Tummy Tuck

Abdominoplasty in Fort Worth Texas

A flat, well-toned abdomen is something that many of us strive to attain through exercise and weight control.  Sometimes these methods are not enough to achieve our goals. Even individuals with normal body weight can have an abdomen that bulges or is loose and sagging. The most common causes of this are pregnancy, aging, changes in weight, genetics, and previous surgery.

“I would let you operate on me again any time!” — RMRead More Patient Comments
A “tummy tuck,” or abdominoplasty, removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal wall. Your abdominal muscles underneath are tightened during surgery to reveal your new shapely, contoured waist. Stretch marks and skin that has lost its elasticity can be partially or totally removed in this procedure. A tummy tuck is a good option for you if you are healthy and if you are at a stable weight.

Although the results of an abdominoplasty procedure are considered to be permanent, the outcome can be influenced by changes in your weight following surgery. For this reason, if you are planning substantial weight loss or if you are considering future pregnancy, you may be advised to postpone tummy tuck surgery.

A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or a healthy exercise program. A tummy tuck will not get rid of stretch marks, unless they are located in areas of skin that will be removed during surgery. Typically, the tissues removed are below the belly button.

Where will my incisions be?

A tummy tuck incision is placed above the pubic hairline, under the belly button.  Typically, the incision goes across the entire lower abdomen, from hip to hip. An additional incision is made around your belly button. The placement of your incisions is specific to your body and to your surgery. Dr. Kirby will discuss the incisions with you prior to your surgery.

If you are getting a mini tummy tuck, your incision will be shorter than it is for a full tummy tuck. This is because less tissue is removed in a mini tummy tuck than in a full tummy tuck. The incision around the belly button is typically not needed, as well.

Through the abdominal incision the abdominal muscles are tightened. This portion of the surgery does not require an additional incision.

How long will my surgery last?

If performed alone, a tummy tuck typically takes 3 hours. It may be performed in combination with other procedures such as liposuction, monsplasty, or breast augmentation. Combination surgery will take longer.

What kind of anesthesia will I have?

Abdominoplasty, or “tummy tuck,” is performed under general anesthesia for optimal comfort. This means you will be asleep for the entire procedure.

What are the risks?

The decision to have a tummy tuck is a personal decision and you will need to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.

Possible abdominoplasty risks include unfavorable scarring, fluid accumulation, bleeding (hematoma), infection, wound healing problems, blood clots or fat clots, changes in skin sensation, skin discoloration, loss of the umbilicus, fat necrosis, asymmetry, recurrence of loose skin, deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications, persistent swelling in the legs, nerve damage, or suboptimal aesthetic result. Some problems will require revision surgery.

How do I prepare for surgery?

Prior to any procedure, it is necessary to review medications you are taking that may affect your surgery. You may be asked to stop or to adjust some medications you are on. As always, it is important to include supplements on your list of medications. Aspirin and aspirin products (Alka-Seltzer, Carisoprodol, Excedrin, Goody’s, Midol), anti-inflammatory medications (except acetaminophen, or Tylenol), and herbal supplements must be avoided for 10 days prior to your surgery. For more details about which medications and supplements to avoid, click here. Dr. Kirby will discuss your medications with you.

Depending on your medical condition, you may be asked to get lab testing or a medical checkup prior to your surgery. You may also be asked to have an updated mammogram prior to your surgery if you have not had one recently.

Tobacco products impair your body’s ability to heal. You will be asked to stop smoking for 6 weeks prior to any surgery. Tobacco step-down products such as chewing gum and Nicoderm continue to provide your body with tobacco and must be stopped as well. Please ask Dr. Kirby if you will need assistance with quitting.

Be sure to arrange for a responsible adult to drive you to and from your surgery. You will need someone to stay with you the night following your surgery as well. If you are having an abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”) in combination with another procedure, Dr. Kirby may ask you to stay overnight in the hospital following surgery.  Dr. Kirby will discuss this with you prior to surgery.

You will receive specific instructions for your surgery day from Dr. Kirby’s office.

What is my recovery from surgery like?

After surgery, you should expect to have some soreness, swelling, bruising, and some temporary changes in sensation. Typically you can expect to return to work within 2 weeks after your procedure, depending on your occupation. You will not be able to return to strenuous activity, however, until 6-8 weeks following surgery.  Gentle walking is encouraged starting the day after surgery. Soreness will likely last for several weeks. You will wear a fitted garment following surgery to help your body heal appropriately. You will “graduate” to a smoother pull-on garment a few weeks after surgery.

You will have one or more drains that will require care at home. The drains are usually kept for about 3 days, depending on the amount of fluid they contain. You will only be able to sponge-bathe, but not shower, while the drains are in place.

Stitches placed during your surgery will dissolve over time and will not need to be removed after surgery.  Stitches that hold your drains in place will be removed at the appropriate time by Dr. Kirby. You may also have skin glue or other skin tape and dressings placed at the time of surgery that will remain for a while post-operatively.

Immediately after surgery, you will not be able to stand up straight. Since the operation involves tightening the abdominal muscles, you will be asked to keep a slightly flexed position at the waist (walking slightly hunched over) for 2-3 weeks or more after surgery. During this time you may want to place a pillow under your knees while in bed to keep the pressure off of your incision as it heals. Your abdomen will relax as part of the healing process after surgery.

Scar massage techniques will be discussed by Dr. Kirby when the timing is appropriate. It is important to remember that after surgery as you are bent at the waist and you have swelling from surgery, you will not see the final result for several weeks to months. We will plan to take your “after” photographs at least 6 weeks following surgery.

Call today to book your consultation with Dr. Emily J. Kirby