The Truth About Tummy Tucks: Q+A and Abdominoplasty 101

The truth about tummy tucks 

Want to remedy sagging tummy skin or tighten up your abdominal muscles? If you’ve been concerned about this for a while, a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) may be the solution. Deciding to have a tummy tuck is a big decision, and a successful operation can transform your life and positively impact your confidence and outlook. Whether you’re dreaming of a new look or making changes for your own comfort or confidence, we’re here to answer some of the most common questions we get asked by our patients in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

What is a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure where excess fat and skin is removed from the middle and lower abdomen — to restore weakened muscles and create a smoother, firmer abdominal profile. Scars and stretch marks from previous surgeries, childbirth or weight gain can also be removed during this procedure. 

Who can get a tummy tuck?

Tummy tucks can be performed on both men and women looking to rid themselves of lax, sagging skin and fat that cannot be reduced through diet or exercise. We often hear from people who went through an incredible weight loss journey and are left with hanging skin as a result. Tummy tucks can be a suitable surgery for situations like this. However, a tummy tuck isn’t right for everyone.

Is a tummy tuck the right procedure for me?

A consultation with a well-trained and experienced plastic surgeon is the only way to know what procedure is right for you. Our surgeons have decades of experience and expertise, so we’ll sit down with you to discuss expectations, goals, concerns, and any questions you have. Dr. Stephanie Ma and Dr. Robert Shenker both understand the nuances of each body and each patient’s goals. We’re here to help you establish what procedures will work for you.

Are tummy tuck procedures just for women?

Tummy tucks can be a transformative procedure for anyone who matches the criteria for this surgery, regardless of gender identity.  A tummy tuck can be done on both men and women. Men and women do have different ideal trunk, waist, and hip contours so the procedure varies, but the principles remain the same.

Will I get a new belly button with a tummy tuck?

Whether you have a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck surgery, your belly button will still be the same one you were given at birth. Your belly button is a remnant of your first scar that ever formed, after your umbilical cord was cut. When you undergo a tummy tuck, the belly button stays attached to its original stalk during surgery. During a mini tummy tuck, the belly button and stalk are untouched. However, during a full tummy tuck, a new opening is created in the skin where the belly button and stalk are attached. Depending on where your belly button sits on your abdomen, it may be shifted to accommodate the new, tighter contours of your abdomen. Regardless of your surgery, you should be able to keep your belly button. 

Will I have a “six-pack” after my abdominoplasty procedure?

The best tummy tuck makes you look like your best self with natural results – not like a barbie doll or an action figure. Like many questions in surgery, the answer is maybe! A visible six-pack depends on having minimal fat overlying the muscles so as not to obscure them. Managing that is your surgeon’s job. But a visible six-pack also requires well-toned, frequently exercised, and highly developed abdominal muscles. That part is up to you. Without both parties doing their jobs, no six-pack will be visible. Surgical techniques like high definition liposculpture can help achieve the six-pack look.

a woman holds flowersCan I have liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck?

Yes. Supplemental liposuction of the upper abdomen, waist and hip areas is almost always part of a tummy tuck. The only exception would be in very thin patients who have little or no fat under the skin. Ask your surgeon what procedure is right for you based on your unique goals.

Can I have more than one surgical procedure done at the same time?

Combining procedures can be a great way to reduce recovery time and maximize your results. If you’re interested in multiple procedures and want to reduce the amount of recovery time, the answer is a resounding yes! Many women choose to have breast surgery at the same time as their tummy surgery to maximize the efficiency of their time off work or away from their normal activities. We can discuss the options that suit the goals you’re aiming for.

Are staples used in tummy tuck surgery?

At the Cosmetic Surgery cClinic we almost always use stitches to close your surgical incision. The type of closure used will depend on your unique needs and your surgeon’s judgement. Regardless of the type of closure used, our team will closely follow your recovery process with routine follow-ups to ensure you heal beautifully.

Will I have drain tubes after my tummy surgery?

Drain tubes are ancient history and are no longer necessary. We use several advanced techniques at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic to eliminate the need for drains in tummy surgery and maximize beautiful healing. Advancements in surgical methods, such as the drainless tummy tuck, often translate to better results and a smoother recovery. For Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge and London, Ontario patients, we’re excited to be providing constant innovation in surgical techniques for abdominoplasty – so you’re always getting the best results possible.

Do I have to wear a compression girdle after surgery?

Yes. A compression girdle must be worn for 4-6 weeks after surgery. Compression girdles support muscle repair and the skin incision. They help minimize swelling and hold everything together when you cough, sneeze, or laugh in the early days after surgery. It’s not the sexiest piece of clothing you’ll wear after surgery, but it’s the most important. 

two people run outside in sweaters

A healthy lifestyle will help enhance and elongate the results of your tummy tuck surgery

How do I prepare for my tummy tuck procedure?

Firstly, come to your consultation prepared with questions! There is no such thing as a dumb question when preparing for your surgical procedure. If you have any questions or concerns, ask your surgeon. Your surgeon will provide you with ample information about your procedure, associated risks, and what to expect. By the time your surgery date rolls around, you should feel comfortable with, and informed about, your upcoming procedure. As with all surgical procedures, it’s important to choose a highly experienced and credentialed surgeon, particularly in the procedure you are interested in. Your consultation is a great time to understand the experience and expertise of your surgeon. 

Learn your BMI to prepare for surgery

The second most important issue you can address before surgery is to be at your ideal body weight.  Keeping your BMI (Body Mass Index) in the healthy range is a great way to maximize your result.  Tummy tuck surgery  in patients with a body mass index over 30 yields suboptimal results, and patients with Body Mass Indexes above 35 are not able to be done at the Cosmetic Surgery Clinic.  

What is the recovery time for abdominoplasty?

Typical recovery for a tummy tuck happens in three phases. The first one or two days after surgery involve doing a lot of nothing. Resting, healing, gathering your energy, and sleeping. Between days 2 and 14, you will slowly return to doing light, normal activities of daily living: showering, driving, making a meal, working on a computer, etc. A gradual return to more physical work or recreational activities occurs between weeks 4 and 6 after surgery.

What can I do to make my recovery more comfortable?

While each patient’s recovery and outcome is different, we suggest that every patient plan to have support and help while healing. This means taking time off work, making arrangements for childcare, or for any other family members (including pets!) for whom you are responsible. For the first few weeks after your procedure, it will be hard to move comfortably. Plan to have someone around to care for you for at least the first week. Having a helpful, trusted, responsible person with you for the first 24 hours is critical.

What should I eat after my tummy tuck?

We suggest keeping your diet light for the first few hours after your tummy tuck. Start with clear liquids such as broth, consommé, and water. After the first day, you can move on to a soft diet of raw fruits and vegetables, yogurt, soft cheeses, and soups. Healthy snacks are important after your surgery, so if you’re struggling to find foods that are appealing to your stomach – which can happen while adjusting to changes and pain medication – we recommend protein shakes. Protein shakes are packed with the protein and fluids you need to support your body during recovery. Once you’re feeling comfortable, you can return to a regular healthy diet. 

Stay hydrated in the days leading up to your tummy tuck to maximize recovery

Staying hydrated up until the day of your surgery is also a benefit for recovery. You’ll want to have items that are easy to prepare when you get hungry, so keep this in mind when grocery shopping. Pre-made meals that you can simply heat up and eat will be helpful, as well as keeping meals and snacks on lower levels of the fridge or counter to avoid having to reach up. Try to avoid foods high in sodium, and make sure you have a variety of fluids to help you stay hydrated throughout your recovery process. 

Taking good care of yourself during the early stages of recovery is important. Don’t push your body to do more than it should during that time. This is crucial for a safe, healthy recovery and achieving your desired results.

Dr. Shenker & Dr. Ma, Surgeons at TCSC

Surgeons Dr. Stephanie Ma and Dr. Robert Shenker

What sets The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic apart when it comes to tummy tuck surgery?

Dr. Robert. Shenker and Dr. Stephanie Ma bring decades of experience, expertise, skill, and thoughtful care to each surgical patient’s experience. Our surgeons consider the whole torso when planning a tummy tuck. It’s never just about the isolated “bulge” or “skin flap” or “pouch” or “C-section scar.” It’s about the patient’s goals and concerns, and the whole area affected by surgery; this includes the entire torso from the rib cage to the pubic hairline, and from love handle to love handle.  

Your health in context

We carefully consider your medical history in consultation, which allows us to build a unique surgical plan that will help with your surgical journey at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic. When indicated, we also provide an in-depth anesthetic consultation either before the day of your tummy tuck to alleviate any concerns. 

Surgical support and check-ins you can count on

Our incredible staff is here to support you before, during and after abdominoplasty. You will get a phone call from Dr. Shenker or Dr. Ma when you get home to make sure all is well. When you sign up for surgery with us, we become part of your team – from the initial consultation all the way through to enjoying your beautiful results.

Surgical care that puts you first

The way that The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic manages patient comfort before, after, and during surgery is truly innovative and beyond what many clinics integrate into their surgical technique. The medications we use are selected to maximize comfort and minimize side effects for our Waterloo and Ontario patients.

The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic Team outside our Waterloo clinic

Our team is commmitted to making your surgical experience one you can feel great about, at every stage of the journey.

Curious about surgery at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic?

We want you to feel confident about every stage of the surgical process. The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic team is here to answer all your questions and explore the possibilities for your tummy tuck. 

Let’s make your goals a reality! Contact us to schedule a consultation to learn more about what tummy tuck procedure is right for you. We also encourage you to look through our online photo gallery of tummy tuck results for inspiration!

Meet Our Surgeons

The talented, experienced plastic surgeons at our Kitchener-Waterloo clinic have the advanced training to create exceptional, natural-looking results that meet the individual needs of our patients. The collaborative nature of our practice benefits patients in many ways.

Dr. Robert Shenker Dr. Stephanie Ma
The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic