Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) Sacramento
Pregnancy and weight fluctuations can do a number on women’s abdomens. Three things tend to go wrong. Often there are genetically-determined pockets of fat in the mid-abdomen and flanks (muffin-top) that are difficult to diet or exercise away. There can be skin relaxation (and sometimes stretch marks!) that won’t tighten up, no matter how many sit-ups you do. The central abdominal muscles (the rectus muscles….these are the ones that create the horizontal lines in “6-pack abs”) can be stretched apart, creating a permanent “pooch” in the lower abdomen.
The pockets of fat can be dealt with by liposuction, which is often used as an additional tool during abdominoplasty to enhance the results. The excess skin can be removed. The rectus muscles can be pulled back together to flatten the tummy. The trade-off is scar. An abdominoplasty scar is located in the lower abdomen and usually runs from hipbone to hipbone. There is also a scar around the bellybutton. When liposuction is performed on the flanks, there is a small scar in the buttocks as well. The scar can be placed so that it is underneath your panties or bathing suit bottom. When you are naked the scar will be visible. You have to decide yourself if the permanent scar is okay with you. However, there is really no other way to get a smooth abdomen again without removing the extra skin, and that requires a scar.
See Before and After Photos of Real Tummy Tuck Patient Results
The type of abdominoplasty you would need depends on your particular anatomy. Some women can get by with a “mini-abdominoplasty” which tightens the area below the bellybutton only. This works well in thin women with no upper abdominal skin relaxation. I find that women who have had a C-section birth sometimes get a small overhang of skin over that scar, and removing that scar and a little extra skin will smooth out the lower abdomen. Some women have relaxation in both the upper and lower abdomen, and need a full abdominoplasty. The scar is a bit longer, and the abdominal wall can be tightened to the upper abdomen. This offers the best tightening. Patients who have had a large weight loss through dieting or post-bariatric surgery will need to also consider a “circumferential abdominoplasty”. This involves removing skin from both the lower abdomen and the lower back. The scar goes all the way around the lower torso. During your consultation, I will look at your body carefully and let you know what your options for improvement might be. We can discuss the pros and cons, and come to a decision on how you wish to proceed.
Tummy Tuck Procedure
Abdominoplasty is performed in our surgery center here at 95 Scripps Drive. You arrive one hour prior to your scheduled surgery time. During that hour you change into a surgical gown, talk to the anesthesia doctor, and I mark your abdomen with the planned incision lines and areas to suction. The surgery itself takes 2-3 hours, and then you stay in our recovery area for another couple of hours. We send you home wearing a girdle (to reduce swelling and bruising) which you wear for about four weeks after surgery. You will have a “drain” which is a small tube that collects the weeping tissue fluid that is created by the fatty layer. We need to draw this fluid out to again reduce the swelling and discomfort. The drain usually stays in place for 1-2 weeks. I also use a “pain pump” which is a reservoir of local anesthetic fluid. The reservoir is attached to some very thin tubing that sits next to the abdominal muscle repair. The pump automatically dispenses local anesthesia to the area to keep it somewhat numb for the first three days after surgery. The use of the pain pump greatly reduces your discomfort, and your need for pain medication.
Abdominoplasty Surgery Risks
Once you are home, we want you up and moving as quickly as possible. The worst risk of any type of abdominal surgery is a blood clot in the calf, known as a deep venous thrombosis or DVT. Abdominal surgery can create pressure in the groin area that slows the blood flow back from the legs. Slow blood flow can result in a clot. If a clot forms, it can cause pain or swelling in the leg. If the clot “breaks off” it can travel in the bloodstream to the lungs (pulmonary embolism or PE) and cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and palpitations. It can be life-threatening! Thus, it is very important that abdominoplasty patients be up and moving quickly, drinking plenty of water, and aware of the signs and symptoms of DVT/PE. The risk is greater in women who are overweight, on hormones, or smokers. I will always encourage women to try and reduce their BMI below 30 prior to any abdominal procedure. It not only reduces your risk of complications, but improves your result and your overall health outlook.
How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost?
Tummy Tuck cost in Sacramento will vary from patient to patient, but typically falls between $8,000 and $10,000. The price of the procedure depends on whether the patient is receiving a full or a mini tummy tuck and various other factors. The cost includes the anesthesia fee, the surgeon’s fee, hospital fees, and any post-op care required. Schedule a tummy tuck consultation with Dr. Debra Johnson to receive a personalized quote.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
The recuperation after abdominoplasty usually requires between 2-4 weeks. The first 2-3 days are a bit rough, but after that you will notice slow and steady improvement. You will look really good at one month, but to get to a “final” result usually takes about 4 months. The abdominal skin will feel somewhat numb after surgery, and takes a few months to return to normal. Sometimes the skin just above the scar centrally will feel a bit different long-term, but is usually not at all bothersome. Scars will take a year or two to fully mature and fade as much as they will.
Tummy Tuck FAQs
Is tummy tuck right for me?
Tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgical solution for loose skin and weakened muscles that may have developed in the abdominal area as a result of weight loss, pregnancy or aging. The stomach benefits from a smooth, tucked-in profile after removal of excess skin, some fat and tightening of abdominal muscles.
Women may choose abdominoplasty as a way to restore tone to stomach muscles that weakened or separated during pregnancy. The procedure can also be effective at improving the appearance of stretch marks in the area that is tightened.
Patients who have lost significant weight and now notice loose skin on the belly are also good candidates for the procedure. A tummy tuck is not a weight management tool, however. In fact, obese individuals are advised to lose as much weight as possible before considering a tummy tuck.
Should I consider other options?
A tummy tuck is often a good choice for patients whose loss of skin elasticity created folds in the skin after they lost weight. For patients whose fat is located mostly below the belly button, a partial abdominoplasty, or “mini tummy tuck,” may be advisable. Liposuction may be the preferred choice when creating a more natural-looking body shape requires the removal of a significant amount of fat in targeted areas.
Liposuction can also be combined with tummy tuck, in a procedure that is aptly named lipoabdominoplasty. This technique allows both the removal of substantial volumes of fat and the reconstruction of the abdominal wall and “tucking” of the skin. In this sense it allows the surgeon more flexibility in shaping the abdomen and surrounding areas. Although some fat is normally removed during a tummy tuck procedure, lipoabdominoplasty is more effective at targeting larger fat deposits, as well as fat deposits on the sides of the waist and the flanks.
Will I have scars?
Because tummy tuck is major surgery, requiring a large incision, scarring is unavoidable. While you are under general anesthesia, your surgeon will make the incision in the lower abdomen and begin separating skin from tissue, suctioning out some of the fat, reconstructing the abdominal wall and tightening the muscles. The surgeon will pull the skin taut and remove the excess amount. The incision will then be sutured and a tube put in place to drain blood and other fluids that may accumulate. Dr. Johnson is careful to make the incision in the least noticeable area, usually on the bikini line. If scarring is a concern, a mini tummy tuck or liposuction can be considered, if appropriate.
Can pregnancy reverse the results of tummy tuck?
Yes, and that’s why it is recommended that women wait until the final pregnancy before doing the procedure. Pregnancy puts a great deal of strain on the abdomen, and muscles that have been repaired in an abdominoplasty may once again separate. Similarly, women or men who gain substantial weight in the future may see a recurrence of the issues that led them to choose a tummy tuck.