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Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) - Vancouver, WA

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Overview

A flat and well-toned abdomen is something many people strive for through exercise and weight control, but sometimes these methods cannot achieve the goal. Even individuals of otherwise normal body weight and proportion can develop an abdomen that protrudes or is loose and sagging. The most common causes of this include pregnancy, aging, significant fluctuations in weight, heredity, and prior surgery. Dr. Gabriel and Dr. Champaneria, the plastic surgeons of PeaceHealth Medical Group in the Portland area, have proven results performing tummy tuck procedures, also known as an abdominoplasty, to remove excess fat and skin, as well as strengthening the abdominal muscles to create a flatter, firmer stomach. A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program. Although the results of a tummy tuck are technically permanent, the positive outcome can be greatly diminished by significant fluctuations in your weight. For this reason, individuals who are planning substantial weight loss or women who may be considering future pregnancies may be advised to postpone a tummy tuck. Also, a tummy tuck cannot correct stretch marks, although these may be removed or somewhat improved if they are located on the areas of excess skin that will be excised, generally those treated areas below the belly button.

Surgical Technique

Full Tummy Tuck

In patients who undergo a full tummy tuck, the incision is made from hip to hip just over the pubic area. This results in a scar line that is horizontal and can be hidden when wearing undergarments. It is commonly performed on women with significant skin folds after multiple pregnancies. This technique allows the surgeon access to a large portion of the abdomen while repositioning the belly button so that its placement appears natural. Liposuction is performed to remove excess fat preceding the skin tightening portion. The internal abdominal muscles are secured for a firm, toned appearance.

Mini Tummy Tuck

An alternative to the traditional technique is the mini tummy tuck, which is also known as a “Brazilian tummy tuck.” The difference is that ideally the patients that undego this procedure are already in relatively good shape with a healthy skin tone, but still have loose skin on the lower abdomen. Unlike  the full tummy tuck, the belly button is unaffected and the incision is smaller. Liposuction is used (if needed) to remove excess fat, and the loose skin is removed and pulled tight. 

Extended Tummy Tuck

In cases when major skin tightening and body contouring is needed, an extended tummy tuck is recommended. This is a necessary technique for patients who have undergone a significant weight loss. It was developed after some patients noted that even after a full tummy tuck, the parts surrounding the abdomen still showed excessive folds of skin. The incision may extend around the navel, flank and lower back depending where skin tightening is necessary. Liposuction is still used and excess skin is trimmed then tightened. Similar to a full tummy tuck, the belly button is repositioned.

During/After Surgery

A tummy tuck is done under general anesthesia. It is an outpatient procedure, but an overnight stay can be required specific to complex cases. As with any other surgery, abdominoplasty comes with risks so it’s best to discuss any health conditions you have prior to surgery. After surgery, pain medications are provided and a compression garment is worn. The patient will need to rest up to 48 hours. From then, it is recommended that patients make a concerted effort to move around to help blood circulation and reduce the risks of blood clot complications. Recovery may take up to 6 weeks.

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Recovery Time  
1-2 Weeks
Post-op Follow-up  
Varies
Procedure Recovery Location  
Out-Patient
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Tummy Tuck FAQs

Lipo or Abdominoplasty?

Tummy tucks are reserved for patients who have stretched, loose skin in the lower abdomen as a result of pregnancy or obesity.  Liposuction, on the other hand, is for those who want to remove excess fat in the abdomen but still have a healthy skin tone. During the initial consultation, we will provide a thorough assessment and determine if liposuction alone is all that is needed, or if a tummy tuck will provide the best results. 

Combining Procedures?

Normally, abdominoplasty is performed to improve loose skin and excess fat around the abdomen area. However, sometimes other cosmetic procedures, such as breast augmentation or a breast lift are done to further improve the overall look and feel of the body. When this combination type surgery exists, it is known as a “mommy makeover”. It is very popular among women after pregnancy who wish to get their pre-pregnancy body and shape back to normal.

How Bad Are The Scars?

Unfortunately, with a tummy tuck surgery, scars are unavoidable. However, extra measures are taken to make sure that scarring is minimal. The incision line is placed in areas that can be concealed by undergarments. Previous C-section scars will be incised in the same spot for the tummy tuck. During the healing process, we will provide a post-operative protocol that includes scar treatment to help assist the scars in becoming less visible.  

Pregnancy After Tummy Tuck?

It is our recommendation that women who decide to have more children delay a tummy tuck procedure. The stretching of the skin as a result of another pregnancy can reduce the positive outome of this procedure.

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* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.