Are sit-ups and other abdominal exercises not giving you the taut and flatter tummy you want? Perhaps child-bearing hasn’t left your stomach in the condition it was in prior to giving birth. Childbearing can stretch the skin of the abdomen and separate the abdominal muscles. These problems are often not improved by exercise and require surgical treatment to reverse. You may consider scheduling a consult for a “tummy tuck,” or abdominoplasty procedure, and learning how Dr. Mirabile and Dr. Hsu can flatten the abdomen by removing extra fat and skin, and tighten the muscles of your abdominal wall.
An effective way of eliminating the excess skin created after childbirth or dramatic weight loss, the tummy tuck procedure, also known as abdominoplasty, has been developed by plastic surgeons and used by Dr. Mirabile and Dr. Hsu to tighten weak or collapsed stomach muscles and excise loose, excess skin and fatty deposits around the waistline. The results are a tighter, smaller waistline and a more contoured mid-section. This can help clothing fit better. The scar can often be hidden beneath a bathing suit. Patients generally return to work within ten days.
Who Are the Best Candidates For a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is ideal for men and women in good health. A tummy tuck is also an option for men and women who were once over weight and still have left over fat deposits or loose skin around the abdomen. Women left with excess skin and weak abdominal muscles after childbirth are also excellent candidates for abdominoplasty surgery.
Who Should Not Consider a Tummy Tuck?
If you are a woman who is planning to become pregnant, then you will want to delay the tummy tuck procedure until you’re done having children. During surgery, the vertical muscles of the abdomen are tightened. Pregnancy can separate those muscles and stretch abdominal skin. If you are planning to lose a lot of weight, then a tummy tuck should be postponed until you approach your ideal weight. You should also keep in mind the chance of scarring after a tummy tuck procedure. Dr. Mirabile and Dr. Hsu will be sure to show you post-operative pictures of patients who have had this procedure so you can view other patient’s post-operative scarring.
How to Prepare for Tummy Tuck Surgery
The first step is to make an appointment with Dr. Mirabile or Dr. Hsu for a consultation. At that meeting, you’ll talk about your goals and the following options: If you smoke, Dr. Mirabile and Dr. Hsu will ask that you quit smoking for at least three weeks before the surgery and three weeks after the surgery. It is not enough to just cut down on smoking. You must stop completely since smoking makes complications more likely and slows healing. A nicotine patch also cannot be used.
- Complete abdominoplasty. The surgeon will design an incision on your abdomen to remove excess skin or fatty tissue. The surgery will involve releasing your belly button, and you may need drainage tubes under your skin for a few days after surgery. Tradionally, this surgery includes liposuction of the hips as well.
- Partial or mini abdominoplasty. Mini-abdominoplasties are often done on people whose fat deposits are located below the navel and who have only minimal excess skin above the navel. During this procedure, the surgeon most likely will not move your belly button. The procedure takes less time than a full abdominoplasty and allows a quicker recovery. The mini tummy tuck tradionally includes liposuction of the abdomen and hips.
Don’t try a drastic diet before the surgery. Eat well-balanced, complete meals. A healthy diet may help you heal better. Be sure to tell our nurse coordinator about everything you take, including prescription drugs, herbal medicines, and other supplements. Your surgeon may instruct you to stop taking certain medications for a time before and after the surgery.
Before getting the surgery, get your home ready. You’ll need
- Ice packs
- Loose, comfortable clothing that can be taken on and off very easily
You’ll also need someone to drive you home after the tummy tuck. If you live alone, you’ll want someone to stay with you for at least the first night. Please plan accordingly.
How a Tummy Tuck Is Done
This surgery can take anywhere from one to three hours. Many patients who undergo tummy tuck surgery also opt for other body contouring procedures such as liposuction, butt lift or breast augmentation. You may need to stay overnight in the hospital, depending on your case. You will get general anesthesia, which will put you to “sleep” during the operation.
You may experience aching and inflammation in the days following surgery. Your doctor will prescribe pain medicine and tell you how to best handle the pain. You may be sore for several weeks. You may also experience numbness, bruising, and fatigue during that time. As with any surgery, there are risks. Though they’re rare, complications can include infection, bleeding under the skin flap, or blood clots. You may experience insufficient healing, which can cause more significant scarring or loss of skin. If you do heal poorly, you may require a second surgery.
A tummy tuck leaves scars. Though they may fade significantly, they will never completely disappear. Dr. Mirabile or Dr. Hsu may recommend certain creams or ointments to use after you’ve completely healed to help with scars. We also can treat scars with a number of lasers available in Dr. Mirabile and Dr. Hsu’s office.
Taking Care of Yourself After Surgery
Whether you’re having a partial or complete tummy tuck, the area that’s operated on will be stitched and bandaged. It’s very important to follow all of Dr. Mirabile and Dr. Hsu’s instructions on how to care for the bandage in the days after surgery. The bandage used will be a firm, elastic band that promotes proper healing. Dr. Mirabile and Dr. Hsu will also instruct you on how to best position yourself, while sitting or lying down to help ease pain.
You will begin stationary bicycle and elliptical machine exercises in two weeks. By six weeks you will be able to resume all strenuous activities. You may need to take up to two weeks off from work after the surgery to ensure proper recovery. Dr. Mirabile and Dr. Hsu will advise you on what you need to do.
Returning to Daily Life
Most people love their new body after this procedure. That can take time, though. Diet and exercise can help you maintain the results.
Does Insurance Cover a Tummy Tuck?
Insurance companies generally do not cover cosmetic surgery that’s done without a medical reason.