Despite regular exercise and a healthy diet, it’s often difficult to remove unwanted fat and loose, saggy skin from the lower abdomen and achieve a flat stomach. Exercise machines, fat vanishing creams and tight-fitting garments have no capacity to remove specific areas of fat and tighten skin and muscle. Abdominoplasty, commonly called tummy tuck surgery, is a surgical procedure designed to firm and smooth the abdomen by tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall and removing the excess skin and fat.
What are some of the most common benefits of abdominoplasty?
Body contouring and shaping procedures, such as lipoplasty and lifts, can eliminate excess fat and tighten loose muscles and skin, creating a more enhanced, well-proportioned and fit body shape. Clothes fit better. It is often easier to buy clothes. In Akron, Ohio tummy tuck patients often report feeling more confident and having a greater self-confidence about their body image.
The abdominoplasty performed in Ohio by our doctors will not only firm and slim the abdomen and waist, but it will also firm and tighten the lax skin in the upper, inside of the thighs.
Some patients who have lower back pain as a result of their lax and separated abdominal wall muscles may notice an improvement in their lower back pain.
What will happen at the initial consultation?
Having a tummy tuck is a very personal decision, and we want to make sure all of your questions and concerns are addressed. The consultation will begin with a complete medical history and exam. You should tell us if you have any history of prior abdominal surgery or lipoplasty, any history of poor scarring and any family history of breast cancer. If you are planning to lose a significant amount of weight or you may want to become pregnant in the future, you should mention this to your doctor. You will be asked about the changes you seek, your exercise habits and your diet. This will help us understand your expectations and determine a plan that best addresses your expectations. Click here to Request Your Consultation at Crystal Clinic Plastic Surgeons.
Are you a candidate for tummy tuck surgery?
Good candidates for tummy tuck surgery are patients who have developed laxity in the skin and muscles of the abdomen and stomach areas. Abdominoplasty is most commonly recommended for those who are somewhat overweight or have a lot of skin laxity following pregnancy or large weight loss. You may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck if you have had the following:
- Multiple pregnancies
- A Cesarean section
- Large weight loss
- Excess or loose, saggy abdominal skin
- Stretch marks on the lower abdominal skin
- Excess fat that is primarily located around the waist
- Abdominal muscles that have been weakened by pregnancy or aging
The examination will evaluate the size and shape of your abdomen and trunk, the quality of your abdominal skin, any scars and the condition of your stomach muscles. Other treatment options available will be discussed. You can see photos of recent patients before and after surgery. Patient references are available upon request. The estimated costs of your tummy tuck in Akron will be explained. Photographs will be taken for your medical record.
The main incision used for a tummy tuck produces a permanent, noticeable scar low on the stomach just above the pubic hair area as well as a scar around the navel. The scar low on the abdomen extends toward the hip bone and is easily hidden by clothing. The final length of the scar depends on the amount of loose skin and fat removed.
Every patient has a different tolerance for discomfort. Our aim is to make your surgery and recovery as pleasant as possible. We use a combination of medications and pain pumps to manage postoperative pain. One of the more recent advances in pain control is the use of pain pumps for breast surgery and abdomenoplasty. Pain pumps effectively reduce pain, facilitate recovery, and reduce the need for stronger pain medication, which can potentially cause nausea and constipation.
Will my medical insurance cover abdominoplasty?
Health insurance usually does not cover abdominoplasty because it is considered cosmetic surgery. If you believe the surgery is deemed medically necessary, you should check with your health insurance company prior to surgery and obtain written confirmation that they will cover the procedure. Over the past few years, it has becoming increasingly difficult to obtain insurance coverage for abdominoplasty, even though it may be medically necessary.
Risks and Limitations
Women who undergo abdominoplasty and other body-contouring procedures are generally very pleased to have their new shapely figure. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks from anesthesia, bleeding or infection. Fortunately, none of these are very frequent complications. The following are other potential risks of any body lifting procedure, including tummy tuck and thigh and buttock lifts:
- Seroma - As an expected part of the procedure, fluid will accumulate beneath the skin. A drain is placed at the time of surgery to remove any fluid that would collect. Occasionally, after the drain is removed, the fluid persists. The fluid is usually absorbed by the body, but when it is not, the fluid has to be removed with a needle in the office. On very rare occasions, the fluid accumulation will need to be removed by another small procedure.
- Scars - Abdominoplasty involves incisions. Some people make inconspicuous scars while others make more prominent scars. Occasionally, especially in women of color, the scars can be raised and painful; these are known as keloids orhypertrophic scars. There is no way to know if you are one of those people unless you’ve had a past history of this occurring. However, there are several ways to intervene to help prevent and treat prominent scars if they occur.
- Unevenness – The goal of abdominoplasty and any body-shaping procedure is to create the body shape you desire. Repeat touch-up procedures are occasionally needed and an option if necessary. You may not obtain a perfect contour after one procedure. Occasionally, a touch-up, limited lipoplasty may be needed to smooth out an area of fullness.
- Delayed Healing – Patients who smoke or have diabetes have a higher chance of slow wound healing. You should stop smoking four weeks before the procedure.
- Extra Skin – Excess skin at the end of the incision, known as a “dog ear,” occasionally needs to be tailored. If necessary, this is easily corrected as an office procedure.
- Embolus-This extremely rare complication manifests itself after surgery as shortness of breath or general sense of illness. These symptoms should be called to the attention of your doctor.
Alternatives to Tummy Tucks in Akron, Ohio
Lipoplasty-Lipoplasty, also known as liposuction surgery in Akron, Ohio, can remove stubborn, excess fat, but it does not address the issue of loose skin. When loose skin or cellulite is a significant concern, you want to consider a lift or tuck procedure that removes the excess fat and lax, redundant skin. A lift procedure has a greater capacity to create smoother, tighter skin. Often both lipoplasty and a lift procedure are performed together, or in stages.
Mini-Abdominoplasty-A mini-abdominoplasty is appropriate for those patients with limited excess fat and skin that is located primarily below the navel. Loose skin above the navel will require a complete abdominoplasty, which means an incision around the navel. The stomach muscles can also be tightened with a mini-abdominoplasty. The main advantages are the limited scars-the scar does not extend as far toward the hipbone and the navel incision is avoided.
Change your lifestyle habits – Proper nutrition along with regular exercise is not only an alternative treatment, but should be part of your postoperative plan. The registered dietitians available at the Crystal Clinic Plastic Surgeons Center can custom plan programs for prescribed medical diets, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, colon cancer and heart disease.
Lose Weight-Losing weight will change your body shape, but it does not allow you to contour areas where stubborn fat exists. Only lipoplasty or a lift procedure has the ability to permanently eliminate excess fat at specific locations that are resistant to diet and exercise. Our registered dietitian can work with you to assess and change your diet according to your specific needs.
Exercise-Exercise will help strengthen and tone the muscles of your abdomen, but it cannot tighten the stretched area between your stomach muscles. A mini-abdominoplasty or a conventional abdominoplasty is necessary to tighten the separation of the stomach muscles, in order to achieve a smaller waist and flatter stomach. Exercise is effective in enhancing weight loss and, hence, fat loss from the abdomen, but exercise will not tighten the skin. Loose, sagging skin or skin with stretch marks has to be removed to achieve smoother skin. Exercise, including both aerobic fitness and muscle strength, is necessary to maximize your health and maintain your result. We recommend you make an appointment with our personal trainer to re-evaluate your fitness and exercise needs. These are some of the benefits:
- You will burn more calories
- It will improve your muscle tone and strength
- It is beneficial to your heart and other organs
- It will help you reduce and tolerate stress
- You will feel better
- You will have more energy
- It will help you maintain your new shape
How is abdominoplasty performed?
The goal of Crystal Clinic Plastic Surgeons and the Crystal staff is to make your surgical experience as easy and comfortable for you as possible. You will be asked to stop smoking and avoid certain vitamins and drugs that can cause bleeding, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and vitamin E. Additional preoperative instructions and prescriptions to be used postoperatively will be provided. For convenience, we recommend that you have your prescriptions filled several days prior to the procedure. Abdominoplasty is usually performed with an overnight stay. Your procedure will be performed in an outpatient surgery center or hospital. Occasionally, it is performed as an outpatient. If your surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, you should arrange for someone to take you home and stay with you the first night.
Your doctor will see you before the procedure-sometimes even the day before the procedure-and place ink marks on the skin, making sure your swimsuit or panties cover the incisions. General anesthesia is used. Antibiotics will be administered at the time of surgery. The procedure takes two to six hours, depending on your size and other procedures being performed. Lipoplasty, breast augmentation and breast reduction are commonly combined with this procedure.
The abdominoplasty procedure consists of making a horizontal incision in the pubic hair area. The incision extends toward the hip bones. Lipoplasty, which is usually performed in conjunction with abdominoplasty, is performed initially. The muscle separation is corrected. The excess fat and skin are removed. A new site for the navel is made. A drain is placed under the skin and the incision closed with several layers of dissolvable stitches. At the end, a gauze dressing is placed over the incisions.
Following surgery, you will be taken to the recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. Pain medications are administered to keep you comfortable. If you choose to have a pain pump placed, this will be set to deliver continuous medication for 3-4 days. You will be permitted to go home after a few hours unless you have planned to stay overnight. Most patients stay overnight and go home the next morning.
What can I expect after abdominoplasty?
The day after surgery you will be sore. You will walk in a stooped over position for the first 5-10 days. You will have prescribed pain medication, and your need for this will become less and less over two weeks. Start your prescribed medicines and supplements the first day after surgery. The third day after surgery, you may start ibuprofen, 600mg every eight hours. You will be seen in the office within the first week to have the drain removed. Repeat visits are routinely scheduled at weeks two and six, six months and one year.
The day after surgery you may take a shower if you wish. The incisions will be covered with tape strips. These should be left in place until they are removed in the office. Plan to wear the abdominal binder for the next four to six weeks.
You can expect to be sore for several weeks. Heavy lifting and activities that require extensive use of the trunk should be avoided for six weeks. You may start to walk immediately after the procedure and increase this as tolerated. Rigorous aerobics or jogging may be resumed after six weeks. You may resume sexual activity in four to six weeks. You may return to work two weeks after surgery at the earliest. Swelling and bruising will gradually resolve over several weeks. The scars may be red or pink for several months, but should gradually improve. Most swelling resolves in six weeks, but occasionally swelling can persist for up to six months, and it may take this long to see the final results.
It is not uncommon to have numbness of the overlying skin or intermittent, shooting pains. Both of these gradually resolve completely within a few months.
What is the long-term outcome for most people?
The results of abdominoplasty are very gratifying. You have a more fit, well-proportioned body shape. Your clothes fit better, and you feel better about the way you look.
Abdominoplasty does not stop aging or correct the lifestyle habits that contributed to your preoperative body shape. We strongly recommend you have a nutrition checkup with our registered dietician to determine a nutrition plan that will lead to a long-lasting result and better health. If, over time, you become dissatisfied with the appearance of your body shape, you may want to consider a revision. We recommend an annual follow-up to make sure you remain satisfied with your result.