What is a tummy tuck?
Tummy tuck - also called abdominoplasty - is one of the most requested procedures that Dr. Fiala performs. It is especially popular among post-pregnancy moms who wish to get their pre-pregnancy shape back and also for men & women who have lost a substantial amount of weight.
Often, people have been working hard with diet and exercise, and just simply don’t see any improvement of their abdominal contour. Here’s why: even though exercise can tone the underlying muscles, it has no effect on loose skin. Further weight loss, by a deflation effect, just makes the loose skin look worse. And stretch marks don't respond to diet and exercise.
Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck surgery removes this loose skin, restoring the slim and trim contour. Repair of the abdominal musculature also helps to give a flat tummy, particularly for the post-pregnancy moms where a situation known as “rectus diastasis” exists. In this situation, the two “sit-up” muscles of the abdomen have separated apart, leaving a weak area that tends to bulge in between the muscles. Rectus diastasis can only be repaired with surgery. The muscle fascia is repaired with sutures, much like an internal girdle or corset, to restore the desired abdominal wall shape.
Depending on the amount of loose skin that is present, one of three types of tummy tuck will be offered: a mini, a standard, or an extended tummy tuck.
How do I know which kind of tummy tuck I need?
Simply put, the more loose skin you have, the more of a correction you need. You can test this on yourself: lean forward a little bit while sitting in a chair. Grab your loose abdominal skin, and see how far to the sides the loose skin goes. That’s how far the incision should extend to correct it. Dr. Fiala will help you sort out the optimal procedure for you during your consultation.
What’s a mini-tummy tuck? That sounds easier.
Yes, a mini tummy tuck does have a smaller incision, and does have a shorter recovery – because less work is done. However, it only works for a few people – those who have a perfect upper abdomen, no looseness at or above the belly button, and only a small degree of skin looseness.
Can I have liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck?
Yes. It’s actually quite common to use liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck. It’s often very useful to combine liposuction of the flank area (“love-handles”) with a tummy tuck, for a more hourglass waist effect. State laws, however, limit the amount of liposuction at the time of a tummy tuck to 1000 cc. For more information on liposuction with Dr. Fiala, click here
Do I need to lose weight before my tummy tuck?
If you are more than 15 pounds above your idea weight, losing weight first before surgery can really help improve the results you achieve. As the weight comes off, the looseness in the tummy area increases, allowing for more skin tightening at the time of surgery. Additionally, the thickness of the abdominal tissue decreases with weight loss, allowing for a more “slim and trim” result.
What about my stretch marks? Will those disappear?
If the stretch marks are on the segment of skin that is removed, then yes, those stretch marks will be gone. In general, these are the stretch marks that are below the level of the belly button, if a standard or extended tummy tuck is being performed. Stretch marks that are high up on the abdomen, or far to the sides will remain.
Where is the tummy tuck surgery performed?
For otherwise healthy people, the tummy tuck is performed in our AAAASF-accredited surgical suite. The operation is performed under general anesthesia, with the services of an expert MD anesthesiologist. An overnight stay is required. One-on-one nursing care is provided. Dr. Fiala sees each tummy tuck patient personally the next morning, to check on progress and review the post-operative details.
How long does the recovery from tummy tuck surgery take?
It depends on the size of the tummy tuck and whether liposuction is performed. For an extended tummy tuck with liposuction, we suggest 2 weeks off from work. Most patients feel like they are “back to normal” after one month. Physical exercise can resume in a step-by-step progression, beginning as early as 6 weeks.
I’ve lost nearly 100 pounds after my gastric bypass. Would a tummy tuck help me?
Yes – the tummy tuck is very popular after the weight loss following gastric bypass surgery has stabilized. In addition, many gastric bypass patients have vitamin deficiencies or low iron levels – so we’ll need to make sure these are at the normal levels. Some post-gastric bypass patients will need additional stages of surgery, to treat the loose skin on their arms, inner thighs, chest, neck, or flank areas.
I’m planning to have a baby next year. Can I have a tummy tuck now?
It’s better for women to have completed any child-bearing they wish to do, before having the tummy tuck. Have your family first, then come and see Dr. Fiala.
I’m a smoker. Can I have a tummy tuck?
Only if you quit first. Scientific research shows that smokers how have a tummy tuck have a dramatically increased chance of major complications, especially with wound healing. This can happen even if you only smoke 1 or 2 cigarettes a day. It’s best to totally abstain from smoking anything for at least 2 months before surgery.
For policies on body contouring and pre-op weight, click here
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