Diet and exercise sometimes do little to eliminate unwanted fat and loose skin in the abdominal area. They are also ineffective for stretch marks. If you are bothered by these appearance problems, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) may be a good choice for you. Abdominoplasty is performed to rid a person of excess skin and to tighten the weak abdominal wall muscles. This is frequently present in women following childbirth or great weight loss.
The procedure can be done as an outpatient surgery and sometimes can be done as a “mini” abdominoplasty, which works mainly on the lower portion of the abdomen (a “mini” procedure involves a limited skin excision of the abdomen below the belly-button in combination with liposuction). For a full abdominoplasty, I begin by making a long incision from one hipbone to the other, and then make a second incision to remove the naval from surrounding tissue. The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall and the abdominal muscles are pulled closer together, tightened, and stitched into a new position.
After this, the skin is stretched back down over the abdomen and extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for the belly button and it, along with the original incision, is stitched. After surgery is performed, dressings and bandages are used and drainage tubes are used to help drain additional fluid. A compression garment is required to help limit swelling for several weeks.
Recovery period is anywhere from 10-21 days, depending on the extent of the procedure and the tightening of the abdominal wall musculature. Liposuction is frequently performed, and other procedures such as breast augmentation or lift can also be performed at the time of this surgery. I cannot perform aggressive liposuction of the midline abdominal fat at the same time as a full abdominoplasty since the blood supply to the tissues can be compromised.
The average cost including anesthesia and facility fees is ~ $7000-9500 (depending on the extent of the surgery and the amount of liposuction included). Prescriptions for pain medicine and antibiotics would be extra, depending upon your insurance company, and I recommend that all of my patients buy a compression garment for the immediate post-operative period. We also offer financing through companies recommended by the American Society of Plastic Surgery (please click on the financing button on this web site). Combined procedures are less expensive. Ultimately it would be best if I met you in person to give you a better idea about what type of surgery you might need. Please contact my office at 216-393-9924. Alternatively you can e-mail my patient care manager at [email protected].
The general risks of surgery include but are not limited to: bleeding, infection, injury to surrounding structures, asymmetry, hypertrophic/keloid scarring, prolonged irritation, and peri-operative anesthetic complications. The specific risks include sensation changes to the abdominal wall, wound healing complications to the lower abdominal wall or belly-button, recurrent laxity of the tissues, blood clot in the legs, and need for further surgery. That being said, most patients do very well with this surgery.
I would be more than happy to see you in my clinic where I can also show you more pictures of my patients and explain the procedure in greater detail.
For more of Dr. Medalie’s abdominoplasty patient photos, please visit his photo gallery.
» View Frequently Asked Questions about Tummy Tuck Surgery
Do I need general anesthesia?
Yes-Abdominoplasty needs to be performed with the patient aslepp.
How long does it take?
Typical surgery time is around 2.5 hours.
What is the chance of infection?
I typically give my patients antibiotics on the day of surgery. Post operative infections are rare and are typically related to the dissolving sutures which can sometimes irritate the skin. Please be aware that smoking is the number one reason for post-operative infections and healing problems. I thus require my patients to STOP SMOKING at least 3 months prior to a tummy tuck procedure.
Are there bleeding risks?
During the surgery local anesthetic is injected into the tissue using a tumescent technique-this blocks the sensation and also constricts blood vessels. As a result, there is very little bleeding during the surgery. I have NEVER had a patient have a severe bleeding complication post-op, but it is not impossible and a return trip to the OR may be necessary.
What is the recovery?
This is a big operation and requires a fairly long recovery. Pain that may require narcotic pain medicine typically lasts 1-2 weeks. After that, ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil) is sufficient. I recommend that patients take at least 2 weeks off from work (and probably more if you can), but if you have a desk job, 2-3 weeks may be sufficient The post-op care involves drain care for the first 7-14 days and then scar massage after that. Most of the swelling and all of the buried stitches have disappeared by 3-4 months
When can I resume my normal activity?
I recommend that patients refrain from exercise for at least 3 weeks after surgery. Even after 3 weeks, the incisions may be sensitive and patients need to use caution. Full activity including abdominal crunches can not resume until the patient is 3 months out from surgery.
When will I be completely healed?
Some of the deep sutures under the skin can take up to three months to completely dissolve. For this reason, some patients may report sensitivity issue such as itching for up to three months post-op. Abdominal wall sensation may always be a little numb.Typically my patients have resumed full activity by 3 months.
Can other procedures be performed at the same time as abdominoplasty?
Yes – I frequently perform multiple procedures on tummy tuck patients. Frequently I perform liposuction. Sometimes I also perform breast procedures such as breast augmentation or breast lift. Many of my patients ask for vaginoplasty or labiplasty as an adjunct to the tummy tuck (please see the mommy makeover section)
What does it cost?
A full abdominoplasty with liposuction of the flanks and abdomen costs around $9000 at Dr. Medalie’s outpatient surgery location. All procedures are less expensive when combined with other procedures such as vaginoplasty or breast augmentation.
What if I am from out of town?
I frequently perform abdominoplasty and body contouring surgery on patients who live out of town and are unable to easily to see me in consultation prior to the procedure. I have several requirements for these patients: I must see pictures of them prior to scheduling surgery. They need to contact my office and have my patient care manager email or fax them a history and physical form to be filled out and sent back. Typically the patient will come in to town 1 day prior to the procedure, and I will see them the day of surgery. I will perform a phone consultation about 3 weeks prior to surgery. I will then perform the operation and see them back in my clinic in several days to check the surgical site and answer any questions. This means that the patient will spend around 4-7 days in the Cleveland area. Patients who live far away, but can drive to Cleveland (2-6 hrs.), can go home the next day and drive back to see me for their first post-operative appointment. I will then follow the progress of the patient via e-mailed pictures on a weekly basis. My patient care manager has information about hotels in the area as well as financing. You may contact her at [email protected]
Where can I get more information?
Please call him at 216-393-9924
.You can also e-mail his patient care manager, Valerie, at [email protected]
» Read a more detailed description of abdominoplasty at the American Society of Plastic Surgery website