In such cases, Dr. Summers has helped many Baltimore tummy tuck patients remove excess skin and fatty deposits from their abdomen and reposition their abdomen muscles for a tighter formation. If you are considering a tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty) procedure, Baltimore and Annapolis abdominoplasty patients have found that Dr. Summers’ techniques consistently help patients achieve their goal of a flatter and tighter stomach. The abdominoplasty procedure can also repair a condition known as a “diastasis recti”, where there is a separation between the vertical abdominal muscles (this typically occurs following pregnancy).
Many factors affect the contour of your abdomen. Childbirth can stretch abdominal muscles to an extent that is uncorrectable with exercise. Excess fat deposits may produce undesirable bulges or fullness, and loose skin following childbirth or weight loss may result in an unattractive abdomen.
A variation of the procedure (a “mini” tummy-tuck) is sometimes all that is required to achieve the desired result. In this case, loose abdominal skin below or around the umbilicus is tightened through a smaller incision and fat is removed.
Incisions for abdominoplasty are placed low on your abdomen to allow them to be concealed. The length of the incision depends on the degree of looseness in your skin and how much will need to be removed. Dr. Summers will discuss your unique situation with you.
The skin and fat are first lifted off the underlying musculature of the abdomen. If the fascia (the tissue that interconnects the muscles) is stretched, he will tighten it by placing multiple rows of sutures. In essence, the underlying framework of the abdomen is reshaped. The skin and fat are then pulled downward, and the excess is removed. Due to the amount of skin that generally must be removed, it is usually necessary to make an incision around the umbilicus (belly button).
Tummy tuck Maryland patients who have a “pouch” or loose skin below the bellybutton, but with otherwise good abdominal contour and skin quality, may be good candidates for a mini tummy-tuck. In this procedure, a smaller incision is made above the pubic line and excess skin is removed, and the lower abdomen is tightened. There are no incisions around the belly-button and upper abdominal tightening is not performed. A mini tummy-tuck may be safely combined with more aggressive liposuction of the abdomen, if needed.
All of your incisions will be carefully closed with sutures placed beneath the skin, so there is no chance of having “railroad track” marks — this encourages the formation of very fine-line scars. To minimize fluid collection and swelling, and to improve your comfort in the treated areas, you will wear an elastic garment (which we provide) for three weeks (or more) after surgery. Typically, the procedure takes 3 hours to perform.
It is a widespread practice for a plastic surgeon to perform multiple procedures during one operation. This allows the surgeon to better “sculpt” your final appearance. In addition, having several procedures done simultaneously saves you the expense of paying the operating room and anesthesia costs more than once. However, having too many surgical procedures at one time can lead to complications. The decision to have multiple procedures done depends on which procedures are being done, the extent of surgery, the operating time, and your age/health. The surgeon decides whether it is appropriate to include more than one procedure in your operation.
Generally, post-operative instructions call for rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time. The length of recovery varies with each procedure and is different for each tummy tuck Maryland patient. Bruises usually disappear within a few days, and most swelling is gone in a matter of weeks. If you follow our post-operative instructions carefully, you will be able to enjoy your normal activities within no time. Your scars will fade over time but are permanent. We take care to conceal any scars so that they are barely visible, if at all. The image-enhancing effects of plastic surgery become more evident over time with certain procedures taking up to a year for your body to fully adjust and settle into its new look. When you come in for your consultation we can discuss your expected recovery period and any post-operative instructions in detail.
The best candidates for abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) are men or women who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by a large fat deposit or loose abdominal skin that won’t respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through multiple pregnancies, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal. Loss of skin elasticity, which frequently occurs with weight loss following obesity, can also be improved. If your fat deposits are limited to the area below the navel, you may require a less complex procedure called a “mini-tummy tuck”.
During your initial consultation we will discuss your desired changes and expectations, review your medical history, and current health, and make an assessment on whether a tummy-tuck is the right procedure for you. This is a suitable time to ask specific questions about the abdominoplasty procedure so that you are fully prepared, mentally, and emotionally, for surgery. Dr. Summers will review in detail how the abdominoplasty procedure will be performed for you, and he will discuss all the risks of the procedure with you. Dr. Summers will also discuss if any ancillary procedures, such as liposuction, are appropriate. At the end of your initial consultation, Dr. Summers will provide you with a quotation that outlines all the fees associated with your selected procedure(s). If you wish to proceed with the tummy-tuck, you will be scheduled for a second consultation.
The second consultation is designed to give you an opportunity to ask any additional questions and to make sure that you fully understand all the pre-operative requirements, post-operative restrictions and potential risks and complications of the abdominoplasty procedure. The informed consent documents will be reviewed in detail, photographs will be obtained, laboratory work and a medical clearance (if necessary) will be requested, prescriptions will be written, a surgical date will be selected, and a deposit will be collected. We will also give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, avoidance of smoking, and the use or avoidance of certain vitamins and medications.
An abdominoplasty, whether partial (“mini-tummy tuck”) or complete (“full tummy-tuck”), produces excellent results for patients with weakened abdominal muscles or excess skin. In most cases, the results are “permanent” if you follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
Note: Patients with stria (stretch marks) above the umbilicus (belly button) may notice that the skin below the bellybutton loosens up several months after surgery. This is because the skin is damaged (the stretch marks indicate that the collagen fibers in the skin have been torn) and has lost their elasticity. In this case, a secondary abdominoplasty may be performed to further tighten the abdomen, if necessary.
The major complications associated with abdominoplasty procedures include (but are not limited to) the following: bleeding, scarring, pain, asymmetry, dimpling of the skin, contour irregularity, fluid collections requiring drainage, loss of abdominal skin, open abdominal wounds, numbness of the abdomen, pain of the abdomen, obvious scars, widening of scars, loss of the belly-button (umbilicus), off-center positioning of the umbilicus, residual “pouching” of the abdomen, loosening (laxity or sagging) of the lower abdominal skin, firm lumps under the skin, fat necrosis (undesired loss of fat), and the potential for re-operation if any of the above should occur.
Other major post-operative complications such as infection and blood clots are rare, but can occur. Infection can be treated with drainage and antibiotics, but will prolong your healing significantly. You can minimize the risk of blood clots by moving around as soon after the surgery as possible. Poor healing, which results in conspicuous scars, may necessitate a second operation.
Smokers must stop smoking at least one month prior to surgery to avoid an increased risk of these complications.
Dr. Adam Summers is the medical director and founder of the Maryland Plastic Surgery – Skin Care and Laser Center. The center is the first fully integrated medical spa, ambulatory surgery cosmetic surgery center, and skincare laser center in the region. Dr. Summers has published numerous papers, presented at national and internation meetings where he has won awards, has had his medical artwork work on display at the National Library of Medicine, and has received several grants for his innovative work in both reconstructive plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery.
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