A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a wonderfully successful operation that removes excess and unwanted skin and fat from the abdominal or trunk area. The “mini” procedures are smaller versions of the bigger cosmetic operations designed to improve the same area. These operations can give results that can transform a patient’s body giving a sculpted, thinner, and more attractive appearance. It can put a woman back into a bikini that she only dreamed about wearing.
This procedure review will focus on 6 topics:
- The “Pain-Buster” – A wonderful method for less pain
- The “California Corset” – An extra tight muscle repair
- A patient’s surgical options
- How the operations are medically done
- Abdominoplasty recovery
In addition to the following procedure information, I recommend that you go to my educational writings in the menu. Under the tummy tuck section, you will find additional information that is detailed, informative, and covers other exciting and interesting topics about this phenomenal operation.
Before we proceed, tummy tuck cosmetic operations are done for many reasons. One of the main reasons is loose, hanging, and excess skin in the stomach area. This develops usually because of pregnancies, aging, weight loss and gain, and other operations. It is really just a normal part of having babies and getting older. The skin gets loose and can develop stretch marks, leading to poor shape and contour of the abdomen. People also have extra fat in this area which contributes to the bigger stomach. Patients will call it their pouch, tire, ledge, roll, and other descriptive terms to point out their bigger stomach. Finally, muscles are weakened as we have children and age, and this contributes to the poor appearance. Tummy tucks and mini tummy tucks are the main operations to fix these problems. Liposuction is almost always part of the solution – to help sculpture and shape the area to give a more youthful and flat stomach.
1- The “Pain-Buster”
I want to describe the “Pain-Buster.” It is a machine that has, in my opinion, revolutionized the recovery after this operation, by dramatically decreasing pain. This fantastic little machine is worn around the waist in a small fanny pack. It trickles in a safe local anesthetic called lidocaine. This is the medicine used by the dentist to numb your gums. It is completely safe and effective. The “Pain-Buster” delivers the numbing medicine to the muscle area, which is where it is most needed. It is frequently so effective that the patients describe a much easier and less painful recovery than they ever imagined. In my opinion, it has revolutionized the recovery, and many of my patients will attest to the dramatically easier recovery given by the “Pain-Buster.” You can read more about this by linking now.
2- The “California Corset” – An extra tight muscle repair
Repairing weak or separated muscles is an important part of a tummy tuck procedure. These muscles are often separated or weakened from having babies or other procedures. The repair leads to a flatter and thinner stomach area. I repair the muscles in two layers, which I call the “California Corset.” I trained in cosmetic surgery in California, which is why I call it this name. I repair the muscle by going from the pubic bone to the rib cage (the entire length) in two different layers. This “imbrication” leads to a much stronger and better repair, in my opinion. I have had wonderful and excellent results using this extra tight repair. You can read more on this topic by linking to “California Corset” now.
3- What are My Options?
Most people have three options. These are a classic (or full) tummy tuck, a mini tummy tuck, and liposuction. It is important to understand that I perform liposuction with all 3 surgical options. Liposuction is often a big part of the classic and mini tuck procedures, and it is extremely important to help get the best results. When liposuction is done “without” a tummy tuck, no skin removal is done, and no muscle tightening is performed. In this case, if the skin is loose and has lost elasticity, than results can be suboptimal because the loose skin is left behind.
A critical concept is that liposuction by itself will not get rid of excess and unwanted loose skin. Liposuction is best for patients with overall good skin tone and elasticity – so results will be best. If loose skin is part of your problem, a tummy tuck or mini procedure is usually best. This will be reviewed specifically with you during my consultation, following the examination and discussion of your desires and goals.
4- How are the Operations Done?
A classic or full abdominoplasty has three main parts or components. The first is the incision which is used to remove the extra and unwanted skin and fat. The second is liposuction and liposculpturing. The third is the muscle repair. The incision is classically placed very low to hide it in the bikini line and beneath the underwear. It usually extends in a gentle curve to the sides. Mini tucks can have much smaller incisions and hence remove much smaller amounts of loose skin. Liposuction is done to the surrounding area, flanks, and/or love handles. This is critical, I believe, to get the best results. A mini abdominoplasty has a smaller incision and removes less loose skin. Muscle repair and liposuction are still a big part of the mini tuck.
For my patients, abdominoplasty operations typically begin with an overnight stay and “one-on-one” nursing care. One-on-one nursing care means just one nurse who is responsible for your care. This means she can completely focus on you and never leave your side. Many hospitals will have one nurse for 5 to 10 patients. This leads to suboptimal care. With a private duty nurse, trained extensively by me, the patients will get exceptional nursing care through out their stay and overnight. Many patients will say the next day that it was the best medical care they ever had in their life!
Drainage tubes are typically used for about one week to minimize fluid build up. Although scary, they are actually not that bad and lead to better cosmetic results. You will be taught how to care for them. Most people should plan on 10-14 days away from desk jobs. Easy activities like driving and cooking can be resumed after a week. Strenuous activity and exercise is “phased-in.” This means that easy things, like stationary bicycles and elliptical machines, can be started before more strenuous activities, like heavy lifting and running. I will personally inform you of when these can be resumed depending on your healing progress.
All cosmetic procedures have risks. I believe safety is paramount and should come first! My state licensed surgical center is deluxe and exceptionally clean. It was built by me for the sole purpose of providing the highest quality cosmetic surgery in an extra clean and safe environment. Studies have shown increased safety in deluxe surgery centers compared to hospitals – often because they are so much cleaner. Hospitals can struggle with MRSA and other super-bacteria that can be a problem in the hospital setting. My facility performs exclusively cosmetic surgery, and the facility is comprehensively cleaned multiple times a day – hence infections are very rare. No one, of coarse, can promise no infection. Other risks include bleeding, scarring, fluid accumulation, and blood clots. Risks are reviewed personally with you by me in an extensive manner during the consultation.
I am a board certified Plastic Surgeon that practices exclusively cosmetic surgery. Please come in for a thorough consultation. I will review your specific case and determine the best treatment plan for you.