FAQs About Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
When is the optimal time for my surgery?
Being in the best shape mentally and physically, with your skin in optimal condition, is desirable. As the rest of our body ages, so does the skin. The elasticity and thickness diminish over time; therefore, having a procedure when there is a relatively small correction is better than waiting for a larger undertaking. An earlier lift lasts longer and gives you added years to look and feel your best.
Can I have a mini-tummy tuck?
Usually there is loosening of skin along the entire abdomen. In order to obtain a natural appearance after surgery, the entire abdomen must be balanced. A mini-tummy tuck is only appropriate for small amounts of localized skin located in the lower abdomen.
Will I stay overnight?
Yes, I prefer that you stay overnight one night so that the nursing staff can monitor you. Prior to the surgery, you will be placed in a bed that is brought into the operating room. The bed is contoured like a chair to take tension off your belly. The following morning I will visit you and see you off to your home.
Will I have drains?
There are usually two drains placed in the lower abdomen to remove fluid that the body produces. These drains are removed after 5-8 days. They are easy to care for. I will give you care instructions before leaving the hospital.
Does it hurt to have the drains removed?
You may feel a little pulling, but no pain. I will remove them quickly in my office with minimal, if any, discomfort.
Are there any other treatments that will improve my appearance and results?
Proper diet, exercise, and drinking plenty of water are a must for good health.
Where is the surgery performed?
What will I need before surgery?
You may be asked to obtain a medical evaluation by your family physician to ensure that you are in the best possible shape for surgery. This will include an EKG and bloodwork.
Type of Anesthesia:
You are gently put to sleep using general anesthesia so that you will be comfortable throughout the operation. Once asleep, I will place a local anesthetic under the skin so that you will feel no discomfort and to minimize the amount of medicine you receive during the operation. By putting you to sleep your heart rate, blood pressure and levels of oxygen will be optimized. Rest assured that being asleep for hours is generally very safe, and the 5-6 hours you sleep will be just fine.
Will smoking effect my healing?
Yes- Each cigarette’s effect lasts 12 hours on the blood vessels of the body. Smoking causes the skin to heal poorly and the complications associated with smoking are tremendous. Even second hand smoke during the weeks before and after surgery will adversely affect your results. Stopping is a must before and after any operation.
How long will the surgery take?
I take my time and like to be meticulous. This means not rushing through your surgery. In addition, there are many things that must be done before the operation can even start, including washing and preparing the area, making sure that your body is well cushioned, and placing your legs into special boots in order compress them during the surgery. I will also wait in recovery after the surgery to be certain that all is going well before I leave. The surgery itself generally lasts, however, between 5 and 6 hours.
What can I expect?
The folds of loose skin, bulging fat and loose muscle will be reshaped and tightened. Your abdomen will be smoother and tighter, allowing you to better fit into clothing again.
Where are the scars?
The scar will run along the lower abdomen and follow the contour to the hip bone region. There is also a scar around the umbilicus or belly button in order to make it small and thus fit your new shape.
Can the belly button shift?
No one has a perfectly centered belly button. Scar tissue may pull upon the belly button and shift it a bit. The umbilical stalk, which is attached to the belly button, is not changed. The stalk of the button is short so it cannot go very far.
How long will I wear a bandage?
At the end of surgery I will wrap a soft, cottony bandage over your belly and hold it in place with an elastic binder that we provide you. You will wear this binder for 3-4 weeks in order to keep the swelling down.
When can I shower?
Showering is usually permitted the day after the drains are removed, but you can wash yourself prior to this. Baths and hot tubs are not a good idea for 4 weeks after surgery to keep your swelling down.
Will my belly hurt?
Generally, there is moderate discomfort for the first week that is relieved with pain medication that I will prescribe for you. The second week after surgery the discomfort is much diminished, and by the third week there should be no discomfort. You will note snugness of the belly from tightening the underlying tissues that have been loose for years. You will also take a muscle relaxant to calm down any muscle spasms.
When can I resume activities?
It is best to relax for the first two weeks. Bruising is variable and usually located in the lower abdomen or groin. Seeing your best friends after 10 days is fine, but I would wait at least 2 weeks before meeting new acquaintances, at which time you will feel more comfortable and normal. After 3 weeks you should be almost back to your old self, except with a new and improved body. It is not a good idea to exercise or increase your heart rate for 3 weeks from the time of surgery. This will help diminish your swelling and improve the rate at which you heal. Full exercise is gradually resumed between the fourth and sixth week of surgery.
What can I do to expedite my healing?
We will give you a set of guidelines that inform you of what medicines to stay away from and which vitamins to take. Do not allow anyone to smoke in your presence for weeks. Using ice often, resting, maintaining a low salt diet and having a positive attitude all go a long way to assist in your recovery.
When will I see you again?
I will see you the day after surgery while you are still in the hospital. Depending upon the combination of surgeries, you will re-visit the office within 4-8 days. There will be multiple visits (which are included in your care) to evaluate your progress and support your healing needs. You will see me weekly in the office for 3-6 weeks in order to check on your healing.
Are there any additional fees to what was quoted?
If the surgery takes a bit longer (as there is never a rush), you may owe a bit more for the operating room and anesthesia. However, if future surgery or procedures are necessary there will be additional fees for anesthesia, the operating room and the surgeon.