Loose, Flabby Stomach? Excess Skin of Your Abdomen? Bulging Lower Stomach?
These are all complaints that we hear and what can be fixed with either a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck. Sometimes, even the most rigorous exercise program or diet will not correct these problems and an abdominoplasty, commonly known as a “tummy tuck,” is the surgical procedure we use to correct the problems of too much tummy skin, a bulge of the stomach and separated muscles or diastasis recti.
The NO Drain Rapid Recovery Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty
With the rapid recovery protocol, you will not:
- have a cumbersome, painful drain
- any heavy narcotic pain medications to make you nauseated or constipated
With the rapid recovery protocol, you will:
- be able to do things like go out for a walk, go out to dinner the next day.
Michelle Talks About Her Rapid Recovery Tummy Tuck
A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty can help correct a protruding abdomen or an abdomen with stretched, excess skin resulting from a pregnancy or weight loss.
Depending on your situation and the recommendation of your surgeon, you will either be given the option of a mini-abdominoplasty or a complete abdominoplasty. A complete tummy tuck usually takes about 2 hours, depending on the extent of work required. A partial (mini-) abdominoplasty may take an hour or so. These procedures are performed in an outpatient facility under conscious sedation.
The best candidates for a tummy tuck are men and women who are in good physical condition but have excess fat, loose skin, or loose muscles in the abdominal area that won’t respond to exercise or diet.
Complete or Full Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty
The complete or full tummy tuck involves a horizontal “bikini” line incision across the lower abdomen just above the pubic area. A second incision is made around the belly button. After that, the skin of the abdominal wall is lifted all the way up to the ribs to create a “skin flap”. The muscles or your stomach are then tightened if they are in any way split or loose. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline. The skin flap is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then stitched in place. Finally, the “bikini line” incisions are stitched. Dressings and a garment are applied and after a short recovery you are ready to go home.
Mini-Abdominoplasty or Mini Tummy Tuck
The mini-abdominoplasty involves a short, horizontal incision in the lower abdomen and the navel is usually not moved. The skin is elevated from the incision line to the navel. Loose muscles in this area are then tightened. The “skin flap” is stretched down, the excess is removed, and the flap is stitched back into place.
For the first few days following your tummy tuck, your abdomen will probably be swollen and you’re likely to feel some discomfort which can be controlled with medication. We start you on a rapid recovery protocol right away and usually most patients can be out shopping or to dinner the next night.
Patients who are in good physical condition with strong abdominal muscles will recover from an abdominoplasty even faster. Some people return to work after 3 to 4 days, while others take a little longer. Your scars will flatten out and lighten in color over time. While they will never disappear completely, abdominal scars will not show under most clothing, even under bathing suits.
Revision Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty
Sometimes patients have had a tummy tuck and they do not like the results. This can be a so called botched tummy tuck. More commonly a patient may have had liposuction of the tummy or abdomen and too mach was taken out or they were not a good candidate for liposuction. In other words, the patient had too much skin or too much was taken at the time of the liposuction. In any event, this is again a botched tummy tuck and a revision tummy tuck or corrective tummy tuck needs to be done. While never easy, improvements can be made as seen in this patient.
There are a number of tummy tuck or abdominoplasty cases on our before and after photo gallery.
Tummy Tuck Review
Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck FAQs
What is the recovery from a tummy tuck like?
Tummy tuck recovery can be as short as 24 hours. Many patients are up and out for a walk or even out for dinner the next night. This is accomplished mainly through 3 techniques or after surgery protocols:
- A long acting local anesthetic is instilled at the time of surgery (Exparel) a number of things can be accomplished. First, there is no cumbersome pain pump. These work well but they are hard to handle and impede recovery. Second, with the long acting local anesthetic in place, your need for powerful narcotic pain medications is minimal and the transition to anti-inflammatories can be made easily and quickly to help speed recovery. (See my article on rapid recovery from surgery and the use of anti-inflammatories)
- NO DRAINS are used. The no drain tummy tuck eliminates the messy, painful and cumbersome drains that have been used for a long time in surgery and are a common part of tummy tuck or abdominoplasty surgeries performed by many surgeons still. Without drain the after care of an abdominoplasty is much easier and the discomfort from the drains is eliminated.
- The use of new post injury therapy protocols that are allowing athletes and orthopedic surgery patients to recover so fast. These protocols involve early active motion regimes and anti-inflammatories.
While you are not healed at 24 hours you should be recovered at 24 hours and back to the simple activities of daily living. You will be allowed to resume simple exercises (excluding lifting heavier objects) at a week. If your muscles are repaired, you cannot do heavy lifting for 6 weeks.
How long is the downtime from a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty?
With the rapid recovery protocol, you will be able doing things like light loads of laundry, pick up a baby and drive a car within 24 hours. You will still be sore and not moving at your normal speed since you are not healed but you will be recovered and every day after the activities of daily living will get easier with the rapid recovery tummy tuck.
When can I go back to work?
Many patients think that the recovery from a mini tummy tuck will be a prolonged, painful and arduous, but if a rapid recovery, NO Drain protocol is used, the recovery from a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck is usually about the same, 24 to 36 hours. As a result, most patients should be back to their desk job within a few days after a mini tummy tuck.
Most patients can be back to their desk job at 72 hours after surgery if they want. I have had a Zumba instructor back to work after a full tummy tuck at day 10. She said that she took it easy in the first couple of weeks and did not do any heavy abdominal muscle work for the first 6 weeks.
How can you do this without drains?
Very simply, the abdominal flap or skin is quilted down with sutures so that swelling fluid cannot accumulate.
How long will the scar be?
The scar from a tummy tuck is longer than a C-section scar and usually goes from hip bone to hip bone. The more skin you have to remove, the longer the scar. A mini tummy tuck or mini abdominoplasty will typically have a shorter scar. With a belt tummy tuck the scar obviously goes much longer and by definition, goes all the way around. This is so that a thigh and buttock lift can be incorporated with the tummy tuck at the same time.
Tummy Tuck Cost?
The cost of a tummy tuck will vary by geographic area and by the amount of extra work that may need to be done. For the cost of a tummy tuck at Partington Plastic Surgery with Dr. Windle can be found here. It includes the rapid recovery, no drain tummy tuck protocol.
What is the best time to have a tummy tuck after having a baby?
The general rule of thumb is to wait about 6 months after a pregnancy to have a tummy tuck. This is because it takes about that long to get everything back into shape after a pregnancy and thus get the best result for you. For instance:
1: The abdominal skin and muscles take about that long to shrink back as far as they are going to shrink.
2; Many women breast feed now and that needs to be finished for a month prior to a tummy tuck.
3: The weight from pregnancy takes about that long to be gone completely.
4: The hormones of pregnancy can take about 6 months to completely dissipate.
5: The stress of taking care of a new born is usually gone by then.
In short, for your safety, your baby’s safety and to get the best results, plastic surgeons will usually say that you should wait at least 6 months after a pregnancy before proceeding with a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty.
What weight should I be to get the best results?
The closer you are to your ideal body weight the better. This will ensure the best results for you. We do see women who have a BMI of around 30 and can generally get a reasonable result for them but a lower BMI would be ideal for a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty.
When can I work out after a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty?
With a rapid recovery, NO drain tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, you are encouraged to start light workouts as early as three days after your surgery, depending upon how you are feeling. Generally starting on a spin bike or a machine like an elliptical. You can also start lifting light weights but we do not want you doing any abdominal work for a while.
As with any surgery, abdominoplasty may carry some risks along with the potential of side effects. These may vary by individual and will be fully discussed during your initial consultation with the Board Certified Plastic Surgeons at Dr. Windle’s office that serves Bellevue, Kirkland, Bothell, Redmond, Woodinville, Snohomish, Everett, Mill Creek, Edmonds, North Seattle, Auburn, Kent, Mercer Island, Renton, Sammamish, Marysville, Bremerton, Burien, West Seattle, Federal Way, Tacoma, Munroe, Ellensburg, Maple Valley, Shoreline, Burien, Lynnwood, Seattle, Issaquah, West Seattle, North Bend, Des Moines