TUMMY TUCK (Abdominoplasty)

TUMMY TUCK (Abdominoplasty) Procedure Pictures

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5 Body Procedures

OVERVIEW

Many women are unhappy with their midsection due to loose skin, lax muscles, and fat deposits resulting in a pooching abdomen and poor waist definition. For some patients, these problems are inherited; while others can develop these concerns after weight loss and pregnancy. Diet and exercise can be helpful for losing weight and diminishing fat deposits, but will not correct wrinkled, excess skin, stretch marks, and loose abdominal muscles. Additionally, many patients complain of localized fat deposits on their waist, hips, and thighs that are resistant to diet and exercise, no matter how dedicated the patient may be.

If you are ready to learn more about how a tummy tuck can improve your look, request a consultation online with Dr. Steele, or call our office at 712-224-8677. We serve patients in Sioux City, IA and surrounding communities and we welcome patients who wish to travel from Sioux Falls, SD and Omaha, NE.

Benefits of a Tummy Tuck:

Most patients who see Dr. Steele for a tummy tuck have had several pregnancies. As a result, they are left with stretch marks and loose skin. A tummy tuck is frequently combined with a breast augmentation as part of a mommy makeover. Additionally, patients who have had significant weight loss and many male patients will benefit from a tummy tuck as well. An abdominoplasty provides a variety of benefits including:

  • Removing excess, stretched-out skin
  • Flattening a bulging abdomen
  • Contouring the waistline to provide an hourglass figure
  • Repairing the abdominal muscles that have been stretched out from pregnancy and weight gain

SURGICAL TECHNIQUE

An abdominoplasty is typically performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. There are 3 main components of a tummy tuck: tightening of the abdominal muscles, removal of excess skin, and removal of excess fat around the waist and hip area. In almost all cases, Dr. Steele will combine liposuction for optimal contouring of the waist/hip region to obtain an hourglass figure. Dr. Steele designs his tummy tuck incisions so that they are very low, allowing the incision to be covered by a variety of bathing suits and low cut jeans. During a full tummy tuck, skin is removed from the upper and lower abdomen, the muscles are tightened, and the belly button is brought out with a second incision around the navel. In some patients with only a small amount of loose skin, a mini tummy tuck may be performed with a short incision just above the pubic area without the need to cut around the belly button.

Drain tubes are placed to minimize the risk of a fluid pocket and dissolvable sutures are placed and covered with tissue glue and sterile tapes. The patient is placed into a compression binder with foam pads and then switched to a compression garment (girdle) after a few days. You will be given antibiotics, pain pills, anti-nausea pills, muscle relaxants, and for some patients, blood thinning shots to cut down on the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

DURING/AFTER SURGERY

Most patients can go home the same day, but in some cases an overnight stay may be required. Patients can generally return to work in 1-2 weeks. The abdomen will be quite tight for the first 1-2 weeks and the patient will generally be bent at the waist for 7-10 days. It is important to walk early to minimize the risk of blood clots. Cardio activity can be resumed at 4 weeks, with increased lifting activity (>10-15 pounds) at 6 weeks. Dr. Steele advises the patient to avoid vigorous core workouts (planks, crunches, etc.) for at least 2 months. Dr. Steele will provide optimal scar care instructions to give you the finest scar possible.

TUMMY TUCK (Abdominoplasty) FAQS

What’s the difference between a tummy tuck and liposuction?

Liposuction removes fat below the skin to improve contour. It does not improve excess skin or stretch marks. An abdominoplasty procedure does several things:

  • Removes some fat from the midsection
  • Removes excess, loose/stretched-out skin
  • Tightens the abdominal muscles which helps flatten the abdomen when viewed from the side and helps narrow the waist when viewed from the front.
  • Redistributes the skin from the upper abdomen to the lower abdomen. This tightens the skin and helps thin the fat layer of the abdomen as well.

A tummy tuck will reverse the changes of pregnancy and weight loss, while liposuction is useful for removing fat from isolated areas. In order to get a good result with liposuction, the patient should be close to an ideal weight and have good skin tone. If liposuction is performed in an area without good skin tone (lots of stretch marks), the patient will very likely be left with loose skin that does not contract or shrink down.

What are the different types of tummy tucks?

Mini-Abdominoplasty- is a tummy tuck with a shorter incision to remove an isolated, small amount of loose skin in the lower abdomen. The abdominal muscles may or may not be repaired in a mini-abdominoplasty

Umbilical Float Abdominoplasty- In this procedure the belly button is left attached to the upper abdominal skin and moved inferiorly. The muscles are typically tightened. This procedure is reserved for patients with good skin quality who desire a very low incision/scar or those patients who have a very high belly button that may result in undesired scars from the previous belly button location.

Standard Abdominoplasty- a tummy tuck with an incision that runs from hip to hip with muscle repair.

Circumferential Abdominoplasty- Also known as a Body Lift, Belt Lipectomy, Around the World Tummy Tuck, etc. The incision goes all the way around the trunk. This type of procedure provides a buttock and lateral thigh lift and is typically reserved for massive weight loss patients.

Can I have a tummy tuck if I am overweight?

An abdominoplasty is not a weight loss surgery. It is designed to improve contour and remove excess skin and some fat. Dr. Steele advises patients to be as close to their ideal body weight as possible, with a body mass index (BMI) between 25-30. Patients who lose significant weight after their tummy tuck can be left with recurrent loose skin due poor skin tone. Also, patients who are obese (BMI > 30) do not get as good a result compared to patients of normal weight and are at higher risk for complications including delayed healing, fluid pockets (seroma), and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

How soon can I return to normal activity?

You will have a graduated return over several weeks to 2 months. It is important to return to light activity right after surgery to minimize the risk of DVT (blood clots). Most patients are back at work by 10-14 days. Cardio activity can be resumed at 4 weeks and heavy lifting (>15lbs) at 6 weeks. Core activity can start at 2 months.

Can a tummy tuck remove stretch marks from pregnancy?

Yes, generally an abdominoplasty will remove all stretch marks below the belly button. Patients with upper abdominal stretch marks will get some improvement- they will be moved lower down on the abdomen and will be tighter, which helps diminish the appearance.

How visible will my scar be?

Dr. Steele is a tummy tuck specialist who takes pride in leaving fine scars that are very low on the abdomen. This allows for the patient to have many options with regard to bathing suits and jeans. Because the scar is so low, the patient can feel very confident in showing of her new abdominal contour without concern of a visible scar. The scars will improve significantly in the year after surgery, and Dr. Steele will provide you with scar care instructions for an optimal outcome.

Can a tummy tuck be combined with a hysterectomy?

In many patients this is a possibility. It will require special coordination between the gynecologist and myself and usually requires an overnight stay at the hospital. Some patients are not candidates to combine the surgeries and this can be discussed with the gynecologist ahead of time.

Can I combine a tummy tuck with breast surgery?

Yes, this is quite common as part of a mommy makeover procedure. A variety of breast procedures can be combined, including breast augmentation, breast lift/reduction, and breast lift with implants. The addition of breast surgery does increase the anesthetic and surgery time, so in some cases an overnight stay for observation is advisable.

How long does the swelling last after a tummy tuck?

Many of the lymph vessels that help drain fluid from our skin are cut during a tummy tuck. It takes time for these vessels to reconnect, so as a result there is swelling. I tell my patients that it will usually take 3-6 months for all of the swelling to resolve, particularly when liposuction is combined on the hip/waist area. Most patients note significant improvement by the 2-3 month mark. I advise patients to wear the compression garment for at least 2 months to help speed the resolution of swelling

Can I expect to lose weight and go down a dress size?

As noted above, a tummy tuck is not a weight loss procedure, but I typically will remove at least a pound of fat from each hip/waist area with liposuction and 2-4 pounds of skin and fat from the abdomen. This varies widely from patient to patient depending on how much fat is underneath the excised skin. Patients may notice an immediate weight gain after surgery due to the fluids received from anesthesia, but this is only temporary. Most of my patients will notice a drop in at least two dress sizes, and in some cases up to four.

PHOTO GALLERY

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