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A Newbie’s Guide to Tummy Tuck Surgery

photo of a woman with flat tummy wearing jeans

As far as cosmetic surgeries go, the tummy tuck procedure, or abdominoplasty, is a pretty extensive surgery. Although these days you can find a ton of information on pretty much anything, sometimes it’s difficult to separate the correct information from the less accurate, and often times after delving into a whole bunch of different internet searches on tummy tuck procedures, you may find yourself with more questions than you had before you started, and fewer clear cut answers.

You’ve come to the right place, though! At The Plastic Surgery Clinic, abdominoplasty is one of our signature procedures. In other words, our surgeons perform A LOT of them—200-300 per year actually—making our clinic one of the most experienced practices for the tummy tuck procedure in all of Canada. So if you’ve got tummy tuck questions, we’ve got the answers.

Do I Really Need a Full Tummy Tuck?

This is one of the most common questions our surgeons get both in person and on online platforms like RealSelf. Do I really need a full tummy tuck or can I get away with just a mini tummy tuck?

This is a SUPER important question and we get why so many people ask it. The really big concern for many people who are considering a tummy tuck procedure is the length of the scar. There’s a lot of information out there that says that the mini tummy tuck will leave you with a smaller scar and less recovery time, which is totally true, but it may or may not be the right procedure for you.

The two main differences to keep in mind when deciding between the mini and full tummy tuck are how much excess skin you have and whether you need abdominal tightening or not. The mini tummy tuck is great for anyone who has small amounts of excess skin and therefore needs a small amount of contouring, and has no abdominal muscle damage (otherwise known as rectus diastasis).

If you’ve lost a significant amount of weight there will likely be more excess skin, and if you’ve had a baby, you may have damaged those abdominal muscles giving birth, which will need repair and tightening. In this case, the only effective procedure would be a full tummy tuck.

But all that said, when you have your first in person consultation with your surgeon, after listening to your goals and examining you, they will be able to tell you which type of tummy tuck will give you the best result. As for the scar, in the best surgical hands, whether the mini or full tummy tuck, rest assured that the scar will eventually heal (give it time, at least a year) flatten out and fade.

How do I know I’m Choosing the Right Abdominoplasty Surgeon?

Research, research, and more research and LOTS of questions! Ok, so you’re actually already on the right track. If you’re reading this then you’re most likely in the process of doing your research. You need to find out who the best, most experienced surgeon is in the tummy tuck procedure in your area.

We stress the point about your doctor being local because you really want the same surgeon to follow you from start to finish, meaning from your very first consult, through surgery, and through all of your recovery period. And when we say recovery period we don’t just mean the day after surgery or even four weeks after surgery, we mean a full year after surgery too.

It’s tempting to want to go somewhere else because you’ve heard about that amazing surgeon in the US, or that doctor in Mexico who is slightly cheaper, but beyond the fact that we’re always telling our patients, fans, followers to NEVER EVER go budget on their bodies, having the same doctor care for you from start to finish is probably the most important thing.

This kind of effective and continuous care will ensure that you are getting the highest level of care, minimizing chances of complications, allowing for a speedier and full recovery, and also ensuring that you end up with the best result possible.

So how do you know you’ve chosen the best surgeon? Once you’ve done your research, had your first consult (or maybe even gone back for a second if you weren’t sure the first time around), asked about your surgeon’s experience with the tummy tuck procedure, seen before and after pictures, and so on….our advice is to make sure you feel truly comfortable with your surgeon.

Do you feel they are really hearing you? A tummy tuck is a big deal (any surgical procedure is!) so you really want the most capable surgical hands, but also someone who will go on this journey with you and see you through it and give you the support that you need.

What Happens the Day of My Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Ok, so here it is. You’ve done your research, you’ve made your decision, you’ve chosen the best abdominoplasty surgeon possible. What is actually going to happen on the day of your surgery?

Well your surgeon will start by giving you guidelines as to how to prepare for your surgery. They will let you know if there’s anything you should modify in your diet or lifestyle, or if there are vitamins you should take before surgery day.

If you’re a smoker, you’ll have to stop for a couple of weeks before your surgery and abstain from smoking during your recovery period. Smoking is not so great for circulation and can interfere with healing, so stopping completely will help give you the best result possible with a lowered risk of complications.

The day of your surgery a friend or family member will bring you to the clinic. You’ll be put under general anesthesia and your surgeon will do his or her magic. If you’re getting a full tummy tuck the procedure will last anywhere from 2-3 hours and if you’re getting a mini tummy tuck it might take anywhere from 1-2 hours.

When you wake up you’ll be a bit groggy, but our nursing staff will take great care of you and depending on the extent of your surgery you might go home within a few hours following your procedure, or you may have to stay a night or two.

Is the Recovery after a Tummy Tuck Painful?

We’re not going to lie to you. Recovery after a tummy tuck can be a bit tough and uncomfortable, but you’ll have all the support you need to get through it like a champ.

It’ll probably take you about 3 to 6 weeks to feel like yourself again. We’ve seen some patients return to work after about two weeks, but many like to give themselves about a month before taking on their normal daily lives again.

For the first few days you’ll probably see quite a bit of swelling in your abdomen and, yes, in theory you should have pain, but at The Plastic Surgery Clinic we have this fancy thing called the Pain Relief Pump, which is a small device (smaller than your smartphone) that you wear around your waist for the first 24 hours following your surgery. It delivers local anesthetic directly to your surgical wound.

And here’s the best thing about the Pain Relief Pump: most of our patients really don’t feel any pain and usually don’t need to take pain meds, which for some people can cause adverse reactions like nausea or vomiting.

The most important thing to keep in mind with recovery after the tummy tuck is that it’s a long journey, but one that gives you amazing returns. The tummy tuck is an extensive surgery so you need to expect an equally extensive recovery period, and results won’t appear overnight. You really need to be patient with yourself and your body, and by patient we mean give yourself a year. It sounds long, but it’s really important.

We always love to share this patient’s story because it’s so inspirational:

YouTube video

How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost in Toronto?

This is the big question. You’re probably wondering what the average cost of tummy tuck surgery is in Toronto or possibly what the cost of a tummy tuck in Mississauga at The Plastic Surgery Clinic would be. That’s totally fair. You need to actually know how much money you’re investing and also what exactly it is that you’re paying for.

We can’t speak for other plastic surgery clinics when it comes to the cost of a tummy tuck in Toronto or the GTA, but at The Plastic Surgery Clinic our starting fee for a full tummy tuck is $10,900, while a mini tummy tuck is $8,900.

These are our starting figures and we give a firm quote after you’ve had a consultation with one of our surgeons. The reason that we can’t offer an exact figure here and now is because everyone is different and our fees are dependent on individual needs and the complexity of your case. We tailor every operation to every patient, so your procedure will be totally customized to you.

So for instance you may be someone who needs a combination procedure like lipoabdominoplasty, where liposuction would also be added to your tummy tuck procedure, which would modify the cost.

You deserve to know what you’re paying for. Here at The Plastic Surgery Clinic our fees are all-inclusive. So obviously you are paying for the tummy tuck surgery, but our fees also include other things that are super important like your anesthesia, all the surgical equipment and tools, other medical costs like operating fees and nursing costs.

And since we were talking about how important it is to have a surgeon who can follow your progress from start to finish, our fees also cover all your pre and post-operative care, including all of your appointments, and also includes having access to our wonderful nurses and staff that are on call 24 hours if you have any questions about your procedure or recovery. We are seriously always there for you, whatever you need.

So if you’re ready to take the tummy tuck plunge, book a free consult with us. We love seeing new faces at the clinic and discussing the possibilities of this potentially transformative journey.

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Before You Go…

Did we answer all your questions? Our goal is to ensure you have the best information possible to make your decision. If you still have questions, we’re here to help.

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