Are you unhappy with the contour of your abdomen? Do you have a muffin top, excess skin, or stretch marks? Has your figure been affected by pregnancy or massive weight loss? Do you diet and exercise with no results? If so, you should consider a “tummy tuck,” or abdominoplasty, to restore a youthful contour and flat stomach. A tummy tuck will remove excess fat and skin from the abdomen and tighten the abdominal wall musculature, giving you a more youthful looking body.
A tummy tuck by a board-certified plastic surgeon in Atlanta can flatten and firm your abdomen, enhancing your appearance and creating a smoother abdominal profile. This procedure is designed to tighten abdominal muscles and remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen.
Good Candidates for Tummy Tuck
You are a good candidate for tummy tuck if you are healthy, are maintaining a stable weight, are a non-smoker, and don’t plan to be pregnant in the future. Prior to tummy tuck surgery, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Lisa DiFrancesco may ask tummy tuck candidates to stop taking aspirin and anti-inflammatory and/or herbal medications that can increase their post-operative bruising. In addition, candidates should also have realistic expectations for this plastic surgery, as tummy tuck surgery will not address intra-abdominal fat—the fat surrounding your internal organs.
Tummy Tuck Techniques
Tummy tuck is an outpatient procedure done under general anesthesia. The technique and the incision size for a tummy tuck procedure depend on the amount of loose skin or overhang as well as any prior surgical scars from other plastic surgeries. People who have experienced massive weight loss or who have a large amount of excess skin will likely need an extended incision around the hips or even a lower body lift.
Liposuction is often used in addition to any type of abdominoplasty procedure to recreate a more youthful contour of the waist. This additional plastic surgery treatment can be performed at the same time as a tummy tuck procedure.
Dr. DiFrancesco can use endoscopic abdominoplasty with patients who have severe muscle laxity with little or no loose skin and fat. This laparoscopic technique uses two to three small incisions to insert a small camera under the skin the visualize the fascia, the layer of skin that covers muscle tissue.
Using this tummy tuck procedure, double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. DiFrancesco can better understand the tissue needing treatment and can more quickly and safely remove tissue required to achieve the most naturally beautiful results. And to better achieve your body contouring desires, Dr. DiFrancesco can also perform liposuction of the abdomen at the same time to remove excess fat.
The recovery time for endoscopic abdominoplasty is similar to a full abdominoplasty, which includes restricted activity for around six weeks post-surgery.
A mini abdominoplasty is best suited for tummy tuck patients who have mild skin laxity and stretch marks only below the navel. The incision for a mini tummy tuck is placed lower on the abdomen—like a C-Section incision—and the length includes a limited length of skin in the shape of an ellipse.
A mini tummy tuck can be combined with liposuction for optimal results. Patients of Dr. DiFrancesco usually maintain a healthy lifestyle with a regular exercise routine and a good diet but have a stubborn overhang of excess skin that may be caused by a previous plastic surgery procedure, weight loss, or pregnancy.
Modified Abdominoplasty or Lipoabdominoplasty
Dr. DiFrancesco uses a modified abdominoplasty most often with patients who have previous scars that interfere with the blood supply of an abdominal flap or patients who need a significant amount of liposuction of the abdominal flap.
A modified abdominoplasty uses an incision low on the abdomen and lifts the abdominal flap in the midline to preserve maximum blood flow yet still allows Dr. DiFrancesco to suture the abdominal muscle to repair skin and muscle laxity.
In the course of a modified abdominoplasty, the navel can be repositioned and an ellipse of loose skin below the navel is removed. A modified abdominoplasty is usually recommended for patients with loose skin, fat, and who experience significant muscle laxity, but who are not candidates for a full abdominoplasty.
A full abdominoplasty (or full tummy tuck) is the traditional technique for excising abdominal skin, which uses a low abdominal incision as well as an incision around the navel. During this plastic surgery procedure, an ellipse of skin is removed from the lower abdomen, the belly button is repositioned on the abdominal flap, and the muscle is tightened in the midline section of the abdomen.
With a full tummy tuck in Atlanta, your lower abdominal stretch marks are removed. Skin laxity above and below the navel can be tightened, and a youthful contour to the abdomen can be recreated.
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Drainless abdominoplasty is a newer technique that uses progressive tension sutures to avoid using drains. After traditional tummy tuck Atlanta surgery, it is common for fluid to develop under the skin as part of the healing process. If excess fluid is not removed, it can form a seroma—or fluid-filled portion of skin tissue.
Traditionally, doctors like board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. DiFrancesco have used medically administered drains to prevent seromas from forming after surgery. However, drains are uncomfortable and can be cumbersome, and aren’t the only way to prevent fluid from accumulating underneath the skin after body contouring surgery.
Drainless abdominoplasty uses sutures to affix the skin and fat tissue to the fascia in a pattern that prevents the formation of seroma fluid by tightening the space between skin and fascia. This suturing technique uses what’s known as progressive tension sutures, which reduces tension on tissues and improves scarring.
An extended abdominoplasty is used in patients who have severe skin laxity extending to the hips or love handles. This condition is common in patients who lose significant weight, especially those who lose the weight over a short period of time.
One disadvantage of the extended abdominoplasty is the length of the scar, which must be extended to address the excess skin and hard-to-reach fat deposits. An extended abdominoplasty not only flattens the stomach but can also lift the thighs and hips in the process.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
During your pre-operative visit to DiFrancesco Plastic Surgery, our medical specialists will go over your pre-surgery instructions, including any medications you take on a regular basis as well as signs of complications (medically known as contraindications) to look for.
Depending on the length of your tummy tuck procedure, this plastic surgery can be an outpatient procedure, but you may be required to stay overnight in our surgery center. In the days following your surgery, light activities such as walking may be encouraged, but Dr. DiFrancesco typically recommends that patients avoid strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for 6 weeks.
If drains are required for your tummy tuck, you will receive instructions at your tummy tuck consultation and again before discharge. Dr. DiFancesco may require you to wear a post-surgery compression garment to reduce swelling and ensure optimal results.
If you’re looking for a highly effective way to address the problem areas affecting your abdominal area, Dr. DiFrancesco at DiFrancesco Plastic Surgery is here to help. Contact us any time by calling (404) 531-2478 or contacting us online and our medical professionals can help you schedule a consultation about a tummy tuck treatment plan.