Tummy Tuck

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Where will my tummy tuck be performed?

We perform our tummy tucks at a JCAHO-certified ambulatory surgery center.

What is a tummy tuck?

The tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure to tighten lax abdominal wall muscles and remove excess skin and fat.

How soon can I exercise after a tummy tuck?

Most types of exercise can be restarted eight weeks after a tummy tuck. Performing physically strenuous activities earlier than this can impair healing.

When can I drive after a tummy tuck?

Most patients can resume driving 10 days after a tummy tuck.

Where are the scars from a tummy tuck?

All surgical procedures result in scars. The main tummy tuck scar extends across the lower abdomen starting just above the pubic hair. The length of the scar varies from patient to patient but, in most cases, is from hip to hip. We use advanced multilayer incision-closure techniques and custom design each incision to accommodate the clothing styles you prefer. Nonetheless, tummy tuck scars will typically remain visible when you are undressed.

Most tummy tucks also require a small circular scar around the umbilicus (belly-button). We have developed techniques that will often hide this scar inside the belly button and produce a more natural looking “innie.”

Will insurance pay for a tummy tuck?

Some insurers may cover a tummy tuck following massive weight loss. The vast majority of tummy tucks are cosmetic and therefore, not covered.

When can I return to work after a tummy tuck?

Most patients with desk jobs can return to work in 10-14 days. Patients with more physically demanding jobs will require a longer recuperation.

What type of anesthesia will be used for my tummy tuck?

Your tummy tuck will be performed under general anesthesia (i.e. you will be asleep). We use only board-certified physician anesthesiologists.

Who is a candidate for a tummy tuck?

After pregnancy, many women find that their tummies never return to their previous flat contour. The abdomen often bulges forward and is covered by loose, hanging skin covered with stretch marks. These women are excellent tummy tuck candidates as are men and women who experience similar problems after significant weight loss.

How painful is a tummy tuck?

We provide all of our tummy tuck patients with the On-Q pain pump system. The pump bathes the tightened muscles with local anesthetic for several days. This dramatically reduces post-operative pain and lessens the need for narcotic pain medicine. Our tummy tuck patients are usually able to return home several hours after surgery.

Is it ok to laugh after abdominoplasty?

In the first few weeks after a tummy tuck, it's best to avoid anything that causes a forceful contraction of the abdominal muscles. This obviously applies to heavy lifting but also includes sneezing, coughing, straining because of constipation, and vigorous laughter. Any activity that creates a sensation of pulling or tearing should be immediately ceased.

Why doesn't tightening the skin during a tummy tuck cause new stretch marks?

Stretch marks occur when the skin is stretched beyond the limits of its elasticity. A tummy tuck removes excess skin that has already been stretched. The remaining skin is tightened but not excessively. Overtightening would not only cause stretch marks but would also produce an unnatural contour.

How do I know if I need liposuction or a tummy tuck?

Liposuction and tummy tucks (abdominoplasty) are both excellent contouring procedures for the abdomen. But they serve different and complementary purposes:

  • Liposuction primarily removes fat. (The Vaser ultrasonic system I use also tightens the skin but this is a relatively mild effect.)
  • Tummy tucks tighten loose skin and also repair abdominal muscles that have been stretched out (usually from pregnancy.)

So if your abdomen is relatively lean but protrudes outward, you probably need a tummy tuck. Likewise, if you have loose, hanging abdominal skin, a tummy tuck is probably right.

On the other hand, if your skin is relatively smooth and elastic but there is a fat layer you can't get rid of, liposuction is probably the procedure for you.

Of course, sometimes the problem is fat, skin and/or muscle. In that case, both liposuction and a tummy tuck may be needed.

During your consultation, we examine your abdomen carefully and assess you goals to determine which procedure better meets your needs.

Is it normal to have a sore throat after surgery?

Sore throat can happen after surgery. It is usually caused by the endotracheal tube the anesthesiologist uses to help you breath. It is somewhat more common in women than in men. The soreness is usually mild and goes away within a few days. A severe sore throat or one that lasts for more than a few days should be reported to Dr. Schwartz.

Can I donate blood before surgery?

Donating blood causes a temporary anemia. This usually corrects within 1-2 weeks. Nonetheless, we recommend that patients do not donate blood for at least one month before cosmetic surgery.

Some patients have expressed interest in donating blood for their own use, if needed. Since most cosmetic procedures are designed to produce minimal to moderate blood loss, transfusion is almost never needed. While you are, of course, free to self-donate blood, this would almost always be unnecessary.

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