Procedure: Approximately 2–3 hours
Anesthesia: General anesthesia
Recovery: About 1–2 weeks (for office jobs and non-strenuous activities)
Post-op Visits: 1 day, 1 week, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 6 months
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery, or abdominoplasty, is an aesthetic procedure designed to improve the contour of the midsection through the repair/tightening of stretched abdominal musculature and removal of lax, excess skin. It is almost always combined with some form of liposuction to also eliminate stubborn fat throughout the region and maximize the final outcome. While other techniques may deliver mild changes, the only way to remove loose skin and extra fat from the abdomen while tightening the abdominal muscles is through a tummy tuck—making this treatment the gold standard for abdominal sculpting.
Dr. Jon Kurkjian—our board-certified and aesthetic fellowship-trained plastic surgeon—is highly experienced in abdominoplasty and customizes every procedure to meet the specific needs and goals of the individual. Safety is paramount and always a key component to his approach, and he aims to deliver results that appear completely natural while limiting signs of surgery as much as possible.
“My goal for tummy tuck surgery is to achieve a natural abdominal contour that does not appear pulled or over-tightened. In addition to meticulous skin removal and muscle repair, special attention is directed to the shape and size of the umbilicus (belly button)—which is critical in creating a natural final aesthetic.”
— Dr. Kurkjian
Developing a Personalized Tummy Tuck Plan
During your consultation with Dr. Kurkjian, he will listen as you explain what bothers you about the appearance of your midsection and describe the look you hope to achieve. Once he has a complete understanding of your goals and has performed a physical assessment of his own, Dr. Kurkjian will develop an individualized abdominoplasty treatment plan that addresses your concerns in the safest, most effective way possible. This plan may involve some degree of liposuction—which is a very common adjunct to tummy tuck surgery—in order to improve the overall results.
When you are satisfied with the proposed approach, Dr. Kurkjian will review his abdominoplasty technique, describe what to expect during recovery, disclose possible risks or complications, and cover various other details pertaining to the procedure. He will also be happy to answer any and all questions that may come to mind. If you are ready to move forward with tummy tuck, a knowledgeable member of our staff can assist you in scheduling a date of surgery and provide you with pre-operative instructions, such as increasing your protein intake to aid in healing and optimal scar maturation. We can also discuss payment and financing options at this time.
From the initial consultation to the final postoperative visit, Dr. Kurkjian and our team want your tummy tuck experience to be as smooth and stress-free as possible. Our promise is to do everything in our power to help you achieve your goals and feel great about your appearance while receiving the care and support you deserve along the way.
What Are the Chief Benefits of Tummy Tuck Surgery?
A flat and well-toned abdomen is something most of us hope to achieve, but even with a strong commitment to exercise and a healthy diet, that flat tummy can still elude us. This is particularly true for women who find they have extra skin and loose musculature after pregnancy, or for individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight. Key benefits of a tummy tuck include its ability to treat conditions such as:
- Sagging and loose abdominal skin
- Protruding abdominal contour
- Weakened abdominal muscles
- Excess fat between the abdominal muscles and skin
Who Is a Good Tummy Tuck Candidate?
Individuals with relatively normal body weight who have excess skin, stubborn fat, and/or loose musculature in the abdomen are generally ideal candidates for abdominoplasty. Those who are planning substantial weight loss or women who are considering future pregnancies may be advised to postpone tummy tuck surgery. After evaluating your abdominal anatomy, Dr. Kurkjian will determine if a full abdominoplasty or mini tummy tuck would be right for you—both of which are often combined with liposuction.
Panniculectomy vs. Tummy Tuck
A panniculectomy is a surgical treatment that removes excess lower abdominal skin and fat that hangs down overtop of the groin area, often as the result of significant weight reduction. This procedure is typically employed when the amount of extra skin and fat present is so substantial that the individual suffers from persistent chafing or even trouble with mobility. In contrast to abdominoplasty, however, a panniculectomy does not address any issues pertaining to the upper abdomen. It also does not tighten and/or repair stretched abdominal musculature, all of which is possible via tummy tuck surgery. Consequently, abdominoplasty is usually regarded as as a better treatment option for women and men interested in improving the appearance of their abdominal region following weight loss.
What Is the Tummy Tuck Procedure Like?
The abdominoplasty procedure is performed under general anesthesia and generally takes approximately two to three hours to complete. To begin treatment, an incision is first made low along the abdomen. Abdominal musculature (located above and/or below the belly button) is then tightened, and extra skin is excised. When excess fat is present, Dr. Kurkjian often utilizes the SAFELipo® technique to further sculpt the region. This innovative liposuction method involves the separation, aspiration, and equalization of fatty tissue, allowing for a more aggressive approach to fat removal while helping minimize potential contour deformities. Once sculpting of the region is complete, Dr. Kurkjian will pull the skin taut and close the incision using special progressive-tension sutures. When doing so, he directs careful attention to the shape and size of the belly button, making sure not to excessively pull or over-tighten the skin in order to achieve a natural-looking navel and overall abdominal contour. (Dr. Kurkjian’s commitment to this philosophy is apparent in our tummy tuck before-and-after photos.)
What Can I Expect During Recovery from Tummy Tuck Surgery?
After surgery, a compression garment is provided to minimize swelling and support the abdomen as it heals. Drains are not always necessary for every patient. Dr. Kurkjian is well-versed in the drainless tummy tuck technique and uses it accordingly for the best candidates. The need for a drain placement is best determined during your consultation with Dr. Kurkjian.
If drains are required, they can generally be removed at one week or less. There is little to no discomfort associated with the newer drains utilized today (even during removal).
Some degree of bruising, swelling, and soreness throughout the abdominal region can be expected initially, but these symptoms should diminish over time. Substantial pain is rare due to Dr. Kurkjian’s meticulous surgical technique, though any discomfort experienced can be controlled with medication. Dr. Kurkjian offers one of the most recent advancements in post-operative pain treatment with long lasting numbing medication that can help alleviate pain for up to three days after surgery.
Depending on the type of abdominoplasty and your physical condition, office-based work and other non-strenuous activities can usually be resumed after one to two weeks. Other, more physically demanding activities will need to be avoided for longer to give the body ample time to heal.
Dr. Kurkjian and our team provide comprehensive post-surgical care and regular follow-ups to ensure you are guided through the entire healing process. Our office will give you specific and detailed instructions to aid in your recovery from the tummy tuck procedure, and we are always available to answer questions or address concerns along the way.
How Long Do Tummy Tuck Results Last?
Results achieved from tummy tuck surgery can be extremely long-lasting—if not permanent—as long as you lead a healthy lifestyle and maintain a relatively stable weight following treatment. Any future significant weight fluctuations (including those typically experienced during and after pregnancy) can cause abdominal skin to lose elasticity and begin sagging again, as well as re-stretch abdominal musculature. Should this occur, a second abdominoplasty may be needed to address the same concerns that were treated initially. To avoid this, Dr. Kurkjian recommends eating balanced and nutritious diet, exercising regularly (or as advised by your primary care physician), and living an overall healthy lifestyle after abdominoplasty—all of which can help prolong tummy tuck results well into the future.
Will My Tummy Tuck Scars Be Obvious?
Unfortunately, scarring is an unavoidable aspect of tummy tuck surgery. That being said, the incision for abdominoplasty is typically made low enough on the abdomen that it can be concealed underneath a wide variety of garments, including many bikini and underwear styles. In addition to his careful incision placement and meticulous wound closure technique, Dr. Kurkjian provides all patients with postoperative instructions on how to care for their incision throughout the healing and scar maturation process in order to help minimize its final appearance. Ultimately, Dr. Kurkjian has found that his patients have little concern about their tummy tuck scar and are much more thrilled about their new abdominal contour.
What Does a Tummy Tuck Cost?
The average cost of tummy tuck surgery at Dr. Kurkjian’s Fort Worth practice typically starts at $10,500, though the exact price will be dependent upon your unique needs and goals. When liposuction of one area is included with tummy tuck surgery, the cost typically begins at $14,500. From a general standpoint, components that can greatly impact the ultimate cost of abdominoplasty include:
- The degree of skin excision, fat removal, and muscle repair needed
- The particular surgical technique utilized
- Any complementary procedure performed
- The experience, skill, and reputation of the plastic surgeon
- Fees charged by the surgical venue
- Anesthesia expenses
- The specific city/region of the country in which the practice is situated
To help ensure anyone interested in tummy tuck surgery can afford treatment, Dr. Kurkjian partners with CareCredit® and other trusted healthcare lenders. These companies offer numerous financing options that can make plastic surgery a reality for virtually all budgets. If financial aid is desired, a staff member can get you started on the approval process for a plan of your choice at the time of your consultation.
Can You Get Pregnant After a Tummy Tuck?
From a health standpoint, it is generally fine to receive a tummy tuck before having kids. That said, Dr. Kurkjian typically recommends that patients wait until after they are finished having children before considering abdominoplasty. The reasoning behind this recommendation is that women who become pregnant and have children after receiving a tummy tuck will most likely re-stretch the skin and muscle tissues of their abdomen, potentially jeopardizing the results of their abdominoplasty. In many instances, this leads to the need and/or desire for revisional surgery to help restore the firmer, flatter abdominal contour achieved with their original procedure.
In regard to any risks associated with becoming pregnant after tummy tuck surgery, most women do not need to worry. Apart from the previously mentioned aesthetic issues that may arise, getting pregnant following abdominoplasty should pose no health concerns to you or your baby. In the event you do get pregnant post surgery, however, it is important to again note that an additional abdominoplasty or mini abdominoplasty may be necessary to restore your initial outcome, should you desire to do so.
Can I Get a Non-Surgical Tummy Tuck?
While several treatments that are available today can be employed to aesthetically enhance the abdomen, there is no true non-surgical tummy tuck. Techniques such as laser skin tightening and CoolSculpting® are marketed by some as non-surgical abdominoplasty alternatives, but these procedures cannot remove skin tissue, and they are not capable of reducing fat or tightening remaining skin to the same degree as tummy tuck surgery. Furthermore, they are not able to adequately address the stretched or torn abdominal musculature that is at least partially responsible for bulging of the mid to lower abdomen in many abdominoplasty patients.
Ultimately, non-surgical treatments can often be used simultaneously to complement or even enhance the results of tummy tuck surgery, but there is no non-surgical substitute for abdominoplasty when excess skin/fat removal and abdominal muscle repair is needed.
Contact Our Practice
If you would like more information about tummy tuck surgery, or if you wish to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kurkjian, please feel free to contact us today.