A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures performed. It is a procedure designed to restore the appearance of the abdominal region by removing excess skin, tightening underlying muscle separation, and removing extra fat. The American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) reports over 100,000 Tummy tucks, or abdominoplasties, are performed each year. However, there are still many common misconceptions about tummy tucks. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common myths surrounding the tummy tuck procedure.
Tummy tucks are for women only – MYTH
Because women more commonly experience changes in their abdominal region due to aging, weight fluctuations and pregnancy, a tummy tuck is most commonly performed on women. However, anyone with excess skin and loose abdominal muscles can be a tummy tuck candidate. This means that even men can successfully undergo a tummy tuck procedure. The most common reasons for men to desire a tummy tuck is weight loss. Weight loss can result in excess skin that hangs below the belt line, as well as laxity of the abdominal wall. So even though 90% of tummy tuck patients are women, that still means that men can successfully undergo this operation if indicated.
Tummy tucks are designed to help you lose weight – MYTH
Much like most plastic surgery procedures, a tummy tuck is not a weight loss operation – it is a shaping procedure, specifically designed to shape the abdominal area. This means that the best candidates for tummy tucks are men or women who are not overweight, and complain of excess skin usually from previous weight loss. The procedure itself will remove the excess skin and fat. The number of pounds removed is minimal. In fact, even patients who have a large amount of skin removed during their tummy tuck operation, should only expect to lose a few pounds on the scale. Excess skin just doesn’t weigh as much as you would think. Only in extreme cases of massive weight loss ,in which the patient is left with massive amounts of hanging skin, should you expect any significant reduction in the number on the scale. Now it is true that after a tummy tuck procedure most patients will lose weight on their own. This is because they are more likely to continue with a healthy lifestyle, given that they just spent money and subjected themselves to themselves to the pain of a major operation. Also, people find it harder to eat large amounts of food after a tummy tuck because the skin of their abdomen is tighter and they naturally feel fuller faster.
Exercises can repair abdominal muscle separation – MYTH
One of the main things that a tummy tuck addresses is the separation of the abdominal muscles. The separation generally occurs during pregnancy as the baby grows. There are some people who believe that there are some abdominal exercises that can reverse this separation. While there are some exercises specifically designed to do this, the truth is that the improvement will be limited. You can strengthen muscles through exercise, but you can’t “move” them. It may be possible to close small gaps in the abdominal muscle, such as 1 to 3 cm, with targeted exercises. However, it is common for abdominal muscle separation to exceed 5or 6 cm. No amount of exercise can reverse this. During a tummy tuck, those muscles are sewn together using sutures. This is a key part of the tummy tuck procedure and is also the part that causes the most discomfort and restrictions after the surgery.
The scar is too big – MYTH
Many people are hesitant to have a tummy tuck procedure because of the scar. The scar length will depend on the amount of excess skin that needs to be removed. This means that if you have a lot of skin laxity, your tummy tuck scar may extend from hip to hip. While you may think this is “huge”, it is what is required to perform the surgery appropriately. Shorter scars will remove less skin and have less internal tightening. The key to the scar is not the length, but the location. Plastic surgeons take great effort in placing the scar low so that it is hidden beneath underwear and bikini bottoms. This means that even if your scar is hip to hip, it should be low and completely hidden with minimal clothes. Only you can decide if this scar is too large for you and not worth the operation. In my experience, most people find that the improvement in the shape and contour of their abdomen is well worth any scar that is necessary.
I don’t need a tummy tuck, I can just get liposuction – MYTH
A tummy tuck and liposuction new york city are two different procedures with two different purposes. Liposuction will remove excess fat. This is a great procedure for people who have excess fat but no excess skin. If you have excess skin, then liposuction will not help you. In fact, it can make things worse. A tummy tuck is designed to remove the excess skin. Often times liposuction is combined together with a tummy tuck to improve your results. So, if your issue is excess skin, muscle separation, and some extra fat, then a tummy tuck is the appropriate operation for you. Liposuction will only make the excess skin worse and will do nothing to improve the underlying muscle separation.
You can be too old for a tummy tuck – MYTH
Much like all elective cosmetic procedures, age itself is not a reason not to do it. The main concern is whether or not you are healthy and can undergo a surgical procedure without elevated risk of complications. The main concern is your overall health. Therefore, to have a tummy tuck, you will need to be in good health without medical issues such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, cardiac disease, diabetes, anemia, or lung issues. All patient will undergo a full medical evaluation prior to having a tummy tuck. There certainly will be people who are now not candidates for tummy tuck based on their medical history, but this has nothing to do with age. Most plastic surgeons have performed tummy tucks on patients in their 60s and 70s. We have all seen 60 year olds who are in better physical health than some 25 year olds.
Any plastic surgeon can perform my tummy tuck – MYTH
As I said earlier, tummy tucks are one of the most common plastic surgery procedures. This means that every plastic surgeon has had some training in performing a tummy tuck operation. But, th
is does not
mean that every plastic surgeon is good at tummy tucks. As plastic surgeons we all specialize in specific aspects of plastic surgery. Some specialize in face procedures and some specialize in body procedures. Some perform reconstructive surgery while other Focus on cosmetic surgeries. When choosing your plastic surgeon for your tummy tuck, make sure that they are experienced with this specific procedure. You want to make sure that this is an operation that they perform regularly and you should look at their before and after results. This is the same advice you would be given for any surgical procedure ,since not every plastic surgeon is good at every plastic surgery procedure.
To find out more about tummy tucks and whether or not this is the right operation for you, contact Dr. Matthew Schulman, a New York City board-certified plastic surgeon.