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Skin can become stretched due to pregnancy or weight gain. In addition, older patients may find that their skin has lost some of its elasticity over time. Fortunately, skin laxity can be corrected through plastic surgery. Atlanta area plastic surgeon Thomas Lintner, MD offers patients exceptional abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery. During a personal consultation, Dr. Lintner discusses the abdominoplasty options available to meet individual patient needs.
Despite what you find on the internet, not all “tummy tuck’ procedures are the same. There are many different options for recontouring the abdomen. Dr. Lintner meets with patients to address the differences between full tummy tuck, mini tummy tuck, and panniculectomy. Since the length of recovery time, the cost, and the amount of scarring can vary among the three procedures, Dr. Lintner wants to ensure that each patient decides upon the appropriate procedure for his or her individual needs.
I am very pleased with the whole experience of my surgery. I appreciate each and every one of you at Dr. Lintner’s office. Your professionalism and the fact that I felt truly cared for were very important to me. Thank you.
K.R. Tummy Tuck Patient, Rosewell GA
Am I A Candidate?
Ideal tummy tuck candidates should be in good overall health and close to their desired weight. Dr. Lintner may advise patients who still have a significant amount of weight to lose to wait until they are closer to their goal before considering this procedure. Panniculectomy with abdominoplasty can tighten abdominal muscles and eliminate excess skin that has resulted from weight loss and/or pregnancy. These procedures can also be combined with liposuction to reduce any remaining pockets of stubborn fat.
Benefits of an Abdominoplasty
Whatever the reason may be for patients to choose a tummy tuck, there are a number of advantages that can come along with it, such as:
- Reducing excess abdominal skin
- Tightening the abdominal skin for a visually appealing, smooth look
- Tightening abdominal muscles that have separated
- Removing stubborn fat around the abdomen
- An improved waistline
- A better fit for certain types of clothing
- A renewed self-confidence
Mini Tummy Tuck
During a mini tummy tuck, excess skin below the belly button will be removed and abdominal muscles can be tightened. There is less surgery involved compared to a full tummy tuck procedure, which makes a quicker recovery possible. This is an ideal treatment for patients who are satisfied with their upper abdomen, but need help with the lower abdominal region. This technique can be beneficial for women who have had a hysterectomy scar with a small pooch above the scar.
Full Tummy Tuck
Traditionally, in a full tummy tuck, both the upper and lower abdomen sections are targeted. Excess skin is removed, and the abdominal wall is tightened from the pubic area and upwards to just below the chest. Remaining skin is then stretched and reattached to achieve a more toned appearance. Any incisions are typically concealed along the bikini line, making resulting scars easier to cover.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
Our office strives to make a safe and healthy recovery possible for patients. Many circumstances will vary based off of individual needs, such as post-surgical pain, but most patients will need one to two weeks off from routine duties. Below, we have provided some recommended guidelines that can help with this process.
After tummy tuck surgery, some swelling and bruising is normal, but will gradually lessen over time. Patients will likely be able to go home the day of the procedure to begin their recovery period. The night of the surgery, Dr. Lintner expects patients to be up and around, approximately every two hours (while awake), to help with blood flow and decrease the risk of post surgical complications. He might also recommend wearing a compression garment to minimize swelling and promote the body’s natural healing process.
We recommend sleeping in a recliner, with a pillow placed under the knees for extra support. Twenty-four hours after the surgery has taken place, a warm shower is suggested. To make your recovery as comfortable as possible, Dr. Lintner will prescribe pain management medications, as well as antibiotics, anti-nausea medication, and muscle relaxers. Before beginning any demanding or strenuous exercises, individuals should wait at least six weeks, but short walks can be taken to avoid any blood clots.
Dr. Lintner takes the greatest caution to make residual scarring as inconspicuous as possible. Over time, scars will fade and can usually be hidden under clothing or swimwear.
Tummy Tuck FAQs
How Much Discomfort Can I Expect Following Surgery?
As with any surgery, some discomfort can be expected. Depending upon which procedure a patient opts for, soreness levels can vary. Dr. Lintner will likely prescribe an oral medication to help relieve some of the pain. If individuals follow provided post-op guidelines, proper healing should take place.
What is the Difference Between a Full Tummy Tuck and a Mini Tummy Tuck?
The biggest difference between these two surgeries is where they begin and end on the abdomen. A mini tummy tuck addresses the area between the bellybutton and pubic bone. A full tummy tuck concentrates on the area from the pubic bone up towards the bottom of the chest. Since there is less surgery involved with a mini abdominoplasty, the recovery time is generally quicker. Dr. Lintner can review both options during the individual consultation to discuss which might be best, based on the patient’s aesthetic goals.
Will I Need Liposuction, or Can Abdominoplasty Help Me Achieve My Goals?
While a tummy tuck is usually ideal for patients whose main goal is to get rid of loose skin in the abdominal area, including liposuction as part of the procedure might be beneficial in some cases. If stubborn fat is the only concern, liposuction alone may be recommended. During a patient consultation, Dr. Lintner can evaluate any aesthetic goals the patient might have and help them determine if abdominoplasty, liposuction, or a combination of the two is most appropriate.
When Can I Resume Eating?
Patients can generally resume their normal diet the day after surgery. Until the patient knows how their stomach will react to the anesthesia and pain medications, we encourage starting with meals similar to what you might feed a sick child, such as bland foods and chicken noodle soup. After abdominoplasty, many patients report feeling they are unable to eat the same volume of food they ate preoperatively. To encourage optimal healing, we recommend diets high in protein and healthy fats.
What Will My Belly Button Look Like?
A patient’s belly button might look different during the first few weeks of the recovery process — but it is still the belly button your mother gave you; a new one will not be created. The incision placed inside the hole will heal, leaving a natural-looking belly button.
What If I’m Planning on Getting Pregnant?
For women who are planning to have a family in the future, it is best to wait until after childbearing to have this surgery. After pregnancy, there is typically excess skin remaining in the midsection, and the abdominal muscles may be overstretched (or possibly torn). These side effects can affect the outcome of a previous abdominoplasty, so while this doesn’t happen to every woman, it is common enough that it should be considered before undergoing this procedure.
If a patient has already had a tummy tuck prior to becoming pregnant, it should not affect the pregnancy, but the patient may desire a revisional abdominoplasty after they give birth. Individual needs can be discussed with Dr. Lintner during a one-on-one consultation. For more information on this topic, please read Dr. Lintner’s blog post regarding abdominoplasty and pregnancy.
If you are interested in abdominoplasty, contact Advanced Aesthetic Surgery today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lintner or ask any questions you may have about this treatment. During a patient’s one-on-one evaluation and consultation, Dr. Lintner can address your questions and concerns, and can help you determine if tummy tuck is the best procedure for your individual needs.