Body Contouring Questions
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Questions
What is a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty?
What is a complete tummy tuck?
What is a mini-tummy tuck?
Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
Tell me about a tummy tuck and weight loss.
Can a tummy tuck help after gastric bypass surgery?
How is abdominoplasty performed?
Why must patients give up smoking prior to an abdominoplasty?
What happens during recovery from a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?
How long after a tummy tuck can I resume my normal activities?
Other Body Contouring Questions
Tell me about buttocks augmentation.
What is liposuction?
How will I be evaluated for liposuction?
How is liposuction performed?
What happens during recovery from liposuction surgery?
What are the risks and side effects of liposuction?
Abdominoplasty is a surgery that removes excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and tightens the muscles of the abdominal wall. This procedure can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen. Abdominoplasty surgical sculpting addresses much more than liposuction surgery which is only for localized fat collections. There however is a permanent scar that can extend from hip to hip and another one around the belly button (umbilicus).
A complete tummy tuck is performed to remove excess fat from the abdominal area below and above the navel. Once the excess fat is removed, the skin is pulled tightly over the abdomen. To offer more tone and tighter muscles in the abdominal area, the surgeon will also pull the muscles together and stitch them to make the abdomen flatter and provide more contour to the waist.
A mini-tummy tuck, also called a partial tummy tuck, is performed to remove skin and/or fat below the navel (belly button). The scar that is left is below the navel and is much smaller than the scarring left from a complete tummy tuck.
The best candidates for abdominoplasty are women or men who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by a large fat deposit and or loose abdominal skin that will not respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through the stretching of multiple pregnancies, have abdominal muscles and skin that will no longer return to normal. Lost skin elasticity in older patients, which frequently occurs with slight obesity, can also be improved. Women planning future pregnancies should consider waiting. The muscles tightened during abdominoplasty can separate again during pregnancy. Skin restretched may again not return to normal proportions. Previous abdominal scars need to be evaluated during an in office examination to see if they might effect possible surgery. Prominent abdominal contour scars like those sometimes seen after Caesarian delivery and other surgery can be improved during this abdominal sculpting.
Abdominoplasty can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence. It will not necessarily change your looks to match your ideal or cause other people to treat your differently. Think carefully about what this surgery has to offer. Reasonable expectations are essential to a happy outcome.
If you are planning to lose a lot of weight, abdominoplasty is best after the weight is stabilized. The skin and fat are then sculpted to your new form. Massive weight loss after abdominoplasty may leave the skin loose again about the belly. One of the major fat storage areas of the body is the apron of fat around the intestines (omentum). This fat is located behind the abdominal wall and is not treatable with either liposuction or abdominoplasty. This surgery is for sculpture, not weight loss. Weight loss better done with controlled diet and improved eating exercise habits. If you maintain a positive caloric balance after surgery, you will regain your weight.
Often after an individual has undergone gastric bypass surgery, there is a large amount of excess skin left hanging in the abdominal area. A tummy tuck can serve to remove the excess skin and to pull and tighten remaining skin over the abdominal area. In a patient who has had necessary gastric bypass surgery, the muscles have no tone or definition because they have not been exercised for a long period of time. During a tummy tuck, the plastic surgeon can also pull the abdominal muscles together and stitch them to give the patient's abdomen a flatter, more toned appearance.
Abdominoplasty surgery is designed to remove and redrape redundant lower and middle abdominal wall skin and fat. A horizontal incision is made above the pubic region, extending outward toward the hip bones. When possible, Dr. Broadway will keep the incision within swimsuit lines. The underlying muscles are tightened by pulling them together and stitching them in place. Excess skin from the lower abdomen is trimmed away. When large amounts of loose skin is present, a second incision will be made around the navel. This excess skin above the navel is separated and can be pulled downward and removed. There is the possibility the appearance of the navel might be slightly altered.
Patients undergoing a tummy tuck must give up smoking one month prior to surgery. Smoking inhibits blood flow to the skin and can seriously interfere with the healing process and may increase the risk of infection.
Recovery from a tummy tuck is lengthier than recovery from most other plastic surgery procedures because the alterations made to the body are more invasive and drastic. Bruising can last anywhere from two to four weeks up to a few months depending on the individual patient. Scars from a tummy tuck tend to be more obvious and can take up to a year to flatten and return to a more natural color.
The healing process after a tummy tuck, like any other surgery, largely depends on the individual. Factors such as the type of abdominoplasty you have received and your general health and healing ability have a lot to do with the amount of time it may take you to recover as well. It also depends on how active you were on a regular basis prior to your surgery. If you maintained light to moderate activity levels before your tummy tuck, it will take less time for you to resume a normal activity level than it will for someone who is accustomed to rigorous work-outs a few days a week.
It can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months for you to feel well enough to resume your normal activity level. Start out slowly and listen to your body. If you feel up to it, slowly raise your activity levels. If you feel strained and exhausted, slow down and give your body more time to recover.
Micro Fat Grafting is one of the easiest ways to add fullness to almost any shape buttock to create the desired look. This procedure can add fullness to any part of the buttocks or the entire buttocks. You must have enough fat available in other areas of the body to be removed and used in the grafting process. Fat can be removed from the abdomen, flanks, hips, lower back or thighs, at the same time creating a contoured look. Using a special cannula (thin tube), the excess fat will be removed with a very gentle, low-vacuum liposuction to protect the living fat cells. The fat particles are purified, then inserted into the layers of the buttocks through small incisions, putting tiny droplets throughout the tissues so each fat cell will have a good blood supply. A small amount of the transferred fat may be absorbed, but the fat that remains at one year should remain permanently. The grafted areas look and feel natural - like the natural buttocks. It is impossible to tell the difference, because there is no difference - all of it is your own living tissue.
You should be able to return to your normal activities as recommended by Dr. Broadway, anywhere from 2-4 weeks after surgery.
Liposuction can improve your body shape by removing fat deposits with a tube and vacuum device. Common locations for liposuction include chin, neck, upper arms, abdomen, buttocks, hips, thighs, knees, calves, ankles. Liposuction is particularly well-suited for individuals who are of relatively normal weight but have isolated pockets of fat that cause certain areas of their body to appear disproportionate. These localized fat deposits may sometimes be an inherited trait and typically do not respond to dieting or exercise. Liposuction is often the only way to eliminate them. While it is possible to undergo liposuction at almost any age, you will obtain the best results if your skin still has enough elasticity to achieve a smooth contour following fat removal. Liposuction should not be considered a substitute for overall weight loss, nor is it an effective treatment for cellulite, a condition that gives the skin an uneven, dimpled appearance. Liposuction can be performed on several areas of the body at the same time, and it can also be done in conjunction with other aesthetic plastic surgery.
You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions you may have such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. Dr. Broadway will want to know about previous surgeries, medical treatments and medications that you currently take. It is important for you to provide complete information. How much you currently weigh and whether you plan to lose or gain weight in the future will be factors in evaluating you for liposuction. We may ask you about the effects of prior weight loss on the appearance of those areas which you have indicated for contouring. Dr. Broadway will assess the elasticity of your skin and estimate the amount of fat to be removed for optimal results.
Your surgery will be performed at one of our three surgery centers. Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure and various monitors are used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood. Fat is removed by first inserting a small, hollow tube, called a cannula, through one or more tiny incisions near the area to be suctioned. Incisions are usually less than one-quarter inch in length and are placed as inconspicuously as possible, often within skin folds or contour lines. The cannula is connected by tubing to a vacuum pressure unit. The suction device literally vacuums away the unwanted fat.
When the surgery is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. There may be some discomfort, but this can be controlled by medication which you may continue taking at home. A compressive dressing such as an elasticized bandage or specially designed garment may have been placed over the areas that were suctioned. Dr. Broadway will tell you how long you should wear the garment and will instruct you on how to remove it so that you may shower or bathe. Most patients will go home after a few hours, although some patients may stay overnight in our facility if the surgery is extensive.
It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals. The day after surgery, you will need to move around a bit to promote blood circulation. Dr. Broadway will advise you to limit yourself to these brief periods of gentle activities for the first few days.
Remember, you must not take aspirin or certain anti-inflammatory medications, and you should not smoke for a while following surgery. You will notice swelling and bruising, which is to be expected and can last for several weeks after the surgery. There may also be numbness in some areas, and it may take several weeks before feeling returns.
The scars from liposuction are small, and Dr. Broadway tries to place them so they're hidden from view, even if you wear a bikini. However, other cosmetic problems may occur, including rippling or bagginess of the skin over the treated area, and pigmentation changes (such as brown spots).
You may be able to return to work in just a few days. In many instances, you can resume most of your normal activities within one or two weeks and begin some form of exercise soon after. The timing of your recovery depends largely on the extent of your surgery. Factors such as fluid retention following surgery, and prolonged swelling may delay the appearance of your new, slimmer contour. The healing process is gradual, so you should expect to wait a while before fully enjoying the results of your liposuction. Occasionally, a touch-up may be desired to further improve an area that has been suctioned.
The results of liposuction will be permanent, as long as you maintain your pre-operative weight. Even if you gain a few extra pounds, you may find that the weight is distributed more evenly instead of accumulating in the areas that were problematic for you in the past.
You may experience temporary bruising, swelling, numbness, soreness and burning sensations. During the first 24 hours, you will experience temporary fluid drainage from the incision sites and you will be required to replace your bandages several times a day for the first few days.
Risks include asymmetry of the areas and rippling or bagginess of skin. There could be pigmentation changes or possible skin injury. As with any surgery, there is always chance of infection. Dr. Broadway will make every effort for a safe and comfortable healing process and you will be given a detailed manual with instructions for your recovery.
The decision to have body contouring surgery is a very personal one, and it is also an important medical decision. To have a detailed discussion, schedule a body contouring consultation with Dr. Broadway at Broadway Plastic Surgery today.
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