Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure that can be used to trim away loose skin, remove excess fat and repair muscles in the abdominal region. If you have excess skin or stubborn pockets of fat in your abdomen, then a tummy tuck can be used to sculpt a flatter, tighter stomach.
A tummy tuck procedure can target a number of commonly cited aesthetic concerns, including:
• Stubborn pockets of belly fat
• Stretch marks around the midsection
• Loose skin from weight loss or pregnancy
• Unfavorable C-section scars
• Abdominal wall separation from pregnancy
At Millennial Plastic Surgery,Dr. David Shokrian is proud to offer tummy tuck procedures to their patients, including the comprehensive lipoabdominoplasty procedure that combines liposuction with an abdominoplasty. Motherhood and weight loss are a cause for celebration, although they can take a toll on your body. If an unflattering midsection has stripped you of your self-confidence, then let Dr.Shokrian sculpt the tighter, flatter stomach and more well-contoured midsection that you deserve.
Lipoabdominoplasty is a variation of the common tummy tuck procedure that can be performed on patients with excess fat located in their abdomen and flanks. Liposuction is used at the start of surgery to remove fat before proceeding into the abdominoplasty portion of the procedure. Lipoabdominoplasty is a safer and more effective option than a traditional tummy tuck for patients who would like to remove fat and contour their midsection, in addition to addressing any loose skin.
During liposuction, a thin metal tube called a cannula is inserted through small incisions in the skin. The fat is loosed by the cannula using back and forth motions before being suctioned out directly from the targeted areas. After enough fat has been removed to sculpt the desired shape, the incisions are then sutured shut. In the case of lipoabdominoplasty, the liposuction incisions are generally made within the excess skin that will be later removed, meaning no additional scarring is present. Patients undergoing lipoabdominoplasty can enjoy a tighter stomach in addition to a more aesthetically pleasing contour around the midsection.
Abdominoplasty is completed under general anesthesia. If the patient is undergoing a lipoabdominoplasty procedure, then liposuction will be used to remove the desired amount of fat before moving on to the tummy tuck.
Two incisions are made during abdominoplasty: one placed around the navel to separate the belly button from the skin and a second placed above the pubic region that curves horizontally from hip to hip. The second incision will be made in a location that allows any scarring to be covered by most types of clothing, including bikini bottoms. The exact length of the incision will vary from patient to patient, depending on how much loose skin needs to be removed.
After the two incisions have been made, the abdominal skin is lifted off of the muscle. If necessary, the abdominal muscles are then repaired by tightly suturing the two sides closer together. Diastasis recti, a condition where the abdominal muscles separate, is typically caused by pregnancy and may not be a concern for every abdominoplasty patient.
Once the abdominal muscle has been repaired, the excess skin is then stretched downwards. Any loose skin that overlaps the bottom incision line is cut away. Any stretch marks, liposuction incisions or C-section scars will also be removed if they are located within the excess skin. The previous hole of the navel is typically removed, so a new hole is cut in the tightened skin and then sutured to the belly button itself. The bottom incision line is then stitched together with the taut skin to complete the procedure.
Recovery and Results
Following abdominoplasty, most patients return home the same day. Common side effects include swelling, bruising, soreness and numbness in the targeted area. Changes in sensation are common in the lower abdomen following a tummy tuck and may last days to months. Bruising, soreness and swelling will improve greatly over the first couple weeks of recovery, although swelling can take several months to subside fully.
Any non-dissolvable sutures and surgical drains will be removed five to 10 days after the surgery. A compression garment will need to be worn around the midsection for several weeks to promote a quicker and healthier recovery. Compression helps to control and reduce swelling, while also providing support to the abdominal tissues as they settle into place following surgery.
The length of recovery will vary, but patients should plan on taking one week off from work. Strenuous activities and exercise will need to be avoided during the first few weeks of recovery, although patients will be encouraged to walk and move around regularly to promote healthy blood flow while the body heals. Bending over and placing pressure on the incision or affected areas can impede or interrupt recovery, however. Most patients can resume exercising in four to six weeks, although extra care and time will be needed if the abdominal wall was repaired during the procedure.
Results will be visible immediately, although final results will take some time to develop. Final results will take up to six months to come in as swelling continues to diminish. The incision scars will appear red and puffy at first but will gradually fade into thin white lines over the course of one year. Scars can take up to two to three years to reach full maturation.
Q&A with Dr. Shokrian
Am I a good candidate for abdominoplasty?
Good candidates for abdominoplasty will have loose abdominal skin and excess fat around the midsection, along with abdominal separation or an unfavorable C-section scar if the patient has previously been pregnant. The ideal candidate will be a non-smoker in good health with realistic expectations about the procedure. All female patients should be done having children, as future pregnancy can harm results. Patients should wait at least six months to one year after completing breastfeeding before undergoing an abdominoplasty.
We will perform an in-person evaluation during an initial consultation to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure.
What kind of scarring can I expect?
Abdominoplasty scars are located around the navel and above the pubic region. The scar around the navel is typically not noticeable, as it is situated within the belly button itself. The horizontal scar from the skin excision is placed in the bikini line where it can be easily hidden by clothing. The scar will curve down slightly toward the center and stretch from one side of the midsection to the other. The exact length of the scar will vary among each patient. We will work with you after the procedure to help promote a healthy and favorable healing process, ensuring your scarring is as minimal as possible.
How long does the procedure take?
The length of the procedure will vary with the addition of liposuction but tends to last between two and four hours.
What’s the difference between lipoabdominoplasty and a regular tummy tuck?
Lipoabdominoplasty combines liposuction with an abdominoplasty for a comprehensive approach to body contouring. Patients with mild to moderate excess fat that has been resistant to a healthy diet and exercise routine are good candidates for lipoabdominoplasty. For patients with loose abdominal skin and a minimal amount of fat, a traditional abdominoplasty tends to be the recommended procedure. We will determine which option is better for you after an in-person evaluation.
What is a mini abdominoplasty?
A mini abdominoplasty, or mini tummy tuck, is a popular procedure that targets only the lower abdomen to create a tighter, slimmer stomach. Patients with loose skin, excess fat and abdominal separation located below the navel are good patients for a mini tummy tuck. Patients with any postnatal or weight loss concerns situated above and below the navel are better candidates for a traditional abdominoplasty.
Can abdominoplasty be combined with other procedures?
Absolutely. An abdominoplasty can be part of a mommy makeover procedure that targets multiple areas for a full body rejuvenation. Abdominoplasty is commonly paired with a breast lift, breast augmentation or liposuction in other areas of the body. Let us know during your initial consultation if you are interested in additional procedures and we will create a personalized treatment plan that meets all of your needs.