An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is a procedure that:
- Removes excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen
- Tightens the muscles of the abdominal wall
By combining these two, the procedure can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen. Call Genesis Plastic Surgery & Medical Spa today at 405-340-9949 for a consultation with Dr. Jayesh Panchal at our Oklahoma City area offices in Edmond, Lawton or Norman.
Am I a Good Candidate for Abdominoplasty?
- Do you have localized fat deposits, but are otherwise in good shape? It is essential to be as close to your ideal weight as possible.
- Have you lost excessive weight following bariatric surgery (surgery for weight loss)?
- Have you had multiple pregnancies that left you with loose muscles and excess skin?
If you answered yes to any of the questions, you may be a good candidate for an abdominoplasty.
You should wait to have an abdominoplasty if you:
- Intend to lose a lot of weight
- Plan to have more children
- Have a BMI that is greater than 30
Planning Your Surgery
During your initial visit, Dr. Panchal will ask about your medical history, which may impact your ability to have this surgery. For example, if you are a smoker, it is very important that you stop smoking prior to and after your abdominoplasty.
If you have a minimum or mild amount of excess skin, Dr. Panchal will recommend a mini-abdominoplasty. If you have maximum excess skin, you will require a regular abdominoplasty. It is not unusual to combine an abdominoplasty with liposuction to your love handles, thighs, or abdomen to further enhance your outcome. You will need to wear a compression garment for around 6 weeks to reduce pain and swelling following surgery.
Dr. Panchal performs both mini and complete abdominoplasties in an outpatient surgical center. You will most likely spend one night at the outpatient center.
Abdominoplasties are performed under general anesthesia, which means you’ll be asleep during the surgery.
The Abdominoplasty Surgery
A complete abdominoplasty usually takes 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours, depending on the extent of the liposuction required. A mini abdominoplasty only takes 1-2 hours.
The incision is commonly made from the right to the left hip bone just above your pubic area so that the final scar is very well hidden. An abdominoplasty involves lifting the skin and the fat from the underlying fascia on the abdomen all the way up to your ribs. The skin around your navel is released and Dr. Panchal will then tighten the muscles (your abs) and contour them by suturing them together. This dramatically changes the contour of the abdomen.
If you have some skin laxity in your flanks or on the outside of your thighs, Dr. Panchal may extend the incision towards the flank. Any excess skin and fat are then trimmed so that there is no excess or wrinkly skin. A new navel is created for you and the incision is closed in many layers. You will have two drains at the incision site that will be left for around 3-5 days.
How Does Dr. Panchal Differ from Other Surgeons?
Dr. Panchal uses the latest technique and equipment to perform liposuction. This unique technique allows Dr. Panchal to use a hollow tube (liposuction cannula) which vibrates very rapidly to easily break up fat cells. This allows Dr. Panchal to quickly remove large amounts of fat through a small incision. He uses special cannulas to prevent rippling in the skin, which creates an unnatural look.
To learn more about the equipment and products used for the tummy tuck procedure, please visit http://www.microaire.com/products/microaire-aesthetics/pal-liposculptor/
After tummy tuck and liposuction, other surgeons may leave your tummy looking flat, but without a contoured shape. A natural-looking tummy always has some areas that are convex (bulging) and some areas that are concave (hollow). Typically, the area around the upper part of belly button is hollow but the area under the belly protrudes just a little. There is often a line that runs from the rib cage to the belly button further enhancing the shape of the abs.
It is also possible for Dr. Panchal to create well-defined abs for you.
See what abdominoplasty has done for our patients.
Visit our before-and-after gallery!
Dr. Panchal strives very hard to give you a natural look. He uses a special cannula to prevent the skin from rippling, which can occur after liposuction. After a tummy tuck, some women look great from the front, but they don’t see the same contour from the sides or back. To solve this problem, Dr. Panchal turns you on your tummy and on your sides during the surgery, so he can specifically address the fat in these areas.
After liposuction, Dr. Panchal can then re-inject the cleaned and purified fat back into areas where you lack definition. The most common area to re-inject fat is into the outer and central buttocks to further enhance the shape.
What Are the Risks Associated with Abdominoplasty?
There are always some risks and complications associated with any surgical procedure. Rarely, blood can collect at the incision site, which requires additional surgery to remove the blood blot that is causing the blood to collect. In a few cases, an infection at the incision site may occur.
To reduce this risk, Dr. Panchal will prescribe you antibiotics to take before your arm lift surgery and for a few days after the surgery. The incision generally heals with a scar line that is not overtly visible.
It is possible to have a small collection of fluid in the arm (a seroma) after your surgery, but these will generally resolve on their own. If not, a small needle may be needed to remove the collected fluid. Finally, the skin on your arm may be numb for four to six weeks after the arm lift surgery, but this will also resolve on its own.
Smoking before or after surgery certainly increases the risk of complications, so it is recommended that you do not smoke before or after any surgery.
After Your Surgery
You will have some pain for the first few days following surgery. At the end of your surgery, Dr. Panchal will inject a long-acting local anesthetic called Exparel that will give you pain relief up to 3 days post-surgery. Dr. Panchal will also prescribe you pain medications to help control the pain.
You will have some swelling and bruising after the surgery which will resolve after 2 weeks. You will wear a compression garment for 4-6 weeks after surgery, which will help keep swelling under control. The stitches are under the skin and do not need to be removed. You will have drains at the incision sites that will be removed 3-5 days post-surgery.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Can Be Almost Completely Pain-Free
As with any surgery, post-operative pain is at its peak in the first three days. At Genesis, we use a revolutionary new medication called Exparel® to reduce or eliminate that period of intense pain.
By the time Exparel wears off, your body has already begun to heal, so the pain is more tolerable. By elongating the pain-free timeframe after surgery, Exparel also gives your body more time to recover.
What is Exparel?
Exparel is a local analgesia/numbing treatment administered during the tummy tuck procedure. It is a single-dose medication and will last for up to 4 days after surgery. Exparel is not a narcotic, so it won’t impair you after the procedure.
In some cases, Exparel reduces the need for heavy pain medications, which also eliminates their nasty side. Fewer oral narcotics mean less nausea and less disorientation. Visit the Exparel® website for more detailed information.
One of Dr. Panchal's patients recently had a tummy tuck, and was very pleased with the results of Exparel. She has been almost completely pain-free for an entire week after her surgery. You can listen to her testimonial below:
Returning to Normal Life
You will need someone to assist you with getting up and walking around the house for the first two days after surgery. It generally takes 2-3 weeks to get back to normal. You can drive one week to 10 days after surgery. It may take you 2-3 weeks to feel like yourself again. Younger patients tend to return to normal life faster slightly faster than older patients. You should be able to walk briskly and swim after 3 weeks and perform aerobic exercises in 6 weeks.
Your New Look
After 3 weeks, when the swelling has gone down significantly, you will start to see the final results of your surgery. Keep in mind that you will need to continue to exercise and eat a balanced diet if you wish to maintain your new body.