What is an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck surgery)?
One of the most satisfying procedures in plastic surgery for both men and women is an abdominoplasty, commonly known as a “tummy tuck surgery.” This surgical procedure addresses two specific aesthetic goals in achieving a more slim figure:
1) to remove excess fat deposits and loose skin of the abdomen, and
2) to tighten the internal fascia (or “girdle”) of the abdominal wall. The abdomen has historically been the most difficult area to improve with simple diet, healthy lifestyle, and exercise.
In addition, certain life changes, such as pregnancy and rapid weight loss, may weaken the internal support of the abdominal wall or cause excessive redundancy of the skin. Liposuction is usually unhelpful in these types of individuals. However, when performing a tummy tuck surgery in conjunction with liposuction is frequently done in order to shape and define the torso. In the correct patient, the satisfaction rate can be quite high. However, it is important to understand that the trade-off is a relatively long scar in the lower abdomen which is usually covered by underwear or a swimsuit.
There are variations of a tummy tuck surgery that may be more amenable to different patients. A common alternative is the “mini-tummy tuck.” This is not indicated in all tummy tuck patients and typically is best used in patients who have a stubborn lower abdominal “pooch” between the belly button and the pubis. Another variation of an abdominoplasty is the panniculectomy. This usually addresses a large, overhanging section of skin and fat below the belly button and occurs most often in overweight patients or those who have experienced rapid or significant weight loss, such as following gastric bypass surgery. The goal of this type of surgical procedure is to relieve the pain, weight, and infections that can result from such a large mass folding over the beltline.
An abdominoplasty may be combined with other procedures, such as breast augmentation, breast reduction, or breast lift. These combined breast and body procedures are frequently referred to as a “mommy makeover.”
During the initial consultation with Dr. Panossian, the various options for abdominoplasty will be reviewed, with a particular focus on each individual’s best option.
What is the recovery from a tummy tuck procedure like?
Following an abdominoplasty, wearing a compression garment or abdominal binder will be required. Use of this support garment will be required for approximately 6 weeks. Your abdomen will be swollen and feel tight. An “old lady” type posture with flexion at the hips will be required for the first week following surgery. Walking is encouraged on the first postoperative day. A short course of antibiotics may also be provided.
Stitches on the skin will be removed within 7 days, while deeper sutures will be removed in 2 to 3 weeks. Special tape may be used on the incision itself for several weeks following surgery. If drains were placed, they will be removed between 2 and 7 days following surgery.
You will start feeling like your old self 3 to 6 weeks after surgery. A minimum time off from work of 2 weeks is highly recommended. Light exercise is recommended, however, strenuous exercise/regular exercise, heavy lifting, or sports are to be avoided for 6 weeks. Also, keep a healthy diet to avoid any weight fluctuations/weight gain and ensure the longevity of your results.
The actual scars may appear to worsen over the initial month following surgery. However, this is normal and can be expected to improve over the course of 6 to 9 months. Scars sometimes require up to a year or more to flatten and fade, but they are typically concealed under most clothing, including bathing suits. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Panossian’s decades of experience performing abdominoplasty and his unique scar management protocol will help you achieve the best possible results.
Why choose Dr Panossian
- He received his medical education at Tufts University School of Medicine.
- Graduated at the top of his class at UCLA, receiving Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude honors.
- Was accepted into an elite combined general surgery and plastic surgery residency at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
- Completed subspecialty training in craniofacial surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Harvard Medical School.
- Was mentored by Dr. Ron Zuker in the practice of facial paralysis reconstruction. This prestigious fellowship position was available to only one surgeon in the United States.
- Is affiliated with various charitable and educational organizations, including Operation Smile and Mending Kids.
- Is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the highly selective American Association of Plastic Surgeons, reserved for only a select group of individuals nationally who have demonstrated excellence in academic plastic surgery.
- Holds memberships in several other professional societies including the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery.
- He serves on the Board of Directors for Mending Kids and the Gondobay Manga Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of lives in Sierra Leone.
- Has been nominated by his peers annually since 2012 as a “Super Doctor.”
- Served as an expert medical consultant and appeared on The Doctors, Grey’s Anatomy, and Nip/Tuck.
- Has been featured as “Top Doctor” in US News and World Report, Pasadena Magazine, and Los Angeles Magazine.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tummy Tuck
The average cost of a tummy tuck surgery will vary depending on several factors. Additional cost factors to consider include the surgeon’s experience, operating facility fees, anesthesia fees, and post-operative care.
Geographic location also plays a role in determining the overall cost, with larger cities typically having higher prices compared to smaller towns. It is important to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Panossian in Pasadena, CA, to get an accurate estimate for your specific case.
It is recommended to be at a stable weight before undergoing a tummy tuck surgery. Losing excess weight beforehand can help optimize the results of the procedure by ensuring that there is less extra skin to address. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and exercise plan post-surgery will help preserve the longevity of your results. Consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Panossian in Pasadena, CA, can provide personalized recommendations on the best approach for achieving your desired outcome.
It is typically recommended to wear a compression garment for 4-6 weeks following a tummy tuck surgery. This garment helps reduce swelling, improve blood circulation, and support the healing process. Wearing the compression garment for the recommended amount of time can aid in achieving optimal results and ensuring a comfortable recovery. Following your surgeon’s instructions on wearing the compression garment will help promote proper healing and minimize complications during the days of recovery.
Tummy tuck scars are permanent but can fade over time. While they may never completely disappear, proper scar care and following post-operative instructions from your plastic surgeon can help minimize the appearance of the scar. Techniques such as scar massage and silicone sheeting can also aid in improving the overall look of the scar. However, it is important to note that some individuals may still have a noticeable scar after surgery, which could be an aesthetic concern for some patients.
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen, tightens the abdominal muscles, and reshapes the waistline. It is ideal for individuals with loose skin and muscle laxity in the abdominal area. On the other hand, liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure that targets specific areas of stubborn fat deposits through various liposuction techniques.
Liposuction is typically performed as an outpatient procedure and is best suited for patients who have good skin elasticity but desire fat reduction in localized areas. While both procedures can enhance the body’s contour, they address different concerns and are often combined to achieve optimal results.
If you live near Pasadena, CA, Dr. Panossian offers tummy tuck among its services, and is conveniently located at 39 Congress St., Suite 402 Pasadena, CA 91105
Last modified by Dr. Andre Panossian