Aging, pregnancy and weight fluctuations can cause tissue breakdown in the stomach area. If you suffer from a protruding belly and skin flaps, in spite of exercise and proper diet, a tummy tuck (known by medical professionals as abdominoplasty) may be worth consideration.

A tummy tuck turkey is a surgical procedure in which excess skin and fatty tissue are removed from the belly region. Although this procedure was formerly for the obese, both men and women with smaller amounts of extra bell fat are turning more and more towards the tummy tuck. Like many other cosmetic surgeries, tummy tucks are a way to improve the self-esteem of patients.

However, keep in mind that tummy tucks are not for everyone. The recovery period is extensive in some cases, and scarring is to be expected. Many doctors recommend surgery only as a last resort when diet and exercise fail because insurance companies generally do not cover tummy tuck costs.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
A tummy tuck can remove excessive belly fat through:
• fat reduction (liposuction) in conjunction with a tummy tuck
• removal of skin to perfect outer appearance
• tightening of interior vertical muscles to keep skin taut.
A surgeon will make recommendations based on location of fat, muscular breakdown and amount of skin requiring removal. Any or all of the above can help reshape the stomach area.

The procedure selected depends on many factors, including the condition of your skin. This helps determine the extent of surgery, as well as the size of the incision. While the surgical site often lies below the bikini line, in some cases, surgeons may make the incision closer to the navel area.

Tummy tucks require either local or general anesthesia. Although many tummy tuck patients can go home immediately after surgery, others may have to spend one or more nights in the hospital, depending on the extent of their surgery. Similarly, discharge time may be longer for those who combine their tummy tuck with other procedures, including hernia repair or hysterectomy. Generally, a tummy tuck surgery lasts from one to five hours.
The Best Candidates for a Tummy Tuck
What makes someone a good candidate for a tummy tuck? The surgeon will make a determination based on many factors. The best candidates for this procedure:
• are in good health
• are near optimum weight goal or minimally overweight
• are physically active
• have had gastric bypass surgery and successfully lost weight with a skin flab remaining
• have experienced multiple pregnancies that have significantly reduced muscle tone
• have specific localized areas of fat and loose skin
• maintain adequate skin elasticity in abdominal area, although older people can still benefit.
Those who shouldn’t get a tummy tuck include people who:
• Are still losing weight loss: If you are still trying to reach an ideal goal, then you should consider waiting for surgery. Further weight loss can eliminate the successes of a previous tummy tuck.
• Suffer from diseases or health conditions: Chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, can complicate the surgical procedure, as well as the recovery process. If you suffer from a chronic disease, discuss your options with your doctor.
• Plan to have more children: Additional pregnancies can potentially rupture of muscle repairs you had done during your tummy tuck.
• Have had previous abdominal surgeries: Existing scar tissue may eliminate you as a candidate. In some cases, existing external scars become more prominent. Your doctor will evaluate whether or not your scar tissue precludes you from having a tummy tuck.
• Smoke: Smokers who are unable to quit on a temporary basis are at a significantly higher risk of experiencing complications. Surgeons recommend for the two weeks prior to and after tummy tuck surgery.
Types of Tummy Tucks
Your surgeon will make a full medical evaluation before recommending a tummy tuck. Several options exist based on your personal physical condition and expectations:
• Endoscopic tummy tuck: Also known as a “partial tummy tuck,” the endoscopic tummy tuck calls for smaller incisions. Those with minimal fat and skin to remove are likely to undergo this type of tummy tuck.
• Full abdominoplasty: Recommended for patients with extensive fat and tissue to remove, the full abdominoplasty requires a hip-to-hip incision with belly button relocation.
• Mini tummy tuck: When fatty deposits and loose skin lie below the navel, this less invasive procedure reduces the length of the incision.
Other procedures your surgeon may suggest include:
• circumferential tummy tuck
• dermolipectomy
• high lateral tension abdominoplasty
• reverse abdominoplasty
• vertical scar abdominoplasty.
Each of the above procedures has its own risks and benefits. Learn about different types of tummy tucks.
The Costs of a Tummy Tuck
Tummy tuck costs vary based on the city in which you get the procedure, as well as the experience and popularity of your chosen surgeon. Statistics show that surgeon fees range from about $3,000 to $5,000. This cost can rise based on:
• anesthesia
• pre-surgical tests
• the type of procedure you get
• whether your tummy tuck is performed on an outpatient basis or requires hospitalization.
Also, the recovery process has its own costs, including the cost of being out of work.

You may also elect to undergo additional procedures, including liposuction. Insurance may cover a portion of the costs if you combine a medically related repair, as in the case of a hernia, with a tummy tuck. Consult with your health coverage carrier on policies regarding tummy tucks. Your surgeon can state a medical need in writing to help the chances that your insurance will cover part of this procedure.

Tummy Tuck Facts and Statistics
• A "panniculectomy" is a more invasive procedure used to remove excess skin folds in people who were formerly morbidly obese.
• A tummy tuck can sometimes create a narrower waist.
• Recovery can take several months.
• The results of tummy tuck procedures are generally long lasting as long as the patient maintains the proper weight and nutrition.
• Tummy tuck procedures are not a replacement for weight loss.
• Tummy tucks are among the top 10 plastic surgeries performed in the US.

Dr. Emre Gönenç Baygöl

Author's Bio: 

He was born in 1983 in Bandirma. He completed her primary education in Setbaşı Primary School and her secondary and high school education in Bursa Anatolian High School. In 2007, he graduated from Uludağ University Faculty of Medicine. In 2014, he completed his residency training in Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery at Bezm-i Alem Vakif University.