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An abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a tummy tuck, can be ideal for men and women interested in improving their body contours. Dr. Otto J. Placik is a body contouring specialist who frequently performs tummy tucks for patients in the Chicago and Arlington Heights areas. Below are responses to some of the most common questions and concerns about tummy tucks. If you have a question that is not addressed here, or are interested in learning more about what a tummy tuck can do for you, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.

Tummy Tuck FAQ

What Is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure with the aim of improving the contours of your abdominal area. In order to do this, a tummy tuck typically removes excess skin and fatty tissue from the abdomen and repairs broken or separated abdominal muscles. On occasion, this is carried out to improve scars from previous surgery, the most common of which is a C-section (Pfannenstiel incision). Dr. Placik specializes in tummy tucks and offers a variety of customized tummy tuck options for his patients:

  • A micro tummy tuck can treat isolated fatty deposits and repair separated abdominal muscles. The procedure leaves the belly button intact and can be performed with or without liposuction. On occasion, an endoscope or fiberoptic lighting system may be used to minimize incisions while optimizing visibility of the repair.
  • A mini tummy tuck can tighten loose lower abdominals and excise a limited amount of skin in order to improve C-section scars below the belly button. Mini tummy tucks are commonly performed with liposuction and leave the belly button intact.
  • A midi (“marriage” or combination) tummy tuck can repair muscle separation in both the upper and lower abdominals and remove a limited amount of excess skin for the removal of C-section scars. The belly button remains intact, but may be slightly “floated” downward. It “marries” or combines the skin/scar correction of a mini tuck with the muscle repair of a maxi (see below) or full tummy tuck. It is NOT a good choice for patients with skin laxity ABOVE the umbilicus.
  • A maxi tummy tuck is a traditional full tummy tuck. This procedure involves repairing and tightening separated or loose muscles of the upper and lower abdomen and excising any extra stomach skin all the way up to the breasts. Lower abdominal scars (BOTH vertical and horizontal) can typically be removed. The belly button is redesigned and positioned in a natural location. A maxi tummy tuck can be performed with liposuction in the hips.

More tummy tuck options can include customized variations from an extended tummy tuck, which involves removal of large amounts of excess skin, to a circumferential belt lipectomy. This procedure combines a traditional tummy tuck with a thigh and buttock lift, treating excess skin from the abdomen down to the thighs, and is typically performed on patients who have undergone significant weight loss.

Am I a Tummy Tuck Candidate?

The best tummy tuck candidates are men and women who would like to achieve smooth abdominal contours by removing excess stomach skin and fatty tissue and repairing any loose or separated abdominal muscles. However, it’s important that patients understand that tummy tucks are not weight loss alternatives. Therefore, patients should achieve their goal weight prior to undergoing tummy tuck surgery. The most common tummy tuck patients have undergone weight loss or pregnancy, resulting in baggy skin, stubborn fatty deposits and loose abdominals. Smokers and individuals who fluctuate in their body weight are not good candidates.

Can I Combine a Tummy Tuck with Liposuction of the Mons Pubis?

Absolutely. In fact, many patients choose to combine mons pubis surgery with a tummy tuck in order to create their desired results. While fatty deposits in the mons pubis, the fleshy mound above the vaginal cleft, may be relatively unnoticeable pre-tummy tuck, some patients find that once they achieve a sleek and smooth abdominal region, their mons pubis feels overly pronounced. Your tummy tuck can be customized for your concerns, including treatment of a prominent mons pubis using liposuction or combining this with a mons pubis lift and reduction.

What Are Some Other Procedures I Can Combine with a Tummy Tuck?

Tummy tucks can be combined with other body contouring procedures, including a thigh lift or arm lift. In addition, tummy tucks are commonly included as part of a mommy makeover and performed alongside breast enhancement genital rejuvenation and more.

What Can I Expect During My Procedure?

Tummy tucks usually require general anesthesia. Dr. Placik will inform you if he recommends that your procedure be performed on an in-patient or out-patient basis. The surgical steps taken depend largely on what type of tummy tuck you have chosen and whether any additional procedures are being performed at the same time. Typically, however, excess stomach skin will be removed, stubborn fatty deposits may be treated with liposuction and Dr. Placik will repair loose or separated abdominal muscles. Scars or hernias may require additional interventions.

What Should I Expect During Recovery?

Tummy tucks generally require at least a week or two of downtime. However, exact downtime will vary depending on your tummy tuck. Your results will initially be obscured by swelling, but the swelling and bruising should subside over the course of the first month following surgery. Dr. Placik may ask you to wear a compression garment for optimal blood flow and to assist with post-operative swelling, and he will provide you with detailed post-surgical instructions. Patients can typically resume their normal routine after a couple of weeks, and gradually ease back into more vigorous exercises and activities over following months.

How Long Will My Results Last?

Tummy tuck results are permanent. However, patients must take care to maintain their new look with a healthy lifestyle, as weight gain following a tummy tuck could reverse some of the results. Additionally, future pregnancies can affect tummy tuck results and women who become pregnant after a tummy tuck may require a tummy tuck revision following their last pregnancy.