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137 Portsmouth Avenue Stratham, NH 03885
(603) 775-7444

Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery Skin & Laser Center

Tummy Tuck Surgery (Abdominoplasty)

One of the most common “problem” areas for men and women is the belly, particularly the concern of having excess skin that obscures the natural contours of the body. Loose skin and muscles can develop on the abdomen for a number of reasons, from the natural aging process to significant weight loss. Many women also notice changes in this region following pregnancy and childbirth. If you are bothered by excess skin or stretch marks on your abdomen, our extensively trained and board-certified plastic surgeon can help you address this issue and achieve your cosmetic goals.

Before-and-After Tummy Tuck

What Is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck, also called an abdominoplasty, is a procedure designed to trim away excess skin on the abdomen and tighten the underlying muscles. In many cases, liposuction is combined with treatment to remove pockets of stubborn fat for a firmer and smoother appearance in this area. Dr. Richard Zeff, our experienced surgeon, offers this popular approach at our state-of-the-art practice. We can customize your procedure to suit your individual needs and desired outcome. This can include adding other techniques, like breast augmentation or breast lift for women or post bariatric body contouring for patients with more significant loose skin, to restore your body and provide an optimal result that’s natural-looking and long-lasting.

What Are the Benefits of a Tummy Tuck?

Tummy tuck surgery is one of the most popular procedures in the nation. This treatment can revitalize the body’s appearance and the patient’s confidence. Other benefits of tummy tuck surgery include:

  • Reduced excess abdominal skin
  • Tightened abdominal muscles
  • Smoother, firmer skin of the lower stomach and abdomen
  • Improved appearance of moderate to severe stretch marks
  • Slimmer, more toned waistline and abdomen

In addition to these benefits, tummy tuck surgery can also be used to spot-reduce fatty tissue on the waistline, abdomen, and flanks (love handles) with the aid of liposuction. We can discuss this option with you during your initial consultation.

Tummy Tuck Vs. Liposuction Surgery – Which Is Right for You?

Before undergoing any body-contouring procedure, it is important to first analyze whether the patient requires abdominoplasty (tummy tuck surgery), liposuction, or a combination of the two. At our practice, we help each patient evaluate his or her needs and goals. Liposuction can remove excess amounts of fat, but the procedure cannot remove loose or excess skin. Furthermore, the results of liposuction are related to the patient’s skin tone. On the other hand, patients with very loose skin and stretch marks should consider a tummy tuck, which removes excess skin and fat, resulting in tightening of the entire abdomen. Dr. Zeff can determine which procedure is best for your cosmetic goals during an initial consultation.

“My experience with Dr. Zeff and all of his staff was beyond my expectations. I had been planning my tummy tuck surgery for years and knew quite a bit about the procedure but had originally decided to go with a different surgeon. After some time and meetings with that particular surgeon, I wasn’t feeling confident so I decided to cancel my surgery and made an appointment with Dr. Zeff. He was extremely honest and generous with his time and information in regards to my specific needs. I left the office with an appointment for surgery in hand and felt 100% confident about it. The whole process of pre-surgery to the actual surgery and post-surgery was absolute text book, and my recovery and results are perfection. I can’t even express how pleased I am with Dr. Zeff and his extremely caring and welcoming staff. If you are ever wavering and are unsure, I whole-heartedly recommend Dr. Zeff.”
Stephanie – Exeter, NH

Full Tummy Tuck Vs. Mini Tummy Tuck

When the looseness is limited to the lower abdomen, one can consider a mini-abdominoplasty which is a less expensive and less invasive procedure. A long but very low incision is used to remove the excess tissue of the lower abdomen. The recovery is also much shorter. A mini-abdominoplasty will not, however, tighten the tissues around and above the belly button. It can, however, be combined with liposuction to achieve improved contour in other areas as well.

What Happens During the Tummy Tuck Procedure?

For abdominoplasty in a private and confidential setting, tummy tuck patients can come to our conveniently located outpatient surgery center. The tummy tuck procedure is performed by making an incision as low as possible on the abdomen to hide post-surgical scarring. Next, excess skin and fat are removed from the area between the belly button and the pubic hairline, and, when needed, the underlying muscles are tightened to create an even flatter tummy. The belly button stays in its natural position in the newly tightened skin. Sometimes, simultaneous liposuction of the hips can help achieve even better overall contour.

What Can I Expect During Tummy Tuck Recovery?

Tummy tuck surgery is usually done as an outpatient procedure. Initially, patients may be unable to stand up straight for several days, limiting early post-operative activities. After a week or two, only strenuous activity will be limited. Discomfort from abdominoplasty typically improves daily but can last, to a minor degree, up to two weeks and is often easily controlled with medications prescribed by our plastic surgeon.

Will I Have Scars After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Both mini-tummy tuck and full tummy tuck surgery will result in a visible scar following surgery; however, Dr. Zeff is careful to ensure that the incision is placed very low on the abdomen so that the scar can be easily hidden beneath bikini bottoms and underwear. Due to the variation in incision length, the scar that remains after full tummy tuck surgery is generally longer than the scar following mimi-tummy tuck surgery. To help minimize the prominence of any resulting scar tissue, it is important to follow all post-operative wound care instructions, take antibiotic medications as prescribed, and attend all follow-up appointments with Dr. Zeff. During follow-up appointments Dr. Zeff can monitor your healing and provide swift treatment if wound complications develop. As your scar heals, you will likely notice that it fades and flattens considerably over time. If you are bothered by the appearance of your scar, Dr. Zeff may be able to perform laser scar reduction treatments to further reduce its prominence.

How Long Do Tummy Tuck Results Last?

To maintain the quality of your results following tummy tuck surgery it is important to maintain a stable weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise. Even if your weight does fluctuate a bit, your outcome should still remain satisfactory as the removal of excess skin and fat and the tightening of abdominal muscles are designed to create lasting structural improvement to the midsection. If you become pregnant after you have had a tummy tuck, there is a chance that the growing baby may re-stretch the skin and abdominal muscles. In these cases, Dr. Zeff may recommend a touch-up surgery after you’ve fully recovered from childbirth to regain optimal aesthetics.

Is a Non-Surgical Tummy Tuck Possible?

Unfortunately, there is no non-surgical option that can create the type of dramatic results that are possible with a tummy tuck. For patients with mild to moderate skin laxity in the abdomen, a minimally invasive option called Renuvion® may be appropriate for creating tighter skin and firmer, smoother contours. Not all patients are candidates for Renuvion®, so it is important to schedule a consultation with Dr. Zeff to discuss your options and the outcome you can expect.

How Much Does Tummy Tuck Surgery Cost?

Since we tailor every cosmetic program to suit the individual needs and goals of the patient, the price of tummy tuck surgery can vary from person to person. The average cost of a tummy tuck procedure at our practice is $8,950, which includes Exparel for post operative pain reduction. To give you the best and most complete information, we will provide a detailed total cost of your treatment plan at your initial visit, so you will know exactly the cost of the proposed surgery. We also work with several reputable medical lenders that can provide qualified applicants with appealing plastic surgery financing options. Let us know if you’re interested and we can provide additional details.

Additional Tummy Tuck FAQs

How safe is a tummy tuck?

As with any surgery, tummy tuck surgery has risks. When tummy tuck surgery is performed by an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon in a licensed surgical center or hospital, the risk of serious complications is generally minimized. For all patients, Dr. Zeff makes every effort to reduce or eliminate the possibility of complications. He has been successfully performing tummy tucks for more than 30 years and utilizes the most advanced technology and techniques to safely and effectively contour the abdomen. Your safety is Dr. Zeff’s top priority at all stages of your surgical journey and the outstanding care you receive will reflect that. From the initial consultation to your final follow-up appointments, Dr. Zeff and his team care for you like family. Patients are always encouraged to contact our practice as soon as possible if a question arises or a concern develops. We do our best to make sure you get the answers you need, as well as prompt appointments and treatment when appropriate.

What can I eat after tummy tuck surgery?

Dr. Zeff recommends a healthy, nourishing diet following tummy tuck surgery. Eating the right foods and drinking lots of water can assist in your recovery and healing and play an important role in decreasing post-surgical swelling. As part of your post-operative care, Dr. Zeff strongly suggests avoiding salty, sugary, and processed foods. Ideally, your diet should include nutrient-dense foods that contain lots of protein, vitamins, and antioxidants. Starting and maintaining healthy eating habits after surgery can also benefit you long-term by helping to regulate your body weight and keep your tummy tuck surgery results looking great into the future.

What is seroma after tummy tuck surgery?

A seroma is one of the potential risks associated with tummy tuck surgery—it is an accumulation of fluid that may form under the surface of the skin. A seroma typically develops when a large amount of tissue has been removed from the body or repositioned. Usually, small seromas are reabsorbed by the body naturally and do not require treatment. In rare cases, a large or painful seroma may develop, requiring examination and prompt medical treatment. Symptoms that may indicate the presence of an infected seroma (abscess) can include fever, chills, bleeding, and/or an irregular heartbeat. We instruct patients to contact our practice as soon as possible if any of these symptoms are detected. Our team can quickly schedule an appointment under these conditions.

How can I reduce swelling after a tummy tuck?

Patients can usually expect post-operative swelling to last for four to six weeks following tummy tuck surgery. To help regulate and reduce swelling, Dr. Zeff instructs patients to get plenty of rest, wear their compression garment as prescribed, avoid salty foods, and maintain a regular schedule of anti-inflammatory medication. It is also important to drink plenty of water and engage in gentle movement and walking once cleared by Dr. Zeff.

Is it safe to get pregnant after a tummy tuck?

While you may have a tummy tuck as soon as six months to a year after giving birth, Dr. Zeff typically recommends that women wait until after they have finished having children to undergo surgery. It is generally considered safe to get pregnant after a tummy tuck; however, the growing fetus may stretch and change the results of your tummy tuck. For previous tummy tuck patients who experience new areas of skin laxity, excess fat, and/or stretched abdominal muscles following another baby, Dr. Zeff may be able to design a less-intensive customized procedure aimed at addressing specific concerns.

Would you like to learn more about abdominoplasty? Talk to our medical team today to schedule a consultation with our top plastic surgeon.

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