What is a tummy tuck?

Abdominoplasty, more commonly referred to as tummy tuck, is a cosmetic surgery in which Dr. Plant removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen and tightens the abdominal muscles to give a firm, smooth abdomen and a narrow, defined waist. “Belly fat” is one of the hardest areas to address with diet and exercise, and in many cases is associated with excess skin as well.

While diet and exercise can help get rid of excess fat, extra skin can’t be exercised away. Tummy tuck surgery removes the excess skin to give the abdomen a contour that suits your body, allowing you to feel more confident, both in and out of clothing.

Tummy tuck is one of Toronto’s most popular procedures in addition to being one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed around the world. Dr. Plant is well known for his short-scar, drainless tummy tuck and patients come from all around Canada for him to perform this procedure for them.

What are my tummy tuck options?

Depending on how much excess skin and fat you have there are several options for abdominoplasty. Dr. Mathew Plant is one of the few plastic surgeons in Toronto that offers all options for tummy tuck, including his signature short-scar, no drain tummy tuck. The most common types of tummy tuck are:

Standard (old school) abdominoplasty:

This is the abdominoplasty procedure as it has been done for decades and the way most surgeons perform it still. It involves an incision from approximately hip to hip and around the belly button. Most surgeons tend to put the incision within the skin fold which leaves it somewhat high on the abdomen and potentially visible in certain clothing. It also requires surgical drains, which usually stay in place for one to two weeks to collect the fluid that the body tries to accumulate in the space where the skin and fat layer has been separated from the muscle layer below.

Drainless abdominoplasty:

This is a newer technique where special barbed sutures are used to quilt the skin and fat down to the muscles below, eliminating the space where fluid attempts to collect. This procedure also involves a scar from hip to hip and around the belly button, typically located directly where the skin folds over.

Short-scar, no-drain abdominoplasty:

This is Dr. Plant’s modification of the drainless tummy tuck. The scar is located several centimetres lower than the average so that it sits low and is covered by most clothing. It is also typically five to 10 cm shorter than the average scar, which helps keep it short enough to hide within a bikini bottom.

Extended abdominoplasty:

This is typically for patients who have lost a lot of weight or have given birth to twins and have a lot of excess skin. In these patients, it is necessary to extend the scar beyond the hip bones in order to give the best possible contour.

Fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty:

This is reserved for the most extreme weight loss cases, typically where patients have lost more than 100 lbs. These patients will not get an ideal result from simply ‘pulling down’ so a FDL tummy tummy tuck uses the extended tummy tuck incision but adds a vertical one as well, allowing Dr. Plant to remove all of the excess skin in the vertical and horizontal directions. This allows for both skin removal and significant waistline contouring.

Mini tummy tuck:

This procedure is for patients who have only a little bit of loose skin at the bottom of their abdomen and who don’t need their muscles tightened. The scar for this procedure sits very low and is very short, just slightly longer than a caesarian section scar. There is no scar around the belly button for this procedure.

Floating abdominoplasty:

This procedure is for patients who would be candidates for a mini tummy tuck, but who also need their muscles tightened. In this case the belly button is “floated” off the muscles below to allow for the tightening procedure, then sutured back down. The scar for this procedure is very similar to the scar from the mini tummy tuck.

How big is the scar from tummy tuck surgery and where will it be?

Dr. Plant will speak to you at your consultation about which version of the tummy tuck will get you the best results, and the scar will depend on that to a certain extent. In general, Dr. Plant’s tummy tuck patients can expect a scar that goes from nearly hip to hip (but sits low so it is hidden by most bikini bottoms). In most cases, there will also be a scar around the belly button, but Dr. Plant designs the procedure in a way that hides the scar within the belly button. It is barely visible there, rather than around the outside of the belly button, as is commonly seen elsewhere.

Am I the right candidate for tummy tuck?

If you are a healthy patient who is unhappy with the size and/or tone of your abdomen, then a tummy tuck may be a great procedure for you. Tummy tuck is commonly performed on both men and women because a well-toned and flat abdomen is one of the most common goals people set when trying to get into better shape, regardless of gender. It is also one of the most difficult areas to improve with diet and exercise.

If you are someone who still has a protruding abdomen or loose skin that just won’t improve no matter how much you diet and exercise, then you may be the right candidate for a tummy tuck in Toronto. If you are tired of having to fit your “pooch” into your pants, if you are sick of wearing Spanx, or if you are done with having to wear a one-piece bathing suit to hide your stretch marks, then this may be the ideal procedure for you!

Scheduling a tummy tuck consultation in Toronto

If you are considering tummy tuck surgery in Toronto, you should book a consultation with Dr. Plant so he can personally go over the different options available to get the results you desire. He will also answer any questions you may have about your tummy tuck surgery. His office is conveniently located in central Toronto near both the 401 and the Don Valley Parkway, which has allowed him to serve abdominoplasty patients from the entire greater Toronto area, including Scarborough, Mississauga, Vaughan, and Markham. He also sees patients from all over Canada who travel into Toronto specifically for his expertise and natural results.


FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do you wear a binder after surgery?

Each surgeon will have a different postoperative protocol, but in our practice patients will wear a binder around the clock (with the exception of when they shower) for 3 weeks, then during the day for another 3 weeks.

Why would you need a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck is a procedure used to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen as well as repair separated abdominal muscles in patients that have that problem.

Is Tummy Tuck Surgery safe?

All surgery comes with risks and benefits. Complications can happen with any procedure, but tummy tucks are a very safe elective procedure for most patients.

What Is Actually Involved With A Tummy Tuck Surgery?

While each procedure is customized to the patient, there are certain steps that are taken for nearly all abdominoplasty procedures. Before the procedure, Dr. Plant will see you in the presurgical examination room where he will mark you for the procedure. To keep the incision low and hidden under any clothing, he will have you pull up on your abdominal skin and he will mark the incision 6cm from the top of the vagina or base of the penis. Once you have been checked in by the nurses, you will then be taken to the operating room and placed under anaesthesia. During the procedure, a horizontal incision is placed just within the pubic area. The skin and underlying fat are then separated from the muscles underneath, all the way up to the level of the rib cage. An incision will be made around the belly button so that the stalk stays attached but the skin around it can be lifted. Once all of the skin and fat has been lifted Dr. Plant will perform a double-layer repair of the underlying abdominal muscles. The abdominal skin is then pulled down (like a window shade) and carefully quilted down to the muscles below to prevent fluid accumulation. A new opening for the belly button is created in the midline. Excess fat is removed from the skin around the new opening, and it is anchored to the abdominal wall, giving it an attractive “innie” look. This also helps hide the scar inside the belly button. Finally, the excess skin is trimmed, and the remaining skin is sutured together using hidden, absorbable sutures so that they will not have to be removed. When surgery is complete, waterproof dressings will be applied to your abdomen and then a special garment will be applied to provide gentle compression to the area.

What Can I Expect From Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Patients who have had an abdominoplasty generally report a boost in self‐confidence that can last a lifetime. 97% of men and women surveyed by Realself.com after their procedure felt their tummy tuck was worth it. Patients were so happy that it earned a “most worth it” award. Patients find that they no longer need to wear spanx or other support garments and can wear form-fitting clothes and swimsuits with confidence again. In general patients find that a tummy tuck helps them achieve: A trim waistline and a smoother, firmer abdominal profile. Improved confidence in clothes and swimwear because they no longer have to worry about hiding their tummy. Removal of stretch marks and C-section scars from the lower abdomen. Removal of excess, hanging skin from the lower abdomen Improvement in the shape of their belly button Improvements in back pain and urinary incontinence, including after childbirth, because strength and stability are restored to the core and pelvic muscles.

How Long Is The Downtime From Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Recovery from tummy tuck surgery is different for each patient and includes a post-surgical healing period that typically lasts from 2-6 weeks. The majority of patients need to take at least 2 weeks off work, but some need an additional week or two. Patients will be able to do most activities they’d like during this time period, but generally are moving a bit slower. In general patients feel mostly back to themselves after 4 – 6 weeks. As far as a return to exercise lower body exercise and light cardio are permitted after 2 weeks. Except for core exercises you may resume all exercise activities after 6 weeks and core/abdominal exercises and high intensity workout programs such as CrossFit can be resumed after 3 months.

How Painful Is Tummy Tuck Surgery?

While each patient has different pain thresholds, tummy tuck surgery is definitely at the more painful end of the spectrum for elective aesthetic procedures. When speaking with patients who have had their abdominoplasty following a c-section, it is usually described as slightly less painful than the caesarian section was. Which style of tummy tuck you have will impact how painful the procedure is. A mini tummy tuck will certainly be less painful than a fleur-de-lis tummy tuck. Drains can be painful, which is one of the main reasons Dr. Plant typically performs a drainless tummy tuck: because it hurts less during recovery. Dr. Plant will be able to give you a good sense of how painful your specific procedure will be after your consultation. Before your procedure, he will give you a prescription that includes multimodal analgesia, a specific protocol designed by pain specialists to address every aspect of the body’s pain response. This includes an anti-inflammatory to minimize the pain reaction at the surgical site, a ‘nerve calming’ agent to slow and minimize the transmission of pain signals from the surgical site to the brain, and a few “centrally acting” agents that minimize the brain’s response to the pain signals. On top of this, Dr. Plant’s anaesthesiologist uses a long-lasting local spinal anaesthetic to block the nerves that carry pain sensation from that area so that your body doesn’t even feel the initial incision.

What Is The Recovery Process From Tummy Tuck Surgery Like?

Each surgeon has a different protocol, and Dr. Plant’s is customized to make your life as easy as possible during the recovery process. When you wake up from surgery, you will be in the recovery room where you will have your own personal nurse looking after you. She will help you put on your abdominal binder, which will support your abdomen and minimize the swelling. Once you are awake and comfortable enough, you will be allowed to go home accompanied by a friend or family member. In most cases, your dressings will be waterproof, so you are free to shower the following morning. It is important to have someone stay with you for at least the first few days to help out. You will be encouraged to get up and move around a few times a day to increase circulation and prevent blood clots, which can cause serious complications. You will see Dr. Plant for your first post-op visit the following day so he can make sure he is happy with how you are recovering and to ensure you get up out of bed and get moving. There will be swelling and soreness the first few weeks after surgery, but they will improve day by day. The abdomen will be tight initially, so it will be difficult to stand fully upright at first. Typically patients are able to stand upright within 1-2 weeks. Your initial waterproof dressings will stay on for about a week, at which point they will be removed and replaced with fresh ones. These can come off after a week, and at that time you can start scar treatment with one of Dr. Plant’s recommended products.

When Will I See My Final Results?

As with all surgical procedures, the final results cannot be seen for one year after surgery, however you will typically see an immediate difference right after surgery and have a very good sense of what your final results will look like by six weeks. As the minimal amount of residual swelling resolves over the remainder of the year, the scars fade and the final results will become apparent.

How Long Does A Tummy Tuck Last?

As long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle and don’t fluctuate too much in weight, your new, tight tummy will last a very long time. No procedure can stop the aging process though, and your midsection will continue to age naturally over time. What this procedure does is “set the clock back” so that natural aging starts from a much better place. Proper diet and exercise are necessary to maintain your results so it is wise to get into good habits before surgery so it will be easy to continue afterwards.

Can I Have A Baby After Tummy Tuck?

While it is safe to have an abdominoplasty before kids, Dr. Plant generally advises against it for patients who know they will be having children. Future pregnancies following your tummy tuck stretch out the skin and muscles that have been tightened. There is no guarantee you’ll need revision surgery afterwards, but you should expect the possibility and be aware that a secondary tummy tuck is more challenging than a primary and more painful on the recovery.

Who Will My Consultation Be With?

All consultations are with Dr. Plant himself, not a salesperson or nurse-consultant. He does it this way for several reasons. First, he feels patients are entitled to meet and get to know their potential surgeon before booking a procedure. Second, he strongly believes that only the surgeon truly knows what they can accomplish in surgery and he does not want someone who doesn’t actually operate making promises that cannot be delivered. Third, patients come having researched the procedure and are prepared with questions about the procedure that he feels can only be answered completely by the surgeon.

What Can I Expect At My Consultation?

At your consultation, you can expect to be greeted upon arrival and asked to complete a registration form and provide your OHIP card. Once you have completed the form, you will be taken to the examination room and asked to change into a gown. Once you have changed, Dr. Plant will come and speak with you about your specific concerns and your desired final appearance. He will also take a medical history to make sure you are safe for surgery. Once he has a good sense of what you are looking for, he will examine you to see the current state of your abdomen. He will show you anything noteworthy that might affect your outcome in the mirror. After he has examined you, he will tell you what he thinks the best options for you will be and discuss them with you. This includes the exact type of tummy tuck that would benefit you most and whether you require muscle repair. He will also address whether there are any factors that are unique to your case and if something specific should be done about it, or if it’s simply something you should be aware of before having your procedure. He will then provide you with pricing for the procedure and provide the opportunity for you to have all of your questions answered.

How Much Does Tummy Tuck Cost?

Pricing for an abdominoplasty in Toronto will vary depending on the exact nature of the procedure you need to achieve your desired results. The cost for the operation has been carefully calculated and will vary with the type of tummy tuck you are having – mini tummy tucks will cost less than extended tummy tucks for example. In general, you can expect your tummy tuck surgery to cost anywhere from $8,000 – $15,000.

Do I Have To Buy A Special Garment For After Surgery?

No way! We like to make things easy for our patients, so all of our pricing is all-inclusive, meaning the price you are given by Dr. Plant is the price you will pay. There are no hidden fees for garments or fancy presurgical vitamins that magically appear after you’ve placed a deposit. The only cost you may incur above and beyond the quoted price is what you pay the pharmacist to fill your prescription and this is typically less than $100 for patients who do not have drug coverage.

How Many Follow-ups Are Included With My Tummy Tuck And When Will They Be?

While other surgeons limit follow ups, Dr. Plant feels that surgical patients should always have access to their surgeon and not be charged for it. In addition to the standard followup appointments at 1 week, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year, Dr. Plant is happy to see his patients in follow up as much as they feel is necessary and for as long as he is in practice. Instead of limiting you to a year of follow ups, he actually wants to see you every year to make sure that your tummy is still looking great!

Can I Combine A Tummy Tuck With Other Procedures?

While tummy tuck is a very popular cosmetic surgery on its own, combining a tummy tuck with other aesthetic procedures is very common. While liposuction of the lovehandles is the most commonly combined procedure, Dr. Plant very frequently combines tummy tuck with different Breast Procedures, Liposuction to other areas and Labiaplasty. It is also common to combine a tummy tuck with a lower body lift (together known as a circumferential body lift) in massive weight loss patients who have excess skin on the back or butt as well.

Are There Less Invasive Alternatives To Tummy Tuck?

The two main goals of a tummy tuck are removing excess skin and tightening separated muscles. While many nonsurgical treatments claim they can tighten the skin or muscles but generally give underwhelming results. In patients who have enough loose skin to warrant a tummy tuck, there is no alternative that will improve it enough to feel it was worth whatever you paid for it. A true separation of the abdominal muscles, known as diastasis recti, results from stretching of the non-elastic fascia between the muscles. Once this tissue has stretched, it cannot be contracted and the only way to correct the issue is to directly suture the muscles back into place. This manoeuvre can only be done as part of a tummy tuck.

Why Does A Tummy Tuck with Dr. Plant Cost More Than Some Other Surgeons?

In a nutshell, good plastic surgery is rarely cheap, and cheap plastic surgery is rarely good. In order to provide inexpensive surgery costs need to be cut somewhere, and this means using lower quality equipment and/or rushing the procedure to get more done in a day. We firmly believe that when it comes to both Parachutes and Plastic surgery, quality takes precedence over all else, including cost. To ensure the best possible results, Dr. Plant takes as long as necessary to do the work properly and uses only premium products in the operating room. This includes Stratafix sutures, the Keller Funnel and the ONETRAC single-use lighted retractor. He also provides a level of hands-on service that is incredibly rare in this industry – Dr. Plant personally does all consults and follow ups himself. This is in stark contrast to the typical office where the majority of the consult and most of the follow ups will be with a staff member. He also does not place limits on follow ups, whereas some offices will limit patients to a certain number of follow ups, or limit them to a certain timeframe (1 year for example) before they charge you for further appointments. If you have a concern, Dr. Plant will be happy to see you 10 years after your procedure with no additional charges!