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Tummy Tuck

Tummy TuckTummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Plastic Surgery

Tummy tuck or abdominoplasty involves the removal of loose or damaged skin from the abdomen in addition to tightening the abdominal wall muscles.The midsection is one of the most difficult areas to target with diet and exercise alone, and this procedure gives patients the confidence and comfort that comes with a flatter and more attractive abdominal appearance.  Unique to Graham Plastic Surgery, Dr. Graham has developed an advanced abdominoplasty technique that results in a hidden belly button scar. For examples, you can see some of Dr. Graham’s before and after pictures here.

Tummy Tuck Candidates

The best candidates for a tummy tuck are women after childbirth or after massive weight loss.  The skin and abdominal wall muscles are irreversibly stretched in these patients.  As a result, they need skin excision and muscle tightening to restore their flat tummy and hourglass figure. The tummy tuck patient should be a non-smoker and be at an ideal body weight(BMI <30).

Benefits of Tummy Tuck Surgery

  • Fat removal: Tummy tuck surgery removes excess, stubborn fat to produce a slender and flatter midsection. Patients no longer have to worry about their “muffin top” or “belly bulge” making an appearance without their consent.
  • Tighten stretched muscles: The abdominal muscles stretch to make room in the belly, such as for accommodating a baby during pregnancy or fat from weight gained. When the weight is lost or the baby is delivered, the abdominal muscles do not always return together. Despite hours in the gym and doing sit-ups the belly won’t become flat. With an abdominoplasty, Dr. Graham tightens the abdominal muscles using a suturing technique that produces a firmer, more toned tummy
  • Eliminate Loose Skin: No amount of dieting and exercise can tighten significantly stretched skin. Many patients who have experienced extreme weight loss or gone through pregnancy have permanently stretched skin that gets in the way of their daily activities. In addition, those with loose, hanging skin have the potential to develop rashes and sores. As a result, excess skin may deter these people from engaging in exercise or sports, social gatherings, and even family events. Abdominoplasty gets rid of this skin and let’s you live a fuller life.
  • Reduce Stretch Marks: Stretch marks are an annoyance that the majority of women, and even some men, know all too well. Stretch marks on the lower abdomen can be removed if they are located on the excess skin that is trimmed away during tummy tuck. This can give you beautiful, healthy-looking skin about which you can feel confident.

Types of Tummy Tuck Procedures

Regular Tummy Tuck

  • Removes skin and stretch marks above and below the belly button
  • Rectus muscle is tightened giving a flatter tummy and better figure
  • A new belly button is created
  • This is most commonly performed for Mommy Makeover

Mini-Tummy Tuck

  • Involves only removing skin below the belly button with or without muscle tightening.
  • Rectus muscle can be tightened if necessary
  • This surgery doesn’t require making a new belly button. The belly button is “floated” or slightly lowered
  • This procedure is a good choice when the main issue is a small amount of extra skin below the belly button.  This is a also a good option because it tightens and flattens the abdomen without creating a scar around the belly button.

Circumferential Tummy Tuck (Body Lift)

  • The circumferential procedure goes all the way around the body.  This procedure is a combination tummy tuck, lateral thigh lift, and body lift.
  • Rectus muscle is tightened giving a flatter tummy and better figure
  • A new belly button is created
  • The circumferential tummy tuck is a great option after massive weight loss.

Tummy Tuck Procedure

Tummy Tuck surgery involves making an incision low on the abdomen.  The skin and fat of the abdomen is then elevated off of the underlying muscles all the way up to the ribs.  This excess skin is then pulled down and the extra is cut away. The underlying rectus abdominis muscle is then tightened with a suture and the belly button moved to its new position.  The overall result is tightening of the abdominal wall, narrowing of the waist, and removal of stretch marks and wrinkling.

A Better Tummy Tuck with Dr. GrahamTummy Tuck

Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is one of Dr. Graham’s specialties.  During the refinement of his technique he was able to borrow tips from surgeons from around the world to develop the perfect result.  He uses multiple maneuvers to ensure a natural look and minimize visible scarring.  This is no more evident than in his “bikini belly button” technique.  Unlike other plastic surgeons, this technique is unique in that there is no obvious circular scar around the belly button (see adjacent photo). Whenever possible, Dr. Graham wants all the scars on your abdomen to be hidden so no one will know you had an operation, even in a two piece bathing suit. For more examples, you can see some of Dr. Graham’s before and after pictures here.

A Tummy Tuck with Less Pain

Dr. Graham is now including an EXPAREL pain injection with each Tummy Tuck. EXPAREL is a controlled release formulation of local anesthetic that lasts for 3 days. This local anesthetic is injected at the time of abdominoplasty surgery along the deep surface of the abdominal muscles. This addresses pain at its source. Recent evidence from the Cleveland Clinic compared this method of anesthesia to other pain injections  and even pain pumps and demonstrates EXPAREL injection to be superior to On-Q pain pumps in acheiving pain control. Dr. Graham automatically includes this in each of his abdominoplasty procedures as he doesn’t want any of his patients to experience unneeded pain.

Tummy Tuck Frequently Asked Questions

Can tummy tuck surgery be combined with other procedures?

Liposuction can be used to remove fat during tummy tuck surgery, and patients often choose to have liposuction performed on other areas of the body as well, such as the back, hips, and thighs. Tummy tuck surgery is also commonly combined with breast augmentation or breast lift surgery in a procedure known as the Mommy Makeover to rejuvenate a woman’s body after pregnancy and breastfeeding.

What are the risks associated with tummy tuck surgery?

Please refer to the following form published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)

What is the recovery time following tummy tuck surgery?

This is dependent on the type of work you perform.  Many patients with office jobs only require a week or two.  However, patients who perform heavy labor may require 4-6 weeks to recover.  You will not be able to lift anything greater than 10 lbs for 6 weeks.  You will not be able to run or jog for 4 weeks.  You will not be able to perform abdominal wall exercises for 2 months.

First Week of Tummy Tuck Recovery

  • You will stay flexed at the hips to keep tension off your incision.  You will need to sleep with two pillows behind your head and one under your knees.  This will continue for the first week.
  • You will have an abdominal binder in place.  This binder or a compression dressing (Spanx, etc.) will be worn at all times for the next month (except to shower).
  • Most likely you will have drains in place.  You will record the drain output daily.  This drain will most likely be removed at your one week follow up.  However, the drain may stay in longer if necessary.
  • No lifting >10 lbs and no core exercises.  Limit repeated bending at the hips.  Walking is encouraged.

First Month of Tummy Tuck Recovery

  • You may gradually begin to straighten your posture and begin lying flat
  • Continue to wear binder at all times
  • No lifting >10 lbs and no core exercises.  Limit repeated bending at the hips. Walking is encouraged.

First and Second Months of Tummy Tuck Recovery

  • Continue to wear binder at night for one more month
  • You may now begin to apply scar creams
  • You may now resume cardiovascular exercise (running,biking) and sex
  • No lifting >10 lbs and no core exercises. Limit repeated bending at the hips.

After Two Months of Tummy Tuck Recovery

  • You may now resume full activity including abdominal core exercises

Driving after Tummy Tuck Surgery

  • You may drive when you are off narcotics and feel confident to control the car.   Most patients are able to drive within 1-2 weeks.

Are the results of tummy tuck surgery permanent?

As long as the patient maintains a healthy lifestyle and does not gain a large amount of weight, the new contours of the abdomen will be long lasting. Patients should be aware that no procedure can stop the aging process, and the midsection will continue to age naturally over time.

How much does tummy tuck cost?

The price of a tummy tuck varies depending on whether you are getting a mini, full, or circumferential tummy tuck.   The US national average price of a tummy tuck is $7,000-9,000.   Dr. Graham’s pricing can be found here.