Tummy Tuck Surgery

Abdominoplasty

Overview

Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is designed to correct excess skin and fatty tissue of the abdomen usually resulting from weight gain or pregnancy, which can cause the skin to lose its elasticity. These conditions will not respond well to diet or exercise if the skin and underlying muscles have been stretched.

There are several types of abdominoplasty procedures including mini- abdominoplasty, extended mini- abdominoplasty, standard abdominoplasty and extended abdominoplasty. Austin plastic surgeon, Dr. Tjelmeland, will let you know which type will give you the best result during an examination. With each type, the abdominal wall muscles are tightened and excess fatty tissue and skin are removed from the lower abdomen to improve the body contour. The goal is a flatter tighter abdomen and a narrower waist line to achieve a better "hour glass" figure. Of all the plastic surgery procedures, a Tummy Tuck can deliver the most dramatic and impressive change in body shape. Often times a tummy tuck is paired with a breast procedure in what is called a mommy makeover.

The Procedure

An abdominoplasty is usually performed using general anesthesia on an outpatient basis in our surgical facility. The surgery may take anywhere from 2-4 hours, depending on your particular situation and the amount of work that needs to be done.

The Abdominoplasty procedure is most commonly performed by making a low horizontal incision down by the pubic area.  Dr. Tjelmeland will make your incision as low as possible. A second incision is sometimes made around the navel, depending on the type of abdominoplasty. The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall, exposing loose tissue covering the abdominal muscle. Loose, stretched out muscles are tightened with sutures, and the skin is lowered over the abdomen. The navel is then reconstructed. Excess skin and fat are removed and the incisions are sutured together. Drains are inserted to eliminate fluid buildup. Often times an implantable pain pump is inserted to help alleviate pain for the first few days. 

Technological advances that have dramatically improved the recovery and results of the abdominoplasty procedure are the use of the implantable pain pump and the use of the Harmonic Scalpel.

  • Pain Pump:
    The implantable pain pump significantly reduces the postoperative pain for the first 3-4 days after surgery by infusing local anesthetic along the abdominal wall to reduce the pain associated with the tightening of the muscle wall. This allows for not only greater patient comfort but also greater mobility and activity immediately after surgery which is important to minimize complications and speed recovery.
  • Harmonic Scalpel:
    The harmonic scalpel is a sophisticated surgical instrument that has been used for many years in general surgery and laparoscopic surgery. It only very recently has been adapted for plastic surgery.

    In the tummy tuck procedure, the harmonic scalpel is used to dissect and elevate skin and fatty tissues using high frequency ultrasonic energy. This device allows blood vessels, capillaries, and lymphatics to be sealed shut during the dissection all at low temperature. This is unlike the traditional electrocautery which can create an internal burn which can cause more post operative pain, more swelling and more fluid to weep from the internal tissues. With the use of the Harmonic Scalpel the surgical drains that are used are typically removed much sooner.

Recovery: What to Expect

Austin tummy tuck patients will experience some discomfort immediately following surgery that can be controlled with pain medication, although this has been remarkably improved with the use of the harmonic scalpel and the pain pump. Some swelling after surgery is normal, and will be minimized with the use of a support garment.

Allow about 2 weeks to recuperate before returning to work depending on your type of work, and 4-6 weeks before resuming full activity and exercise.

Following surgery, your scar will be pink or dark and will fade over the course of 12 months. Dr. Tjelmeland is very careful with the placement of the scar, and it usually can be covered with even low cut jeans and bikinis.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us at our Austin Plastic Surgery Center, Meridian Plastic Surgery Center.

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4220 Bull Creek Road
Austin, TX 78731
Phone: 512-617-7500


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