The aesthetically ideal abdomen is flat, toned, and firm. It is also notoriously difficult to achieve and maintain—which is why the American Society of Plastic Surgeons consistently rates Tummy Tuck as one of the most commonly performed plastic surgery procedures.1
Tummy Tuck surgery, formally known as Abdominoplasty, can help Toronto-area patients of Dr. Lawrence Tong attain the thinner, flatter, tighter, and stretch mark-free midsection they desire. Dr. Tong has more than 18 years’ experience in performing this dynamic surgery to help his patients enjoy dramatic results that can often only be achieved through the removal of excess skin and fat and the surgical tightening of lax abdominal muscles.
Tummy Tuck Benefits
An Abdominoplasty can achieve impressive rejuvenation of the abdomen, as this body sculpting surgery addresses the three main components that contribute to an undesirable abdominal appearance: loose skin, excess fat, and lax abdominal muscles. If you are troubled by some or all of the following concerns, a Tummy Tuck could be just the procedure to help you achieve your goals:2
Loose Abdominal Skin and Stretch Marks
Excess skin cannot be ‘exercised away’ because the skin is passive; it does not have a physiologic response to exercise. An Abdominoplasty directly removes abdominal skin and accompanying stretch marks, thus achieving a tighter abdomen with fewer— or even no—stretch marks.
Excess Abdominal Fat
When the skin is removed in a Tummy Tuck surgery, the accompanying fat attached to the skin is also removed. Supplementary Liposuction may also be performed to further reduce any remaining fat on the rest of the abdomen during Abdominoplasty.
Lax Abdominal Muscles
Just as skin can be stretched, the abdominal muscles can also be stretched, thinned, and weakened by pregnancy and/or weight gain. The medical term for the separation of abdominal muscles is known as diastasis recti. The central connective tissue is literally stretched out, and while exercise can strengthen the muscles, no amount of exercise can return the muscles to their original position when the diastasis is large. Women who have diastasis will complain about an abdominal bulge that persists even if the patient is very thin. Oftentimes, the patient will have difficulty in ‘sucking in’ their tummy, and be unable to perform sit ups easily. The diastasis can sometimes be felt when a woman is lying down (and lifting the head slightly to contract the rectus muscles). It presents as a gap along the midline where the muscles have been stretched apart . A recurring complaint in patients with diastasis is that others will mistakenly think that the patient is still pregnant or in early pregnancy. During Abdominoplasty, the muscles are brought back to their original position by stitching the muscles together (muscle plication). The muscles are often made even tighter than they were originally. The effect is to create an internal ‘girdle’ that leaves patients with a flat and possibly even concave abdomen, as well as a slimmer waistline.
Tummy Tuck After Massive Weight Loss
Patients who have lost significant weight are also good candidates for Abdominoplasty. The presence of extra skin can be uncomfortable, restrict the ability to exercise, make it difficult to fit clothing, and cause hygiene problems. The removal of excess skin and tightening of abdominal muscles can be especially beneficial to patients who have undergone bariatric surgery. For weight loss patients who also wish to address redundant skin from other regions of the body in addition to the abdomen, Dr. Tong may recommend a full Lower Body Lift to achieve optimal body contouring results.
Mini Tummy Tuck
A Mini Tummy Tuck is a variation of the traditional Abdominoplasty procedure that addresses the abdominal skin, muscle, and fat, but to a less extensive degree. The Mini Tummy Tuck is intended for patients who are primarily concerned with excess fat in the abdomen with laxity and bulging of the lower abdominal muscles . Excess skin is not the major component in patients who are good candidates for a Mini Tummy Tuck.
During a Mini Tummy Tuck, redundant fat along the entire abdomen is reduced through Liposuction. The procedure also tightens stretched musculature, but focuses on the abdominal muscles located below the naval. Only a modest amount of loose skin is removed. This has the advantage of making the incision for a Mini Tummy Tuck much shorter than a traditional Abdominoplasty. Since a Mini Tummy Tuck does not primarily focus on removing large amounts of excess skin, candidates for the procedure should have only a minor degree of skin laxity, and possess good skin elasticity. The benefits of a Mini Tummy Tuck compared to regular Tummy Tuck are numerous and typically include a faster recovery period, less postoperative swelling, and a shorter scar.
Who is a Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?
Dr. Tong stresses that an Abdominoplasty is not considered weight loss surgery and should not be viewed as a substitute for a healthy lifestyle built on a good diet and exercise. Likewise, patients need to maintain their healthy lifestyle after Abdominoplasty in order to maintain the results. When Dr. Tong meets with Toronto-area patients for a Tummy Tuck consultation, it’s very important that he establishes reasonable patient expectations as to the outcome of an Abdominoplasty procedure.
When evaluating candidacy for an Abdominoplasty procedure, Dr. Tong considers the following factors, among others:3
The Ideal Age for a Tummy Tuck
Most frequently, Dr. Tong performs Abdominoplasty on women who have completed childbearing and wish to restore their abdominal region to its pre-pregnancy appearance. However, a Tummy Tuck may be carried out for varying reasons in both male and female patients of varying ages
There is no ideal age for a Tummy Tuck procedure, but patients should be relatively fit and in good overall health.
The Ideal Weight for Tummy Tuck
To be good candidates for a Tummy Tuck, patients must have a body mass index (BMI) that is below 35, and ideally less than 30.
Patients with a higher BMI often have significant fat beneath the abdominal muscle layer (known as visceral adipose), which cannot be remedied with an Abdominoplasty surgery (resulting in persistent abdominal protrusion). In addition to suboptimal results, patients with a higher BMI face an increased risk of Abdominoplasty complications.
Pregnancy after Tummy Tuck
Dr. Tong usually recommends that Tummy Tuck be performed after all childbearing is completed. This recommendation stems from the intent to maintain the Tummy Tuck results. However, a Tummy Tuck may be performed on patients who might have pregnancies in the future. In the situation where a woman becomes pregnant after Abdominoplasty, there should be no ill-effects to the pregnancy or the baby’s growth and development, but patients should understand that childbearing may alter their Tummy Tuck results. Patients who have their Abdominoplasty results changed due to subsequent pregnancy may choose to have further procedures to improve their appearance. The type of procedure would depend on the extent to which the result has been affected.
Smoking and Tummy Tuck
Smoking is a significant risk factor for wound healing complications after a Tummy Tuck. Dr. Tong requires patients to stop smoking at least 15 days prior to surgery, and not to resume during the healing period (ideally at least an additional 4-6 weeks).
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Dr. Tong performs Tummy Tuck surgery at our CPSO-accredited surgical centre.
Patients are placed under general anesthesia for Abdominoplasty surgery. To begin the procedure, Dr. Tong makes incisions around the navel and lower abdomen. The skin and fat is then elevated from the muscles. Dr. Tong tightens the muscles (known as muscle plication) with multiple stitches, rendering the abdominal wall firm and free of laxity. Next, the elevated skin is pulled downwards; and the excess skin and the associated fatty tissue are removed.
Prior to the final stitching, Dr. Tong makes a small opening in the remaining abdominal skin, corresponding to the position of the navel. The navel is then brought out through the opening, back to its original position. Two drainage tubes are placed in the wound, then the incisions are meticulously stitched together. If the remaining abdominal tissue has a significant fat layer, Dr. Tong may perform some supplementary Liposuction. A dressing is applied, and the patient is placed in a compression garment. The patient is then awakened from anesthesia and the surgery ends.
Overnight Stay after Tummy Tuck
Dr. Tong strongly recommends that patients stay at our facility for the first night following Tummy Tuck surgery so that their healing and comfort can be closely monitored by professional nurses in our state-of-the-art facility designed for premier patient care and convenience. After a night of specialized recovery care and attention, patients are seen by Dr. Tong the following morning before being discharged to continue recuperating at home.
How to Choose the Best Plastic Surgeon For You
Recovery After Tummy Tuck
Immediately After Surgery
Immediately following the Tummy Tuck procedure, the patient is moved to our post-anesthetic recovery area for monitoring. Once the effects of anesthesia have worn off, the patient will be moved to his or her comfort-enhanced overnight stay suite.
Our nurses attend to patients throughout the evening to make sure they are comfortable and recovering properly after Tummy Tuck surgery. Nurses will monitor vital signs, assess the surgical sites, assist patients with getting up to go to the bathroom, change dressings when appropriate, and administer medications as needed. They will also teach patients how to properly care for any dressings and drainage tubes prior to returning home.
The following morning, patients enjoy a nurse-assisted shower. Dr. Tong will come to evaluate patients’ healing and change their dressings before allowing them to return home accompanied by a family member or friend.
Tummy Tuck Recovery at Home
To ensure that our patients’ Tummy Tuck recovery is as comfortable as possible, Dr. Tong will prescribe narcotic pain medication to be used during the first one to two weeks after surgery. Patients are permitted to shower 24 hours after surgery.
For the first five days following Abdominoplasty, patients will notice that it is uncomfortable to stand up straight and will be instructed to remain slightly bent at the waist for optimal healing and comfort. To help reduce tension along the incision line, patients should sleep with their backs propped up and with a pillow under their knees. After approximately one week, the tissues of the abdomen will have stretched and patients’ discomfort will be greatly diminished.
Dr. Tong encourages patients to take it easy and refrain from strenuous activities for at least four weeks following Tummy Tuck surgery. Patients can expect mild to moderate bruising, which may be more significant if Liposuction is performed.
Return Visits after Abdominoplasty
The first postoperative visit with Dr. Tong occurs one week after Tummy Tuck surgery. At this time, external stitches and drains are removed.
Dr. Tong continues to monitor patients’ progress during follow-up visits scheduled at two weeks, six weeks, and six months following Tummy Tuck surgery. During these visits, Dr. Tong may take photographs to monitor the results of Abdominoplasty. These photos are strictly kept to patient medical records and will not be used for other purposes without written consent.
Like any procedure, Tummy Tuck surgery has risks and complications associated with it. The risks are low, but they do exist. At your consultation, Dr. Tong will go over the pertinent potential risks and complications associated with Abdominoplasty.4
Will I Have Visible Scars After a Tummy Tuck?
Any surgical procedure will leave some type of scar. Dr. Tong relies on his extensive training as a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon to minimize the appearance of scars after Tummy Tuck surgery.
The main incision in Abdominoplasty is on the lower abdomen situated at, or below, the level of a C-section scar. This incision extends laterally to span from hip bone to hip bone. It generally heals well and is hidden below the bikini line. In the nude, the scar may be visible depending on the stage of scar maturity. The scar can be placed lower or higher to some degree, depending on patient preferences.
A second incision occurs around the navel. This scar tends to blend in naturally with the surrounding skin, and hides within the natural curvature of the navel. Dr. Tong will discuss all incision options and their resulting scars with you thoroughly during your Tummy Tuck consultation.
How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost?
Abdominoplasty at our Toronto practice generally costs between $11,400 and $14,600 + HST depending on the extent of your Tummy Tuck. For Mini Tummy Tuck patients, the price of the procedure often falls between $8,100 and $9,000 + HST. In the vast majority of cases, the total costs are standardized for patients regardless of patient size and severity. Occasionally, other factors are used to calculate the overall Tummy Tuck expense, especially if a non-standard approach is required.
An accurate and personalized cost estimate will be provided after a thorough consultation with Dr. Tong, during which he will assess your concerns and unique needs. In order to help mitigate plastic surgery costs, Yorkville Institute of Plastic Surgery accepts financing plans through Medicard®, a flexible and reputable healthcare lending company that can make your surgical expenses more affordable. After being approved through the easy application process, Medicard® offers qualified patients their choice of several payment plans with low monthly installments. Our team is available to answer any additional questions you may have about the cost of Abdominoplasty.
Tummy Tuck Consultation
It is crucial that you do your research before deciding whether a Tummy Tuck is right for you. Your journey starts with a personal consultation with Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Lawrence Tong.
During your Abdominoplasty consultation, you will receive a substantial amount of information. Dr. Tong will make sure that you understand the entire process, and ensure that your questions are satisfactorily answered. You will also have the opportunity to view photographs and examples of his work. At Yorkville Institute of Plastic Surgery, our goal is to make every patient an educated patient who is empowered to make a confident decision about their surgery and their surgeon.
To learn more about how Toronto Tummy Tuck surgeon Dr. Lawrence Tong can help you improve the contours of your abdominal region, schedule a Tummy Tuck consultation by giving us a call at (416) 972-0999. If you wish, let us give you a call; just fill out our contact form and we will be in touch on the same or the next business day. No physician’s referral is needed.
See Dr. Tong’s work in our Tummy Tuck before-and-after photos.
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) at a Glance
- Placing the scar too high
- Performing the procedure on someone who has significant internal abdominal fat
1 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2018 National Plastic Surgery Statistics. Available at: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/documents/News/Statistics/2018/plastic-surgery-statistics-report-2018.pdf Accessed April 27, 2020.
2 Regan J, Casaubon JT. Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck). National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK431058. Accessed April 27, 2020.
3 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Who is a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery? Available: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/tummy-tuck/candidates Accessed April 27, 2020.
Dr. Lawrence Tong has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.