Tummy tuck is a surgical procedure to enhance your midsection. It involves removal of the excess skin, tightening of the midline to correct the diastasis (muscle separation in the midline), creating a new more natural umbilicus and creating a sharper hour glass waist. The procedure is usually combined with liposuction and, if the patient desire, fat transfer to buttocks.
If you are looking to get a tummy tuck consult with a board certified plastic surgeon it is opportune to check your surgeons before and after photos before your consultation. From there you can prepare your questions. Here are five helpful general questions that you can ask your surgeon. We recommend that patients prepare a list of questions prior to the consultation.
1) Does the surgery need to be done in the hospital?
No; Tummy tuck is usually performed at an outpatient surgery center or office based surgery center. In some cases the procedure is performed at a hospital with one or two days hospital stay. Hospital stay is recommended if the patient has medical problems, or more procedures are performed at the same time or if the patient desires to stay at a hospital.
2) Is General Anesthesia Necessary?
In general tummy tuck is performed under general anesthesia. Some surgeons prefer to do the surgery under deep sedation or even spinal anesthesia. There are pros and cons for each anesthesia technique and your surgeon will advise you about the technique he/she prefers.
3) Are drainage tubes needed after surgery?
No; the drain tubes are still used after tummy tuck. But, some plastic surgeons use quilting technique to close the space between the skin and the muscle that will limit the need for drains.
4) Will I be in a lot of pain after surgery?
Tummy tuck, in general, can cause a lot a pain. Your plastic surgeon will discuss the pain control options with you during a consultation. Pain control can be in the form of using pain pumps, Exparel (a longer lasting local anesthetic used during surgery). After surgery pain is controlled with oral painkillers.
5) How do I know whether I need liposuction or an abdominoplasty?
During your consultation, your plastic surgeon will determine if liposuction or tummy tuck or a combination both is appropriate for you. In general, if there excess skin, lots stretch marks and muscle separation in the midline the tummy tuck is the appropriate procedure.Your plastic surgeon will discuss with you the option of liposuction based on your body shape. Generally speaking most women will need liposuction to the waist, upper abdomen, and back. Very few can have tummy tuck without liposuction.
The fat removed with liposuction can be used to improve areas of your body that needs enhancement. The most common area to transfer the fat to is the buttocks. Many women now prefer to have fat transfer to the buttock after having tummy tuck and liposuction.
Moneer Jaibaji, MD is a board certified plastic surgeon with offices in San Diego.
Dr. Jaibaji is a double board-certified surgeon, certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery.