WHAT IS AN ABDOMINOPLASTY?
Abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as a “Tummy Tuck”, is a surgical procedure aimed at eliminating redundant skin and adipose tissue from the lower abdominal region. In addition, rectus diastasis, the separation of the abdominal muscles, can also be corrected during the operation. For optimal results in abdominal contouring, liposuction is often recommended in conjunction with abdominoplasty.
MINI-ABDOMINOPLASTY VS. FULL ABDOMINOPLASTY
A mini abdominoplasty and a full abdominoplasty differ primarily in the extent of skin resection and belly button involvement. In a mini abdominoplasty, only the skin on the lower part of the abdomen, below the belly button, is removed, while the belly button itself is left untouched. This procedure is suitable for individuals who have excess skin and fat in the lower abdomen, but do not require extensive abdominal contouring or muscle repair.
In contrast, a full abdominoplasty involves the removal of skin from both the upper and lower parts of the abdomen, including the area above the belly button. As a result, the belly button must be repositioned and sutured in place to achieve a natural appearance. This procedure is more extensive and is typically recommended for individuals with significant abdominal laxity, excess skin, and muscle separation.
Therefore, the difference between a mini and full abdominoplasty comes down to the amount of skin resection required and whether the belly button needs to be repositioned. The choice between these procedures depends on the individual’s unique anatomy, concerns, and goals, and Dr. Elkins-Williams will help guide you through the process.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM AN ABDOMINOPLASTY?
An abdominoplasty can be a beneficial procedure for individuals who have experienced significant stretching of their abdominal skin due to factors such as pregnancy or weight loss. Even with proper diet and exercise, the skin may not return to its pre-stretched state, leaving individuals with excess skin. In such cases, a tummy tuck can effectively remove excess skin and fat, repair abdominal muscles, and create a smoother, more contoured appearance.
However, it is important to note that a tummy tuck is not a weight loss substitute, and it is recommended that patients are at or near their goal weight before undergoing the procedure. Significant weight fluctuations after surgery can compromise the aesthetic outcome of the procedure, so maintaining a stable weight is crucial for long-lasting results.
ABDOMINOPLASTY VS. LIPOSUCTION
The terms “tummy tuck” and “abdominoplasty” are often used interchangeably and refer to the same surgical procedure. Both procedures involve removing excess skin and fat from the abdominal area to create a more toned and contoured appearance.
Liposuction is an effective procedure for removing unwanted fat from specific areas of the body, such as the thighs, hips, or flanks. However, liposuction cannot remove excess skin. On the other hand, a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty will remove excess skin from the abdominal area, which is not possible with liposuction alone.
In some cases, a combination of tummy tuck and liposuction may be recommended. This approach can address both excess skin and stubborn fat in areas that are not responding to diet and exercise, resulting in a more complete and desirable outcome.
To determine the best course of treatment, it is recommended to schedule a personalized consultation with our double board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Elkins-Williams. During the consultation, he will assess your individual anatomy, discuss your goals and preferences, and recommend the best approach for achieving your desired outcome.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR CONSULTATION
A consultation with Dr. Elkins-Williams is an important step in the process of determining if plastic surgery is right for you. During the consultation, Dr. Elkins-Williams will take the time to listen to your goals and understand your unique circumstances. This includes discussing your desired outcome and any concerns you may have about the surgery.
Dr. Elkins-Williams is highly trained in a variety of surgical techniques, which enables him to adapt to the specific needs of each patient. He will carefully evaluate your body and discuss all of the available options with you. Together, you will work to create a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual anatomy and personal goals.
During the consultation, Dr. Elkins-Williams will also provide you with a realistic understanding of the expected outcome of the surgery. He will explain any potential risks or complications associated with the procedure, as well as what to expect during the recovery period.
Ultimately, the goal of the consultation is to help you make an informed decision about whether plastic surgery is right for you. Dr. Elkins-Williams will provide you with all of the information you need to make an educated decision and feel confident in the treatment plan.
Deciding to Schedule
During your consultation, you will receive a detailed surgical quote and any required clearance forms. If you choose to proceed with surgery, our dedicated Patient Coordinator, Julia, will guide you through the process of selecting a procedure date. To finalize your preferred surgical date, a non-refundable, non-transferrable booking fee of $500.00 will be required. A pre-operative appointment will be scheduled for at least two weeks prior to your surgery date. At the time of booking surgery, we will also schedule your first follow-up visit.
During your pre-operative appointment, you’ll have plenty of time to discuss your upcoming procedure in detail and have all your questions answered. Your pre- and post-operative care instructions will be reviewed with one of our nurses, as well as any medications you’ll need to take before and after surgery. You’ll review and sign the consent form for the surgery, meet with Dr. Elkins-Williams to revisit your goals, and your surgical quote balance will be due at the end of this appointment. Our goal is to ensure that you feel fully informed and comfortable with the upcoming procedure, allowing you to approach your surgery with confidence and peace of mind.
What to Avoid Before Surgery
To minimize the risk of bleeding and bruising, it’s important to avoid blood thinning medications and supplements for two weeks prior to your procedure. This includes aspirin or aspirin-containing products, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen (including Motrin, Aleve, and Advil). Additionally, supplements such as Vitamin E, multivitamins, and omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil and flaxseed oil) should be avoided. For a complete list of medications and supplements to avoid, please consult with your pre-op nurse.
The procedure typically takes about four to five hours under IV sedation and some pain and swelling can be expected a few days after surgery. Patients should ensure they have someone to help them for a few days to a week after surgery to assist with daily tasks. After an abdominoplasty procedure, patients can expect to wear a compression garment around the clock. Pain medication will be prescribed to manage any discomfort for the first few days. With modern surgical techniques such as progressive tension sutures, there is typically no need for bothersome drains. All sutures are absorbable and placed under the skin, so patients can focus on healing and making a full recovery.
Patients should avoid aerobic exercise for at least 2 weeks after surgery, and strenuous activity can be resumed based on Dr. Elkins-Williams’ advice. Swelling in the abdomen will gradually improve over a period of about 3 months, and the final outcome of the procedure will be visible once the swelling has resolved. Patients can look forward to better-fitting and more comfortable clothing, as well as improved confidence when getting ready for swim-suit season.