What is a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)?
An Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck helps flatten and re-contour the abdomen and waist by removing excess skin and fat, and by tightening the underlying muscles. The procedure is especially beneficial for women with loose skin, stretch marks, and muscle laxity as a result of pregnancy, as well as for patients with excess fat and loose, baggy skin which has simply lost its elasticity.
Tummy Tuck Procedure
Dr. Wiener utilizes a low, gently curving incision just above the pubic area, but lower than the panty line for concealment. The length of the incision varies with the amount of skin to be removed. Dr. Wiener uses a medical grade adhesive rather than stitches in order to minimize the appearance of scars. In many cases, liposuction to the abdomen, hips, or flank area can be added to achieve the best possible contour.
Tummy Tuck Candidates
The question of whether a tummy tuck is the right procedure for you can come down to skin and pockets of fat. If you don’t have a large amount of sagging and your stomach bulge is due to accumulated fat, stand-alone liposuction could be a better procedure with a far easier recovery.
But if you have sagging skin, muscles that may have separated in the center due to the localized weight gain of pregnancy, and pockets of fat, then abdominoplasty is the only procedure that can address all of those issues. Once skin is stretched to a certain extent for a period of time it cannot tighten back down to its former degree of tautness; the only way to get rid of it is to make an incision and trim the excess skin. A full tummy tuck will address loose sagging skin through both the upper and lower abdomen, involving two incisions. If your sagging isn’t as extreme and is located mainly on the lower belly area, a mini tuck with a single lower incision could be all you need.
Mini Tummy Tuck
For patients with excess abdominal skin limited to the lower abdomen, below the navel, a Mini-Tummy Tuck may be the best procedure. Here, a shorter incision is used, and liposuction is often added to achieve the best possible results. Post-operative discomfort is often less and recovery is shorter than for a full tummy tuck.
Mommy Make-Over with Abdominoplasty
For women who wish to re-contour all of the areas affected by pregnancy, Dr. Wiener routinely performs a “Mommy Make-Over.” Here, an Abdominoplasty (and possibly liposuction) is combined with breast enlargement or lifting to replace or improve upon what pregnancy has taken away. This has become one of Dr. Wiener’s most popular combination procedures.
Tummy Tuck Before & After Photo
Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) FAQs
Whether or not this procedure will remove your stretch marks is wholly dependent upon their location. If they are on your lower abdomen, there is a good chance many of your stretch marks will be removed when the excess skin is trimmed. But the procedure can’t do anything about stretch marks outside of the incision areas.
Dr. Weiner wants his tummy tuck patients to be certain they are not going to have any additional children. This isn’t an arbitrary thing — all of the improvements made with your abdominoplasty surgery will be negated by another pregnancy and subsequent delivery. The same stretching of the skin will occur. It’s likely your stomach muscles could become separated in the center once again. Plus, unlike before, now your scars from your incisions can become stretched and distorted. If you’re even considering having another child, this procedure needs to be postponed.
The changes made by Dr. Weiner are permanent. The sagging skin he has removed is gone for good. If he has brought separated muscles back to the center that will permanently slim your contour and waist. Pockets of fat he’s removed with liposuction are gone. As long as you maintain a healthy weight and incorporate exercise into your life you’ll be thrilled with the results of your abdominoplasty for the rest of your life
A tummy tuck creates a long lower scar, but Dr. Weiner places it just above the pubic area and it can be hidden under a bathing suit bottom or underwear. He also uses medical adhesive where possible for surface incisions to minimize scarring. The upper incision can often be made through the belly button, so it is effectively hidden.
This is major surgery and it therefore involves all the risks of any procedure: excessive bleeding, poor wound healing, infection, and the like. But this procedure is highly successful and has very low risk because this area of the body deals with large muscles and relatively thick skin. The lower abdomen is also not an area with extensive nerve sensitivity.
The truth is, every surgery Dr. Wiener performs is completely personalized to the individual patient. That applies to abdominoplasty more than other procedures because different patients have dramatically different problems with loose sagging skin and fat accumulation.
If you only have a moderate amount of sagging, mostly on your lower tummy just above your bikini bottom, Dr. Wiener could opt for a mini tummy tuck. These involve just a single incision along the hipbone line, but they usually won’t need to stretch from hipbone to hipbone. Dr. Wiener adjusts the incision to directly target your unique situation. There isn’t a second higher incision around the navel.
For moderate sagging and loose skin, a fully tummy tuck will probably be necessary. This will involve the lower hipbone to hipbone incision to address the area from the navel to the upper pubic area, and it will have another incision around the navel to tighten skin above the navel. It’s likely that Dr. Wiener will relocate your belly button due to the sagging skin he excises.
If you have more involved sagging skin that goes beyond the abdomen, Dr. Wiener can perform an extended tummy tuck. Here, he can take the lower incision and extend it. This can go around the flanks to help tighten that area, or it can wrap to the lower back so that the buttocks can be tightened.
Another individual aspect of these surgeries is the possible inclusion of liposuction. If Dr. Wiener feels localized fat deposits could benefit from sculpting through liposuction, he will include that in your tummy tuck.
These procedures involve lengthy incisions and usually Dr. Wiener must bring separated stomach muscles back to the center, reattaching them with staples. That means you will have an involved recovery. There’s no way to sugarcoat that.
There will be some pain, but the amount varies by the individual. You’ll be encouraged to walk after your surgery and should take a short walk three or four times a day for just a few minutes each time. You’ll have to walk a little hunched over and the skin of your abdomen may feel tight. If you have drains, they will be removed anywhere from four days to two weeks after your surgery. You’ll wear a compression garment to help your skin adapt to its new slimmer contour and to help with swelling. Most patients can return to work two weeks after their surgery, but this is an individual thing — it may take longer. If your job involves any lifting or being on your feet all day long, you may need more time. Any strenuous exercise or lifting will have to wait for at least six weeks.
These are lengthy incisions, and there will be some pain during recovery. Dr. Wiener will provide prescription pain medication and you’ll need it at least for the first week. After your first week, things should improve quickly. It will be important for you not to push your recovery by lifting heavier objects than you should or exercising harder than we’ve discussed. These can impact your incision and slow your healing.
Because of the large incision involved with a tummy tuck, patients need to be patient with their recovery. It’s important not to strain the incision by applying pressure to the abdomen. You’ll be able to walk after your surgery (it’s important to get the healing process started), but this is only for short lengths, and you’ll be bent over a bit. In a couple weeks, you’ll be able to get back to work if you have a desk job, and you’ll be able to walk normally by then. Most patients can return to driving in two weeks or so. Dr. Wiener will discuss your individual goals for returning to normal activities and exercise. Don’t expect to return to strenuous exercise or any lifting for at least six weeks, however.
Tummy tuck surgery is very satisfying for our patients from across the Chicagoland area. That’s because when a woman has had a couple children or gained and then lost a large amount of weight, the skin on the abdomen has been stretched to such a degree that it has lost its elasticity. It can’t tighten back down to how it was before pregnancy, and no matter how many crunches you do you can’t tighten it back up.
That’s what a tummy tuck can do. Dr. Wiener can pull down the skin and trim the loose, sagging excess.
Another aspect of the localized weight gain of pregnancy is that the rectus abdominis muscles on the front of the abdomen from the ribs down to the pubic bone can separate due to the pressure of the bulging stomach area. Once this happens, you cannot return these muscles to their former location in the center of the stomach without surgery.
Dr. Wiener brings these muscles back to the center and re-attaches them. This can have the effect of slimming the waist at the same time.
Abdominoplasty with Dr. Wiener is very satisfying, helping mothers or those who’ve lost a bunch of weight regain a firm, contoured abdomen.
This is not a weight-loss procedure. In fact, Dr. Wiener requires his patients to usually be within 10 percent of their ideal body weight before considering a tummy tuck. This is not to be confused with weight-loss procedures such as gastric bypass surgery.
Why is it important to be at a stable, healthy weight? If you still need to lose additional weight, you will simply create more sagging skin that would have been removed by this surgery. That’s why you need to be at a healthy weight, and you should also resolve to stay there to maintain your results for the long term.
You’ll prepare as you would for any surgery by stopping taking any blood thinners, anti-inflammatory medications, and most supplements for one week prior to your surgery. If you smoke, you’ll need to stop for at least two weeks prior to and after your surgery, as smoking impedes wound healing.
Most of your preparation should really be aimed at your recovery. Due to the long incision Dr. Wiener makes in these surgeries, patients have an involved recovery where they need to really lay low. These are major surgeries on the abdominal area, and the odds are Dr. Wiener will need to bring your separated abdominal muscles back to the center and re-anchor them.
Bottom line? You will need to rest for at least two weeks. For extended tummy tucks this may even be longer. To prepare, you’ll want to create a comfy recovery nest, filled with pillows, blankets, and lots of entertainment options. This is no time to be the Lone Ranger, either. You’ll need to arrange help around the house, as you won’t be able to lift more than just a couple pounds. Any lifting of more weight or strenuous exercise will need to wait for at least six weeks, so you need to plan for that.
Your consultation for abdominoplasty is an important opportunity for you to receive pertinent information regarding this procedure and what to expect. Before your appointment, it's advantageous to jot down your expectations so they can be clearly expressed to Dr. Wiener when you meet. Knowing what you want to achieve and what you expect in terms of results is a vital first step in ensuring we're on the same page and that you aren't surprised at any point in your treatment process.
In addition to discussing your desired outcome and expectations, we'll need to have a list of all of the medications and supplements that you currently take, including over-the-counter products. If you have allergies to any medications or materials, such as latex, please alert the doctor. It is also important that you're transparent about your use of nicotine, tobacco, cigarettes, alcohol, and medicinal or recreational drugs, as a variety of items can affect your safety and surgical outcome. This will be an integral aspect of your broader medical history, which will include other details, such as previous surgeries or chronic health conditions.
Abdominoplasty and liposuction are body contouring procedures that have been proven to achieve remarkable results. They can both sculpt the body but they do so using different techniques. Liposuction is the procedure that the plastic surgeon performs when there are pockets of fatty tissue in localized areas. The abdomen is a common area for liposuction due to the prevalence of excess fat in this area. However, liposuction is also performed on other parts of the body, including the legs, arms, back, and chin. Abdominoplasty, the tummy tuck, is reserved for the midsection. This procedure is not performed to reduce unwanted fat but to restore the appearance of tightness that has been affected by weight, pregnancy, or age. Ultimately, liposuction focuses on fat whereas abdominoplasty focuses on tightening muscles and trimming loose skin.
Tummy tuck surgery is usually performed using general anesthesia. This type of anesthesia efficiently blocks pain receptors and also creates an amnesia effect so you don't recall any part of your surgery. In recent years, new options for plastic surgery anesthesia have been developed. Some procedures may now be performed using local anesthetic and heavy sedation. If you have questions about anesthesia, please bring them up during your surgical consultation. At that visit, we want to provide you with all of the information you need to feel fully prepared for your surgery and surgical recovery.
Tummy tuck recovery occurs in stages. During the initial recovery period, which can last about two weeks, you'll be off work and focused on rest. You'll be able to walk short distances several times a day but will be limited in all other activities, including how much you can lift. While you may begin to regain your energy late into the first week of recovery, it's important to reserve a full two weeks in which your body is not put under any undue stress.
After two weeks, you may return to a desk job and various very light activities. You'll still have restrictions around exercise and more strenuous physical activity for another four to six weeks. By the eight-week mark, Dr. Wiener may clear you to resume all of your normal activities with the understanding that you gain the most by gradually easing back into activities that require more stamina and strength.
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