Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

What is an abdominoplasty?

An abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fatty tissue from the mid and lower abdomen as well as tightens the muscles of the abdominal wall. This is a cosmetic procedure and is not covered by insurance.

Why do people get an abdominoplasty?

An abdominoplasty is an increasingly popular surgery among both males and females. Here are a few of the more common reasons why people choose to have this surgery:

  • After weight loss, there is typically a significant amount of skin left on the body. An abdominoplasty removes this excess skin.
  • During pregnancy the stomach protrudes through the abdominal wall separating the muscles and often creates stretch marks. Some women are able to get their stomach back to their pre-pregnancy state; however, many women’s abdominal muscles are so disconnected that an abdominoplasty is necessary. An abdominoplasty can re-attach these muscles as well as remove excess skin and stretch marks. An additional advantage to post pregnancy women with a c-section scar is that the abdominoplasty scar can be in the same location and improved.
  • An increasing number of individuals are considering an abdominoplasty due to a hernia or other scars that are visible on their abdomen.
  • Finally, some men and women simply would like to have an abdominoplasty in order to have a more attractive physical appearance. For some, as hard as you may try it is impossible to get a completely tight-looking stomach; an abdominoplasty is a suitable option for these individuals.

How do I know if I am a candidate for an abdominoplasty?

Once you have decided that you would like to get an abdominoplasty you should first investigate whether or not you are eligible for surgery. Although coming in for a consultation to determine whether or not surgery is an option is available to patients, here are a few of the reasons why patients are typically turned away from our office.

  • Dr. McClellan does not perform any elective, cosmetic surgery on smokers. This is for a variety of reasons including: poor wound healing and an increased risk of infection.
  • If you are currently trying to lose weight, it is best to wait until after you have reached your base weight before you consider the surgery. Once you have met your ultimate goal you will have much better results.
  • If you plan to, or think there is a possibility that you may have more children, you should not have an abdominoplasty. Since the muscles must be reattached it is not ideal that they be split apart again due to another pregnancy.

What are the potential risks involved in an abdominoplasty?

As with any surgery, there are risks involved with having an abdominoplasty. Here is a list of some of the more common risks:

  • Infection – Anytime that your body is opened up, there is a risk for infection. Dr. McClellan and his Operating Room (OR) staff work tirelessly to ensure that every measure is taken to minimize the potential for infection.
  • Keloid Scarring – Certain individuals are more prone to developing keloid scars following any type of surgery or cut on their body. If you are someone that develops keloid scars, you will want to consider the size and placement of the scar before you have the procedure.
  • Necrosis – This is the death of skin tissue. Necrosis is highly unlikely for patients that are non-smokers; however, smokers are at a very high risk of developing necrosis after an abdominoplasty.

Where is the incision made for an abdominoplasty?

The exact location of the incision varies from patient to patient. The amount of fat that must be removed during the procedure will determine the exact location of the incision. Typically, it is a horizontal incision made from hip to hip at the top of the pubic region. For the majority of our patients, the scar is very minimal and is not visible in a bathing suit.

What can I expect for the surgery and recovery?

Abdominoplasty surgery is performed under general anesthesia at Monongalia General Hospital. It is a short stay procedure, which simply means that you will stay overnight at the hospital. The surgery itself takes three to four hours. Drains must be placed between the abdominal muscle and skin so that fluid does not build up between the newly attached muscle and skin.

Note: There are certain instances when Dr. McClellan will perform liposuction in conjunction with an abdominoplasty. This decision to perform liposuction will be left up to the discretion of Dr. McClellan.

Before you are discharged, Dr. McClellan will place a compression garment around your abdomen that you are to wear at all times. Dr. McClellan will also ask that you perform very minimal activities for the first week after surgery, including not standing completely straight up. Since the muscles in your abdomen have just been sewn back together, it is important not to strain them too soon and rip them apart.

Dr. McClellan will see you for your post-operative appointment five to seven days after your surgery. At this time he will remove one of your drains. The second drain will be removed 10 days after your surgery. Sutures are dissolvable and may dissolve up to one year post surgery. He will ask you to continue to wear your garment at all times for around four to six weeks. Recovery time for this particular procedure is slow. Remember again that your abdominal muscles must have time to properly heal and strengthen. As every patient heals at a different rate, Dr. McClellan will give patient-specific instructions as he sees you in your follow up visits.

What should I expect at my initial consultation?

For an abdominoplasty consultation you should allow at least 45 minutes in our office. You may come to the office 15 minutes early and fill out the necessary forms. During your consultation, Dr. McClellan will do a physical examination, explain the procedure and answer any questions that you may have. It is often helpful to have a list of questions that you would like answered, with you, so that you ask everything that you would like.

After you meet with Dr. McClellan you will be escorted to Becky Miller’s office. She is our patient coordinator and will provide you with a quote for the surgery as well as give you information about what financing options are available. As the patient coordinator, Becky makes every effort to ensure that you are ready and feel comfortable prior to your surgery. She is available every business day to answer any questions that you may have after your initial consultation.

Contact our office for more information.

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