What should I expect during tummy tuck consultation? Tummy tuck is a commonly performed plastic surgery procedure to reduce excess skin and subcutaneous tissue of the abdomen as well as to tighten the core abdominal muscles. Following pregnancy or significant weight fluctuation, patients often note separation or gapping between the abdominal rectus muscles. This may reduce core strength and lead to bulging or a rounded contour of the abdomen.
During tummy tuck consultation, a complete history and physical examination will be performed. Key points on history include other medical conditions, medications, smoking status, history of pregnancies or previous abdominal surgeries, as well as a detailed weight, diet, and exercise history. Previous abdominal surgeries are important to discuss pre-operatively depending on where the incisions were placed and how long ago the surgeries were performed since they may increase one’s risk of healing complications. Smoking poses increased risk of delayed wound healing, skin flap or umbilical necrosis, and infection and should be discontinued at least one month pre-and post-operatively. Your aesthetic goals and expectations will also be discussed in detail.
Patient weight (reported through body mass index/BMI) is an important consideration during tummy tuck consultation. It is generally recommended for patients considering tummy tuck to achieve a stable BMI of 30 or less, ideally lower than 25, for at least 6 months pre-operatively. This range has been associated with lower risk of anesthetic complications and more predictable aesthetic outcomes. It is also recommended to delay tummy tuck if considering future pregnancies. Although patients may carry full-term pregnancies following tummy tuck surgery, the repair of the abdominal muscles will be placed under significant tension and muscle separation will likely recur. Patients may then require a secondary tummy tuck to achieve their aesthetic goals.
During tummy tuck consultation, a complete abdominal examination will also be performed. This will identify the region of skin and subcutaneous tissue excess to assess whether a standard tummy tuck is recommended or whether a circumferential or mini tummy tuck may be more appropriate based on one’s physical examination. It is also important to examine your skin quality, presence of scars from previous abdominal surgery or striae (stretch marks), any of which below the umbilicus are generally removed through tummy tuck. Assessing for an underlying hernia is also an important component of your abdominal examination. Height and weight will be recorded in addition to findings on general medical examination.
If tummy tuck is considered an option based on your goals and clinical examination, further investigations will be ordered pre-operatively to ensure you are a healthy candidate to undergo surgery under general anesthetic. These tests include basic blood work and potentially a chest x-ray and EKG (cardiac rhythm strip) based on your age and other medical conditions.
Please contact us if interested in discussing tummy tuck surgery in more detail.