Tummy tucks are one of the most sought-after plastic surgery procedures. After childbirth or weight loss, you can be left with loose skin, a bulging belly, stretch marks, or damaged abdominal muscles. Diet and exercise are often not enough to correct these.
A tummy tuck from Dr. Hayley Brown at Desert Hills Plastic Surgery Center could help put the finishing touches on the flat, toned stomach you've worked so hard to achieve. Dr. Brown serves Las Vegas, Henderson, and nearby areas of Nevada. Call (702) 260-7707 today to schedule a tummy tuck consultation.
Common Reasons for Getting a Tummy Tuck
It's common for your metabolism to decrease as you age. This, combined with the loss of skin elasticity that accompanies aging, can make it more difficult to maintain a flat, toned stomach through diet and exercise alone.
In addition, the following factors can make it harder to achieve the abdomen you want:
- Weight loss: Significant weight loss leads to stretched, loose, hanging skin around your abdominal area. While some of this may recede naturally, most of it is only removable through surgery.
- Pregnancy: In addition to the stretch marks and C-section scars that you may have as a result of pregnancy, the process can also stretch and tear your abdominal muscles. A tummy tuck will repair them.
- Genetics: Some people are predisposed to store fat in their midsection, regardless of their diet or how much they exercise.
Benefits of a Tummy Tuck
Dr. Brown has had four pregnancies. She can identify with mothers who worked hard to have and raise children, yet struggle to regain the body they had before childbirth. A tummy tuck can provide benefits such as:
- Increased confidence and self-esteem
- A flat, toned stomach
- Restored appearance following birth or weight loss
- Improved appearance in bikinis, lingerie, and form-fitting clothes
- Narrower waistline
- Repaired abdominal muscles
- Removed stretch marks and C-section scars
- Eliminated rashes and irritation from overhanging folds of abdominal skin
Am I a Tummy Tuck Candidate?
In general, good tummy tuck candidates:
- Are in good overall health
- Have maintained a stable weight for a year or more
- Have excess abdominal skin or diet-and-exercise-resistant fatty deposits
- Want to restore their pre-pregnancy body
- Have lost weight and want to complete their aesthetic transformation
- Want to repair damaged abdominal muscles
- Have stretch marks or abdominal scars they want to eliminate
- Don't smoke, or are willing to quit smoking two to three months before the procedure, as well as throughout recovery. Nicotine constricts small blood vessels and restricts blood supply to tissue that is vital for your healing process. Nicotine also increases your risk of developing an infection or other complications.
Tummy Tuck After Weight Loss
It's important to note that a tummy tuck is not a weight-loss procedure. If you have abdominal protuberance related to intra-abdominal distention, commonly known as a "beer belly," your bulging abdomen is the result of fatty deposits building up around your organs. A tummy tuck will not be able to correct that.
Instead, a tummy tuck is the ideal procedure for someone who's already lost a significant amount of weight. That may lead to loose, hanging skin in your abdominal region, which no amount of diet or exercise will be able to fix. A tummy tuck can help eliminate that skin and put the finishing touches on your efforts.
Tummy Tuck After Pregnancy and Childbirth
Your tummy tuck will address many of the physical changes caused by pregnancy and childbirth. In addition to eliminating loose skin, stretch marks, and C-section scars, the procedure can repair abdominal muscles that were stretched or damaged throughout the childbearing process.
You should also talk to Dr. Brown if you plan to have children in the future. This is still possible after undergoing a tummy tuck, but it's generally best to wait for the surgery until you're finished having kids. A tummy tuck will have no adverse effects on your pregnancy. However, your bodily changes during those nine months can undo many of the results that your procedure achieved. You may need a corrective follow-up after you give birth.
What is the Tummy Tuck Procedure?
The tummy tuck is an outpatient procedure performed in our fully accredited surgery suite. It takes about two to three hours, and you'll be under general anesthesia. Dr. Brown and her assistants will make you as comfortable as possible. The procedure will generally follow these steps:
- Dr. Brown will make a horizontal incision across your lower abdomen, below your belly button and just above your pubic region. The length and shape of the incision will depend on how much excess skin Dr. Brown is removing.
- She will also make an oval incision around your belly button to separate it from your abdominal skin.
- Once Dr. Brown lifts your abdominal skin, she'll repair any weak or damaged muscles using permanent sutures.
- As needed, Dr. Brown will liposuction adjacent areas such as your hips, flanks, or pubic area to remove excess fat deposits.
- Dr. Brown will pull your abdominal skin down and trim the excess. She'll eliminate any C-section scars and stretch marks below your belly button. Stretch marks above your belly button will be significantly less visible.
- Then, she'll suture your abdominal skin back to your pubic area and create a new opening for your belly button.
- Dr. Brown will pop your belly button through the new hole, then suture it into place.
- The scar from your belly button incision should be well hidden. You'll be able to cover the scar across your lower abdomen with underwear and bikini bottoms.
Full vs. Mini Tummy Tuck
Dr. Brown performs two different tummy tuck procedures. A full tummy tuck will address issues with your entire abdominal area. It will involve a bigger incision, longer recovery, and larger scar, but the results will be more dramatic.
A mini tummy tuck is useful if you have low amounts of excess skin that needs to be removed. It will have a smaller incision, less prominent scar, and shorter recovery period than a full tummy tuck.
Dr. Brown recommends mini tummy tucks for patients who:
- Have minimal amounts of loose, sagging skin
- Are primarily concerned with addressing the region below the belly button
- Don't have stretched or damaged abdominal muscles
- Have little excess fat
Recovery After a Tummy Tuck
Dr. Brown will install a pain pump immediately after your surgery to provide a constant slow drip of numbing medication. She'll also prescribe you oral painkillers and apply a surgical dressing that you'll wear for six weeks. You may also have drain tubes installed to help keep fluid out of your incision. If so, Dr. Brown will remove them after about a week.
For the first week after your procedure, you should walk slightly hunched over to help keep tension off the incision area. You'll also want to sleep sitting upright, either in bed propped up by pillows or in a reclining chair. If you don't have a recliner at home, Dr. Brown can arrange to have one dropped off at, and picked up from, your house.
There will be some discomfort and swelling after your procedure. The pain should subside after about two weeks. The swelling may persist for as long as six weeks. As your inflammation diminishes, your results will become more and more apparent.
You'll need to take some time off from your workout routine, but as soon as you feel up to it, start going for light walks every three or four hours. This will help prevent the formation of blood clots and speed up your recovery. After six weeks, you'll be able to resume your fitness regimen gradually.
Most of Dr. Brown's patients return to work two to three weeks after surgery. If you have a physically demanding job, you may need to take more time off. If you're getting your tummy tuck following childbirth, you may also need help caring for your children for the first week or two after your procedure.
Beyond these general guidelines, tummy tuck recovery can vary from person to person. Dr. Brown will discuss it with you extensively, and it's essential to follow her instructions to ensure the best possible outcome.
Combining a Tummy Tuck With Other Procedures
Tummy tucks can be combined with other cosmetic surgeries to help give you a full-body rejuvenation. Depending on the changes your body went through during pregnancy and childbirth, you may be interested in a mommy makeover, which is a customized set of procedures designed help to restore your pre-pregnancy body.
Mommy makeovers typically include a combination of the following procedures:
Schedule Your Tummy Tuck Consultation Today
Dr. Brown is dedicated to helping her patients look and feel their best. She and her team are energetic and compassionate. They want you to have a tummy you're proud to show off. Dr. Brown serves Las Vegas, Henderson, and nearby areas of Nevada. Call (702) 260-7707 today to schedule a consultation.