What is a tummy tuck?
This procedure is aimed to remove excess lower abdominal skin and fat that many patients are left with following pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, or aging. During a tummy tuck, your abdominal muscles or “abs” will also be repaired or brought back together in the midline (otherwise known as rectus diastasis repair). The scar is usually along the lower abdomen or right below a C-section scar, if you have had a previous C-section. The scar will extend slightly beyond the C-section scar or can extend from hip bone to hip bone depending on the amount of skin that needs to be removed. This scar is covered by most underwear and swimming suit bottoms. You will also have an incision around the belly button. To make a natural appearing, pretty belly button, the belly button (or umbilical stalk) is usually shortened and attached to the abdominal wall with the scar placed inside the belly button. A tummy tuck will also include a small amount of liposuction along the waistline to help create an hourglass shape. Some patients may require or want additional liposuction along their upper or lower back and/or flanks or sides.
Who is a Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
The best candidate for a tummy tuck is a patient with excess, sagging abdominal skin, areas of excess fat on the lower abdomen or waistline, stretched abdominal muscles (rectus diastasis) and/or abdominal stretch marks following childbirth or weight loss. Tummy tuck patients should be at or near their ideal body weight.
Who is NOT a Tummy Tuck Candidate?
Unfortunately, not everyone is a good candidate for a tummy tuck or sculpting surgery like liposuction. Patients who smoke, have complicated medical problems (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, blood clots) or are considered obese with a BMI of >33 are not candidates for a tummy tuck. Dr. Suber requires all patients to stop smoking at least 6 weeks prior to surgery and test negative for nicotine.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
Tummy tuck surgery is an outpatient procedure. You will go home the same day following your surgery. You will have two drains placed in the lower abdomen along with a compression dressing. The drains are left in for approximately 1-3 weeks depending on the output. The compression is worn for 6 weeks post-operatively. You will walk and sleep in a flexed or beach chair position to help keep the tension off of the incision. You will want to walk around your house immediately to help blood circulation and prevent blood clots in your legs. You will not be able to do strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for 6 weeks. You will be prescribed oral pain medication, anti-nausea medication and possible antibiotics. If you do not have a job that requires physical activity, you may be able to return to work within 10-14 days.
Tummy Tuck Risks and Problems
The most common problem associated with tummy tuck surgery is postoperative wound healing problems. Most wounds can be managed with daily home wound care. Other risks associated with a tummy tuck are postoperative blood or fluid collections that can usually be managed with prolonged drains or minor in-office procedures. Occasionally, superficial infections may occur following a tummy tuck that can be managed with antibiotics. Rarely, more serious infections of the deeper tissues may require IV antibiotics, hospitalization and possible additional surgery.
The most serious risk of a tummy tuck is a potentially life-threatening blood clot in the legs or lungs. To help prevent blood clots, all of Dr. Suber’s patients are fitted for compression leggings and have sequential compression devices (SCD’s) on during surgery. Patients are also encouraged to walk as much as possible, even the evening after surgery.
All risks of a tummy tuck with liposuction are increased in patients that smoke, have poorly controlled medical problems, or are overweight. Thus, the risks and complications associated with a tummy tuck can be minimized with proper patient selection and postoperative care.
Everyone wants to look great and feel confident in a bathing suit or short shorts. However, it can be pretty difficult to “strut your stuff” with visible cellulite and thighs that rub together! But fear not, with today’s thigh lift procedure, you can regain firm, tight, and slim thighs.
Thigh Lift Surgery
Thigh lift surgery is designed to remove excess fat and tighten the skin of the upper legs and thighs. Depending on the degree of skin laxity and excess fat, liposuction alone, a combination of liposuction and thigh skin excision, or a two-staged procedure with liposuction and skin excision is used. Dr. Jessica Suber and her staff at SOMC will help you select the thigh lift surgery to fit your needs and fulfill your dreams.
For patients with minimal skin laxity, good skin tone, and minimal to moderate amounts of excess fat, liposuction alone can be a good choice to improve the contour and firmness of the legs and thighs. Circumferential liposuction is performed to reduce the amount of thigh fat, particularly of the inner and outer thighs, and promote postoperative skin retraction. Thigh liposuction is performed through tiny port site incisions placed in well-hidden areas of the legs.
For patients with skin laxity of the thighs and moderate amounts of excess fat, a combination of thigh liposuction and skin excision is needed. Depending on the amount of excess skin, a number of different incisions can be used. Dr. Suber always chooses the incision that will leave the shortest thigh lift scar and still provide the best results. For skin laxity limited to the upper 1/3 of the thigh, a horizontal incision placed in the groin crease is used to elevate and secure loose thigh skin to the pubic bone. This thigh lift approach, performed through a horizontal incision confined to the groin crease, is often called a mini thigh lift. For patients with more severe skin laxity involving the upper and lower thigh and knee area, a vertical incision extending from the upper thigh to knee area placed on the inner aspect of the thigh is necessary to get the best skin tightening results.
While rarely necessary, patients who have loose, flabby thigh skin and a significant amount of excess fat, Dr. Suber may recommend a two-staged thigh lift approach. The first stage involves circumferential liposuction of the thighs followed approximately three months later by a skin excision and tightening procedure performed through a vertical inner thigh incision.
Thigh Lift Surgery Recovery
Dr. Jessica Suber performs thigh lifts and other body sculpting surgeries in the hospital operating room. For patient comfort and safety, Dr. Suber performs thigh lift surgery under general anesthesia with the patient completely asleep and closely monitored. Thigh lift surgery requires approximately 2-3 hours of operative time, depending on the complexity, need for liposuction, and size of the patient.
Dr. Suber’s thigh lift patients usually require postoperative thigh drains to help speed recovery and decrease postoperative complications. The drains are generally removed in one to five days after surgery. A postoperative compression garment must be worn for six weeks to aid in healing and shaping of the thighs following a thigh lift. Patients are prescribed oral pain medications, antibiotics, and anti-nausea medicines postoperatively. Most of Dr. Suber’s thigh lift patients are able to return to work in 5 to 7 days, drive when they are no longer taking narcotic pain medications, and return to full exercise by six weeks.
The Benefits of an Arm Lift
Brachioplasty or Upper Arm Lift surgery is performed to improve the shape and contour of the arms. Patients with excess fat and loose skin hanging from the upper arm may select this surgery to achieve slimmer, firmer, and younger looking arms. Sometimes a sudden weight loss may result in loose hanging skin around the upper arms, and brachioplasty can help. This surgery is very popular with patients who have lost a substantial amount of weight. Scarring can be significant, depending on the type of arm lift that is perfomed.
What to expect
Arm lift surgery may be performed as an outpatient procedure in most cases. If there is minimal excess of skin and substantial fat, a mini arm lift can be used. This involves a short incision in the arm pit which is combined with liposuction to sculpt the arms. Recovery is substantially less than with a full arm lift, where the incisions travel from the armpit to the elbow. Patients with very loose skin and minimal fat are better served with a full arm lift procedure. When consulting in Dr. Suber, the feasibility of each procedure can be determined.
Lipo is a type of cosmetic surgery that removes excess fat from specific body areas. This may help improve the way the body looks. This sheet explains the procedure. Liposuction is not a substitute for eating right and exercising. For lasting results, you will have to control your weight. Discuss your treatment goals with your doctor. He or she can tell you more about what to expect, as well as the method of liposuction that will be used for you.
What to expect before & during Liposuction
Prepare as you have been told. In addition:
- Tell your doctor about all medications you take. This includes herbs and other supplements. It also includes any blood thinners, such as Coumadin, Plavix, or daily aspirin. You may need to stop taking some or all of them before surgery.
- Do not eat or drink during the 8 hours before your lipo surgery, or as directed by your surgeon. This includes coffee, water, gum, and mints. (If you have been instructed to take medications, take them with a small sip of water.)
The Day of Surgery
The procedure can take 1-5 hours, depending on how many areas are being treated and the technique used. You may go home the same day. Or you may stay 1 or more nights.
Before the procedure begins:
- An IV line is put into a vein in your arm or hand. This line delivers fluids and medications.
- You will be given medication to keep you pain free during lipo surgery. This may be general anesthesia, which puts you into a state like deep sleep. A tube may be inserted into your throat to help you breathe. In some cases, sedation is given instead. This medication relaxes you and makes you sleep lightly. If you have sedation, local anesthetic will be used to numb the areas being worked on. The anesthesiologist will discuss your options with you.
- The skin over the sites to be worked on is marked with a sterile pen.
During the liposuction procedure:
- Fluid is injected into the surgical areas. This makes it easier to remove fat. The fluid also contains medication to numb the site and reduce pain and bleeding.
- One or more small incisions are made in the skin over the marked sites.
- A thin metal tube called a cannula is placed through an incision into the fat layer under the skin. The cannula is attached to a small vacuum or syringe. As the cannula is moved back and forth, excess fat is suctioned out.
- When the procedure is done, the cannula and other tools are removed.
- Incisions are closed with stitches (sutures). These may dissolve on their own. Or they may need to be removed at a later date. In certain cases, incisions are left open to heal. The surgical sites may be bandaged.
After the Surgery
You will be taken to a room to wake up from the anesthesia. You may feel sleepy and nauseated. If a breathing tube was used, your throat may be sore at first. You will be given medications help prevent infection and manage pain. You will also likely be given compression garments to wear. These reduce swelling and help form a smooth shape. When you’re ready, you will be released to go home. Have an adult family member or friend drive you.
Recovering at Home
For the next few weeks, expect to have pain, swelling, and bruising. Once at home, follow the instructions you have been given. Your doctor will tell you when you can return to your normal routine. Be sure to:
- Take all prescribed medications as directed. Take pain medication on time. Do not wait for pain to get bad before taking it.
- Don’t shower for 72 hours after lipo. Avoid swimming, bathing, using a hot tub, and other activities that cause incisions to be covered with water until your doctor says it’s okay.
- Care for your incisions as instructed. This includes keeping your bandages and incisions dry when bathing or showering.
- Wear compression garments as directed. Doing so is important for a good cosmetic result.
- Walk at least a few times daily. But don’t push yourself too hard.
- Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous activity, and exercise as directed. Talk to your doctor about light exercise, such as walking, that you can do to maintain your weight until you’re fully healed.
- Don’t drive until you are no longer taking prescription pain medication and your doctor says it’s okay. When riding in a car, carefully position the seatbelt so that it doesn’t compress the body parts that had liposuction.