What is a Tummy Tuck?
Many people celebrate the loss of weight but are disappointed by the excess, deflated skin afterward. Some have done it through diet, exercise, or bariatric surgery. Others have a normal weight but have seen the effects of pregnancy and in particular, multiple births or twins. In her Portland, OR area practice, Dr. Elisa Burgess is pleased to offer tummy tuck procedures, or abdominoplasty, to patients who want a firmer, flatter abdomen.
There are multiple reasons people chose to undergo tummy tuck surgery, including:
- To remove excess skin and fat that has not responded favorably to diet and exercise
- To repair abdominal wall muscles and contour the abdominal shape after childbearing has been completed
- To assist bariatric patients in removing excess tissue following weight loss
Individuals often select a tummy tuck to correct an out of proportion midsection or to correct a midsection that will not shrink with diet and exercise. Ideal patients for tummy tuck surgery should be at stable body weight, be non-smokers, not pregnant, and have finished childbearing.
Patients with a history of bleeding or clotting disorders, upper abdominal scars, poor health, or excess weight may not be eligible for tummy tuck procedures.
What’s the benefit of having your former tight, contoured abdomen back? Women can become disillusioned by the changes pregnancy has made to their abdomen. It’s irritating to see the pooch on their lower abdomen every morning when getting out of the shower. And for people who’ve lost a lot of weight, it’s depressing to now be left with hanging skin. This surgery with Dr. Burgess changes all of that, and by repositioning separated stomach muscles it can actually slim the patient’s waistline.
If your rectus stomach muscles have separated due to the localized weight gain of pregnancy, they cannot come back to the center of the stomach without surgical repositioning. Once back in place, they can be strengthened with exercise, where before you felt there was nothing you could do about your saggy tummy. Bottom line? Our patients from across the Portland area love their results from their tummy tuck surgery.
This depends on your unique sagging and muscle separation. Most patients who’ve had children need a full tummy tuck because the localized weight gain of pregnancy extends far above the navel area. To address that upper abdomen area, Dr. Burgess needs to make a second incision around the navel; it cannot be accessed from only the lower incision due to the anchored navel area.
However, if you only have a stomach pooch, maybe from excess weight gained and then lost or even as a result of the normal sagging that is a part of aging, you may only have isolated sagging around the area above your hip bones. This may only need a mini tuck to tighten this area. During your consultation with Dr. Burgess, the two of you will discuss your situation and decide on which option suits your needs.
Tummy tucks are about sagging skin; liposuction is about removing unwanted pockets of fat. If a person has loose sagging skin and has liposuction performed, the removal of the fat will only create more sagging. That’s why a tummy tuck is needed. A tummy tuck removes the excess, sagging skin. Plus, it tightens separated stomach muscles. As mentioned above, Dr. Burgess may add some limited liposuction to your tummy tuck. Liposuction does nothing for loose, inelastic skin. It simply removes fat cells.
Tummy tucks create a long incision scar — it’s unavoidable. But Dr. Burgess descends the incision running from hip bone to hip bone so that it can be hidden beneath a bikini bottom or underwear. As a board-certified plastic surgeon with over two decades of surgical experience, Dr. Burgess works to ensure your incision heals as cleanly and evenly as possible. If you don’t place stress on your incision during your recovery, the scar will begin to quickly fade. It will be there, but its appearance will diminish with time.
Tummy tuck surgery is usually outpatient surgery; it is helpful to have someone stay with you for the first 48 hours to assist with medications, getting up to use the restroom, and other daily activities. Immediately after the surgery, gauze and a compression garment are applied. Individualized instructions will be given with regard to massage and garments. You should prepare for 2 weeks of recovery and wear a garment for approximately 4 weeks. Dr. Burgess will encourage you to walk around after surgery. Bruising, swelling, and aching is likely, and discomfort may be managed with medication. Swelling and incisions may cause some loss of feeling in the abdomen. It is imperative to avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks. Traveling long distances is not recommended in the first month following surgery. Ensure that you attend all scheduled exams following surgery. Scars from the procedure will be noticeable at first but will improve over the next year.
Results of the procedure are not as permanent as gravity, weight fluctuations, and aging continue to play a role. Possible complications of the procedure may include unacceptable scars, infection, wound issues, seroma, bleeding, blood clots, and other unforeseen risks.
These are popular procedures and have been performed around the world hundreds of thousands of times. There are the risks associated with any surgery: reaction to anesthesia, excessive bleeding, infection, poor wound healing, and the like. These are very rare.
The main side effect, per se, is the scar created by this procedure, as is discussed above. A tummy tuck incision is the longest in cosmetic surgery. There is a risk with inexperienced surgeons that the incision will not heal evenly and may even be wavy. That’s not the case with Dr. Burgess, whose board certification, training, expertise, and 20 plus years of surgical experience ensure you’ll love your new contoured tummy.
The Tummy Tuck procedure
As with all of her surgeries, Dr. Burgess adapts each procedure to the particular needs of the patient. Tummy tucks are often sought by women who’ve had children because the localized weight gain of pregnancy stretches the skin so dramatically and it also tends to separate the rectus abdominis muscles in the center of the stomach area. No matter how many crunches you do, those muscles cannot return to their original position in the center without surgery.
During your consultation, the two of you will discuss your options for the method Dr. Burgess will use for your tummy tuck. A mini tuck involves only a single incision along the pubic line. It can stretch from hip bone to hip bone, or it can be shorter, depending on the degree of sagging. A full tuck incorporates the mini tuck and it also extends the targeted area above the navel, requiring a second incision around the navel. Full tummy tucks can also be extended to incorporate the flanks if Dr. Burgess extends the lower incision past the hip bones. Due to the variability in her methods, Dr. Burgess performs tummy tucks in anywhere from two to four hours. The patient is under general anesthesia.
Mini Tummy Tuck
Mini-abdominoplasty involves a c-section type incision on the lower abdomen. It will improve only the appearance of the area from the belly button to the pubic region. The abdominal skin and fat are then lifted up to the belly button and the abdominal muscles are then tightened with permanent sutures. Liposuction may be performed on the flanks or abdomen. The excess skin and tissue are then removed and the incision is closed with dissolving stitches. Two drain tube is placed below the incision, to assist in the evacuation of fluid.
Full Tummy Tuck
Full-abdominoplasty involves a longer lower abdominal incision in which the skin and tissue are lifted above the belly button area. This involves making a separate incision around the belly button. The underlying abdominal muscles are tightened with sutures and the excess tissue is removed. The skin is redraped and pulled toward the pubic area. Since the belly button is on a stalk, it does not move. The belly button is brought out through a new skin opening through the redraped skin. Liposuction may be performed on the flanks or abdomen. Two drain tubes are placed and removed when the fluid level has reached an acceptable amount.