. This helps ensure you begin to heal properly and are recovering well. You will experience some discomfort and swelling over the first several days. Dr. Espinoza will provide patients with a complete recovery guide to ensure they are fully prepared before surgery. This will also include instructions on caring for your stitches or sutures and how to change your dressings. 

The stitches and sutures will be removed within a week or two following your surgery. At this time, your dressings may also be substituted for a support garment. 

Most patients can return to work roughly two weeks after their procedure. More strenuous movement, including exercise, should not be resumed for 4 to 6 weeks. 

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Visit Dr. Espinoza 

A tummy tuck can produce life-changing results for patients with excess skin or loose abdominal muscles. When properly maintained through a healthy diet and exercise routine, the results can be long-lasting. For those who have realistic expectations of the surgery and understand the potential for scarring, a tummy tuck may be the procedure you have been looking for. If you are ready to have a more taut and toned abdomen, contact Dr. Espinoza today

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