WHAT IS A TUMMY TUCK?
A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen while also correcting separated abdominal muscles (rectus diastasis). For many people who have had children or people who have gained and then lost a massive amount of weight, it is the only way to remove the excess skin that is resistant to diet and exercise, and restore the position of the abdominal muscles and balance to your abdominal contour.
The ideal tummy tuck patient is someone who is in good overall health and is bothered by displaced abdominal muscles, excess drooping skin in the abdominal area, or a persistent “pooch” despite diet and exercise. Ideally, the person should be within 10-15 pounds of a maintainable goal weight and would be finished having children. A tummy tuck procedure is not a weight loss surgery per se but a body contouring procedure and significant weight gain after surgery (over 20lbs) would negatively impact your cosmetic outcome.
FULL TUMMY TUCK VS. MINI-TUMMY TUCK
The mini-tummy tuck is appropriate for patients who have excess skin located solely below the belly button. If there is laxity of skin or the abdominal wall musculature above the belly button, this will not be addressed with a mini tummy tuck. Most women that have experienced pregnancy will find that they have laxity both above and below the belly button and may feel dissatisfied with the cosmetic outcome of just a mini-tummy tuck. A full tummy tuck involves an incision around the belly button and across the lower abdomen and addresses the entirety of the abdominal region. The full-tummy tuck also provides the most control with body contouring of the lower torso.
During your consultation, Dr. Bindewald will listen to what bothers you about your body contour as well as what you hope to achieve with surgery. He will ask about your medical history and prior body contouring procedures, both surgical and non-surgical. During the physical exam, he will assess skin laxity, degree of excess fat, and degree of muscle separation (diastasis), if any.
Liposuction can be combined with either a mini-tummy tuck or full-tummy tuck if there are excess pockets of fat along the hips, upper abdomen, flanks or even back. Breast surgery can also be combined with a tummy tuck as part of a Mommy Makeover. During your consultation, Dr. Bindewald will work with you to find the right procedure or procedures for creating your ideal body contour with the least amount of downtime possible.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIPOSUCTION & TUMMY TUCK
Liposuction only addresses excess fat but unfortunately cannot address excess skin or muscle separation. In a person with excess skin and excess fat, liposuction alone can cause excess skin to become more noticeable. In this type of candidate, addressing these issues with both liposuction and tummy tuck combined will likely provide for a more favorable body contour.
TUMMY TUCK RECOVERY PROCESS
The entire tummy tuck procedure takes anywhere from 2 to 6 hours depending on the extent of the work that needs to be done on the abdominal wall. If combined with other procedure, the operative time, of course, would be lengthened. The length of the incision and whether an incision around the belly button is necessary will depend on the amount of tissue that will need to be removed and will vary based on the individual. Most tummy tuck patients stay overnight for observation and are typically allowed to return home the following morning. It is recommended that you refrain from driving until you are off any narcotic pain medication and when you feel that discomfort will not be distracting; for most people, this may take a few weeks. It is typically recommended to avoid heavy exercise and any core exercises for 6-8 week after surgery and until you have been cleared by Dr. Bindewald to do so.
For more information on Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck surgery) or to find out if it’s the right procedure for you, call the San Antonio Plastic Surgery Center at (210) 616-0798 or Request a Consultation
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