The tummy tuck, known medically as the abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic procedure that removes excess skin from the belly and tightens the abdomen. Tummy tucks can be paired with liposuction to target excess fat. According to Mayo Clinic, excess skin and fat are removed from the abdomen during a tummy tuck, and connective tissue in the abdomen is usually tightened as well.
If you recently lost a significant amount of weight and noticed an increase in excess skin in the stomach area, a tummy tuck could be a life-changing procedure for you. The length of tummy tuck incisions varies from patient to patient, but full tummy tuck incisions are known to stretch from hip bone to hip bone. The cost of the procedure ranges between $3,000 to $12,000, depending on the weight of the patient and the amount of excess skin. With this in mind, the question is whether or not a tummy tuck is worth the cost, scarring, and downtime.
Why is a tummy tuck worth it?
Just as with any other cosmetic surgery, the tummy tuck has its risks and leaves incision scars. The advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages for most patients when it comes to this procedure. So what makes a tummy tuck worth it, after all?
Results Show Within Three Months
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), initial results from a tummy tuck are typically hidden by swelling and the inability to stand upright until your abdomen’s internal healing settles. However, most patients can stand upright with confidence in their new bodies within a week or two.
Most patients start noticing results after three months and become very impressed by the difference in their bodies after six months. Scarring continues to fade, revealing your fully rejuvenated stomach, from the three-month mark to a year post-op. The amount of time it takes for results to reveal depends on the patient, how much skin was removed, and how large the incision was, but once they are revealed most patients are satisfied with the outcome.
High Patient Satisfaction Rate
According to RealSelf’s regularly updated tummy tuck patient reviews, 96% of patients report that the procedure is worth the cost, scarring, and downtime. Most women report having gotten their tummy tuck after losing a substantial amount of weight or after having children and losing pregnancy weight.
Icing On the Cake After Weight Loss
If you have worked hard to shed a substantial amount of weight, the last thing you want to see is loose skin covering the results that you worked so hard to achieve. This extra skin can make it appear as if you still have a protruding stomach when you wear certain types of clothing. Tummy tucks are the icing on the cake after your weight loss journey, as they make your results truly blossom and eliminate excess skin that hides the body you put in work for at the gym and in the kitchen.
Targets Insecurities Diet and Exercise Can’t
Extra skin is not something that can be eliminated from diet and exercise like fat can. Most tummy tuck patients come in for their consultation after losing a drastic amount of weight from a rigorous workout routine and/or a restrictive diet. Once diet and exercise remove the fat in the stomach area, a tummy tuck takes care of that extra skin to truly reveal the body you have worked for.
Improves Urinary Incontinence
Aging and childbirth can cause an overactive bladder, or an inability to control urination in women. This can affect one’s social life as they avoid attending gatherings out of fear of bladder control problems causing embarrassing situations. The tummy tuck may not specifically target the bladder region, but it can help strengthen the bladder because it works on defining muscles around the pelvic floor. Due to this improvement in the strength and stability of abdominal and pelvic muscles, the tummy tuck may correct symptoms of urinary incontinence.
Tightens Loose Skin
Oftentimes, clients consider tummy tucks after losing a drastic amount of weight because they are left with extra loose skin in their stomachs. The main job the tummy tuck tackles is removing and/or tightening this loose skin to reveal the true size of your stomach after losing weight. Full tummy tucks target loose skin in both the upper and lower abdomen, giving patients a more toned stomach.
Improves Posture and Back Pain
Within the past few years, the pandemic has activated a rise in desk jobs and reduced physical activity. For many, this has led to bad posture and weight gain in the stomach area. As the tummy tuck tightens the core abdominal muscles, the back and spine are better supported and straining is reduced. With this improvement in posture, along with the tightening of loose skin and fat in the stomach area, patients may feel less pressure on their backs from carrying it. According to the ASPS, patients reported that back pain continues to improve from six weeks to six months after their tummy tuck procedure.
With your freshly sculpted abdomen and alleviation of back pain, you could very likely revert to enjoying activities such as exercising again. Hardcore activities such as lifting weights or running will feel less painful and more enjoyable when your posture is healthy. Be sure to wait until at least 4 weeks post-surgery before returning to any type of strenuous activity and start with light exercises.
Improves Muscle Tone
While the tummy tuck works to remove excess skin in the stomach, it also targets the abdominal muscles and creates more definition in the abdomen. For people with excess skin in their stomachs, it is practically impossible to achieve any type of abdominal muscle definition without a tummy tuck. Skin isn’t fat, so it doesn’t just go away with diet and exercise. Once the excess skin and fat in the abdomen are targeted during a tummy tuck, the abdominal muscles are revealed. Not only do tummy tucks improve muscle tone, but they also strengthen the abdominal muscles, restoring flexibility and a weakened core.
Conceals Stretch Marks
If you have struggled with weight fluctuation, the excess skin on your stomach may have old stretch marks on it. This can lead to insecurities when wearing bikinis or other forms of revealing clothing. While a tummy tuck procedure tightens that loose skin, it helps make some of those stretch marks much less visible. According to Mayo Clinic, the tummy tuck can remove stretch marks in the lower abdomen, but not above the belly button.
Corrects Ventral Hernias
When tissue breaks through your abdominal wall and creates a hole, a ventral hernia forms, developing a visible pouch in the midline of the abdomen wall. According to the ASPS, ventral hernias can result from massive weight loss, appendectomies, or C-sections. A tummy tuck can correct ventral hernias by targeting weakened abdominal muscles.
Scar Can Blend With C-Section Scar
If patients had children through a Cesarean delivery before their tummy tuck procedure, surgeons can meticulously incorporate the tummy tuck scar with the C-section scar. This is done so women with C-section scars are not left with two large scars on their lower stomach after getting a tummy tuck.
Although the tummy tuck requires a significant amount of downtime and scarring can take a while to heal, the pros outweigh the cons for most patients, 96% of them to be exact. Above all else, the tummy tuck significantly increases confidence for those who receive it and allows them to feel more carefree when wearing revealing clothing such as bikinis. It is the perfect procedure to receive after losing a substantial amount of weight, as large weight losses most often lead to excess skin, which can create new insecurities.
Not only does the tummy tuck improve confidence and make the body more aesthetically pleasing, but it also has health benefits such as the alleviation of back pain, an improvement in urinary incontinence and an improvement in posture.