Joseph M. Brown M.D, F.A.C.S
PLASTIC SURGEON IN TAMPA
Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed by Dr. Brown at Tampa Aesthetic & Plastic Surgery. It’s the perfect treatment for that stubborn apron of loose skin that hangs at the bottom of the abdomen. This procedure is a great option for women after pregnancy or for people who have experienced significant weight loss and wish to tone the abdomen with skin tightening.
Our patients who undergo this treatment report a huge boost in their self-confidence because of the improvement made to their physical appearance and lack of self-consciousness both in and out of clothing. There are different types of abdominoplasty procedures aimed at improving the contour and silhouette of the abdomen. There are described below.
An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is a procedure that is performed to improve the contour of the entire central core of the body. For many patients, this procedure permanently removes stretch marks, creates an enhanced definition of the belly button or umbilicus, removes excess skin, tightens abdominal skin, tightens and repairs the six-pack muscles (or rectus abdominis), narrows the waistline, and improves self-confidence. It is one of the most transformative procedures available in a plastic surgeon’s armamentarium. Dr. Brown pays particular attention to abdominal contour, definition, and the belly button. He uses special suturing techniques that will help to shape and mold a beautiful belly button, which is essential to beautiful abdomen.
Mini Tummy Tucks
This primarily addresses excess skin in the lower abdomen. Typically, the scar is shorter and, if necessary, laxity between the six pack muscles can be tightened to take care of a “baby bulge” that never went away. The belly button is typically left in place and does not have a scar around it.
Full Tummy Tuck
This is one of the most powerful tools of transformation in a plastic surgeon’s belt. With this surgery, skin and fat are removed from both the upper and lower abdomen by re-draping the skin and excising the excess. The belly button is brought out through its new position and is more defined, giving it a more youthful appearance. It is your belly button, just refined. The six pack muscles are tightened by sewing them together in the midline, which helps to narrow the waistline and create more of an hourglass appearance. The incision is typically from hip to hip, with a scar around the belly button as well, which is well camouflaged.
Lipoabdominoplasty is a highly specialized form of abdominoplasty that Dr. Brown excels in. Some patients are excellent candidates for this state of the art procedure where liposculpture is performed across the abdomen in addition to a full abdominoplasty to further enhance abdominal contour and create beautiful definition. This procedure is done for select patients and can create very powerful changes as well. Liposuction is particularly focused on the hips, flanks, and lower ribs to create a very pronounced hourglass appearance, which can be incredibly visible both in and out of clothing.
Extended Tummy Tuck
Patients who have undergone bariatric surgery or have lost a significant amount of weight may benefit from an extended abdominoplasty. With this operation, the scars are longer in order to achieve a great result in abdominal wall contour. Typically, the pubic region is also lifted with this operation which creates universal improvement in the torso and a more harmonious improvement.
Reverse Tummy Tuck
For patients in whom a mini or full tummy tuck cannot tighten all the skin on the upper part of the abdomen, a reverse tummy tuck is employed. With this operation the skin is pulled up towards the breasts/lower chest. It can be useful after a mini abdominoplasty, if upper abdominal skin laxity begins to develop with age.
When should we consider tummy tuck?
Men and women in the Tampa Bay area who may be considering abdominoplasty surgery should be at or close to their ideal weight. This helps to ensure accuracy for the final result, which can always change with more weight loss. We also recommend that women wait until they have no future plans to become pregnant, as this can reverse the changes made in abdominoplasty.
Reasons for considering tummy tuck:
- Lack of self confidence due to excess abdominal skin
- Excess stretch marks in lower abdomen
- Excess stretch marks in lower abdomen and around belly button
- Poorly define belly button in the setting of excess skin
- Separation of six-pack muscles, also called diastasis recti
- Roundness of the abdomen despite low body fat and healthy diet/lifestyle
- Uneven scar from C-section
- Over-hanging skin from weight loss, C-section, or previous pregnancy
- Crepe-paper appearance of abdominal skin from pregnancy
- You can grab fist-fulls of skin on your abdomen due to excess skin
What to expect in your initial consultation
- Initial discussion
- Physical exam
- Treatment planning
At your initial consultation, Dr. Brown will speak with you and listen to your concerns. He will obtain a thorough history while doing so as Dr. Brown will take every precaution in making sure to prioritize safety over everything else. A physical exam will be performed to assess your abdominalskin, your six-pack muscles, presence of any hernias, presence of any preexisting scars, stretch marks, or areas of excess fat in order to determine the best treatment option. Typically, photographs are taken and are part of your confidential medical record. These are not published without your explicitly discussed and written consent. Finally, a safe treatment plan that will best reach your goals will be discussed. Typically, a complimentary second preoperative consultation will also be had during which all questions will be answered and prescriptions will be given ahead of time so they can be filled and ready for when you get home.
What to expect with surgery:
Tummy tucks are typically performed under general anesthesia and patients go home the same day, although some patients will require an overnight stay in the hospital. Drains are typically placed to help prevent the development of fluid collections from surgery. Dr. Brown utilizes modern techniques of local anesthesia to minimize surgical pain in the immediate postoperative period. Most patients are feeling well after a few days, but are sore for about 2 weeks. Mild activity and walking are encouraged but strenuous activity should be avoided for 6 weeks to prevent complications and help to ensure a great outcome.
- Walking bent at the waist to minimize tension on the incision
- Walking upright is more comfortable
- Light activity may be initiated here with minimal engagement of core musculature
- Typically, a garment or abdominal binder are worn night and day for this period
- Modest increase in activity
- The garment or binder may be worn for 12 hours a day
- Enjoy your new body without restrictions
Frequently asked questions
Can this procedure be combined with other procedures?
Tummy tucks are frequently combined with other procedures. The classic variation of the term “mommy makeover” involves abdominoplasty with some type of breast procedure (either a breast lift or breast augmentation). Sometimes it will be combined with liposuction on various areas of the body.
How long after pregnancy should I wait before having this surgery?
The medical answer for this is a minimum of 1 year, according to Dr. Brown and most board certified plastic surgeons. This will allow the patient’s body to achieve its new baseline. Dr. Brown will typically recommend waiting a bit longer for many patients. As a father and a dedicated husband, he understands how physically demanding it can be for a mom to carry around a toddler or even her “baby bag” that can weigh over 25 lbs for many women. Unless these women have someone around to help fulfill that physical roll on a daily basis, it’s usually easiest to wait until that phase has been completed.
Do I really have to stop working out for 6 weeks??
Yes! While you are able to perform light activities, it’s important to avoid strenuous activity. When the six-pack muscles are repaired and the “diastasis recti” is corrected, the body must heal the abdominal wall musculature in that position. This takes about 6 weeks to reach its maximum strength. Dr. Brown encourages patients to stick to this and often reminds them of the fact that this procedure will have done more to improve your physique than any 6 weeks of working out could do. Also, be prepared to see results you haven’t seen in years when you resume your workouts. A healthy lifestyle and rigorous exercise regimen will do nothing other than maximize and sustain your results … after the 6 weeks, of course.
How do I choose my surgeon?
An excellent question. Contrary to many other surgeons, Dr. Brown encourages patients to seek multiple opinions when considering an elective operation. It is absolutely essential that the patient-doctor relationship be based upon honesty, trust, and a clear understanding of a common goal and endpoint. It is essential that you as a patient feel that your plastic surgeon hears you, understands you, and can articulate a plan that makes sense in achieving your goals. You must feel confident that your plastic surgeon has your safety as his or her primary concern through and through. You can ask to see photos, to see if your plastic surgeon’s aesthetic is similar to yours while understanding that everyone’s body and therefore results will be different. Aside from that, here are some basic questions that should be answered when selecting a surgeon for a cosmetic procedures:
1) Is this a plastic surgeon who has been certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
- To become certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, one must have completed dedicated training in a Plastic Surgery residency which has been accredited by the Residency Review Committee for Plastic Surgery (RRC-PS) and accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) .
- This surgeon must successfully pass a written exam proving a mastery of the fund of knowledge within the specialty of plastic surgery.
- This surgeon must then undergo a “case collection” period, where every case the surgeon performs is monitored, analyzed, and reported to the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This demonstrates the candidates surgical capabilities and technical skill.
- This surgeon then must complete a three-day oral examination administered by masters in the field, during which the previous year’s cases are reviewed, in order to further prove competent, ethical, and safe decision making.
2) Is this plastic surgeon a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons?
- In order to become a member in this society, one must be a plastic surgeon who has been certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
- This person must then be sponsored by existing members in the society as being an ethical, safe, and competent surgeon in the community.
3) Is this surgeon a member of the American College of Surgeons?
- To become a Fellow of the American Colllege of Surgeons, one must become certified by their respective specialty board.
- The surgeon must then obtain a recommendation by local surgeons in the same community who will vouge for the fact that this surgeon is safe, collegial, and performs to the highest standard of patient and surgical care.
4) Does this surgeon have privileges in a hospital to perform this operation?
- It’s important to know whether or not local hospitals will allow your surgeon to perform your specific procedure within their four walls.
- This is important in the rare instances of a complication, where continuation of care would not be able to proceed if the surgeons does not have these privileges.
- Most plastic surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery have privileges to perform cosmetic surgery in hospitals.
5) Is there a difference between American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery?
- The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not accredited or recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. To become certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, one could have completed training in ANY of these specialties: General surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oral and Maxillofacial surgery, Otolaryngology (ENT). Most of these physicians spend one year in a cosmetic surgery fellowship being trained by other obstetricians, general surgeons, oral surgeons, etc in breast augmentation, abdominoplasty, etc. Most surgeons who are certified by this do NOT have hospital privileges to perform the procedures they perform in their offices, as opposed to most board certified plastic surgeons.
- For a description of the rigors of becoming certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, please see above.
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We are located at Tampa Aesthetic & Plastic Surgery, 17523 N Dale Mabry Hwy Lutz, FL 33548.