Abdominoplasty: Bringing Back Your Youthful Appearance
Women crave a flat stomach. Your youth was your heyday for that flat tummy. Since then you’ve had children and faced the ever-present fight with weight which have left you with a bulge that no amount of diet and exercise will flatten out. You’ve set aside your straight skirts and anything formfitting because you just don’t like the way they look. If this describes you, then an abdominoplasty may be the answer you need to regain your flat stomach.
What exactly is an abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty is more commonly referred to as a tummy tuck. Dr. Tolson helps to flatten your abdomen by removing excess fat and loose skin and tightening the abdominal muscles. Some stretch marks may be removed if they lie on the skin that is going to be removed during the procedure. Abdominoplasties are not weight loss programs, nor are they focused on removing stretch marks. Their primary purpose is to tighten and resculpt the abdomen.
Who is a candidate for an abdominoplasty?
A tummy tuck is not for everybody. If you are still planning on having children or need to lose a large amount of weight, you may want to consider putting off having the procedure until after these events are completed as they may undo the work that has been done. Individuals who are maintaining a stable, healthy weight, are finished having children, cannot obtain a flat stomach through diet and exercise, and are bothered by the appearance of their stomach are good candidates.
What kinds of scars will be left from the procedure?
An abdominoplasty is a surgery, and, as such, it will leave scars. The scars are generally in the lower abdomen and run from hip bone to hip bone in either a V or U shape which can be easily hidden under a bikini. Depending on the type of abdominoplasty that is being performed, you may also have a scar around the navel. The scars fade over time but may take up to a year to fade to their final look.
What goes into an abdominoplasty?
If you decide you want to pursue a tummy tuck, you need to schedule a consultation with Dr. Tolson. The initial consultation is quite lengthy as he does an exam and discusses your goals with you. At the initial exam he
- Discusses your medical history including previous surgeries and allergies to any medications and latex.
- Asks about any current medical conditions.
- Asks for a list of current medications, vitamins, and supplements you are currently taking.
- Discusses your current alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.
- Asks about any previous cosmetic procedures you may have had.
- Evaluates the elasticity of your skin.
- Discusses your current weight and any need for weight loss before the procedure is performed.
- Asks about any plans for future pregnancies.
As a member of the American Society for Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and being certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Tolson takes the time necessary to develop a comprehensive treatment plan to meet your individual needs. He discusses your treatment plan with you, keeping you informed along the way.
Once the consultation is finished and a treatment plan has been developed, a surgery date is set. Before your surgery, you need to set up your house so that you can recover quickly. You should
- Move toiletries, remotes, food items, and clothing to waist-level places so that you do not have to stretch and reach to get things.
- Arrange for someone to care for your children if they are young. You cannot lift anything over ten pounds for four to six weeks.
- Prepare and freeze healthy meals so that you do not have to cook afterwards.
- Have ice packs in sets of three to place on your surgical site to help with swelling and discomfort.
- Arrange to have someone drive you home after the abdominoplasty.
- Stop smoking at least six weeks prior to the procedure if possible.
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatories, and any herbs that thin the blood at least two weeks prior to the procedure.
Dr. Tolson performs all of his procedures at his state-of-the-art, AAAASF-certified operating room in Cumming, Georgia. Depending on which procedure you have performed, you may be released the same day or be required to spend a couple of days at the facility to recover. Dr. Tolson uses general anesthesia to keep you comfortable during the abdominoplasty. Each procedure follows the same basic steps:
- The primary incision is made in the lower abdomen above the pubic mound.
- The skin is loosened from the abdominal wall to the ribcage.
- Sutures are used to pull the muscle and tissue tighter.
- Excess fat is removed through liposuction.
- The skin is pulled back into place, and extra skin is removed.
- The navel is marked, and a new opening for the navel is created.
- The incision is closed using sutures.
- Drains may be inserted in a small percentage of patients.
Dr. Tolson may perform one of the three types of abdominoplasty.
- Mini abdominoplasty – This procedure is ideal for the individual whose stomach protrudes below the navel and who is in good shape. The incision is made in the lower abdomen only. Dr. Tolson removes excess skin. He uses liposuction to remove any extra fat.
- Full abdominoplasty – When the stomach protrudes both above and below the navel, a full abdominoplasty is called for. The incision is made in the lower abdomen and around the navel. Dr. Tolson removes excess skin and fat, tightens muscles, and repositions the navel.
- Extended abdominoplasty – If you have “love handles,” an extended abdominoplasty may be necessary. The incision extends across the lower abdomen and lifts over the hips and sides of the thighs. An incision for the navel is also made. Liposuction is used to remove fat, the muscle is tightened, and excess skin is removed.
Once your tummy tuck is finished, you go to recovery to be monitored. If you have had extensive surgery performed, you may need to remain at the facility for a day or two to recover before being sent home. Before you are released, Dr. Tolson or someone from his staff will go over how to care for the surgical site and any drains that may have been inserted. You will schedule a follow-up appointment to have sutures removed.
The first couple of weeks you should expect
- To see redness, bruising, and swelling. This should dissipate within three weeks.
- To notice your abdominal muscles are sore. The soreness should subside in about one to two weeks.
- Not to see the results. Swelling may hide the actual results of your tummy tuck at first. Once the swelling subsides, the results should manifest themselves.
- To wear your compression garment. You need to wear the compression garment Dr. Tolson prescribed at your initial consult faithfully to ensure you get the correct results.
- Not to work. You will need to take it easy and have complete bed rest the first couple of days, getting up only to walk around a bit. You should plan on not going back to work for at least two weeks and not engaging in strenuous activity for four to six weeks.
It may take several months before you see the aesthetic results of your procedure, and full recovery from your abdominoplasty may take six months or more. Although you may have to wait a while to see the results, the final product should last the rest of your life barring pregnancy or drastic weight change.
If a bulging tummy has you hiding in billowy clothing to hide your figure, take back control through a tummy tuck. Make an appointment today with Dr. Tolson to discuss your options.
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