Finding a good surgeon to perform your abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) in Scottsdale or the Phoenix area is no different than finding a plastic surgeon for any other procedure. It is best to look for someone with proper board certification and that performs the procedure on a regular basis. There are many variations in anatomy, so your surgeon should be comfortable will all types of abdominoplasty and liposuction techniques so the surgery can be properly customized to your unique anatomical needs. Finally, you should look at many of their tummy tuck before and after photos to ensure that you like the quality and style of their work. Pay particular attention to the small details such as low scar placement and the appearance of the bellybutton.
How Do I Know if I Need a Tummy Tuck?
Most patients seeking a tummy tuck consult at my Scottsdale plastic surgery practice have had prior pregnancies, which often stretch not only the skin, but also the deeper abdominal muscle layer which can cause a midline split (diastasis) which results in abdominal bulging. For these patients, a full (standard) abdominoplasty is required to correct the skin excess and muscle laxity.
Standard Tummy Tuck
This surgery results in a scar around the bellybutton and a low, hip to hip scar at the level a c-section scar would be.
Mini Tummy Tuck
Mini tummy tucks only address the abdomen below the bellybutton and are more limited, so this surgery is only appropriate for patients that have minimal laxity above the bellybutton. This surgery does not involve a bellybutton scar, but still requires a lower abdominal scar which is moderately shorter than that of a full abdominoplasty.
Extended Tummy Tuck
For patients with more severe laxity, an extended (longer scar) tummy tuck may be needed or possibly even a circumferential body lift where the scar extends fully around the lower torso.
Male Tummy Tuck
Tummy tucks are also not just for women; although less common in men, anyone with significant weight loss resulting in excess skin can be a candidate for this surgery.
Combining Liposuction with Tummy Tuck to Reshape the Abdomen
In most cases of any type of tummy tuck surgery, liposuction is also used to create the best overall contours. Liposuction is a great way to remove extra fat volume, but it does not tighten the overlying skin, so success with liposuction depends on having snug, elastic skin. For locations where the skin is usually good, such as the flanks (love handles), liposuction alone works well. Where the skin is looser, such as a post pregnancy abdomen, direct skin tightening using RF microneedling along with a tummy tuck is more effective.
A full assessment by an experienced surgeon is important in order to understand what combination of techniques will work for you.
What Is Recovery From a Tummy Tuck Like?
Recovery from a tummy tuck can be one of the longer aesthetic surgery recoveries as it usually involves abdominal muscle tightening, which can be sore. I generally recommend patients take 10-14 days off of work after surgery and I require a minimum of one night at a postoperative surgery recovery center for safety and to assist with pain control, hydration, and walking. I also routinely use a postoperative blood thinner to minimize the risk of blood clots after surgery. Finally, I use an injectable numbing medication called Exparel during surgery which releases over a three-day period and can help with postoperative discomfort.
While the recovery can be fairly sore, it improves each week, and the results are usually so dramatic that the temporary pain is well worth the final result. In terms of activity, walking is important starting the evening of surgery, but any true exercise other than walking should be avoided for a month after surgery. Exercise can slowly increase each week after that, with unrestricted / impact exercise (such as skiing) being fine after three months once the scar tissue has reached maximum strength.
Request Your Consultation
If you’re interested in learning more about your tummy tuck surgery options, call our Scottsdale, AZ, plastic surgery office today at (480) 423-1973 or request a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons.