Richmond Plastic Surgeon Explains Pros & Cons of Tummy Tuck Surgery

Neil Zemmel, MD, FACS discusses the rejuvenating benefits of abdominoplasty as well as potential limitations of the procedure.

RICHMOND, VA, USA, October 3, 2023 / — The increasing popularity of cosmetic surgery has introduced a new demand for those seeking a slimmer, more toned-looking physique. One such body contouring procedure, especially for individuals after pregnancy or significant weight loss, is tummy tuck surgery. Also known as abdominoplasty, this procedure can provide a more contoured abdominal appearance by tightening stretched musculature and removing excess skin and fat. While this transformative procedure can provide a remarkable aesthetic outcome and renewed confidence for many patients, there are certain risks and limitations that should be understood prior to surgery.

Having performed thousands of cosmetic procedures, Richmond plastic surgeon Neil J. Zemmel, MD, FACS has helped numerous patients achieve their desired aesthetic goals through personalized surgical plans. In addition to educating patients at Richmond Aesthetic Surgery, Dr. Zemmel has provided insight into the pros and cons of tummy tuck surgery below.

Pros of Tummy Tuck Surgery:

• Repaired Abdominal Muscles & a Contoured Waistline: Despite a healthy diet and regular exercise, a protruding stomach and sagging skin can still be present. According to Dr. Zemmel, tummy tuck surgery can tighten stretched musculature and repair tears to create a firmer abdominal wall. Once the weakened or separated muscles are fixed, excess skin and fatty tissues are removed, and the area is tightened to produce a flatter and smoother mid-section.

• Improvement of Stretch Marks and Scars: Addressing excess tissue during a tummy tuck can also be advantageous when visible skin markings are present. Through the removal of excess skin, the doctors share that stretch marks, cesarean section (C-section) birth scars, hysterectomy scars, and other blemishes on the skin of the lower midsection can often be removed or reduced during the procedure.

• Reduced Pain and Discomfort: Dr. Zemmel has seen many patients experience positive changes to other ailments following tummy tuck surgery. Conditions such as lower back pain, poor posture, and urinary incontinence may have noticeable improvement or can be eliminated once strength and stability are restored to the abdominal muscles.

• Renewed Confidence: Tummy tuck procedures have been known to increase self-esteem as patients heal and become more comfortable with their sculpted midsection. Dr. Zemmel adds that the ability for patients to confidently wear swimsuits, undergarments, and certain clothing promotes a heightened level of self-esteem in which patients enjoy a new outlook of feeling their best.

Overall, the benefits and enhancements of tummy tuck surgery can provide beautiful, rejuvenated results; however, to ensure prospective patients are well-informed about the surgery, Dr. Zemmel identifies possible risks and limitations of the tummy tuck procedure

Cons of Tummy Tuck Surgery:

• Recovery Time: To properly address the issues of torn or separated musculature, Dr. Zemmel explains that all three layers of the abdominal wall must be manipulated to produce a successful tummy tuck outcome. This level of surgery requires at least two to three weeks of downtime, six weeks until revisiting strenuous activities, and several months before the swelling subsides and the shape of new contours settle into place.

• Risks & Complications: As with any invasive surgery, abdominoplasty has certain risks to be aware of, including infection, excessive bleeding, fluid accumulation beneath the skin (seroma), changes in skin sensation or numbness, swelling, abnormal scarring, and pain. Dr. Zemmel emphasizes that selecting a qualified plastic surgeon and carefully following their post-operative care instructions is vital to the safety and success of the procedure.

• Scarring: Typically, the tummy tuck incision is placed very low between the hips, slightly above the pubic area. While this is a discreet location, Dr. Zemmel reminds patients their surgery will require a longer scar, thoroughly discussing the exact incision placement with them prior to surgery. Fortunately, with advanced surgical techniques and proper post-op wound care, the scar generally fades over time into a thin, flat, white line.

• Cost: Tummy tuck surgery can be a very costly procedure, on average ranging from $10,000-$15,000. Unless the procedure is deemed medically necessary (e.g., specific cases of panniculectomy), most insurance plans will not cover an abdominoplasty because it is categorized as an elective cosmetic surgery.

Although tummy tuck surgery can achieve many benefits and outstanding results, there are other options, such as liposuction or body contouring after major weight loss, that may be better suited depending on the needs and goals of the patient. Dr. Zemmel recommends consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon to make an informed decision about whether abdominoplasty or an alternative aesthetic procedure is the right choice for their cosmetic enhancement treatment plan.

About Richmond Aesthetic Surgery
Richmond Aesthetic Surgery is a state-of-the-art practice that offers a comprehensive range of body contouring, breast enhancement, facial rejuvenation, skin care, and reconstructive surgery procedures utilizing the latest techniques. The practice’s founder and Medical Director, Neil J. Zemmel, MD, FACS, is an award-winning and top-rated plastic surgeon in Richmond with decades of cosmetic surgery experience. Dr. Zemmel and the entire team at Richmond Aesthetic Surgery strive to provide the highest-quality care in fully accredited operating facilities to ensure the safety, satisfaction, and overall well-being of each patient. Dr. Zemmel is available for interview upon request.

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Richmond Aesthetic Surgery
11934 W Broad Street, Suite 200
Richmond, VA 23233
(804) 424-2000

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