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Tummy Tuck

Tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) is an extremely popular procedure at our practice and throughout the country. It involves not only the removal of excess fat and skin from the lower abdomen, but it also includes tightening of the internal muscles of the abdominal wall (rectus diastasis). Ultimately, tummy tuck surgery from our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Max Lehfeldt, can produce a flatter, firmer abdomen and address concerns that simply cannot be resolved with traditional diet and exercise routines.

What Are the Benefits of Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Tummy tuck surgery offers numerous aesthetic benefits for both women and men looking to recontour their abdomen, including:

Dr. Max Lehfeldt can meet with you for an initial consultation to evaluate your concerns and talk about your treatment goals. If tummy tuck surgery is right for you, Dr. Lehfeldt can develop a customized treatment plan designed to meet your needs and result in beautiful new abdominal contours. Additionally, other procedures, such as liposuction and breast surgery, can often be combined with tummy tuck surgery for a more comprehensive makeover. In fact, tummy tuck surgery is one of the most frequently selected treatments to include in a full Mommy Makeover, which can address a number of aesthetic concerns for women who would like to restore their pre-pregnancy body.

Tummy Tuck and “Plication”

Often, following childbirth, patients may have a lower abdominal “pooch” that just won’t go away, even with a rigorous schedule of diet and exercise. The abdominal “pooch”, or diastasis, is likely due to the lower abdominal muscles separating as a result of a full-term pregnancy. Even women who have not carried children can sometimes develop this frustrating abdominal “pooch.” Unfortunately, no amount of abdominal wall crunches will fix this problem. The only way to get the muscles back in alignment and permanently fix the “pooch” is to surgically tighten them back up. This specialized surgical tightening is known as “plication.” During your consultation, Dr. Lehfeldt will evaluate not only the excess skin and fat of your abdominal wall, but will also determine if plication and tightening of the abdominal wall muscles is right for you. Only through this approach can patients really achieve a superior post-operative contour.

Will I Need Abdominoplasty or Liposuction to Achieve My Goals?

Both abdominoplasty (tummy tuck surgery) and liposuction are popular and effective treatments for abdominal contouring. In many cases, liposuction is an additional component of tummy tuck surgery, allowing our plastic surgeon to remove excess fat cells that, along with excess skin, may be contributing to the aesthetic concern in the abdomen. Some patients may only require one or the other. If excess skin and loose musculature is the primary cause of the concern, abdominoplasty alone may be sufficient. If the concern is mainly due to a collection of excess fat in the abdominal region, liposuction may be all that is necessary to produce an improved contour. Dr. Lehfeldt can discuss each procedure with you during the consultation and determine whether abdominoplasty, liposuction, or a combination of both is best for your unique needs.

Can a Tummy Tuck Get Rid of Stretch Marks?

A tummy tuck can completely eliminate stretch marks if they are present in a lower area of the abdomen where that skin is targeted for removal. In cases where stretch marks appear on upper regions of the abdomen or on the sides, a tummy tuck will likely not have a significant effect. If stretch marks are of particular concern to you and their location makes it virtually impossible for a tummy tuck to produce a noticeable improvement, Dr. Lehfeldt can talk with you about other treatments that may be ideal for diminishing their appearance.

Can I Get Pregnant After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

The tummy tuck procedure should not impact an individual’s ability to become pregnant or maintain a healthy pregnancy. However, the nature of pregnancy and childbearing may cause abdominal musculature to weaken and stretch, in addition to a loss of skin laxity and an accumulation of excess fat in the area. It is typically advisable for patients to wait until their family is decisively complete before considering a tummy tuck since a future pregnancy may reverse the results and have a significant effect on the final aesthetic outcome.

What Is the Tummy Tuck Procedure Like?

Tummy tuck surgery can often be performed as an outpatient procedure. General anesthesia will be required for this treatment. Although a full tummy tuck procedure typically requires a hip-to-hip incision above the pubic region, Dr. Lehfeldt takes pride in making sure that the resulting scar is as low, short, and as hidden as possible. Tummy tucks also often involve repositioning of the belly button to a new location. Dr. Lehfeldt works diligently to make this scar as unobtrusive as possible. After excess skin is removed, the better-quality upper abdominal skin that is not as affected by pregnancy and weight gain is then brought down to fill in the gap created when the poor-quality tissue is excised. The sculpting and reshaping of the abdominal wall that Dr. Lehfeldt performs with all his tummy tucks may even allow him to help enhance a more feminine hourglass shape. Ultimately, the removal of excess skin and the redraping of the remaining skin can create a much firmer and flatter look to the abdomen.

We ask that you wear a bathing suit bottom or underwear of your choice the morning of your tummy tuck surgery to help you and Dr. Lehfeldt customize the exact location and length of your incision. This attention to detail and to patient desires is part of what separates Dr. Lehfeldt from the rest!

Small Hernia Repair

Dr. Lehfeldt can even repair small hernias (umbilical and ventral hernias) simultaneously with tummy tuck surgery. In these “hybrid” cases (an insurance procedure for the hernia repair combined with cosmetic surgery for the tummy tuck), a patient’s insurance may help defray some of the cost of the tummy tuck procedure. (Dr. Lehfeldt will bill your insurance company separately for the insurance component of the procedure). Dr. Lehfeldt’s cosmetic surgery coordinator will help clarify if this is an option for you.

What Is the Tummy Tuck Recovery Process Like?

Patients undergoing tummy tuck will need anywhere from three to four weeks of recovery time. During those first couple of weeks, patients may need to sleep and walk slightly bent over to allow their bodies to heal. One to two drains may be required to evacuate normal post-operative fluid for about a week. An abdominal binder may also be used to help reduce the swelling faster and to help patients feel more comfortable.

EXPAREL® for Enhanced Comfort

exparel_logoNewTo facilitate the most comfortable post-operative experience, Dr. Lehfeldt uses EXPAREL® for all of his tummy tuck procedures. EXPAREL® is a specialized long-acting local anesthetic that helps control pain for up to three days after surgery. It is a state-of-the-art medication that can make a big difference during the recovery period. Dr. Lehfeldt believes that EXPAREL® is even more effective than implantable pain pumps since EXPAREL® allows for better widespread distribution of the local anesthetic and there are no additional tubes or catheters. The use of EXPAREL® is yet another innovation that Dr. Lehfeldt has added to his procedures to give you the absolute best surgical experience, comfort, and results possible.

How Noticeable Are Tummy Tuck Scars?

The most noticeable scar from a full tummy tuck surgery typically appears from one hip to the other just above the pubic area. Abdominoplasty requires major surgery and scarring from this procedure is inevitable; however, Dr. Lehfeldt is extensively experienced with this treatment and utilizes techniques that can make the resulting scar easily concealable under clothing, including swimwear. Additionally, tummy tuck scars should fade in appearance to some degree over time.

How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost?

The cost of tummy tuck surgery can vary significantly among individuals since this procedure is customized for each patient; therefore, the total price is often quite different depending on the particulars of the treatment plan. Factors that will be taken into account for the total cost of tummy tuck surgery include the complexity and extent of treatment, fees for the surgeon, operating facility, and anesthesia, whether additional procedures are being combined with tummy tuck surgery, and other components. Once your treatment plan has been developed, a member of our team here at Teleos Plastic Surgery will calculate an estimate of the full cost, including all associated expenses, and present it to you for review. We will be happy to discuss the many payment methods available at our practice, which include convenient plastic surgery financing options for qualified applicants.

Are There Tummy Tuck Alternatives?

The only truly effective way to eliminate loose skin and repair torn or stretched-out stomach muscles is a surgical abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). While there are claims that certain types of devices or compressive garments – such as the Tummy Tuck Belt® – can slim the appearance of the midsection and offer similar results to that of an abdominoplasty, the fact is that it is simply not possible for a compression product to create the same results or address the same concerns that a surgical tummy tuck can. Tummy tuck surgery removes excess skin, tightens the abdominal muscles, and re-drapes the abdominal skin for a firmer and flatter look. Non-surgical methods are not capable of achieving the same goals.

If your cosmetic desires are more focused on reducing stubborn fat in the midsection, there are some non-surgical alternatives that may provide sufficient results. Dr. Lehfeldt offers the FDA-cleared CoolSculpting® procedure to improve body contours around the abdomen by reducing mild to moderate bulges or pockets of belly fat. This treatment can be very effective for the right candidate. Dr. Lehfeldt can talk with you about your ultimate goals and help determine whether a procedure other than tummy tuck surgery may be ideal for your needs.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Tummy Tuck Surgery

Is a tummy tuck safe?

Although certain risks are possible with any surgery, the tummy tuck procedure is generally considered to be a safe procedure with a lower risk of complications when performed by an experienced and qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon. Risks of this procedure include bruising, excessive bleeding, swelling, pain, and infection; however, these risks can be mitigated by ensuring you’re an appropriate candidate for the surgery and carefully following post-care instructions to ensure proper healing. Additionally, Dr. Lehfeldt has performed this procedure many times and will take precautions designed to reduce the risk of potential complications.

Is tummy tuck surgery covered by insurance?

The goals of an abdominoplasty are generally considered to be a personal choice and aesthetic preference, rather than a medical concern, so insurance companies typically do not offer coverage for the procedure. However, Teleos Plastic Surgery offers a range of convenient payment options, including plastic surgery financing opportunities for qualified applicants via reputable third-party agencies, that can help patients bring tummy tuck surgery into their budget.

How can I reduce swelling after a tummy tuck?

To control swelling after tummy tuck surgery, it is usually recommended as part of your post-procedure care instructions to wear a compression garment for several weeks, which can help manage inflammation. Following a healthy, low-sodium diet and getting plenty of rest are also helpful in easing swelling and aiding in the overall recovery process. Swelling in the treatment area is a very common reaction to surgery and should subside with time. Our team will provide you with detailed guidelines that can help you achieve the smoothest recovery possible.

What is seroma after tummy tuck surgery?

A seroma is a possible side effect of surgery that results in a build-up of fluid under the skin after tissue is removed or contacted. This often presents as a cyst-like lump or bump, and usually resolves naturally after reabsorbing into the body. If a post-procedure patient experiences symptoms such as an enlarged seroma, pain, fever or discharge, their doctor should be contacted immediately for an evaluation and possible treatment. While seromas are usually small and often fade on their own, larger seromas and those with accompanying symptoms need to be evaluated immediately as these could be signs of a possible infection.

Ready to find out if a tummy tuck is right for you! Call 888.96.DR.MAX (888.963.7629) or fill out our online contact form with any questions you may have, or to schedule a consultation!