Tummy Tuck in Gilbert AZ
A tummy tuck, referred to by surgeons as an abdominoplasty, is a plastic surgery technique to correct a protruding abdomen resulting from weak abdominal muscles, weight gain, or pregnancy. Obesity causes the skin to lose its elasticity. As a result, a protruding belly may not respond well to diet or exercise if the skin and underlying muscles have been stretched.
During a tummy tuck, the abdominal wall muscles are tightened and excess fatty tissue and skin are removed to improve body contours. The goal is a narrower, flatter abdomen. Realistic expectations are essential, as abdominoplasty is not a substitute for weight loss. Dr. David Haralson considers age, obesity, and smoking habits when evaluating a candidate for this procedure.
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What are the Most Common Reasons People Need a Tummy Tuck?
There are many reasons for individuals to request a tummy tuck. Excess fat, weakened connective tissue, and poor skin elasticity in the abdominal region may be due to the following:
- Significant weight loss
- Abdominal surgery, including a C-section
- Your natural body shape
How is a Tummy Tuck Performed?
Dr. Haralson will take a complete medical history and examine your overall health. Ideally, the abdominoplasty patient has no health problems and wishes only to remove an excess deposit of fat or loose abdominal skin. Patients on a weight-loss plan should be close to their target weight before considering abdominoplasty. Women planning future pregnancies should delay abdominoplasty, as pregnancy may promote further abdominal stretching.
Photographs will be taken before and after surgery.
Antibiotics will be prescribed prior to surgery to prevent infection. To minimize the possibility of excess bleeding, you will need to avoid taking drugs containing aspirin. You will also be advised to bathe with antiseptic soap for several days before surgery.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Abdominoplasty is performed using general anesthesia for your comfort and safety. You may be given medication beforehand so you will feel relaxed. Abdominoplasty can take anywhere from 2-5 hours, depending on your overall condition. You may be released after a few hours.
The procedure is most commonly performed by making a U-shaped incision below one hipbone, across the pubic area, and under the other hipbone. A second incision is made around the navel. The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall and lifted up to the hipbone, exposing loose tissue covering the abdominal muscle.
Loose, stretched-out muscles are tightened with sutures, and excess skin and fat are removed. The skin is lowered over the abdomen, and the navel is reconstructed if necessary. The incisions are then sutured together. Drains are often inserted to eliminate fluid buildup, and firm elastic bandages are applied to the area.
A tummy tuck is often performed at the same time as liposuction or liposculpting to avoid a second procedure weeks or months later. The incisions are hidden below the bikini line, where they are not easily visible.
What Can I Expect While Recovering from a Tummy Tuck?
You may experience some discomfort immediately following surgery that can be controlled with over-the-counter pain relievers or a prescription pain reliever provided by our office. Some swelling is expected. You will be given special instructions for showering and changing your dressings. You will need to wear a pressure garment for up to 12 weeks.
Recovery speed depends on your physical condition before surgery; those with stronger abdominal muscles usually recover faster. Allow at least 2-4 weeks to recuperate before returning to work. Some scarring is also normal. It may take 9-12 months before the scars begin to fade.
Though the recovery period is longer than other cosmetic procedures, the rewards are great for a patient previously distressed by a protruding abdomen. Those following a proper exercise routine and a healthy diet will benefit the most from abdominoplasty.
Is a Tummy Tuck Permanent?
Minor weight fluctuations do not impact the results of a tummy tuck. A tummy tuck can last a lifetime with consistent, healthy habits, including moderate exercise and healthy eating. To ensure long-term results, we recommend waiting until after you are done having children to have an abdominoplasty.
A tummy tuck can restore a flat stomach and tighten your abdominal muscles for a leaner, more sculpted look. If you are embarrassed by a protruding belly, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr.Haralson to review your options.