Dr. Lazzaro offers abdominoplasty, also known as tummy tuck surgery, to help patients achieve a flatter stomach appearance. A flat, well-toned abdomen is what most people strive to achieve through exercise and weight control. But, regardless of effort, sometimes even individuals with normal body weight can develop a protruding abdomen with loose or sagging skin. The most common causes of this are pregnancy, heredity, or significant weight loss or gain. The abdominoplasty procedure allows a person to get rid of unwanted bulges of fat on the abdomen that have proven resistant to exercise or diet. Dr. Theodore Lazzaro also uses this procedure to remove excess skin following pregnancy or significant weight loss. Depending on the aesthetic needs of each tummy tuck patient, our surgeons might perform this procedure in conjunction with liposuction, which removes stubborn deposits of fat. During an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), the surgeon removes excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and tightens the muscles of the abdominal wall. This can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen, giving your midsection a more attractive contour.
Who is a good candidate for abdominoplasty?
The best candidates for a tummy tuck are men or women who are in relatively good shape and at a relatively normal weight, but who are troubled by a large deposit of fat or loose skin on their midsection. Females will want to wait until after childbearing is complete to obtain maximum results. An abdominoplasty is particularly useful for women who have stretched abdominal skin and muscles as a result of pregnancy. Most often, the procedure is considered cosmetic and is therefore not covered by insurance. However, there are circumstances in which insurance may cover a panniculectomy, which is a type of tummy tuck. Generally, the panniculectomy is used after massive weight loss or bariatric surgery. Through an incision that extends from hip bone to hip bone above your pubic area, the plastic surgeon will remove areas of excess skin from your midsection and will tighten your abdominal muscles, giving you a slim profile and a flatter stomach. Depending on the type of insurance and its specific requirements, the panniculectomy may be covered. Our patient coordinators will work with you to see if you may qualify. Abdominoplasty surgery can be combined with other procedures such as liposculpture, thigh lift or breast surgery to obtain maximum aesthetic results. Multiple procedures can increase the length and complexity of the surgery, so be sure to discuss this thoroughly with your surgeon.
Are any risks involved with tummy tuck surgery?
When performed at our Greensburg, Pittsburgh-area facility, a tummy tuck / abdominoplasty is a very safe procedure. Dr. Theodore Lazzaro takes great care to minimize the chance of any complications. As with any surgical procedure, infection is always a risk. However, the risk is minimal and by utilizing antibiotics, this is rare. Bleeding is a rare complication also. All potential risks will be covered in great detail at the time of your initial consultation.
How do I plan for abdominoplasty?
At your initial consultation with Dr. Theodore Lazzaro, you will need to express your expectations on the outcome of the tummy tuck surgery. At this time, the doctor will tell you what he can realistically achieve. You will need to be honest about your health status and medications you take as this can affect the outcome of the abdominoplasty. The entire procedure is individualized to you and will be discussed in detail at your consultation.
You will be fully informed about surgery preparations, including the details of eating, drinking, smoking, and the taking or avoidance of certain vitamins and medicines. Smokers should refrain from smoking for a minimum of two weeks before and after the procedure to assist healing. When you schedule, you will receive a surgical package that will outline all the frequently asked questions and answers that will help you through the process.
What happens during tummy tuck surgery?
The abdominoplasty procedure generally takes between two and four hours, depending on the extent of required work, and is performed under a general anesthetic in an outpatient setting. A horizontal incision is made between the naval and the pubic bone. The length of the incision can vary depending on the degree of correction needed. A second incision is made around the navel so that it can be repositioned later in the procedure. The skin is separated from the abdominal wall so it can be pulled down and tightened. Sutures are placed to tighten the abdominal muscles, reshaping the patient’s waistline. After the excess skin is removed, the navel is repositioned within the new skin. We position the incision line so that it can be hidden by most bikinis or undergarments. You may have small tubes placed in your incision to drain any excess fluid during your healing. The nurse will review instructions on how to care for these areas while you are recuperating. You will also be placed in a compression garment to reduce swelling.
How long is the recovery period after abdominoplasty?
In most cases, you will spend the night after abdominoplasty surgery in a private suite offsite, attended by one of our highly trained private nurses. To help ensure satisfactory results, you will have the chance to have all of your postoperative questions answered during this time. Following tummy tuck / abdominoplasty surgery, Dr. Theodore Lazzaro will see you first thing the next morning to discuss your discharge instructions. For the first few days after tummy tuck surgery, your abdomen will be swollen and you will feel some pain and discomfort. We will prescribe you medication to help relieve these symptoms. Initially, it helps to walk in a slightly flexed position (slight pelvic tilt) to reduce the tension on the incision. You will return in about five days after surgery to have stitches removed, and will wear an abdominal binder (a broad bandage) for the first few weeks to support and protect your abdomen. You may experience some numbness, swelling, bruising and soreness. In addition, your skin may feel unusually firm. These are all common conditions and are normal. You can expect to be up and moving around after the first few days after your surgery. Healing of incisions may take up to 10 days but will continue for several weeks, as swelling continues to resolve and your new contours take shape. You will be under restrictions for up to six weeks before returning to normal activities. Our office is available 24/7 to answer any questions or concerns that arise after your surgical procedure.