This 35 year old patient is seen 1 year after surgery. At one year her incisions are still red and are expected to continue to improve over the next 12 months! In these photos, it is very clear that she is now capable of a more aligned posture. Tummy tuck patients are encouraged to be very active in behavior modification in order to secure the core tightening and posture advantages that the surgery offers.
This patient has done all the right things and has been very committed to a healthy diet and fitness routine. We are very grateful she is willing to share her story with us.
This patient had taken attempts to regain tone and fitness to the ultimate degree. Her lateral photo demonstrates how centralization of the abdominal muscles helps move the pelvis into a more healthy anatomic alignment with the spine. These photos were taken at 11 months post op. Implant size is 325cc.
Tummy tucks have become one of my favorite surgical procedures. Your abdomen is a very aesthetically and physically important area. The restorative health benefits from abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) include better posture and bowel and bladder function. A firm smooth abdomen is something even the most health and exercise conscious person cannot improve when there is loose skin and muscle tissues after weight loss or childbirth. Restoring the core tightness is very rewarding and my experience with this surgery over the years has allowed me to maximize cosmetic results and maintain the most comfortable and safe recovery possible using a no drain technique with a local nerve block. This allows increased comfort in the immediate post surgery phase which increases patient mobility and therefore safety and protection from blood clots.
AM I A CANDIDATE?
You are an excellent candidate for an abdominoplasty if you have loose skin on your lower abdomen or distention of the abdominal wall. Some people have loose tummy muscles after large amounts of weight loss or pregnancy which can sometimes be associated with herniation of the belly button tissue (umbilical hernia). This procedure will tighten the muscles and remove excess skin which are resistant to diet and exercise. It is important to decide whether or not you need a tummy tuck before proceeding with a belly button hernia surgery as the method to repair the hernia may make a safe tummy tuck result impossible.
WHERE ARE THE SCARS?
Scars will be hidden around your belly button and across your lower body under the underwear or bikini line. C-section or other scars on the lower abdomen will be removed with this procedure. You can tailor the location of the scar based on your preference to a certain degree. The length of the scar depends on the amount of tissue which needs to be removed.
WHAT IS A MINI TUMMY TUCK?
This procedure is good for someone whose upper abdomen is tight and all excess skin is localized below the belly button. The typical candidate is someone who wants liposuction or fat removal around the belly button and lower abdominal skin tightening only. The scar needed in this surgery is usually shorter as less tissue is removed. Another type of patient who will benefit from mini tummy tuck is someone wants removal of a flap of skin at their groin crease, but who is not yet ready for a full abdominoplasty for recovery or weight loss reasons.
CAN I COMBINE TUMMY TUCK WITH OTHER SURGERY?
Many patients combine tummy tuck with other procedures. I will often recommend simultaneous liposuction to sculpt the sides and back to match the new front of your waist, but this is only a good option for patients who are low risk for complications and blood clot issues. It is important to take safety into account. It has been shown in multiple different studies, that your risks increase with increased number of surgical procedures performed simultaneously. Having said that, the mommy makeover procedure, which includes breast surgery and tummy tuck is very successful and safe for patients who are not overweight and in good health.
WILL THIS SURGERY GET RID OF ALL MY STRETCH MARKS?
Most stretch marks below the belly button can be removed with this surgery. It depends on location and the amount of excess skin whether or not most can be removed.
WHAT CAN I DO TO IMPROVE THE RESULTS OF MY SURGERY?
This is a great question and one that I think is important to consider no matter what surgery you are having, but especially for tummy tuck. It is important for you to practice good posture after surgery. With the drainless tummy tuck technique, you will be able to stand straight immediately after surgery. Most people who need tummy tuck cannot stand completely straight or have poor posture at best. Since posture is a habit, you will need to practice standing/sitting erect and this itself will be a good core-strengthening exercise. Smoking is a very significant risk factor for poor outcomes in most plastic surgery operations, but especially tummy tuck. Healing is reduced, and the chance of infection is increased in smokers. We recommend you stop smoking at a minimum of two weeks prior to your operation. As with other body contouring operations, being at an optimal weight and avoiding weight gain is very important. During your first follow up, our office should tell you how much tissue was removed so you can know your new baseline track your weight going forward. It is also important to discuss any problems with excessive bleeding or blood clots with your surgeon.
WHAT IS THE RECOVERY?
You will go home the same day after surgery and recover in your own home or a care facility which specializes in taking care of plastic surgery patients. You will need to wear an elastic compression bandage/wrap for the first two weeks after surgery. The technique I use when I pull your abdominal skin tight is done with progressive tension, so you are able to stand up straight immediately after surgery. You are more fully supported throughout your abdomen than with a traditional tummy tuck, so recovery is easier. You will be walking the day of surgery and you will be able to get around well enough a week after surgery to perform non-strenuous activity. After approximately 2 weeks your energy levels will increase and you are able to do any activity that you are comfortable with. This surgery really will limit your energy and require more rest and decreased productivity for up to 3-4 weeks, so expectations are important. We have noticed that degree of mental and physical health prior to surgery makes a big impact on the speed of recovery. This operation is best performed when you are at a peak of physical conditioning.