Don’t beat yourself up. Getting rid of that pouch often requires more than diet and exercise. It even requires more than liposuction. The abdominal foundation must be repaired and excess tissue removed. Tummy tuck surgery, technically known as abdominoplasty, removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen and tightens the abdominal muscles. After surgery, you will have a flatter, trimmer abdomen. The scars are permanent but will fade with time.
You have a choice. You don’t have to settle for hiding your abdomen under big sweaters and loose jeans. Schedule yourconsultation with Dr. Bartell, a board-certified plastic surgeon, and learn more about your tummy tuck options.
Best Candidates for Tummy Tuck Surgery
The best candidates for tummy tuck surgery are healthy and maintain a relatively stable weight, but have excess abdominal skin or fat or a lower abdominal pouch that won’t respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is especially helpful for women who, through multiple pregnancies or substantial weight loss, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where it can return to normal.
Women who intend to lose considerable weight or plan future pregnancies should postpone abdominoplasty surgery.
While a tummy tuck can enhance your appearance and boost your self-confidence, you may not be able to achieve your ideal image. The best way to know if a tummy tuck is right for you is to schedule a consultation. Dr. Bartell will discuss your needs and options, explain the procedure in more detail, and share tummy tuck before and after photographs from his practice. He can also provide a quote for your tummy tuck procedure.
Potential Risks of Tummy Tuck Surgery
Thousands of abdominoplasty procedures are performed successfully every year. Modern techniques are very safe and almost always result in a happy patient.
Complications are rare, but you should know the risks before surgery:
- Bleeding or infection. Possible in any surgery, but extremely unusual.
- Hematoma. A collection of blood under the skin that must be aspirated with a needle.
- Scars. Sometimes a prominent scar will require additional surgery.
- Poor skin healing. Sometimes seen in patients who smoke or have diabetes.
Most patients experience bruising and swelling. The scars are a little red initially, but are well hidden and should fade with time. Closely follow Dr. Bartell’s instructions before and after surgery, especially those about when and how to resume physical activity, to reduce your risk of complications.
Please feel free to talk with Dr. Bartell about any concerns. One of the best ways to decrease your risk is to choose a surgeon who is highly experienced in performing tummy tuck surgery and is a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Bartell.
Planning for Your Tummy Tuck
At your consultation, Dr. Bartell will evaluate your general health, determine the extent of fat deposits in your abdominal region and carefully assess your skin tone and elasticity. He will listen to you, focusing on your concerns and expectations. He will then describe your options, the risks and limitations of each, and show you numerous tummy tuck before and after photographs of previous patients.
Dr. Bartell will work with you to recommend the procedure that is right for your individual situation and will come closest to producing the desired body contour. You will receive a tummy tuck cost quote for the procedure, which includes all associated fees. Financing information is also available.
If you decide to have abdominoplasty, Dr. Bartell will meet with you to perform a history and physical examination.
Be sure to inform Dr. Bartell if you:
- Have allergies
- Take any medications (prescription or over-the-counter)
Dr. Bartell will give you prescriptions for any medications you may need before and after the surgery. You will receive a printed set of pre- and postoperative instructions. These will prepare you for what you should do before your surgery, what to have on hand at home for after your procedure, and what to do on the day of your surgery. Dr. Bartell will review these instructions with you, but it’s important to read these instructions carefully on your own and keep them accessible for easy reference.
If you smoke, plan to quit at least one to two weeks before your surgery and remain smoke-free for at least two weeks after your surgery. You will also need to avoid overexposure to the sun before surgery, especially to your abdomen, and don’t start a stringent diet–both can inhibit your ability to heal. If you develop a cold or infection of any kind, your surgery probably will be postponed.
The Surgery–Tummy Tuck
The abdominoplasty procedure is performed using a general anesthetic, so you’ll sleep through the entire operation. Surgery usually lasts between two and three hours. During the procedure, Dr. Bartell makes an incision across the lower abdomen just above the pubic hairline. Usually, the incision can be designed so that the scars will be hidden under most swimwear. In cases where fat removal is planned, Dr. Bartell performs liposuction on the upper abdomen and flanks. The tissue is raised up above the muscles and the muscles are tightened with sutures. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline. He then pulls the extra tissue down, trims and closes the incision. If a belly button incision was made, Dr. Bartell makes a new hole for the belly button and insets it.
A bandage and drainage tube is placed, along with an elastic compression garment. The garment helps prevent a hematoma (collection of blood under the skin) and speeds the resolution of swelling. Most patients spend a short time in the recovery area and go home after only a few hours.
You will need to arrange a ride home from the surgery center and make sure you have someone stay with you for at least 24 hours.
Dr. Bartell performs most tummy tuck surgeries at his Madison office. Occasionally, abdominoplasty is performed in a hospital with an overnight stay. Take a tour of Dr. Bartell’s fully accredited, private surgery suite and meet his topnotch surgical support team.
After Surgery–Tummy Tuck
You will wear the compression garment for about three weeks. Most patients are quite swollen and bruised, so the results from abdominoplasty won’t be seen for a few weeks. While there is some pain following surgery, most patients can be back at work within 7 to 10 days. It typically takes several months for the final outcome to become apparent.
Almost all patients are extremely pleased with their decision to undergo tummy tuck surgery. Your decision is a highly personal one that not everyone will understand. The important thing is how you feel about it. If the results meet your goals, then your surgery is truly a success.