Updated August 6, 2019
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.
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 loose skin can be partially or totally removed in this procedure.
Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Emily J. Kirby specializes in the “drainless” tummy tuck, which can eliminate the need for post-operative drains. The drainless technique reduces risk of complications and helps you enjoy a quicker, more comfortable recovery.
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.
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.
All about tummy tuck surgery in Ft. Worth
During abdominoplasty, the skin and fat layers are separated from the muscle layer to allow for muscles to be tightened and excess skin to be removed. This creates a space where fluid can accumulate between the layers during healing. Traditional abdominoplasty techniques use drains, which are placed inside the body and connect through the skin to reservoirs that collect excess fluid. Drains help monitor for a complication called a “seroma,” or excess fluid buildup.
During your consultation, Dr. Kirby will discuss the technique she will use for your surgery in detail and answer any questions you may have.
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 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. This is because less tissue is removed in a mini tummy tuck than in a full tummy tuck. The incision around the belly button may or may not be needed, as well.
How long will my surgery take?
If performed alone, a tummy tuck typically takes about 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.
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 suboptimal aesthetic result. Some problems may require revision surgery. Most complications are rare.
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. 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 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 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 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 6-8 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 post-operatively.
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
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.
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.