At Buckhead Plastic Surgery, Atlanta
Abdominal skin that sags, droops and bulges can often benefit from a little lift. A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) can do this. The procedure tightens droopy abdominal skin and repairs the stretched, bulging abdominal muscles in the midsection. It also removes a limited amount of excess fatty tissue. This all provides a tighter, flatter, more youthful abdominal contour and waistline.
Exercising and dieting can't remove a tummy pouch that is caused by a lifetime of weight fluctuations, pregnancy or genetic factors. The body changes greatly after pregnancy, leading to sagging skin, stretch marks and even muscle separation on the abdomen.
But a tummy tuck is not only for women; it can benefit healthy men with excessive abdominal fat and loose abdominal skin. Individual conditions vary and for that reason there are several different tummy tuck techniques to help each individual achieve a flatter, trimmer, more youthful waistline.
Deciding if You Are Right For a Tummy Tuck
Patients presenting for a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty almost always have excess skin from their ribs to their pubic area. This is often accompanied by loss of muscle strength or a separation of the abdominal muscles called diastasis, resulting in an abdominal bulge. The amount of fatty tissue ranges from almost none to fairly thick.
Most patients are women who have had a pregnancy. Weight-loss patients are also very common, as well as patients who have hereditary characteristics for looser skin or a bulging abdomen. Dr. Alan N. Larsen has even performed a tummy tuck for bodybuilders.
How it's Done
A full tummy tuck is defined by an incision that runs across the top of the pubic area and up along each side from hip to hip. This procedure is recommended when the patient has more than just a little lower abdominal bulge. The patient usually has separated tummy muscles, an abdominal bulge, and sagging skin. If the bulge is large or the sagging skin extends up over the bellybutton, this is the procedure for you.
The tummy tuck will:
- Correct that abdominal bulge
- Remove the loose skin
- Remove stretch marks above the area of the bellybutton
Abdominoplasty tightens the skin the most over the midline abdomen. There is less correction as you get closer to your hip area.
The abdominoplasty is one of the most painful procedures performed in all of plastic surgery. Tightening of the rectus muscles (abdominal muscles) adds to the discomfort. Since the On-Q PainBuster® pain control device was invented, Dr. Larsen has used this device to help control pain. This device adds numbing medicine underneath the skin to significantly decrease postoperative discomfort. Pain medications are usually still needed. The most difficult time is the first night after surgery.
Over the next 3-4 days the discomfort rapidly decreases and patients are up moving around much easier within their home. By two weeks patients are back to work and by four weeks they are returning to a limited exercise routine. It takes a full eight weeks to return to full activities and strenuous exercise.
What to expect
The bottom line is that the patient should expect a flatter stomach with tighter skin and loss of some or all of their stretch marks. There are, however, several hurdles to overcome. First of all is the tenderness that is experienced after surgery. Within a week after surgery, the discomfort should be much better controlled. Results should be seen immediately after surgery, however, there is still considerable swelling called edema. The edema rapidly resolves and by three weeks the abdomen should look nice.
By three months, it will begin to reveal its final contours, but it will be one year before the full results of the tummy tuck are realized. Diet and exercise are essential to create the optimal outcome.
As with any procedure in plastic surgery, there are risks associated with abdominoplasty. Strict adherence to your postoperative instructions and returning for post-op care will minimize your risks. Please see the informed consent for abdominoplasty, which includes a complete list of risks.
Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline
- The first day is very uncomfortable.
- Tenderness rapidly resolves on days 2-5 and patients are able to move around the house more freely without assistance.
- At 10 days to two weeks, patients usually return to work although no strenuous work or activity is allowed.
- At 3-4 weeks, patients start to increase activities such as walking and easy exercises that don't stress the abdominal muscles.
- At 6-8 weeks, patients can return to full exercise.
- Over the course of a life time, patients should continue with diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle changes.
Learn More About Tummy Tuck Surgery in Atlanta
For more information about tummy tuck surgery in Atlanta, please contact the office of double board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Alan N. Larsen. Our cosmetic surgery office is located in the Buckhead area of North Atlanta. Call (404) 367‐9005 to inquire about a consultation.