Loose skin and unwanted fat can be frustrating for men and women, especially if diet and exercise haven't worked. Having a "pooch" and feeling like you still look pregnant is also a daily frustration for many moms. An abdominoplasty (AKA -tummy tuck) is a cosmetic procedure that eliminates these problems, giving patients a flatter, smoother midsection. While this body contouring procedure can provide dramatic results, it also will leave a scar. Fortunately, the scar can be placed very low and is easily concealed in all but the skimpiest of clothing. It is basically located at the top of the normal pubic hairline and heals as a thin line. When considering a tummy tuck procedure, patients need to discuss all their concerns with their plastic surgeon, which includes feeling more comfortable about the location and what kind of scar they can expect.
The expert and Board-certified plastic surgeons at Austin Plastic Surgery Institute (APSI) want to help patients feel better about the healing process after a tummy tuck procedure. Located in Austin, TX, Austin Plastic Surgery Institute will create a personalized surgical plan during a private one-on-one consultation. Read on to learn more about what to expect and how following aftercare instructions can help.
What can a tummy tuck do?
The primary goal of a tummy tuck procedure is to remove excess skin (and fat with liposuction) to give patients a smoother, more contoured midsection. It is ideal for women and men who have excess tissue or skin in their lower abdominal area when all other efforts of diet and exercise have been exhausted. It will also address widening of the abdominal wall muscles which is called a diastasis and can occur after pregnancy or large weight gains. For Austin patients considering a tummy tuck, it is important to know what to expect before and after, which also includes understanding what type of surgical incision will be needed. The use of medications like Exparel, a long acting local anesthetic, has made the recovery a much easier process than it was 10 years ago. In many cases, we can also do the procedure without using any drains!
What kind of tummy tuck scar will I have?
The length and location of the surgical incision are dependent on the tummy tuck procedure. For a traditional tummy tuck, the incision will extend from the midline pubic area toward each hip to allow removal of the excess tissue and provide exposure to repair the abdominal diastasis. An incision will also be made around the belly button so that it can be brought out through a new opening in the upper skin that is being brought down. You get to keep your belly button! Your surgeon will use techniques to hide the scar around the belly button so that it is not easily noticed in a bikini. A mini tummy tuck is an option for patients with minimal excess skin and who do not have a pronounced diastasis. This occurs in only 5-10% of women who present for body contouring and is typically in a patient who is very tall and has a long torso. It is a slightly shorter incision. In most all cases, a woman's C-section scar can be used, or removed and the overall scar lowered. If there is a vertical midline or appendectomy scar, that too can also be removed. The belly button is also not relocated with a mini tummy tuck.
For patients with a significant amount of loose skin due to excessive weight loss or multiple pregnancies, an extended tummy tuck procedure may be necessary to remove all of the skin in the front, back and along the sides. An extended tummy tuck incision will be a long horizontal incision that goes beyond the hips to the lower back. It will also involve repositioning the belly button, like with a full tummy tuck.
Tummy tuck surgery should be customized to what each patient desires and their body type, including an additional procedure such as liposuction for optimal body contouring results. If liposuction is recommended to remove excess fat, those additional small incisions are generally made in an area that is inconspicuous and they are less than a centimeter in length.
What can I do to Postoperatively?
It is always essential to follow the surgeon's aftercare instructions with a tummy tuck procedure. Every type of tummy tuck procedure will leave a permanent scar. However, there are some precautions patients can take to help the healing process, such as:
- Keep incisions out of direct sunlight for the first several months and use sunscreen to help avoid redness
- Daily application of Silagen and possible use of silicone sheeting
- Keeping incisions properly clean
- Keep scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon
It is essential to find a qualified, experienced plastic surgeon, like the experts at Austin Plastic Surgery Institute. Patients can bring their bathing suit to the consultation if they are concerned about where the incision for their tummy tuck procedure will be placed. With proper planning and finding the right plastic surgeon, patients considering a tummy tuck can get fantastic results.
If you feel self-conscious about loose skin in your abdominal area, then a tummy tuck procedure can be the right solution. When all efforts of diet and exercise are no longer working, an abdominoplasty can reshape and contour your midsection, so you love how you look. If you are considering a tummy tuck procedure, we invite you to schedule a consultation with one of our Board-certified plastic surgeons at Austin Plastic Surgery Institute (APSI) in Austin, TX.