Many men and women wish for a flatter and firmer stomach, especially after their abdominal muscles have been stretched to a point where the elasticity has been lost. We most commonly see the loss of abdominal elasticity in cases of significant weight loss and pregnancy. Both men and women come to our office complaining that their abdominal “pooch” will not respond to diet or exercise. An abdominoplasty or ‘tummy tuck’ is generally the recommended solution for removing the excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall, resulting in a flatter and more toned stomach.
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Tummy Tuck surgery can help you achieve a flatter, firmer stomach. Visit our before and after photo gallery to view our results. If you would like more information about body contouring procedures that we offer, please contact Aesthetic Plastic Surgical Institute.
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Upon performing a physical examination and reviewing your goals and medical history, Dr. Mills will present your surgical options to you. One available option may be liposuction alone. This option is best for individuals with good skin elasticity and only excess abdominal fat.
The next available option is a ‘mini abdominoplasty.’ This procedure is best if you have a “pooch” from the belly button down and no laxity of skin above the belly button. Dr. Mills performs this procedure most often for women that have a hysterectomy or C- section scar with a little “pooch” above the scar.
The final option is a full abdominoplasty, which is best for those who have so much extra skin that they even have excess skin above the belly button. With a full abdominoplasty, Dr. Mills can also tighten lax abdominal muscles above and below the belly button. Dr. Mills generally places the incision in the panty line in a way that is even hidden when wearing a french-style bikini and/or low-rise jeans. We recommend that our patients come with a touch of a tan line at the panty line, so that Dr. Mills can more effectively determine where to place your incision. Most patients who undergo a ‘tummy tuck’ are so happy with the way their clothes fit and the concealed placement of the incision that the scar is of minimal concern. A two-piece bathing suit can generally be worn after surgery, discreetly hiding the scar, but allowing the new flatter stomach to be “shown off.”
About two weeks prior to surgery, you will meet with our pre-operative patient coordinator. She will review all of your pre-operative instructions with you and make sure that you complete all the necessary lab tests and health screenings. If you are a smoker, you will be advised to quit smoking at least four weeks prior to surgery and not to resume for at least four weeks post-operatively. Additionally, there are certain medications, herbs and potions that we will ask you to cease taking for two weeks prior to surgery and up until two weeks post-surgery. This appointment will also be a time for you to ask any final questions, so that you are ready for surgery and have an optimal recovery period.
On your day of surgery, you should allow approximately 3 – 4 hours for your surgery. From the moment that you enter our facility, you will be cared for by Dr. Mills’ experienced surgical team. This team includes Dr. Mills, a nurse anesthetist, a registered nurse and surgical technician. This group is committed to providing you with the best care possible from the time you are admitted to the moment you are discharged. Dr. Mills has worked with some of these surgical team members since the beginning of his practice and all members share in his core values and patient care standards.
You will likely be required to stay at an overnight facility with a post-operative care nurse after your surgery. The nurse will closely monitor you, administering your medications and assisting you with walking. In addition to traditional pain medications, we offer a new device called a pain pump to decrease pain and discomfort during your post-operative period. Since offering this product in conjunction with an abdominoplasty, we have seen a marked decrease in our patients’ post-operative pain levels and recovery time.
You will need to have a responsible adult pick you up the morning following your surgery and stay with you the next 1 – 2 days. Once home, we encourage you to walk around the house at frequent intervals to keep the blood circulating. You will want to bend over a little as you are up and walking to ease the tension on your flat new abdomen. This process will become easier with time and practice. Dr. Mills will also likely recommend the use of an oxygen tank for the first week following your surgery, as he has seen faster healing and reduced scarring.
Within several weeks after your surgery (after your final sutures have been removed), you can increase your activity level. Recovery time varies; we have seen some patients bounce back quickly, returning to work after one week. Others take about three weeks to resume normal activities. Dr. Mills typically recommends mild exercise after 2 weeks, as it will aid healing, reduce swelling, lower the chance of blot clots, and help tone muscles. You should avoid vigorous exercise until Dr. Mills indicates that you are ready.
Your incision site may appear to become more red in the first 3 – 6 months as it heals. This is normal and should fade with time. You can expect your scars to flatten out and lighten in color after about 9 months to a year. While the scars will never disappear completely, Dr. Mills tries to place your incisions so that the scars are concealed by your clothing, including most bathing suits and low-rise jeans.
If you are looking for a flatter and firmer tummy, we are confident that we have a solution for you. We look forward to meeting you in consultation to further discuss your needs. In the meantime, feel free to email any questions to our patient coordinator from our contact us page. Additionally, if you would like to talk to one of our patients who has had an abdominoplasty, we would be happy to connect you with a patient. Let us know how we can best serve you, because we want this to be a great experience for you.
Abdominoplasty Post-Operative Information
You can expect:
- To drive after you are completely off your pain medications, which is usually about 7 days.
- To use oxygen for the first week post-operatively.
- To use a pain pump for the first 5 days after surgery.
- To use a drain for about the first week post-operatively.
- To resume normal activities after 2 – 4 weeks, depending on how you heal.
- To avoid strenuous workouts for the first 3 – 4 weeks after surgery.
- To visit our office post-operatively at 2 days, 5 or 7 days, 2 weeks and 1 month. (We also recommend annual follow-up visits.)
- To see your abdominal scar fade after about 9 – 12 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Will Dr. Mills remove my belly button?
- Will I hurt after surgery?
- How much time do I need off of work?
Will Dr. Mills remove my belly button?
Dr. Mills does not remove the belly button. He circumscribes the existing belly button and pulls down the abdominal skin, similar to pulling down on a window shade. He then pops the belly button back through. Your belly button generally will not even look like it has been operated on.
Will I hurt after surgery?
You will likely experience some discomfort following your surgery, but we have seen the pain pump markedly decrease a patient’s pain level after surgery. We have seen patients take less pain pills and get back to walking and other normal activities much quicker because of the pain pump. Most patients say they feel pretty good after about a week.
How much time do I need off of work?
This will depend on your type of work.
If you have a desk job, you will need to take about 2 weeks off. You will need to take as much as a month off if your job has more strenuous physical requirements.