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Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tuck in Sarasota, FL

No amount of sit-ups or ab-toning workouts can make a stomach flat when there is significant excess skin and stretched out muscles present following pregnancy or dramatic weight loss. Of course, diet and exercise can help tighten the skin and the muscles underneath the tissue. But significant excess skin will remain unchanged unless a surgical procedure like a tummy tuck is performed. Tummy tuck surgery, or abdominoplasty, can be an effective solution to excess skin and significantly improve the appearance of the abdomen.

Dr. Alberico J. Sessa, MD, is a renowned cosmetic surgeon focused on providing exceptional patient care and delivering incredible results. Dr. Sessa and his dedicated staff at Sarasota Surgical Arts welcome patients seeking tummy tuck surgery who are ready to restore their confidence and get a trim and beautiful tummy. Those interested in abdominoplasty can schedule a consultation at his Sarasota, FL, cosmetic surgery center to discuss the procedure.

What is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgery performed to remove excess skin and fat in the abdomen while restoring separated abdominal muscles and improving the overall aesthetics of the midsection. In a tummy tuck, excess skin is removed from the abdominal area. The underlying muscles and connective tissues are sutured and the skin is then repositioned to create a flatter, more toned appearance.

Individuals with excess skin around the belly or with a weak abdominal wall often choose to have a tummy tuck. Liposuction can resolve stubborn fat in the stomach area, but it cannot address sagging skin or loose abdominal muscles.

Why Choose a Tummy Tuck?

Individuals with poor skin elasticity and excess skin due to weight loss often opt for the tummy tuck procedure. Connective tissues and abdominal muscles, which run from the ribs to the pubic area, can get stretched and protrude after pregnancy or significant weight loss.

The tummy tuck surgery removes this loose skin and fat and tightens weak muscle tissue in the abdominal area. Individuals with stretch marks and excess skin especially in the lower belly often see significant improvement after having a tummy tuck procedure. However, if stretch marks are present on the upper abdomen above the belly button, they will still be visible after having a tummy tuck.

Many women undergo abdominoplasty as part of a “mommy makeover.” Often, women find their overall self-confidence drops after childbirth due to excess tissue around the midsection from the significant weight gain and loss that occurs during pregnancy. A tummy tuck can boost a woman’s self-image and help her regain the confidence she had before having children. Patients routinely combine tummy tucks with other body contouring surgeries, such as a breast lift, for a comprehensive makeover.

Am I a Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?

Good candidates for a tummy tuck are those who have excess loose skin around the abdomen. This often occurs after significant weight loss. Men and women alike can be good candidates for the tummy tuck procedure.

Women who have had children and are unable to shed excess skin around their waist and lower abdomen are often great candidates for a tummy tuck. These women often have an abdominal pannus, which is soft loose skin that hangs down towards the pubic area.

A tummy tuck may be a good option if you have:

  • Excess skin around the belly button region
  • Weak lower abdominal wall
  • Liposuction has not been effective in improving signs of loose skin on the abdomen
  • Visible scarring from a previous C-section

Individuals who plan to lose a lot more weight, are planning to become pregnant, or have a severe chronic illness such as diabetes, IBS, or heart disease may not be good candidates for a tummy tuck. Individuals looking to have the tummy tuck procedure done should have a BMI of 30 or less.

The Tummy Tuck Consultation

Prior to having a tummy tuck, an initial consultation with Dr. Sessa at our Sarasota cosmetic surgery center will need to take place. During this consultation, be prepared to discuss your surgical goals, any medical conditions, and current medications.

In the consultation with Dr. Sessa, he will perform a general health evaluation to determine any pre-existing conditions which could put you at risk of complications during or after surgery. He will take photographs and use special imaging software to help determine the best treatment plan.

Any possible risks or complications of tummy tuck surgery will be reviewed. Dr. Sessa will also go over the type of anesthesia to be used during surgery. General anesthesia is commonly used during abdominoplasty for patient safety. Patients should come to their consultation with any questions or concerns they may have so that they can get all the information they need to make a decision.

Preparing for Tummy Tuck Surgery

In order to ensure the best possible outcome and to keep risks to a minimum, it is important to follow the surgeon’s specific preparation instructions for a tummy tuck. Prior to surgery, patients will need to do the following:

  • Have lab testing done and a thorough medical evaluation
  • Stop smoking, if applicable, at least 4 weeks prior to surgery
  • Avoid aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs which can increase the risk of blood clots

Some patients will need to stop taking certain medications or have adjustments to current meds. Tummy tuck surgery should always be performed by a cosmetic surgeon like Dr. Sessa to reduce the risk of complications.

Patients who plan to have the procedure performed as an outpatient surgery should arrange for someone to drive them to and from the cosmetic surgery center. Have a friend or family member stay with you at least one night after surgery, preferably longer.

The Procedure

Before the surgery begins, general anesthesia is administered, ensuring that the patient will be asleep throughout the surgery. Dr. Sessa makes a long incision from hip to hip and removes the excess skin and fat that is causing a sagging or protruding abdomen, surgically tightens lax abdominal muscles to streamline the waist, and re-drapes the skin of the abdomen to ensure smooth, natural-looking results. In many cases, Dr. Sessa must reposition the patient’s belly button as well, in order to achieve the patient’s aesthetic goals.

The doctor may use liposuction techniques during a tummy tuck to remove pockets of fat and refine abdominal contours. For patients who are only seeking to improve the appearance of the lower abdomen, Dr. Sessa can perform a partial tummy tuck (also called a mini-tummy tuck), which requires less surgery time, does not affect the belly button, and reduces the length of the recovery period.

Recovering from Tummy Tuck Surgery: What to Expect

Recovering from tummy tuck surgery varies from person to person. It is important to know what recovery involves, as the type of tummy tuck you have, along with your age, health, and weight can impact recovery speed.

Immediately After Surgery:

While it’s normal to want to return to your routine right after surgery, letting the body heal is absolutely crucial. Patients are driven home by a friend or family member after surgery and should spend the first night resting.

1 to 2 Days After Your Surgery:

Patients will be prescribed pain medication for the first week after surgery. If drains are used, they will be left in place for a few days post-surgery. Dr. Sessa will show you how to empty and take care of the drains. An antibiotic will be given while they are still in place. During this time, patients can take a sponge bath but should avoid showering for 48 hours post-operation while drainage tubes are still in place.

During the first week of surgery, it is important to sleep on an incline with the knees bent at a slight angle. If possible, purchase a recliner, rent one, or borrow one from a friend in preparation for the recovery period.

Slowly walking around the house after surgery keeps the blood flowing, helps the healing process and reduces the risk of blood clots in the legs.

1 to 2 Weeks After Surgery:

It is a good idea to have someone checking in and taking care of daily tasks like cooking and cleaning for the first week after surgery. Individuals with children will need to arrange to have someone to watch over them and manage parental tasks for at least two weeks, but up to a month.

Even picking up an infant two weeks after surgery can be painful and could set healing back. It is best to have a family member or close friend to handle any chores or mildly strenuous work around the house for a few weeks.

2 to 4 Weeks After Surgery:

Most patients who work sedentary jobs resume work two weeks after surgery. Those with physically demanding or standing jobs should wait a month before returning to work. Swelling is normal even after 2 to 4 weeks. Limit salt intake, drink plenty of water, and get plenty of rest to minimize the swelling. Maintaining a proper diet and the doctor recommends some very mild form of exercise during this time. Patients wear a compression garment for weeks and sometimes months after surgery to aid in proper healing and body contouring.

What Are the Possible Side Effects or Risks of Abdominoplasty?

As with any surgery, abdominoplasty comes with risks. These include anesthesia complications, bleeding, numbness, infection, fluid accumulation, unfavorable scarring, delayed healing, or a poor cosmetic outcome. Patients who work with reputable cosmetic surgeons and follow pre and post-operative instructions can help minimize their risk of any complications.

Why Should I Choose Dr. Sessa to Perform My Tummy Tuck?

Once you’ve decided to move forward with abdominoplasty, it’s time to select a surgeon. This is a crucial step in the process and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Potential candidates should look to experienced cosmetic surgeons with plenty of proof that past results are in line with what you’d like to achieve.

Dr. Alberico Sessa, M.D., a member of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, is focused on providing excellent care and the best results for his patients. His patient satisfaction rate is exceptionally high. In fact, he is a three-time Patient’s Choice Award winner.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I exercise after a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck is a major procedure that requires several weeks of recovery time. Patients will need to avoid strenuous exercise for about 4-6 weeks on average, although individual healing times vary.

What happens if I get pregnant after a tummy tuck?

Patients seek a tummy tuck procedure to create a flatter, tighter midsection. Ideally, patients should wait until they are done having children to ensure that a subsequent pregnancy does not affect the results of the procedure. It is not unsafe to become pregnant after a tummy tuck, but the results may disappear as the skin and muscles stretch again in the midsection.

What type of results can I expect from a tummy tuck?

The tummy tuck procedure allows patients to achieve a dramatic transformation of the abdominal region. Patients who undergo tummy tuck for a drooping or protruding abdomen emerge with a trimmer, tighter midsection that is in better proportion with the rest of their body.

Can I combine tummy tuck surgery with other cosmetic surgeries and procedures?

Yes, in fact, the surgeon may recommend it. Patients often combine a tummy tuck is with other cosmetic procedures. Such as, a breast lift or liposuction of the thighs and buttocks to further rejuvenate areas of the body affected by aging, pregnancy, or weight gain.

If you live in Sarasota, FL and are interested in having tummy tuck surgery, contact our cosmetic surgery center to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Sessa. Call our office at (941) 923-1736 and speak with our friendly staff. We look forward to working with you to help you achieve your aesthetic goals!