Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

 

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Many people desire the restoration of a contoured abdomen after pregnancy or weight loss. It is sometimes impossible to restore the abdomen to a desirable shape by diet and exercise alone.  The tummy tuck procedure is a proven safe and effective method of removing excess tissue from the midsection, resulting in a sculpted youthful result.   Dr Matthew Camp provides these surgeries in Minnetonka, Edina, and Burnsville.

To find out more about tummy tuck surgery and other body contouring options, request a consultation or call 612-424-2767 to schedule a free appointment with Dr Matthew Camp in person.  You can view a patient testimonial on her experience immediately following the procedure.

What to Expect from a Tummy Tuck

Both men and women can be candidates for tummy tuck. The goal is to remove excess skin and fat, and restore the sculpted appearance of youth. Men who have a spare tire benefit from the removal of fat, and ladies who have excess stretched skin from pregnancy are also top candidates. Individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight may also benefit from procedures that tighten skin in other areas of the body such a Brachioplasty (tightening of loose skin on arms), Thigh Lift, and Circumferential Body Lift. 

Liposuction is part of the tummy tuck process and gives us the ability to fine tune the changes made in your shape.  With a tummy tuck we can see the following improvements:

  • Sculpt the subcutaneous fat to better reflect the underlying muscular shape.
  • The waist line is optimized and slimmed down.
  • Excess skin is tightened. This process often results in a large reduction in stretch marks.
  • Muscular weakness and separation are corrected if necessary, umbilical hernias repaired.

Tummy Tuck Technique

The tummy tuck procedure is performed in an outpatient surgical center. You will be asleep under the care of a board certified anesthesiologist. The procedure takes 2-3 hours to complete. You are then transported to recovery, and then you are able to go home and sleep in your own bed or easy chair. You will need assistance for the first couple of days and you will need someone to drive you home.

At the beginning of the procedure, liposuction is used to thin the underlying fat and trim the waist line. An incision is then performed to remove the excess skin. The incision used goes from hip to hip, and generally falls under the underwear or panty line. In women, this scar is exactly the same level as the horizontal c-section scar. Once the musculature is exposed, corrections of muscular separation or small hernias are repaired. (This is rarely necessary.) The skin is tightened and re-draped, the belly button is preserved, and it may be re-shaped if necessary.  Drains are placed to reduce swelling or fluid collections. These small tubes are temporary and are removed a few days after surgery.

Recovery Process

Due to the infusion of a long acting numbing medicine during the procedure, what you can expect is more a sensation of tightness, and mild soreness, but no acute pain. You will be able to return to activities about your home with minimal limitation. For the first week the main inconvenience is dealing with the drain tubes. You can remove your post surgical abdominal binder and shower, we will provide a lanyard to which you can attach the drain bulbs. After the drains are removed, life quickly returns to normal.

Return to Work

Tummy tuck patients may be ready to return to work in about 2 weeks, although strenuous activity will need to be limited for 4 to 6 weeks

Combined procedures:

 Some individuals elect to take advantage of the fact that they will be under anesthesia to have additional procedures performed. The most common are

 

 Often Asked

Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck?

Men and women who have excess, loose skin on the abdomen that cannot be addressed by weight loss and exercise are candidates for the procedure.  You should be at or near your optimal weight because tummy tuck is not weight loss surgery.  This procedure is intended for people who have already optimized their health and shape through healthy eating and exercise habits who have been left with excess skin due to pregnancy, bariatric surgery, or other weight loss.   Patients who are smokers, have diabetes, or other have underlying health issues are not candidates for this procedure due to health risks and potential wound healing issues.

How much does a tummy tuck cost?

Depending on the needs of the patient and the extent of correction needed, the usual price ranges from $7,500 for a standard tummy tuck to up to $9,500 for an extended tummy tuck. Financing options are available.

What is an extended tummy tuck?

An extended tummy tuck is a tummy tuck with a longer incision, extending past the hips. An extended tummy tuck is recommended for patients who have excess skin beyond the abdomen, but who do not need or want a circumferential body lift.  A patient with excess skin beyond the hips is a good candidate for an extended tummy tuck because a standard tummy tuck would result in “dog ears” or excess skin sitting on the hips.  An extended tummy tuck takes longer to perform and generally costs between $8500-$9500.  

Is liposuction included in a tummy tuck procedure?

Yes.  It is part of our standard protocol for abdominal sculpting.

What areas are treated with liposuction?

Liposuction of the flanks (love handles) and area midline above the belly button is included as part of the tummy tuck procedure.  Liposuction can remove subcutaneous fat (just under the skin), but if you have visceral fat (intra-abdominal fat that surrounds the organs) below your stomach muscles, that cannot be removed via liposuction.  The only way to eliminate visceral fat is through diet and exercise.

Can the mons pubis be liposuctioned at the same time?

Although this is possible, we do not perform liposuction of the mons pubis at the same time as a tummy tuck.  Many patients do not require work to be done on the mons to achieve an excellent tummy tuck result.  Additionally, a liposuctioned mons acts as a collection pocket for body fluid.  The result is tremendous swelling that takes weeks to resolve.   For patients who are concerned about mons fullness, we will assess the situation at 6 weeks after the tummy tuck procedure.  Generally this can be treated as a separate procedure under local anesthesia with minor liposuction and skin tuck after the tummy tuck has healed.  There is an additional fee for mons fullness treatment and pricing varies depending on the extent of liposuction and skin involved.

Is tummy tuck an alternative to diet and exercise?

Tummy tuck is not a weight loss surgery. Individuals who are significantly overweight are not candidates. The surgery is intended for people who have optimized their health and shape though healthy dietary and exercise habits, and are left with unsightly excess skin and loose tissues unresponsive to the body’s natural recovery process.

I plan on having more children – will another pregnancy reverse the result?

Though it is possible to have more children after a tummy tuck, Dr Camp would advise you to hold off on having the surgery until you are certain that you are done adding to your family. The stretching of the abdomen due to pregnancy will widen the scar tissue and may result in lax skin requiring additional surgery.

Are the abdominal muscles always tightened?

No. If there is a hernia or separation of muscles this will be repaired during the procedure. However, if there is no abnormality in the abdominal muscle structure, sutures are not placed to tighten the abdomen. This spares the patient the discomfort of sutures in the musculature, and reduces the chance of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

What can I expect in terms of pain?

At Echelon Surgical Specialists, we have a protocol to manage discomfort after tummy tuck surgery and speed recovery.  During your procedure, a long acting numbing medication will be injected into the surgical site that will keep the area numb for about 72 hours.  During this time frame, most patients rate their pain level around a 3 out of 10.  With this medication helping to ease discomfort during the immediate recovery period, patients are able to walk around inside the house, use the bathroom, and sleep in bed.  The slow release pain medication provides enough pain relief that many patients do not need to use oral pain medication at all or only need it sparingly during the recovery period.

What can I expect for recovery?

You can find our complete after care instructions here.  During your complimentary consultation, Dr Camp will review what you do for work and make a recommendation on how much time to take off depending on the nature of your work.  You will have drains in place for one week after surgery.  For patients with a typical desk job, many will return to work 10 days after surgery.  Dr Camp operates on Thursdays, and drains are removed one week later on Friday.  Many patients are able to return to work by the next Monday after drain removal.  If you work in an environment prone to bacteria such as a gym, daycare, or nursing home Dr Camp will recommend taking more time off before returning to work.  If your position includes heavy lifting, twisting, turning, or other physical activity, Dr Camp may recommend that you return to work with restrictions.  Most patients are ready to return to full physical activity (including working out) by 6 weeks post-op.