Getting a tight, toned tummy can be easier said than done, especially if weight loss or pregnancy has left behind stretched, sagging skin and muscles. Tummy tuck surgery can help. Keep reading to learn more.
- Initial Recovery Time: 2 weeks
- Final Results: 6 months
Your Richmond Tummy Tuck Surgery
Have you spent hours in the gym each week and watched every calorie, but never seem to get anywhere close to seeing a tighter tummy? You’re not alone. A healthy diet and exercise are important for getting back in shape after pregnancy or weight loss, but even if you’re at your ideal weight, you may have a pouch of excess skin or protruding muscles on your lower belly, despite your best efforts. While no amount of crunches are going to help, a tummy tuck can.
By tightening loose or protruding abdominal muscles and removing excess skin and fat on the belly, a tummy tuck can help you restore a firmer, flatter and smoother shape to your midsection.
Why consider a tummy tuck?
While there’s little you can do on your own to address sagging skin, stubborn fat and stretched abdominal muscles, tummy tuck surgery, called abdominoplasty, is specifically designed to deal with these unwanted changes. Abdominoplasty can also repair diastasis recti, a painful separation of the abdominal muscles.
The benefits of restoring a tighter, flatter abdominal shape are many:
- Clothing—especially jeans and skirts—will fit more comfortably
- You’ll have more options when looking for a flattering fit
- Removing excess skin can help remove stretch marks on the belly
- Self-confidence can soar
Am I a good tummy tuck candidate?
If you’re bothered by loose, sagging skin and muscle on your belly, a tummy tuck is probably the best option to help you get the firm, flat tummy you want. Like any surgery, certain patients are better suited to the procedure than others. If you can answer “yes” to the following, a tummy tuck may benefit you:
- You are at a healthy, stable weight
- You have loose, sagging skin above or below your belly button
- Your muscles protrude despite core strength training efforts
- You’re a non-smoker or are willing to quit 4 weeks prior to surgery
- You can take 2 to 3 weeks off work to recover
A consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is the best way to find out if a tummy tuck is right for you. Dr. Stephen Chen has performed tummy tucks for 12+ years for Richmond area patients, and he will take the time to explain your options and answer any questions you have about the surgery and recovery.
About tummy tuck surgery in Richmond
Dr. Chen makes two incisions, one around the belly button and another running from hip to hip, just above the pubic bone. Once healed, the belly button incision is camouflaged by the natural contours of the navel, and the lower incision is easily concealed beneath a swimsuit bottom.
Through these incisions, Dr. Chen separates the skin from the underlying muscles, tightening muscles by placing permanent sutures in the surrounding connective tissue—your abs will work normally once healed. He then redrapes the skin, reshaping and positioning the belly button into a natural location and removing excess skin.
Dr. Chen really listened to what I wanted to achieve, which was to look great in clothes. He wants you to have the best possible results, and expects nothing less than perfection from himself as your surgeon. And that is what I have received. I like that type of personal investment from my surgeon. I wasn’t a number, but a person with unique issues requesting specific outcomes from my surgery.-Actual Patient of Dr. Chen
Recovering after your tummy tuck
Recovery takes a little longer with a tummy tuck compared to other cosmetic procedures—but the dramatic improvements are usually well worth it. You will need around-the-clock care for the first 1 to 2 days after surgery to help you get in and out of bed, use the bathroom, etc. Post-operative pain and discomfort peak about 3 to 5 days after surgery, and then you begin to feel better and better each day. Dr. Chen will give you pain medication to manage discomfort.
Expect to need assistance with daily activities, including childcare, for at least 2 weeks. If you have a desk job, you may be ready to return 2 to 3 weeks after surgery, but physical work will require more time off. Lifting, straining and strenuous exercise are off-limits for about 6 weeks after a tummy tuck, although easy walking for exercise can begin earlier than this. Remember—don’t resume any activity before Dr. Chen agrees you are ready. Sticking to your post-op instructions is important for your safety and results.