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What an abdominoplasty does

Being pregnant or overweight can result in permanently overstretched skin. Once the skin stretches to a certain point, it loses its ability to bounce back. At this point, the skin cannot return to its natural form, and a abdominoplasty becomes an excellent option.

In addition, the stomach muscles may weaken during pregnancy, loosen with age, or fluctuate with weight gain or loss. A tummy tuck tightens these essential stomach muscles, re-shaping and flattening the abdomen. This gives the stomach a flatter, tighter look and feel. 

Key benefits of a tummy tuck

  • Removes excess, lax skin left behind from pregnancy or weight loss
  • Restores weakened abdominal muscles
  • Delivers a more contoured stomach 
  • Helps exercise to be more efficient
  • Improves confidence and quality of life
  • Often helps with medical conditions such as back pain, hernia, urinary incontinence, etc.

The “mini” tummy tuck

A mini or partial tummy tuck is often used to remove extra skin patches and fatty deposits located directly underneath the navel area, and the belly button typically remains in the same place before and after surgery. 

During this procedure, Dr. Maercks will place an incision above the pubic area and cut and remove excess skin through this incision. After the excess is removed, the two areas are sewn back together for a firmer, flatter stomach area. This is the more valuable option for those who simply want to remove any sagging skin in the lower abdominal area.

The tummy tuck procedure

During the procedure, excess skin and fat are removed from the stomach. Dr. Maercks will sew muscles together to create an internal “girdle” in order to keep the abdominal muscles tight. A tummy tuck may also be paired with liposuction in order to remove fat deposits and improve the sculpting and contouring of the body.

While a tummy tuck can help to remove excess fat and skin that exists on the abdomen, it is not intended to replace a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise. Patients should only turn to a tummy tuck after all avenues for weight loss have been exhausted and weight is currently stabilized. A tummy tuck can be both cosmetic surgery and a reconstructive one, as some undergo the procedure to tighten stomach muscles that lead to a weak, painful back.

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Preparing for a tummy tuck

If you’re getting ready for a Miami tummy tuck, there are some things you should do to prepare. Smokers should immediately stop smoking when the decision is made to have a tummy tuck, as you must quit at least six weeks before surgery. Smoke and nicotine greatly slow the process of healing and increase risks, so cutting back is simply not enough. You must completely quit.

Certain supplements and medications must be avoided before any major surgery, and your doctor can go over a list of these with you to determine which should not be taken before a tummy tuck. Your medications may be eliminated for a short time period right before surgery.

In order to ensure that you recover quickly and that your body will heal correctly, a balanced diet before surgery is essential. After surgery, eat fiber to minimize constipation and load your diet up with protein for 3 to 5 weeks. There is an extended recovery period after a tummy tuck, and crash diets should be avoided. Rapid weight loss can weaken the immune system and put you at risk — particularly when your body is recovering from a major operation.

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During the tummy tuck procedure

Most cosmetic surgery procedures have different techniques to ensure that each patient gets the results they want, and the tummy tuck is no different. There are several different procedures Dr. Maercks may choose to utilize for your tummy tuck. 

During a partial abdominoplasty (which lasts about two hours), the patient is given a general anesthetic before surgery to avoid pain and discomfort. At this point, the doctor makes an incision right above the pubic area. Your personal preference plays into how long the incision is in the form of what bathing suits or underwear you prefer, how much skin will be removed, and the anatomy of the abdomen. If an excessive amount of skin must be removed around the belly button, a second incision will be made. 

The doctor will also remove some sections of skin with stretch marks, and others will be flattened in order to improve the appearance of the skin.

Patients may have scars and marks after surgery, and realistic expectations are essential in any cosmetic surgery. Be prepared for what your appearance will be like after surgery before you commit.

A complete abdominoplasty can last up to five hours, and is an invasive and very complex procedure. The surgery starts with an incision from one hip bone to the other, and a second incision that lets the naval completely loose from its surrounding tissues. The skin cut is then removed from the muscle and fat below, and is moved through the incision up the ribs.

The doctor then tightens up the vertical muscles in the area and sews them together, making the waistline smaller and the abdominal wall firmer. At this point excess skin is removed and the remaining skin is positioned to a new location, moving the naval to a new place. A drainage tube is placed to remove fluid for several days after the procedure, and a compression garment or bandage may be placed by the doctor.

How to make recovery easier

Since recovery is so intensive, there are steps you can take to prepare for your procedure before you undergo surgery. These include:

  • Setting up a bedroom close to the bathroom
  • Arranging for animal or pet care
  • Placing extra blankets around your bedding to avoid chills
  • Putting anything needed during recovery near the hips, as you don’t want to be reaching for or lifting anything
  • Gathering materials for entertainment during recovery 
  • Washing your hair before surgery (it may be several weeks before you can shower)
  • Stocking the house of snacks and foods that help with nausea
  • Having a friend, nurse, family member, or personal helper close by after surgery
  • Staying in contact with your doctor, particularly if there are any complications
  • Stocking your drawers with loose, comfortable clothing to wear
  • Purchasing dressings and medications before the day of your surgery
  • Arranging for two weeks’ leave from work

Recovery

It’s important for those undergoing an abdominoplasty to arrange to have a responsible adult drive them home after the procedure, and someone to stay with them for anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. In order to boost circulation and promote recovery, be sure to take short walks the day after surgery (although you should not try to stand up straight). Avoid sitting for extended periods of time the first few days, and limit activities during your first few weeks after surgery. Any bending, lifting, or straining may cause increased bleeding and swelling, which may delay your recovery extensively.

Scars should be expected to darken and get pink before they finally start to lighten, and some scars will be permanent. Patients are typically given oral medication to help with discomfort or pain. You may also notice a “tugging” sensation in the area, but compression garments can help to keep swelling down. 

Expect numbness of the skin and bruising after surgery, and the doctor will likely remove fluid with drainage tubes placed during surgery.

During the recovery period, you will have regular follow-up appointments to ensure that your body is healing properly. You will most likely need to wear a compression garment for several weeks to help prevent scarring and to tighten the muscles.

All exercise and heavy lifting should be avoided during the recovery period, which is approximately six weeks long. Recovery time varies from patient to patient, but the closer your follow your doctor’s instructions, the more likely you are to see optimal results after surgery. Health, age, and the elasticity of your skin may factor into your recovery time.

Before & After

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Tummy tuck in Miami from The Maercks Institute

Ready to improve your appearance with a Miami tummy tuck? If you’re tired of the way your stomach looks and want to feel confident again, we invite you to contact us for a consultation. The Maercks Institute is a high-profile, Miami-based surgical center that offers a variety of advanced techniques for surgical procedures that challenge “status quo” plastic surgery by delivering bespoke results that appear as if they are made by nature. President and medical director Dr. Rian Maercks is a board-certified cosmetic, plastic, and reconstructive surgery specialist with a unique combination of specialized expertise in cosmetic breast and body procedures. Also an artist, Dr. Maercks’s approach to both surgical and non-invasive aesthetic interventions of the face and body have garnered him international recognition by surgeons and patients alike. In addition, The Maercks Institute features a certified surgical suite as well as an overnight recovery suite for optimized patient care. Dr. Maercks has changed the lives of thousands of patients over the years, and he will design the right treatment plan for your unique goals. His vision and experienced judgement and attention to detail centers on what is best for you. To learn more about our abdominoplasty procedure, reach out to us today. 

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Ideal candidates for a tummy tuck

If you’re considering a tummy tuck in Miami, it may be the best procedure for your needs. Tummy tucks are most often performed on individuals who are struggling with excess loose skin after pregnancy or considerable weight loss. The ideal candidate for a tummy tuck is healthy physically and emotionally and is currently within 25 pounds of their goal weight. Patients should be non-smokers, and it’s essential to have reasonable expectations for what a tummy tuck can do. Women who plan to become pregnant later on should hold off on getting a tummy tuck, as should those who plan to continue to lose weight. 

Tummy Tuck FAQ

How much does a Miami tummy tuck cost?

The cost of a tummy tuck in Miami varies on location, age, weight, and the state of your current health. Tummy tucks usually range in cost from $2500 to $5000, although we can give you a more in-depth cost analysis after your first consultation. Costs include facility fees, anesthesia, medications, and pre-and post-op care from your doctor.

What is a body lift, and how is it different than a tummy tuck?

A body lift (also known as a belt lipectomy or circumferential abdominoplasty) is different from the traditional tummy tuck. It addresses the area of the hips, back, and waistline along with the stomach. Loose hanging skin is removed from the buttocks, thighs, abdomen, and belly, and muscles are re-positioned for a firmer look around the body. The surgeon makes an incision around the waist in order to access excess fat and skin for removal. The upper skin tissue is joined with the lower skin tissue to give the abdomen a firmer look and feel.

Should a tummy tuck ever be avoided?

Smokers should avoid a tummy tuck, as nicotine and smoke decrease blood flow and make it more difficult to heal. Smoking can also promote infection, add to skin loss, and increase scarring after a tummy tuck. If you plan to have a tummy tuck, you should quit smoking several months before the procedure. Those who plan to lose significant amounts of weight are not good candidates for a tummy tuck, and your surgery should wait until you are within 25 pounds of your preferred weight. If you plan to get pregnant again, a tummy tuck should wait until after you have your last child, as pregnancy and childbirth can completely reverse the surgery.

Can liposuction be performed with a tummy tuck?

Many patients choose to have liposuction performed at the same time as their tummy tuck in order to simplify the procedures. Before the surgery, your plastic surgeon will determine exactly how much fat should be removed. The excess fat is first removed through liposuction, and then the tummy tuck follows depending on the patient’s specific circumstances. Your individual preferences and goals should be discussed with your surgeon before surgery is scheduled.

What risks are involved with a tummy tuck?

All surgeries come with some type of inherent risks, complications, or side effects. Some of the risks of tummy tuck include swelling, pain, infection, bleeding, reaction to anesthesia, soreness, numbness, scarring, poor wound healing, and/or blood loss. Following your doctor’s instructions helps to reduce these risks and ensures that your body heals properly and quickly. Contact your doctor immediately if any of your symptoms seem to be getting worse rather than better.

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