Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

What is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck, also called an abdominoplasty, flattens the abdomen by removing excess fat and skin, and tightening muscles of the abdominal wall. The incision length and position can be customized to suit each patient’s unique cosmetic concerns and goals. The overall result is a tighter, smoother, more toned looking mid-section.

What are the Benefits of Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is designed to remove excess skin and fatty tissue from the abdomen while simultaneously tightening the underlying musculature. This process can be particularly beneficial for patients with stretched or torn abdominal muscles, as this condition can cause the abdomen to protrude and cannot be corrected with diet and exercise alone. Abdominoplasty can also address stretch marks and/or excess skin after dramatic weight loss for a smoother and tightened appearance. A tummy tuck can be an ideal option for contouring problem areas in the abdominal region and waistline for a more slender silhouette.

Can Tummy Tuck Be Combined with Other Procedures?

Mothers will often choose a tummy tuck as part of a more comprehensive mommy makeover plan. Some patients also choose to combine tummy tuck with liposuction to maximize their results for an even more contoured silhouette.

Who Is a Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?

The best candidates for abdominoplasty are men or women who are in relatively good shape, but are bothered by a large fat deposit or loose abdominal skin that won’t respond to diet or exercise. Dr. Paul LoVerme uses special muscle-tightening techniques to create a slimmer waist as well. Tummy tuck surgery can be particularly helpful to women who, through multiple pregnancies, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal. Loss of skin elasticity, associated with significant weight loss, is also a common indication for abdominoplasty in men and women.

What Happens During the Tummy Tuck Procedure?

Dr. LoVerme’s abdominoplasty procedure differs from the standard technique. Over the past thirty years, Dr. LoVerme has used multiple techniques to provide his patients with a more comfortable and safe recuperation. For over twenty years, he used two silicone drains which removed fluid from underneath the abdominal flap. These drains would remain in place for 1-4 weeks and prevent his patient from showering or bathing, as well as increase risks of infection. Dr. LoVerme then used tissue glue which decreased the length of time that drains stayed in place, but there were still occasionally problems with seromas or hematomas.

Dr. LoVerme has used the Progressive Tension Suture (PTS) technique, originated by Drs. Pollock, for “no drain abdominoplasty” since 2007. This technique allows secure healing and prevents fluid accumulation without the use of drains. Surgical drains can be uncomfortable and cause anxiety for many patients following abdominoplasty. The PTS technique allows Dr. LoVerme not to use any drains in his abdominoplasty patients. When this technique is used, patients can often return to their normal physical activities sooner without any increased complications. Patients are also often more comfortable, can bathe two days after surgery, and have a decreased risk of hematomas or seromas.

What Is Recovery after Tummy Tuck Surgery Like?

As with any major surgery, tummy tuck patients can expect to experience some swelling and bruising. Any discomfort can be easily managed with oral pain medication. While recovery times can vary, most patients are able to return to their normal daily activities within one to two weeks. Strenuous exercise and heavy lifting should be avoided for at least six weeks. Dr. LoVerme recommends taking short walks as soon as patients feel comfortable to promote circulation and facilitate the healing process.

The tummy tuck incision can be made low on the abdomen, directly above the pubic area, allowing patients to comfortably wear swimsuits, bikini bottoms, or underwear without any visible scarring. Once the healing process is complete, patients can enjoy a slimmer, more youthful looking figure.

What Will My Scars Look Like after Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Dr. LoVerme takes great care to place the incision used during abdominoplasty as low on the abdomen as possible. Incisions are also made using techniques that can minimize the visibility of the scar. In most cases, the incision is placed directly above the pubic area and can be easily covered or concealed with underwear or bikini bottoms. You can bring your favorite swimsuit to your preliminary consultation so that Dr. LoVerme can design the customized surgical plan to accommodate the style if possible. In the initial phase of healing, the incision scar may appear swollen, red, or raised. Over time the prominence of the scar should diminish significantly. Dr. LoVerme will also provide patients with detailed post-operative instructions including details on scar care.

What Is the Cost of a Tummy Tuck?

Each tummy tuck is customized to meet the expectations of the patient. Consequently, the exact price of the procedure will vary depending upon a number of factors, including degree of difficulty, amount of fatty tissue removed, surgeon and anesthesiologist fees, and any necessary post-operative medications. During your initial consultation, a cost estimate based on your unique treatment plan can be provided for you. The LoVerme Center for Plastic Surgery accepts a variety of convenient payment methods and offers financing options through third-party lenders to help patients pay for their tummy tuck in a manner that fits comfortably with their budget. Our patient care coordinator will be happy to go over your options, as well as answer any questions you may have.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions about Tummy Tuck

Will a tummy tuck get rid of extra fat?

A tummy tuck is designed to reduce excess skin and achieve a smoother, more slender-looking midsection. While patients who have substantial abdominal fat and good skin elasticity may be well-suited for liposuction surgery, patients who have excess fat and excess skin in the abdominal region often choose to combine a tummy tuck with liposuction. The tummy tuck procedure on its own is not specifically designed to reduce fat, although the circumference of the stomach is often reduced due to the tightening of the underlying musculature. If you have a significant degree of unwanted fat, liposuction may be required to achieve the results you desire. Combining tummy tuck with liposuction is very common and can offer a more complete transformation of the abdomen.

How safe is a tummy tuck?

Although plastic surgery procedures will always come with certain risks and side effects, choosing an experienced, board-certified surgeon is considered the safest way to undergo abdominoplasty. Patient safety is Dr. LoVerme’s highest priority and he thoroughly evaluates patients to ensure that they are qualified candidates. He follows stringent safety measures during the procedure and provides attentive post-operative care to reduce the rate of complications. Patients trust Dr. LoVerme to provide the highest quality of patient care and safety throughout treatment.

How soon can I return to my normal daily routine?

Tummy tuck recovery varies from patient to patient. Most patients are able to return to work within one to two weeks after surgery. Dr. LoVerme encourages all patients to walk around as soon as they feel comfortable. Patients with small children may want to arrange for help during the beginning of the recovery period, as lifting any weight should be avoided. Strenuous physical activity or vigorous exercise can resume once the healing process is complete, which may take six to eight weeks depending upon the patient. At the initial consultation, Dr. LoVerme can provide a more detailed description of what to expect during recovery based upon your physical exam and your medical history.

How can I reduce swelling after a tummy tuck?

Swelling is usually most prominent during the first four to six weeks after tummy tuck surgery, and it could take months before inflammation fully dissipates. Patients can reduce swelling by properly wearing their prescribed compression garments, avoiding salty foods, getting plenty of rest, and taking anti-inflammatory medications if necessary. It is important to follow Dr. LoVerme’s post-operative instructions to minimize swelling and accelerate the healing process.

How long do I need to wear compression garments after a tummy tuck?

A compression garment is given to patients to help reduce swelling and facilitate the recovery process. The length of time that a patient will need to wear the garment varies depending on the extent of concerns addressed during the surgery. We generally advise patients to wear compression garments for at least four to six weeks, or until instructed otherwise by Dr. LoVerme. Your plastic surgeon will provide more specific instructions in person on how long you should wear your compression garments with regard to your unique needs.

What can I eat after tummy tuck surgery?

Adhering to a healthy, nourishing diet can aid in the recovery process and decrease post-surgical swelling. Foods that are rich in protein, vitamins, and antioxidants can benefit you during the recovery period. While your body heals, it is best to avoid salty, sugary, and processed foods. Adopting a well-balanced diet can not only ease the healing process, but long-term it can also help you maintain the results of your tummy tuck surgery.

Is it safe to have children after my tummy tuck surgery?

While it is perfectly safe for both the child and the mother, a pregnancy after tummy tuck surgery could potentially compromise the results. During pregnancy, the muscles of the stomach can become stretched again. Stretched skin along the abdomen may also remain after a new pregnancy. Dr. LoVerme recommends that women wait until they have completed their families before choosing tummy tuck surgery. However, patients who have a child after tummy tuck surgery can have a second “touch-up” procedure performed to help restore the original results.

How long will my tummy tuck results last?

Ideal candidates for tummy tuck surgery are already at or near their target weight. Good candidates also lead healthy lifestyles, eat nutritious diets, and exercise regularly. As long as a healthy lifestyle is maintained, the results of your tummy tuck should not be impacted. Significant weight gain or pregnancy will likely affect the results of the procedure.

What is a seroma after tummy tuck surgery?

A seroma is an accumulation of fluid that forms under the surface of the skin, usually where a large amount of tissue has been repositioned or removed. It may present as a swollen lump or cyst that can be tender when touched. Small seromas typically do not require medical treatment and the fluid should reabsorb into the body within a few weeks following surgery; however, larger or painful seromas will need to be examined and medically treated. If you experience symptoms such as bleeding, fever, chills, and/or an irregular heartbeat, these signs may indicate that a seroma has developed into an abscess and will require medical attention. Patients are always encouraged to contact our practice as soon as possible when symptoms develop.

To learn more about tummy tuck, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. LoVerme, please contact our office today.

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Age: 32 / Ht: 5’2” / Wt: 125 lbs
Abdominoplasty following weight loss

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