What is a Tummy Tuck?
When the abdomen accumulates excess fat or loose skin, no amount of diet and exercise may be enough to restore a flat, firm tummy. Stretched abdominal muscles, which often happen after pregnancy, absolutely cannot be corrected by diet or exercise. A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) can recontour the abdomen, repairing stretched muscles (diastasis repair), flattening the tummy, and alleviating love handles.
Dr. Combs has extensive experience providing tummy tucks for both men and women in the Portland and Vancouver areas. He recommends that you postpone a tummy tuck, however, if you plan to become pregnant or lose a significant amount of weight.
During your consultation, Dr. Combs will spend time with you to answer your questions and make sure he fully understands what you want to achieve. He will take a full medical history and examine you to ensure you are a good candidate for a tummy tuck. It is important to him to operate with the utmost integrity and transparency so that you know what you can reasonably expect from your tummy tuck.
Occasionally, patients with only excess fat in the abdomen and no loose skin or stretched muscles can achieve their desired results through liposuction only. If this is true in your case, Dr. Combs will let you know after your examination. Liposuction alone is less invasive than a tummy tuck.
What to Expect from a Tummy Tuck
There are several tummy tuck techniques. Dr. Combs will determine the best surgical plan for you based on your anatomy, medical history, and your goals.
Your tummy tuck may be performed using general anesthesia. It is usually an outpatient procedure, so you can go home within a few hours of your surgery.
For those with only a small amount of tissue that needs to be removed, Dr. Combs might perform a mini tummy tuck, which involves a small incision below the belly button. Liposuction may be used to remove excess fatty tissue, and muscle tightening can be done using this technique. Read more about liposuction.
A standard tummy tuck includes tightening of the skin above the belly button. Liposuction may be performed with this technique, and the belly button may have to be repositioned. Repair of the abdominal muscles may also be done.
In cases with a great deal of excess skin and fat, as well as stretched muscles, more extensive incisions may be necessary. The incisions must be as long as the lax skin that needs to be removed. A tummy tuck with a larger incision may require an overnight stay in a hospital.
There is scarring after a tummy tuck, which may be unattractive, but the scars will become lighter and less prominent over time.
Tummy Tuck Recovery and Aftercare
We will give you a compression bandage, and drain tubes will be placed in the incisions to capture fluids. These will be removed during a post-operative examination in our office. Sutures are usually removed within a week or two.
Pain, swelling, and bruising, are inevitable for at least a week or two. The swelling will prevent you from seeing the final results of the surgery, but you will gradually see the flatter abdomen as the swelling resolves over the months following the procedure.
You can avoid stretching the incisions by sleeping upright for the first few nights. You should be able to return to work and other activities in two to three weeks depending on whether you have had a mini or standard tummy tuck. Sports and exercise can be resumed in six to eight weeks.
Pain medication will be given, as well as antibiotics to prevent infection. Of course, if you have any questions as you heal, do not hesitate to call us. We will see you for follow-up examinations to monitor your progress.
Call us today for Tummy Tuck surgery. We regularly see patients from the greater Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington areas.