What is a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck is also known as an “abdominoplasty” in the world of plastic surgery. This procedure can be customized to fit your individual needs and desires. Excessive fat and skin and loose muscle can be addressed in order to provide an ultimate result of tightening the abdominal wall and creating a slimmer, more youthful contour of this area.  Some patients may require just muscle tightening to correct a diastasis (muscle separation), but these patients typically require excision of some fat and skin as well. Younger patients who have an excess of fat and skin may need excision of just these structures alone without any muscle tightening.

Patients who are good candidates for a tummy tuck:

  • Patients who are healthy and otherwise fit tend to be excellent candidates.
  • Women who have given birth to children, both vaginally and via c-section, are typical patients. Oftentimes, a C-section can leave an indented scar with a “shelf” like pooch above it. The scar for an abdominoplasty will go below or on the c-section incision and completely remove that scar so that only one scar remains.
  • Women and men who have excess skin or fat from self accomplished weight loss or secondary to bariatric surgery can also be helped greatly from a tummy tuck with liposuction of other areas on the body, such as hips, back, and legs. Dr. Rodgers always performs liposuction of the hips and upper abdomen with a tummy tuck in order to get the best abdominal contour.  Excessive skin overhanging the pubic area cannot be corrected with diet and exercise alone.
  • Some patients who suffer from diabetes can also benefit from excess removal of fat cells to help control blood sugar. A thorough examination will be performed by Dr. Rodgers to confirm that you do not have any underlying hernias or additional surgical problems that will need to be addressed. She will also make recommendations if you have “intra-abdominal fat” which lies beneath the muscle and cannot be corrected with a tummy tuck.

How to Prepare for a Tummy Tuck:

Dr. Rodgers and her Physician Assistants will review your medical history and recommend necessary pre-operative lab work and tests you will need to obtain prior to your surgery. They will look over your current medications and adjust as necessary.  

  • You absolutely MUST STOP smoking, vaping, and using smokeless tobacco for a minimum of 6 weeks prior to your procedure as this affects your blood supply to the abdomen and ability to heal.
  • Estrogens and /or birth control pills should also be stopped 2 weeks before and after surgery to decrease the risk of a blood clot in the leg.
  • We will also ask that you stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen, and many herbal supplements as these can increase your risk of bleeding.
  • Smoking marijuana or even taking edible forms of this drug should be stopped as well 2 weeks prior to the surgery.
  • It is important to be healthy and close to your ideal weight as this procedure should not be used for massive weight loss.

What Else Should I Know?

All of Dr. Rodgers procedures are performed within the hospital to make sure the patient is as safe as possible. Depending on the length of the procedure, and her assessments of your health risks, you will either spend one night in the hospital or be allowed to go home from the recovery room 2-3 hours after the surgery. It is a good idea to have help lined up for several days as you will be sore and unable to perform many tasks by yourself. This is especially true if you have young children at home that might require lifting or extra attention. Make a plan for dogs that sleep on the bed or like to jump on you when you walk into the house. Any small tasks that stress the incision line can lead to a breakdown of your surgical wounds.

 You will have drains that help remove excess fluid from your abdomen. These will remain in place for about 5-10 days after your procedure. You will be allowed to shower after your first appointment and it is helpful to have a few things in place ahead of time. We like to recommend a lanyard around your neck to secure your drains so they do not hang freely in the shower. If you have a bench or a chair within the shower, you will have more stability to bathe, with or without assistance. 

You will leave the hospital with a surgical garment but it is also a good idea to have a couple of more “comfortable” options to transition to once you are cleared by your provider. This typically includes a high-waisted Spanx or biking pants that are more flexible and allow the skin to breathe more easily. Although scarring is a trade-off with the abdominoplasty, our office works hard to start scar therapy as soon as possible to minimize evidence of the surgery. 

Overall, tummy tucks are one of Dr. Rodgers favorite procedures to perform. For Moms who feel that they are having trouble regaining their youthful tummy, despite exercising numerous times/ week, an abdominoplasty is  definitely a procedure to consider.  For patients who have already lost significant amounts of weight and are now looking to remove the excess skin that remains, an abdominoplasty is a life changing procedure that can bring renewed confidence in one’s self image and confidence. 

If you have additional questions regarding being a candidate or about the procedure in general, please contact our office at 303-320-8618.

By Kendall Peterson