How to Finally Get Back a Flat Belly!
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
It is no secret that abdominal fat is particularly problematic for many individuals. The reasons are varied, for some women after pregnancy they find it hard to reduce their abdominal fat and restore their tummy to flat and firmer state.
Also, individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight, find that their abdominal skin has stretched and is sagging.
An abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) can address, in one operation, all the things that contribute to the belly you hate. This is one of the most powerful operations done by plastic surgeons. The results can be transformational, both in terms of appearance and function. This single procedure allows plastic surgeons to:
- Remove loose excess skin
- Tighten the core abdominal muscles
- Contour fat in both the abdomen and flanks
- Restore a more youthful-looking belly button
These changes are typically hard to achieve by any amount of diet and exercise.
Dr. Thomas Leach, board-certified plastic surgeon, recommends a tummy tuck surgery for men and women who have weakened or separated abdominal muscles.
Are You A Candidate for A Tummy Tuck and Why?
Candidates for this procedure are usually women who have carried pregnancies (especially multiple pregnancies or twins), men and women who have lost significant weight, and occasionally individuals that carry extra weight in their abdomen that they simply cannot lose.
During surgery excess skin is removed, and the skin is tightened to reveal a flatter and more contoured or toned appearance. It should be noted that unsightly stretch marks can also be removed if they are within the skin that is targeted for removal. In some cases, Dr. Leach may recommend liposuction, or even Smartlipo, if there are excess deposits of abdominal fat to achieve optimal results.
Why a Tummy Tuck?
The core muscles of the abdomen can get stretched out either by the pressure of excess intra-abdominal fat or pregnancy. These muscles are tightened during a tummy tuck by sutures that resemble an internal permanent corset. This can reduce the abdominal girth by several inches and contour a pleasing thinner and more defined waist. This procedure typically allows Dr. Leach to remove all the skin below the belly button…where stretch marks usually the worst!
If you are interested in achieving your cosmetic goal of having a flatter abdomen and desire to look more attractive in your clothing a tummy tuck may be right for you.
How Is A Tummy Tuck Surgery Performed?
Dr. Leach will make a long incision from hipbone to hipbone, just above the pubic area. Since a tummy tuck requires a lengthy incision, the scar is planned to lie below undergarments worn by each specific patient. Dr. Leach has his patients bring in their undergarment or bathing suit they wear the day of the surgery so he can mark where to place the incision. The incision scar can be planned to go below the marked line.
A second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue. The skin flap is then stretched down, and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for the navel, which is then stitched in place. Finally, the incisions will be stitched, and the dressing will be applied. Dr. Leach has recently begun using a “progressive tension technique” where the abdominal wall is sewn back down to the muscle layers. This not only improves the final scar, but also allows Dr. Leach to avoid having to use drains in most patients.
Prior to re-draping the abdominal skin, liposuction can be done, if needed. Liposuction thins down the upper abdominal wall to accentuate the freshly flattened core. Liposuction can also be done through the lateral edges of the incision to reach into the flanks to accentuate the new smaller waist. The last step of this operation is to re-contour the belly button into a more youthful appearance with a hooded upper portion and drawn down lower portion.
A bonus feature to most abdominoplasties is a functional improvement. The muscle repair fixes what is called a diastasis rectus – this is where the large vertical abdominal muscles (the rectus abdominus) have separated in the midline from the increased intra-abdominal pressure. These muscles are not as efficient when this occurs. This is corrected as part of your abdominoplasty and not only flattens your belly and thins your waist but also makes you stronger through your core. Most patients note a significant improvement in core strength, which also helps your back after a full recovery.
Complete tummy tuck surgery usually takes three to four hours, depending on the extent of work required. Partial tummy tucks may take an hour or two.
What Is the Recovery Process After Tummy Tuck Surgery?
Dr. Leach will discuss your post-operative care plan with you. Recovery time from a tummy tuck procedure varies, depending on factors such as:
- Type and extent of tummy tuck
- Your age
- Your overall health
- If another procedure is performed with a tummy tuck, i.e., liposuction
Typically, for the first few days, your abdomen will probably be swollen, and you are likely to feel some pain and discomfort, which can be controlled by medication. Most patients spend one night in the hospital after this procedure.
Dr. Leach will give you instructions for showering and changing your dressing. Patients are advised to start walking as soon as possible. Patients are provided with an abdominal binder (compression belt) which will help support and protect the repair for the first two to three weeks.
It may take you weeks or months to feel like your old self again. However, if you start out in top physical condition, with strong abdominal muscles, recovery from a tummy tuck will be much faster. Some people return to work after two weeks, while others take three or four weeks to rest and recuperate.
Contact Dr. Thomas A. Leach is a Board Certified Cosmetic, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon today. He has served the Princeton, New Jersey area for more than 29 years. His years of experience, surgical skills and his caring and warm demeanor will reassure that you have selected an expert surgeon who can help you achieve optimal body shaping results.
Abdominoplasty Success Story
“I visited Dr. Leach for an abdominoplasty consultation. I had had an emergency csection when I was pregnant with my 1st child about 25 years ago. It was a vertical incision that ran from my belly button to my hip area. After 4 more pregnancies after that, my stomach was a mess. It looked like I had a butt in the front and no amount of sit-ups or planks could have toned my stomach muscles. If I could give Dr. Leach a million stars I would… he is a gifted surgeon and a truly wonderful doctor. He and his assisting surgeon saw me everyday I was in hospital and answered any questions I had. Pre-op and post-op care was more than I could have asked for. And the results? I am so happy I finally did this. My stomach is flat and I already feel that I am stronger. I think plastic surgery is something you do for yourself and everyone’s reasons are very personal. I’m glad I did this for myself and I’m so glad I found a brilliant surgeon to do it!”
– Anonymous Happy Patient on Healthgrades®