Top 18 Questions to Ask Before Getting a Tummy Tuck

Know before you go.  Or, in this case, know before you go under the knife.  

Ready to flaunt the flat-out fabulous, toned tummy of your dreams?  Before signing on the dotted line, make sure you’re got all your ducks in a row and all your questions answered so you approach your surgery relaxed, informed, prepared, and confident.   A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is one of the most sought-after cosmetic procedures for both women and men.  If you’re seriously considering getting your middle surgically cinched and pinched to perfection, there are some very imperative questions you should ask each surgeon who you’re seriously considering working with.  Feeling absolutely comfortable and at-ease with your doctor means open, free, and candid discussions about your body goals and expectations, concerns, risks, recovery, care, as well as if you’re even a viable candidate for the procedure.  Here is a complete, comprehensive list of the top 18 questions you should ask every surgeon you’re considering allowing to perform your tummy tuck.

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a common, cosmetic procedure that seeks to remove excess skin, tissue, and fat along the midsection and torso, while also tightening the underlying abdominal wall for a corset-like cinched appearance.  

  • Are You a Board-certified Surgeon?

Only those surgeons specifically certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery have met the rigorous training requirements for thorough competence in plastic and reconstructive surgery.  You may also elect to inquire about your prospective surgeon’s other credentials, such as privileges to operate in accredited facilities.  

  • How Many Years of Experience Do You Have Performing Tummy Tuck Surgeries?

The more years of experience under a surgeon’s belt, the better.  Also, you may wish to ask to view their gallery of before/after’s to determine specific results and scarring.  

  • How Many Tummy Tuck Surgeries Have They Performed, specifically?

See previous question/answer.

  • Am I a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?

Generally, the best candidates for undergoing a successful tummy tuck are:

  • In good general health
  • Have realistic expectations and a healthy body image
  • Have sagging skin, loosened muscle, and excess fat that can be removed
  • Within 20% of their ideal body weight (in some cases, patients may be asked to lose excess weight PRIOR to surgery)
  • Have had dramatic weight loss and kept it off for at least 6 months
  • Non-smoker
  • Should I Lose Weight PRIOR to My Tummy Tuck Surgery?

If a patient is within 20% of their ideal body weight, they may be advised to lose the extra pounds before undergoing the tummy tuck procedure for best results.

  • If I Plan to Get Pregnant in the Future, Will My Results Diminish?

Naturally, a pregnancy that occurs after a surgical tummy tuck will most likely diminish the results, requiring a revision surgery. 

  • What is the Difference Between a Tummy Tuck and Liposuction?  Which Will Be Better for My Body?

While liposuction seeks to remove excess fat, a tummy tuck reconstructs the entire, underlying abdominal wall, as well as removing excess skin.  If you’re unsure which procedure is best for you, your surgeon can conduct a complete physical analysis of your body’s current situation, as well as discussion of your body goals to achieve most desired results.  In some cases, patients may require both procedures.  

  • What is the Difference Between a Mini and a Regular (full) Tummy Tuck?

A mini tummy tuck is just a smaller incision within a smaller area being treated and a shorter recovery period.  A regular, or full tummy tuck, usually comprises the tightening of the entire torso.  A full tummy tuck will also require more downtime post-op.   

  • How Will You Perform the Procedure?

Allow your prospective surgeon to explain “step-by-step” the entire procedure.  This should include pre-op, operation, and post-op procedures.  

  • How Long Will the Surgical Procedure Take?

If a patient is only undergoing a tummy tuck procedure, they can expect it to take as long as 2 hours for completion. 

  1. Any Risks I Need to be Aware of, So I May Prepare Accordingly?

As with any cosmetic procedure, the usual risk of complications may include:

  • Infection
  • Skin loss
  • Numbness
  • Hematoma
  • Excessive Bleeding
  • Bruising 
  • Swelling/tenderness
  1. Will There Be a Visible Scar?

Most tummy tucks are performed where the subsequent scar can be hidden beneath the underwear line and fading over time.  It’s advised you view your prospective surgeon’s before/after gallery of previous patients to determine scarring technique.  

  1. What About Post-op Pain Management?

Some patients may request pain medication to help reduce swelling and discomfort post-op.  This can be discussed with your doctor prior to surgery.  

  1. When Can I Resume Day-to-Day Activities?  What Should I Expect During the Recovery Process?

Most patients can follow their tummy tuck surgery with short, low intensity walks within a few, short days.  The more active the patient, the faster the recovery process.  Staying active also minimizes the risk of blood clots and other post-op complications.  Be sure your surgeon explains complete, follow-up instructions to ensure a smooth road to recovery.  

  1. When Can I Return to Work and Working Out?

Usually, patients who’ve undergone a tummy tuck can return to sedentary (desk) jobs in about a week following surgery.  However, since the abdominal muscles are one of the most used muscle groups, patients should not expect to hit the gym mat for approximately 7-10 weeks following surgery and must be fully cleared by their surgeon before doing so.

  1. What Are My Options if I’m NOT Happy with My Results?

Be sure you discuss results prior to scheduling your surgery.  Not every body is the same, so not all results will be alike.  It’s important to keep realistic expectations in perspective.  

  1. Will Results Alter Overtime?

While results are permanent, results may be impacted if patients lose or gain a considerable amount of weight in the future.  

Conclusion

The aforementioned are the most commonly asked questions prior to undergoing a tummy tuck procedure.  If you reside in the greater Los Angeles area and wish to consult with Dr. Johnson Lee regarding his signature tummy tuck procedures, we ask you to contact us by filling out the form on the CONTACT PAGE or calling our conveniently located Beverly Hills office directly where you can speak with any one of our highly skilled cosmetic specialists and to set-up a consultation with Dr. Johnson Lee.

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