Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a surgical procedure that is designed to improve the appearance of the abdomen. Dr. John Michael Thomassen frequently performs tummy tucks. During an abdominoplasty, Dr. Thomassen tightens the muscles of the abdominal wall, he also removes excess fat and unnecessary skin from the abdomen. Sometimes, during a tummy tuck, Dr. Thomassen also performs liposuction.

Reasons the Abdomen Becomes Less Tone

Various factors contribute to the loss of tone in the abdomen. These factors include the combined effects of gravity, aging, weight fluctuations, pregnancy/childbirth and a loss of skin elasticity.

What an Abdominoplasty Can Accomplish

When Dr. Thomassen performs a tummy tuck, he contours his patient’s body to create a firm and flat abdomen.

Custom-Designed Treatment Plans to Meet Each Patient’s Specific Needs

Each patient is unique, therefore, Dr. Thomassen takes the time to create each of his patients a treatment plan that is designed to meet his or her specific needs.

Who Should Consider a Tummy Tuck?

The majority of individuals who seek a tummy tuck are women who have had several pregnancies resulting in excess fat and skin on their abdomens. Women who intend to have more children should wait to have a tummy tuck because pregnancy can negatively affect the results of their abdominoplasty.

Other individuals who choose to have a tummy tuck include:

  • Men and women who have a protruding abdomen with excess fat and/or skin that is resistant to diet, and exercise.
  • Healthy individuals who are within 25 pounds of their recommended body weight and who have realistic expectations as to what a tummy tuck can accomplish.
  • Individuals who have lost a substantial amount of weight and have excess skin; however, an individual who plans to lose more weight should postpone a tummy tuck until his or her weight loss goal is reached.

An Initial Consultation for a Tummy Tuck

Patients should be candid during their initial consultation: All of the questions that Dr. Thomassen and his staff ask are intended to prevent complications and ensure the safety of the patient.

During an initial consultation, Dr. Thomassen will want to know about the patient’s medical history, including:

  • The medications, herbal supplements and vitamins he or she takes
  • Prior treatments and surgical procedures
  • Allergies

A Tummy Tuck with Liposuction

Many of Dr. Thomassen’s patients request a tummy tuck in conjunction with liposuction. The best candidates for this combination procedure are individuals who have excess fat and loose skin on their abdomens.

Preparing for an Abdominoplasty

Prior to a tummy tuck, Dr. Thomassen will most likely request that the patient visit his or her physician to have a thorough physical exam and routine blood work. Patients who are 40 years of age or older may need to have an electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) prior to their tummy tuck procedure.

Certain medications need to be avoided for at least two weeks before surgery and one week after their surgical procedure. These medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen. NSAIDs are known to cause bruising and abnormal bleeding.

The Day of the Abdominoplasty

Patients need to fast for at least eight hours before their tummy tuck with Dr. Thomassen.

Since an abdominoplasty is an outpatient procedure, patients need to bring a licensed driver with them on the day of their procedure. A tummy tuck can take two or three hours to complete.

1. Shaving and Marking the Abdomen

The patient’s abdomen is shaved and marked prior to surgery. These markings are used as a guide during the surgical procedure.

2. Anesthesia

The majority of Dr. Thomassen’s patients receive general anesthesia: All anesthesia is administered by a licensed anesthesiologist.

3. Making the Incision

Once the patient is anesthetized, Dr. Thomassen will create an incision that extends across the lower abdomen (directly above the pubic area) from hip to hip.

If an individual is also having liposuction, the liposuction procedure is performed first. Additional incisions will need to be made. These small incisions are necessary as they are used to insert the cannula (the thin tube used to remove excess fat).

4. The Fat and Skin Are Lifted

The skin and fat are gently lifted off of the abdominal wall’s muscles.

5. Tightening of the Abdominal Muscles

If necessary, Dr. Thomassen uses sutures to tighten the abdominal muscles.

6. Excess Fat and Skin Are Removed

After tightening the muscles, Dr. Thomassen removes any excess fat and skin.

7. Dr. Thomassen Redrapes the Skin

After removing the excess skin and fat, the skin is redraped over the abdominal muscles. To hasten the healing process, Dr. Thomassen may place a drain beneath the incision. A drain is a thin, rubber tube that assists in draining fluid that accumulates beneath the incision.

8. Closing the Incisions

To minimize scarring, Dr. Thomassen carefully brings the skin together and closes it with sutures.

9. Dressing is Applied and an Abdominal Binder is Placed

A sterile dressing is applied over the incisions. Then, a compression garment is placed to help support the abdominal wall as it heals. Compression garments and abdominal binders also decrease post-operative swelling, which reduces the incidence of bruising.

10. Recovery Room

Patients will remain in the recovery room for approximately an hour following their abdominoplasty.

11. Results

Patients will notice an improvement in the contour of their abdomen immediately: As swelling subsides, the contour of the abdomen will continue to improve.

Recovering from an Abdominoplasty

Patients will wear the compression garment or abdominal binder for approximately three weeks after their surgery.

Drainage Tube Removal

The drainage tubes that Dr. Thomassen placed will be removed at his office several days after the procedure.

At-Home Recovery

Most patients need to spend several days in bed directly following their tummy tuck: Patients should expect to feel some discomfort and pain. Dr. Thomassen will provide patients with medications and tips for reducing their pain level.

Returning to Work

While each patient is unique, the majority of patients will require 14 days off of work to recover.

Dr. John Michael Thomassen is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who frequently performs tummy tuck procedures for individuals who want to improve the way their abdomens look. If you are interested in learning more about abdominoplasty and liposuction, or any of the other procedures that Dr. Thomassen performs, please contactThomassen Plastic Surgery today.