A tummy tuck, also referred to as abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen, while also tightening the abdominal muscles. Pregnancy, obesity, and age can loosen the skin of the abdomen and cause the muscles to lose tone. A tummy tuck can dramatically reduce a protruding abdomen, tighten the abdominal muscles and help your clothes fit better.
At your initial consultation Dr. Lalla will take time to learn what you would want to achieve from a tummy tuck. By listening to what patients have to say and closely examining them rather than performing a one-size-fits-all procedure on every person, Dr. Lalla provides patients with completely customized treatment that takes into account their specific goals. Dr. Lalla will evaluate your health, determine the extent of fat deposits in your abdominal region, and carefully assess your skin tone. Be sure to tell Dr. Lalla if you smoke, and if you’re taking any medications, vitamins, or other drugs
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
For most patients, tummy tucks are performed as outpatient procedures. To begin a tummy tuck, Dr. Lalla places an incision in the lowest part of the abdomen just above the pubic hairline, extending towards the hip region. Patients should be aware that this incision leaves a permanent scar. However, by utilizing advanced surgical techniques and strategic placement of the incision, Dr. Lalla is able to minimize the visibility of the post-procedural scar. In most cases, the scar can be easily covered by a bikini.
After the incision is created, Dr. Lalla removes all the excessive skin and fat below the belly button and tightens the abdominal muscles. Any abdominal or umbilical hernia is fixed at this time. He then stretches the skin downward, pulling it taut across the altered muscles and trimming the extra skin. Liposuction is often used as part of a tummy tuck for removal of fat in the flanks and hips. Liposuction also can be used for other areas of the body to complement the tummy tuck result. For most patients, the recovery time for tummy tuck surgery is usually 1 to 3 weeks.
After surgery, compression garments are worn. Recovery time ranges from two weeks to a few months. You should limit strenuous activities for at least six weeks, and may need to take off from work for up to a month. Dr. Lalla will give you specific instructions for your individual recovery. Following these instructions can help speed up your recovery and reduce the risk of any post-surgery complications.
Tummy Tuck Results
A tummy tuck leaves patients with a flatter, more toned abdominal area that fits the natural contours of your body. It can improve a patient's appearance and confidence by helping them look and feel younger and slimmer.
Partial Abdominoplasty ("Mini Tummy Tuck")
If the storage of excess fat is predominantly in your lower abdomen, a mini-tummy tuck may work out best with improving the appearance of loose, stretched-out skin. This technique is often done on an outpatient basis allowing for a quicker recovery period than with a full tummy tuck. Because a small, horizontal incision is made just above the pubic region, the discreetly-placed scar can be covered with clothing. To lose your pouch in the lower abdomen, the excess skin is cut and removed while the remainder is stitched back together for a firmer look and feel. As compared to a fully tummy tuck, this minimal technique allows the navel to remain intact.
Many people have a pouch of loose, hanging skin in the lower abdomen, known as a pannus. The pannus can be a small stubborn area of fat or a large pouch that extends to the legs. It can cause back pain as well as skin rashes, infections, odors and ulcers because of the trapped perspiration under the folds of skin. This troublesome condition can be treated through a reconstructive procedure called a panniculectomy. During this procedure, the doctor makes a horizontal incision across the abdomen and removes the excess skin and closes any existing hernias before closing the incision.
Common Questions about Tummy Tuck
What is the recovery time for a tummy tuck?
Most patients experience moderate pain the first week after the tummy tuck surgery, which is relieved with pain medication. The bandages are usually removed within a week, and stitches procedure, and light exercise can be considered after 3-4 weeks, but heavy exercise routines should be avoided for at least six weeks after a tummy tuck.
What is the difference between a tummy tuck and liposuction of the stomach?
Both liposuction and tummy tucks are good contouring procedures. Liposuction removes excess fat, while a tummy tuck removes excess fat, skin and tightens the abdominal wall as well. Liposuction is best for individuals that have good skin tone, but would like to target one or more stubborn areas of fat. A tummy tuck is best for individuals that would like to tighten their skin, decrease stretch marks and address abdominal tone.
Can exercise alone tighten the loose skin on my stomach?
When there is a ‘sagging’ appearance on the stomach it can be caused by fat tissue, loose skin or rectus muscle diastasis (when the abdominal muscles have separated, usually after pregnancy). Diet and exercise can help you lose fat and gain muscle, and is great preparation for a body contouring procedure. However, only surgery can remove excess loose skin and repair muscle diastasis are dissolvable.
After a tummy tuck, when can I return to work?
Most patients are able to return to work within 2 weeks after the tummy tuck procedure.
Those interested in Tummy Tuck should find a plastic surgeon they can trust. From the initial consultation through post-surgical recovery, Dr. Lalla emphasizes an honest doctor-patient relationship that allows his patients to remain well informed of their surgical options.
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