Tummy Tucks & Other Bikini-Ready Plastic Surgery Procedures

With summer sunshine and beach vacation season quickly approaching, you, like many other women, might be starting to think about kicking it into high gear to get your bikini body ready. The best way to get the beach-ready body you want is still to establish and maintain healthy eating habits and a regular exercise routine. However, some small pockets of fat in trouble areas like your belly, love handles and thighs might pose a challenge to shape and tone using diet and exercise alone.

Even further still, if you’ve had children and can’t quite get your pre-baby body back no matter how hard you try, you may be feeling discouraged as bikini season rolls around. Fortunately, there are a number of plastic surgery procedures that can help you get the sleek, slim look you want while boosting your confidence just in time to slip into your favorite bikini.

Body Contouring

No matter your unique cosmetic concerns, there are several body contouring procedures—or even combinations of procedures—that can help you to achieve the body shape and curves you want. In particular, abdominoplasty and liposuction are two of the most common body contouring plastic surgery procedures, and these are also often combined to help maximize your results.

These treatments, however, are not meant to serve as weight loss tools, so it’s best to be close to your ideal weight before opting for plastic surgery. If you’re unsure of whether or not a tummy tuck, liposuction or combination of both might best suit your individual goals, schedule an in-person consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to help you make your decision.

Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck, also called abominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that can remove and tighten loose skin and muscle tissue in your abdominal area.

Whether you’ve reached a significant weight loss goal, had a child or simply can’t seem to shape your body the way you want through diet and exercise alone, a tummy tuck may be able to help.

When you go in for your tummy tuck consultation, you’ll find that there are a variety of tummy tuck options, and the best one for you will depend on your needs and goals. Thanks to advancements in medical technology, however, most tummy tucks can be performed as a drain-less procedure, which can reduce your risk of complications and make your recovery more comfortable and smoother.

If this technique is something that you’re interested in, be sure to bring this up with your plastic surgeon at your consultation. This may also be a detail that can help you choose with plastic surgeon to work with, as not every practice will offer the same tummy tuck options. Your plastic surgeon will need to be experienced at performing the specific technique necessary to achieve the smooth, beautiful results you want without using the drains that you would otherwise need during surgery and the initial stages of recovery.

Considering a “no drain” tummy tuck over a traditional procedure isn’t the only decision you’ll need to make, though. Generally speaking, there are three types of tummy tucks, and each comes along with its own set of benefits. The best choice for you will be determined by your natural body shape and anatomy and your goals for your final results. The three types of tummy tucks are:

During your tummy tuck recovery, be sure to consult your plastic surgeon before jumping back into more strenuous activities or swimming this summer.

  • Full tummy tuck. This is the most common type of tummy tuck, and it can address excess skin from just above your belly button to just above your pubic area. Although the resulting scar will run from hip to hip, your plastic surgeon will take great care to place the incision in an area that will be easily camouflaged by your bikini bottoms. In many cases, a full tummy tuck is combined with liposuction for even more comprehensive results.
  • Mini tummy tuck. One of the most common questions that women ask when first considering a tummy tuck is whether they should go with a full or mini abdominoplasty. In truth, most women considering this procedure are going to get the most out of a full tummy tuck, but there are instances when a mini tummy tuck may be just right. A mini tummy tuck is less invasive and leaves a shorter scar than a full tummy tuck, but the best candidates for it will have only minimal loose skin or muscle tissue below the belly button.
  • Extended tummy tuck. This type of abdominoplasty is very similar to a full tummy tuck, except that it also extends up your hips and around your back, making it ideal for people with large amounts of excess skin. Because of this, extended tummy tucks can be great options for women who are looking to reshape their bodies following massive weight loss.

While the details of your procedure and recovery will vary depending on the type of abdominoplasty you choose, most women are able to return to work and light activities within two weeks after their procedure. Keep in mind, though, that your body will continue to change shape over the next weeks and months, so if you’ll want to factor this into your timeline for getting bikini body ready.  

Liposuction

Like a tummy tuck, liposuction can be a great body contouring tool to help you get rid of those pesky exercise-resistant love handles, belly fat or other trouble spots. You’ll still want to come as close as possible to your target weight before scheduling your liposuction procedure in order to maximize your results.

During your consultation with your plastic surgeon, you can discuss your body contouring goals and the areas on your body that have proven to be difficult or even impossible to reshape on your own. He or she can design a surgical plan that takes your needs and goals into account and addresses the specific areas that you’re having trouble with. 

If stubborn fat and areas of sagging or loose skin and muscle tissue are keeping you from rocking your bikini body, you could be a good candidate for a combination liposuction and tummy tuck procedure.

Depending on the number and size of the areas being treated, your liposuction procedure may last between 2 and 3 hours, although this is highly variable. To perform a traditional tumescent liposuction procedure, your plastic surgeon will start by creating several small incisions around the target areas. Next, a special solution is injected to help loosen the bothersome fat cells in that area, which will then be gently removed through a hollow tube called a cannula.

While most women can expect to return to work and other daily activities within a week after getting liposuction, don’t be discouraged if you don’t see your results immediately. Some residual swelling after getting liposuction is to be expected, but this should gradually diminish on its own over the next several weeks, revealing your slimmer, sleeker contours.

At your consultation, your plastic surgeon will listen to your goals and provide a thorough assessment of your unique needs to help you decide which body contouring procedure might be the one for you.

Mommy Makeover

As a mother, it can be hard to balance putting your family’s needs first while still taking care of yourself. If you’re struggling to tone and tighten your body after a pregnancy, you owe it to yourself to look into getting a mommy makeover to help you get your bikini body and its accompanying self-esteem back.

Mommy makeovers remain one of the most popular cosmetic procedures for women of nearly any age.

One of the biggest benefits of getting a mommy makeover is that you can completely customize it to cater to your specific problem spots. Some of the most common plastic surgery procedures to include in a mommy makeover are abdominoplasty, liposuction, breast implants and a breast lift. Keep in mind, though, that you can choose any combination of procedures that you and your plastic surgeon feel will help you achieve your final body contouring goals.

Tummy tuck and liposuction often go hand-in-hand anyway, but you can also add breast surgeries and other body contouring procedures such as an arm or thigh lift to your mommy makeover. Even though you are combining multiple surgeries into one, this procedure cuts down on recovery time and may even reduce your risk of complications by requiring only one surgery rather than several different ones spaced months or even years apart.

Another benefit to getting a mommy makeover is that, like other body contouring procedures, the results can be very long-lasting, provided you keep up with your healthy diet and exercise habits. That said, the best candidates for this procedure will have already completed their families, as a future pregnancy could interfere with your results and may require a revision surgery to help you get your smooth, sleek bikini body back again.

Breast Reduction

When most people think of plastic surgery to fine-tune their bikini body, getting breast implants for a larger look is typically the first thing to come to mind. For many women, though, the problem isn’t that their breasts are too small. 

For best results, your plastic surgeon might suggest including a breast lift with your breast reduction to help you get that firm, lifted look that a great-fitting bikini top can highlight even further.

Instead, overly large breasts can make it difficult to find a bikini top that will fit properly without putting too much on display. Very large breasts also generally need much more support than an itty bitty bikini top can provide, which can give way to back, neck and shoulder pain. In other cases, the size of your breasts could appear to be out of proportion with the rest of your body, which can throw off the balanced hourglass shape that many women desire.

If these issues sound a lot like your day-to-day struggles, consider talking to an experienced plastic surgeon about a breast reduction. This type of breast surgery can help to give you the subtle, perky look you want without the pain, discomfort and even embarrassment that can come along with having excessively large breasts.

Breast Lift

If your halter bikini top just isn’t enough to give your breasts the dramatic lift you want, you could be an excellent candidate for getting a breast lift before beach season comes on in full swing. Unlike a breast augmentation or breast reduction, a breast lift isn’t meant to change the size of your breasts. Instead, it can help to address sagging or a low nipple position that may be cause for an unbalanced look and lowered self-confidence as swimsuit season rolls around.

While every plastic surgeon might approach a particular surgery a little differently, the most common incision used for a breast lift is called the “lollipop” incision. As its name suggests, this incision is created in the shape of a lollipop, with a circular incision around your areola and a vertical incision that connects the bottom of that circle with your breast crease. This surgical technique can help to minimize the number and size of incisions that are needed in order to achieve the desired outcome.

Women who have had children, breastfed or are simply beginning to notice the effects of gravity on the position of their breasts may be able to benefit from a breast lift.

If you’re looking to increase the size of your breasts but are also concerned with sagging or excess skin, combining your breast lift with a breast augmentation could be your best option.

If you do choose to add implants to your breast lift, though, keep in mind that you won’t see your final results immediately. It can take several months for your breast implants to “drop and fluff” into place, revealing your final look. For this reason, you may want to consider scheduling your procedure in time for next bikini season to fully enjoy your new curves.

Planning Your Plastic Surgery in Time for Bikini Season

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong time to start planning your body contouring procedure.

The best time to plan your plastic surgery will greatly depend on your personal preferences, work schedule and family obligations. However, if you’re looking to get beach body ready in a pinch, you’ll want to talk about your timeline with your plastic surgeon before scheduling your procedure.

Depending on the plastic surgery or surgeries that you want, and your expectations, you may need to incorporate 1 or 2 weeks of recovery time into your timeline, as well as some additional for your results to fully reveal themselves. As long as you understand that you’re not going to be able to hit the pool immediately after your plastic surgery, though, the transition from spring to summer can be a good time to start planning your plastic surgery.

On the other hand, if you’d rather plan a little farther in advance, late spring and early summer can also be a great time to start discussing your options to help you get the bikini body you want just in time for next season. In either case, it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon to get a better idea of when to plan for the procedures that you’re considering.

Choosing a Plastic Surgeon for Your Body Contouring Procedure

Choosing the right plastic surgeon is one of the most important steps you’ll need to take before any plastic surgery procedure, because he or she will be your go-to resource for any questions or concerns that you have along the way. Additionally, your plastic surgeon should be able to help you plan your surgery and recovery to coincide with your summer goals.

When searching for plastic surgeons in your area, look for:

  • Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • Memberships with accredited medical organizations, such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
  • Experience performing the plastic surgery you’re looking to get
  • Before and after photos of previous results
  • Client testimonials
  • Willingness and ability to thoroughly answer your questions

Because there are so many different surgical techniques and options when it comes to body contouring surgeries, you might find that different plastic surgeons’ offices might provide conflicting information about the details of your procedure. While this is completely normal, it can make your decision even more challenging. If you find yourself in this position and are having trouble deciding between two different plastic surgeons, try scheduling an in-office consultation with each.

When you visit each office for the first time, take note of things like how friendly and helpful the office staff and employees are, how clean and organized the waiting room and office is and whether or not you are able to form a positive rapport with the plastic surgeon. These qualities can help you narrow down your search and choose the best plastic surgeon for you.