Tummy Tuck Fort Worth

A flat, well-toned abdomen is something that many of us strive to attain through exercise and weight control. However, 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.

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Emily J. Kirby performs “tummy tuck” surgery, or abdominoplasty, to remove excess skin and fat from the abdominal wall. During surgery, she will tighten and restore your abdominal muscles back to their correct anatomical position, revealing your new shapely, contoured waist. Stretch marks and loose skin can be partially or totally removed in this increasingly popular procedure.

All about tummy tuck surgery in Ft. Worth

Am I ready for a tummy tuck?

Although the results of an abdominoplasty procedure are lasting, the final 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 generally a good option if you are healthy and at a stable weight.

While a tummy tuck is an effective body contouring procedure, it 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 near the pubic hairline, under the belly button. Typically, the incision goes across the entire lower abdomen, from hip to hip. Some patients may require longer or shorter incisions for the best tummy tuck results. 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 having a mini tummy tuck, your incision will be shorter than it is for a full tummy tuck since less tissue is removed than in a full tummy tuck. The incision around the belly button may or may not be needed, as well.

“From the beginning, it was apparent that Dr. Kirby is a caring individual who was interested in my welfare and recovery.”



How long will my surgery take?

If performed alone, a tummy tuck typically takes 2-3 hours. It may be performed in combination with other procedures, such as liposuction, breast lift, breast reduction, or breast augmentation. Combination surgery will take longer.

What kind of anesthesia will I have?

Dr. Kirby performs tummy tuck surgery using general anesthesia for optimal comfort and safety. This means you will be asleep for the entire procedure.

To help patients better manage postoperative pain, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Kirby now offers TAP blocks to her Fort Worth tummy tuck patients.

What are the risks?

The decision to have a tummy tuck is personal 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 (seroma), 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 sub-optimal aesthetic result. Some problems may require revision surgery. Most complications are rare.

Patients Love Dr. Kirby

“Thank you so much for all the work you have done. You did a wonderful job and I appreciate it so much.”*


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 2 weeks prior to your surgery. Learn more about which medications and supplements to avoid. 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 surgery. Tobacco step-down products such as chewing gum and Nicoderm® continue to provide your body with nicotine 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 for at least 24 hours following your surgery as well. If you are having abdominoplasty (a “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 tummy tuck recovery 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 to 8 weeks following surgery. Gentle walking is encouraged starting the day of surgery. Soreness will likely last for several weeks. You will wear a fitted garment following surgery to help your body heal appropriately. You may also need compression socks after surgery to help keep blood flow moving in your legs. You may have drains placed at the time of surgery that require management.

Stitches placed during your surgery will dissolve over time and will not need to be removed after surgery. You may also have skin glue, tape or other dressings placed at the time of surgery that will remain for a while postoperatively.

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

Embrace® Scar Therapy for optimal healing & results

tummy tuck scar treatments

Although Dr. Kirby takes care to place tummy tuck incisions low on the belly, where they can more easily be concealed by a swimsuit, she understands that you want the least noticeable scar possible, no matter what you are wearing!

To help, Dr. Kirby offers Embrace® scar therapy, an FDA cleared treatment that is clinically proven to improve scar formation. Embrace strips are flexible, comfortable, and breathable clear silicone tape strips that gently contract around your incision to dramatically reduce tension, protect your healing incision, and create the optimal environment for healing. Our patients who use Embrace are very happy they did—they have much thinner, lighter, and flatter scars in the months after tummy tuck surgery than they expected.

before and after using Embrace
Before & after using Embrace. Photos* from Neodyne Biosciences, inc.

Embrace strips are easy to use and stay on for about 10 days each, even while showering and sleeping. Dr. Kirby and her team will show you how to use Embrace scar strips during your post-operative visits if you choose to use it.

How long until I see final results after a tummy tuck?

Even with the best attention to recovery and at-home scar care, it is important to remember that you will not see the final result for several months. We will plan to take your “after” photographs about 6 months following surgery.

Mini Abdominoplasty Fort Worth

If you are bothered by the appearance of your lower abdomen, mini abdominoplasty, also called a mini tummy tuck, with Dr. Kirby may help you get the results you want with a relatively short recovery.

What is a mini tummy tuck?

A modified version of the abdominoplasty, a mini tummy tuck removes excess, sagging tissue from the lower abdomen (below the belly button) to restore a firmer, flatter and slimmer silhouette. Depending on your needs, Dr. Kirby can also remove some stretch marks located below the belly button during surgery or even tighten mildly lax muscles.

Whenever possible, Dr. Kirby uses drainless tummy tuck techniques to achieve beautiful results with a quicker, more comfortable recovery.

Am I a good candidate for a mini tummy tuck?

A mini tummy tuck may be a great option if you are healthy and at a stable weight, without a large excess of abdominal skin. Typically, the best candidates are primarily concerned about loose skin or a protruding lower belly only—if you have significant stretched, sagging skin or muscles, a full tummy tuck may achieve better results.

Similar to a traditional tummy tuck, mini tummy tuck surgery is not a substitute for weight loss or a healthy exercise program. Although the results are lasting, the outcome can be influenced by changes in your weight following surgery. If you are planning substantial weight loss or if you are considering future pregnancy, you may be advised to postpone mini tummy tuck surgery.

Where will my incisions be?

The mini tummy tuck incision is much shorter than a traditional, full tummy tuck incision. This may be the only incision, and the belly button is allowed to “float” downwards to a new position without an additional belly button incision. Other techniques include a scar around the belly button. Incision placement is specific to your body and to your surgery, and Dr. Kirby will discuss the incisions with you prior to your surgery.

What kind of anesthesia will I have?

Mini tummy tuck surgery is performed under general anesthesia for optimal comfort. This means you will be asleep for the entire procedure.

How long will my surgery last?

If performed alone, a mini tummy tuck typically takes 1-2 hours. The procedure may be performed in combination with other procedures, such as liposuction or breast augmentation. Combination surgery will take longer.

Tummy Tuck with TAP Block Fort Worth

To help patients better manage postoperative pain, Dr. Kirby now offers TAP blocks to her Fort Worth tummy tuck patients. A Transversus Abdominis Plane (TAP) nerve block is used during tummy tuck surgery to aid in controlling pain after your procedure. It is an injection of local anesthetic (numbing medication) that numbs the tissues of the lower abdomen from the belly button to the upper thigh. A TAP block prevents the nerves from sending pain signals from your surgical site, thereby reducing pain post-surgery.

How is a TAP block performed?

Proper placement of the TAP block is crucial for ensuring adequate numbing of the nerves that control sensation in the lower abdomen. During the surgery, Dr. Kirby uses ultrasound imaging to visualize your abdominal musculature. She then guides placement of the injection between the appropriate muscle layers of the abdominal wall.

Dr. Kirby Performing a Tap Block Tummy Tuck

Dr. Kirby performing a TAP block tummy tuck

How long does the TAP Block last?

Pain relief from a single TAP block should last up to 12 to 24 hours. A TAP block does not eliminate pain entirely; you will still use additional pain medication after surgery, but patients report using less narcotic pain medication, over a fewer number of days when a TAP block has been performed.

As the TAP block wears off, you may begin to notice increased sensation slowly returning to your abdomen. It is a good idea to take your pain medication before the numbness has worn off fully to ensure you remain as comfortable as possible.

What are the possible risks of a TAP block?

Most complications are rare, but there are some risks associated with a TAP block—as with any injection. Typically, side effects are mild and short-lived, and may include:

  • Infection at the injection site
  • Local anesthetic systemic toxicity (LAST)
  • Puncture of surrounding structures

By choosing a board certified plastic surgeon, these risks can be greatly reduced.

What are the benefits of a TAP block?

Dr. Kirby has found that using a TAP block for tummy tuck patients comes with a number of benefits, including:

  • Feeling less sedated and more alert after surgery
  • Able to be up and walking sooner post-surgery
  • Able to start eating a regular diet earlier after surgery
  • More effective pain control
  • Less constipation caused by narcotic pain medications
  • Less nausea caused by narcotic pain medications

Many of Dr. Kirby’s tummy tuck patients opt for a TAP block to reduce discomfort after surgery so they can get settled at home and start the healing process.

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

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