Plastic Surgery Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Tummy Tuck – Abdominoplasty – in Orlando
This depends on the type of tummy tuck. Most full tummy tuck patients take 2 weeks off work, by this time the drains have been removed, the patient is walking upright, and is able to drive. There should be no heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks (do so only after being advised by your plastic surgeon).
Mini tummy tucks have a slightly shorter recovery time and depending on the extent of the procedure some patients are able to return to work after 7 to 10 days (again this is based on the advice of your plastic surgeon).
With regards to surgery scars, the most important part is the planning of the surgery. Your surgeon must have an idea of the kind of clothing you wear so the scars are easily hidden beneath the undergarment in a natural skin crease.
There are now many treatments such as topical bleaching creams, silicone sheeting, lasers, and intense pulse light devices that can improve the scars from a tummy tuck.
It is always best to be close to your ideal body weight at the time of surgery, this makes for a healthier patient with a better outcome. In cases where the patient has a fat upper abdomen doing a tummy tuck will not produce a flat abdomen. These patients may be candidates for staged procedures with liposuction performed first to thin out the abdominal skin for a better result. These patients must have their lifestyle under control with dietary restrictions. Candidates for these procedures should not be more than 30 lbs above their ideal body weight.
Usually by about 8 weeks most of the swelling is gone out of the abdomen and the patient is able to appreciate the final result; in instances where other procedures are performed this may take even longer.
No, this is performed depending on whether the muscles are lax. If the problem is mainly excess skin, a skin only tummy tuck can be performed and the recovery time is somewhat shorter, as the discomfort from muscle tightening does not slow recovery.
In some cases liposuction of the waist needs to be added to a tummy tuck to improve the waistline. When you visit with your surgeon by sure to ask very specific questions and have a picture in your mind of what you want your overall body contour to look like.
This varies from surgeon to surgeon. In Dr. Spence's practice in Orlando, abdominoplasty drains are taken out when they are putting out less then 30 cc's per day; this is typically between 5 and 7 days.
Yes, the procedure is called an umbilicoplasty and can often be performed under local anesthesia as an outpatient.
Dr. Spence does combine tummy tucks with liposuction on other areas of the body. It is his preference to perform liposuction of the abdomen in a separate stage.
It is best to have your hernia repaired before or at the time of your tummy tuck. This is usually performed in a hospital setting where Dr. Spence can coordinate with your general surgeon.
Lower body exercises can usually be started within 2 to 4 weeks. Heavy lifting or exercise that involves stress on the abdomen should not begin for 6 to 8 weeks; again, consult with your plastic surgeon.
The scar will depend on the extent of the tummy tuck. Full tummy tucks have a scar that lies beneath the bikini line from hipbone to hipbone. Planning is key, we ask our patients to fit their garments, showing us where they would prefer their scars positioned.
Child bearing after abdominoplasty would negate the effects of the procedure. There are other methods of contouring, such as liposuction, which work well for these patients.
This should only be done after all of your incisions are well healed. A belly button ring can become infected and interfere with the quality of your result. When this ring is replaced it must be done in a strict sterile environment to prevent any risk of infection.
Stretch marks between the belly button and the pubis will be removed with a full tummy tuck. Stretch marks in the upper abdomen will be moved to the lower abdomen.
This depends on the location of the scars on your abdomen. Dr. Spence will discuss the risk to the blood supply when additional scars from a tummy tuck are placed.
This is a risk of having a tummy tuck because the outer rim of the belly button is a circle. Formation of a hypertrophic scar can often lead to contraction of the belly button. This can be addressed with steroid injections, a scar revision, or an umbilicoplasty; these may be performed under local anesthesia.
A short access tummy tuck, or mini tummy tuck, is used for patients with small amounts of excess skin and fat on the abdomen and that are also in need of liposuction. A small incision is made above the pubis and around the belly button; the excess skin is removed through these incisions, the muscles are tightened, and liposuction is performed. This procedure is popular among both men and women.
Significant weight loss after a tummy tuck can interfere with your results depending on skin tone, as drooping skin may develop. It is important to undergo your surgery when you are closest to your planned weight.
No, This hanging skin is called a pannus. If the remainder of your abdomen is in good shape this skin can be removed by a panniculectomy. This procedure has a much shorter recovery than a tummy tuck, as only skin from the lower abdomen is removed.
A combination of liposuction, removal of the excess skin, and suturing the pubis back to its previous position can produce a pleasing aesthetic result.
A tummy tuck can be performed once you have recovered from your pregnancy; however, it is not advisable for women needing to frequently lift a young baby. It is preferable to wait until you have strong family support is in place and the immediate need to lift your child has passed.
In many instances your c-section scar can be included in your tummy tuck scar. The lower the scar, the better it can be hidden beneath the panty line.
If your abdominal muscles are already tight, a skin only tummy tuck will correct the excess skin on the abdomen. This still requires drains to be used, but has a shorter recovery time than a tummy tuck with muscle tightening and in general has less discomfort.
Dr. Spence's patients frequently ask this question. In a c-section muscles are cut and in a tummy tuck the muscles of the abdomen are not cut, but they are tightened. This does produce some discomfort, but of a slightly different nature.
When there is a thick layer of fat in the upper abdomen, if this is transferred to the lower abdomen with a full tummy tuck, it will not produce a flat abdominal contour. In a staged tummy tuck this fat is first removed with liposuction, then after 8 to 12 weeks a full tummy tuck is performed. The entire abdomen is then flat and contoured for a much more pleasing result.
The same rules of heavy lifting apply to picking up your child; this can cause disruption of your muscle tightening procedures.
Seek specific instructions from your surgeon. Most patients are able to drive after about 2 weeks. It is unsafe to drive while still on narcotic medications and recovering from surgery.
While some insurance plans do cover these procedures, Dr. Spence does not participate in any insurance plans. Please contact your insurance carrier for a plastic surgeon who participates with your plan. Our practice does offer a wide range of financing options for such a procedure.
The no drain tummy tuck is where sutures (progressive tension sutures) are used to suture the tummy tuck skin to the abdominal wall. This closes off the space between them and makes it less likely to have a seroma. This may eliminate the use of drains.
Yes. A mini tummy tuck can be corrected to a full tummy tuck in this instance.
When the belly button sits high in the middle of the Abdomen and there is not enough skin on the upper abdomen to stretch to the lower abdomen improved abdominal contour can be attached by disconnecting the belly button at its base but keeping it connected to the skin the base of the belly button may then be reconnected at a lower point on the abdomen which will help to maintain it’s shape.
Yes the Tummy Tuck can be done first then followed by the buttocks and thigh lift, this is actually easier on the patient recovery and often times produce better scars.
Yes well designed studies have shown that complication risks are slightly higher when a tummy tuck is done with another procedure inside the abdomen that risk seems to be less than when a tummy tuck is combined with another aesthetic procedure.
Lipo-abdominoplasty is the combination of a tummy tuck with liposuction in the “safe zone” of the abdomen where no damage to the blood supply to the skin will occur. This procedure should only be performed by a skilled plastic surgeon with extensive experience in tummy tuck surgery. Patients who are candidates for this procedure must be chosen carefully (example, patients who are smokers are poor candidates, patients who already have scars on their upper abdomen are not good candidates).
- These are sutures used to close off the space between the abdominal skin flap and the abdominal wall.
- Progressive tension sutures are intended to reduce seroma (fluid collection beneath the skin) after tummy tuck surgery.
- Enable maximum skin removal.
- Reduce the tension on the incision to produce a better scar.
Ask Dr. Spence about his progressive tension suture technique which has prompted patients to travel from out of town for his tummy tucks.
Studies have shown that there is an increase risk of having a clot in your legs (deep vein thrombosis) after a tummy tuck when on the birth control pill.
The current recommendation is that you stop your birth control pill 30 days prior to your tummy tuck.
Some of the highest risk patients are:
- Family history of clots in the legs DVT (deep vein thrombosis)
- Birth control pill
Speak with Dr. Spence about additional risk factures for clots in your leg at your tummy tuck consultation.
In a reverse abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) the scar is placed beneath the breast crease. This procedure has not caught on because of several issues. Including distortion of the breast crease and unsightly scarring.
The responses to Frequently Asked Questions listed here are not intended to be medical advice, but are the practice of Dr. Spence and will vary from surgeon to surgeon and patient to patient.