Tummy Tuck Surgery Questions

Serving Chicago, Illinois and surrounding areas
Frequently Asked Questions about tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery:

What is Abdominoplasty?
Am I a candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
When is Abdominoplasty performed?
What happens during my first consultation?
How is a Tummy Tuck performed?
What are the different techniques for Tummy Tucks?
What can I expect after Tummy Tuck surgery?
Is a Tummy Tuck painful?
Will I have a scar or swelling?
When can I return to work?
When will I notice the results?
What are the risks of Tummy Tuck surgery?
How long does a Tummy Tuck last?

What is Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty, also known as a “Tummy Tuck” or simply “TT”, is the surgery of the abdomen to remove the excess skin and fat that may accumulate after pregnancy, obesity or age. With a full abdominoplasty, benefits are also tightening of the abdominal muscles that may have become stretched out or lax over time. Even a new belly button can be obtained as a result! If you have an “outtie” or even an “innie” – the opposite can be acquired to go along with your new, taut stomach! This isn’t a simple procedure and you should definitely be aware of the risks and post-operative care and attendance that will be needed.

Am I a candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
A good tummy tuck patient must be in good health, not have any active diseases or serious, pre-existing medical conditions and must have realistic expectations of the outcome of their surgery. An “ideal” patient would have incredibly elastic skin. Normally women seek this procedure after pregnancy – although it is advised to wait until you are finished having children to have this procedure as the skin and muscles can get stretched out again as well as the dangers of your newly taut skin being unable to accommodate another pregnancy. Also, if you are considering losing weight you should wait until after your desired weight is met. You may need additional surgery to remove the excess skin after you have lost the desired weight which would mean that the money spent on the previous abdominoplasty would be wasted and your skin can only be stretched so much.
Chicago Abdominoplasty Procedure

When is Abdominoplasty usually performed?
The Abdominoplasty procedure is usually performed when a person is discontent with their appearance in the abdomen region. Although there is no “normal” age or time in one’s life (after 18), it is most often sought out after a woman has given birth and does not plan on having any more children. The reason that not having additional children is an important factor is that after the extra skin and muscle tissue is removed, the abdomen may not be able to accommodate another child. The skin could quite literally “split”. Although this probability will be individual-dependent. Mini tummy tucks are considered less invasive and are for minimal correction cases.

What does a typical Abdominoplasty consultation entail?
The surgeon will measure your abdomen and general torso region for an idea of an ideal abdomen size for you. Between pictures that you have brought in and with the information of how many children you have had, the two of you will set realistic goals on what is and isn’t possible with an Abdominoplasty. You must remember that no amount of surgery can restore your skin to its former condition.

How is Abdominoplasty performed?
Abdominoplasty is performed most commonly under General Anesthesia or Light Sleep IV Sedation. Local anesthesia is then used to numb the abdomen. The operation is performed by making an incision in the lower abdomen just above the pubis. The incision may go from hip to hip. It is placed in the bikini line so that it is well hidden. The skin and fat is dissected off of the abdominal muscles all the way up to the bottom of the rib cage. The belly button is separated from the skin and most frequently all the skin and fat below the belly button is removed. Sometimes, sutures are placed on the muscles of the abdominal wall to tighten one side of the abdomen to the other and thereby flatten the abdomen remarkably. The skin above the belly button is drawn down to the pubis and sutured into position. A new hole is placed in the skin and the belly button is positioned in about the same spot that it existed before surgery. Your new tummy is then sutured into position. One or two drains are placed under the skin and rest on the abdominal muscle. The drain(s) exit below the incision on the pubis.

What are the different techniques for Abdominoplasty?
The different techniques pertaining to Abdominoplasty consist of the different incision shapes and placement. Dr. Placik will discuss the options with you during your consultation. Click Here to find out more about the various techniques.

What should I expect after Tummy Tuck surgery?
You are usually able to walk immediately after surgery and are encouraged to do so 3 or 4 times per day for 1-2 minutes each time. The skin of the abdomen will be quite tight and you are usually instructed to remain bent over at least 45 degrees for the first 4 to 5 days after surgery. Patients will often note some back discomfort due to the 45 degree positioning for 4-5 days after surgery so ask your surgeon about muscle relaxants or valium.

The drains that have been placed will generally be removed 4 to14 days after surgery. At the end of 4 days the patient may begin to straighten up and by six days post-op may or may not be fully straight. You should take it easy for at least two weeks after surgery. While the drains are in, you will be on bed rest with a very small amount of walking as outline above. An abdominal pressure garment may be placed around you during one of your post-operative appointments and you may be instructed to wear this for 3 to 6 weeks. Some swelling and discoloration are normal but generally this is minimal. Of course this is dependent upon the individual.

Is there much pain associated with Abdominoplasty?
The amount of pain associated with this procedure is quite variable. Some patients note a moderate amount of discomfort and for some it is more intense. But certainly there is some discomfort. Patients will often note some back discomfort due to the 45 degree positioning for 4-5 days after surgery. Valium is sometimes given to alleviate muscle spasms of the back and for relaxation and a sleep aid, in general.

Where are the scars located involving an Abdominoplasty?
This is not a scar-free surgery. Your individual scar will depend upon the amount of skin needed to be removed, your body’s ability to heal, if you scar well, the skill of the surgeon and the technique utilized. Dr. Placik will discuss the incision types, techniques and placements with you during your consultation.

Is there a lot of swelling involved with a Abdominoplasty?
There is a bit of swelling involved with an Abdominoplasty. You must take into account that Abdominoplasty is surgery and with this type of surgery and depending upon the case, a lot of tissue is removed.

When can I return to work?
Abdominoplasty is a very slow-to-heal-completely procedure. While the drains are in, the patient will be on bed rest with a very small amount of walking as outlined above. An abdominal pressure garment may be placed around you during one of your post-operative appointments and you may be instructed to wear this for 3 to 6 weeks. Most patients can and do return to work after 2 weeks. You simply should not have to sit at a desk for 8 hours after having had an Abdominoplasty.

When will I be able to see the results?
After the swelling subsides and the drains are taken out you will start to see a difference. You must realize that the underlying tissues have been cut and that an Abdominoplasty is considered a very invasive procedure. Give your body time to heal and you will reap the many benefits of the procedure.

What are the risks of Abdominoplasty?
As with any surgery, there are risks involved. Dr. Placik and his staff will do whatever they can to minimize those risks and keep you aware of the possibilities that could occur during surgery or the healing process.

How long does an Abdominoplasty last?
This procedure can last for many, many years. If there are no large weight gains, and no pregnancies after the tummy tuck then the changes will be relatively permanent.
Click Here to view Before & After photos of tummy tuck procedures.

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