Question: I am a little nervous about having a tummy tuck. Is this something I really need after having kids?
Dallas plastic surgeon Dr. Kenkel answers:
Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) in my Dallas office is a very common procedure to help reverse some of the body undergoes following pregnancy.
Here are 5 things to remember when considering a tummy tuck procedure:
#1. A tummy tuck is not a quick-fix operation for someone who is obese. The procedure is geared towards reversing some of the things that happen to the body during and after pregnancy. Patients should be weight-stable or working hard to eliminate any weight gain associated with pregnancy and after weight loss. Eating right, being active, and embracing the important lifestyle changes necessary to maintain one’s weight is critical to the success of the procedure. Weight stability is very important prior to considering any contouring procedure.
#2. What will a tummy tuck change? There are 4 things that can give you fullness of the abdominal area:
- Loose skin
- Weakness of separation of the abdominal wall in the midline (diastasis)
- Intra-abdominal fat (fat around the intestines)
A tummy tuck can address the first 3. The last item is seen in some men and women who are overweight and store fat on the insides. The only way to reverse this is to embrace a diet that will allow you to reduce fat on the inside and out.
#3. How do you know what is best for me? Like with anything we do, we will see you and analyze what is important to allow you to achieve the results you are looking for. There is not a “cookie cutter” approach or way to achieve this. Each operation is tailored to that person’s needs.
- The length of the incision is proportionate to the degree of loose skin you have. In some cases, this can be a shorter scar; in others it may require a lengthy incision. Regardless, we try to conceal the incision as best as we can. It is important to note that there is often a need for an incision around the umbilicus (belly button). This is required to help bring your belly button out after the skin is advanced.
- We typically perform some liposuction on the abdomen as well as the hips to help circumferentially reduce the waist.
- We use sutures to tighten the layer on top of the muscle, called the fascia. We do not cut any muscles.
#4. Will I have to have a drain tube? The short answer is no. With advanced techniques focusing on decreasing tissue injury and helping us remove the space created with the surgery, we have been able to eliminate drains for almost all patients. It does require you to wear a compression binder (like a corset) day and night for the first few weeks. Most patients feel better with the binder on, so this typically is not a problem. After the first few weeks, many patients transition to a Spanx®-type garment or something a bit more snug for support when out and about.
#5. How is the recovery? A tummy tuck is one of the bigger procedures we perform. It does require you to spend the night with us. This helps us make sure you are up and moving, as well as give us an opportunity to optimize your pain control. We typically let you go home the following day. You will need to be on some pain medication fairly consistently during that first week. Once we have you eating a regular diet, we often start ibuprofen (if you can take that), which is a great pain reliever. We also inject a long-acting pain reliever in the operating room while you are asleep. We hope to get you off of most pain medications by the end of the second week.
Other important things to remember:
- By the end of the first week, you will be standing up straight.
- It will be at least 2 weeks until you can drive.
- It will be at least 3 weeks to get your heart rate up and exercise.
- It will be 6 weeks until you can do sit-ups.
- It will take about 6 months to achieve your final result.
- The incisions can take a full year to mature.
I tell every patient that body contouring surgery is a partnership between the patient and I, and we are both responsible for 50% of the outcome. My job is to care for you and execute the best possible operation for you to achieve your desired result. Your job is to follow our protocol for preoperative preparation and recovery. Most importantly, as a patient, you must get back on a program that embraces the important lifestyle changes we described previously.
Check out tummy tuck/abdominoplasty before-and-after photos here!
Together, we can allow you to look as good as you feel!
Check out more patient testimonials here!
If you want to learn more about how you can benefit from a tummy tuck, you can request a consultation online or call (214) 645-2353 to set up your personal consultation at our Dallas practice.