As we age, skin collagen diminishes, and elastin is damaged, allowing gravity to take its toll on the abdomen.  When we lose weight and fat decreases beneath our abdominal skin, the fat is no longer holding the skin up and, like a person who needs a facelift after volume loss, gravity causes the skin on the abdomen to sag.  Weight loss at any age can cause this, because the inciting weight gain stretches the elastin in our skin, causing damage to it. Pregnancy can also lead to stretching of the abdominal skin, leading to a belly pooch. A tummy tuck can help to correct this for a flatter abdomen. Patients in the St. Petersburg area can turn to board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Newman for an effective tummy tuck when a tight, toned, and flat stomach can’t be achieved through diet and exercise alone.

What is an Abdominoplasty?

Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a procedure performed to tighten the abdominal skin, as well as tighten weakened or separated abdominal muscles for a tighter, slimmer, flatter stomach appearance. During a St. Petersburg tummy tuck procedure, Dr. Newman removes excess skin and fat as necessary and repairs damaged abdominal muscles.

There are three main types of tummy tuck procedures, including:

Standard Abdominoplasty

A standard abdominoplasty, or standard tummy tuck, involves an incision around the navel, as well as a separate incision across the lower abdomen. Excess skin is removed, and muscles are tightened. This procedure is often done following pregnancy or weight loss.

Mini Abdominoplasty

Mini abdominoplasty, or mini tummy tuck, involves a single incision that is made in the pubic area. Excess skin will be removed, and muscles will be tightened in the area below the belly button. This procedure is usually done in patients who have a belly pouch but are otherwise thin.

Extended Abdominoplasty

Similar to a full abdominoplasty, incisions will be made across the lower abdomen but may extend to the back to address larger volumes of excess skin. The extended abdominoplasty procedure is often done after massive weight loss resulting in loose skin. This type of tummy tuck is occasionally referred to as a “body lift.”

Dr. Newman will recommend the best type of tummy tuck for you after evaluating your abdominal region and overall goals for plastic surgery after a consultation in our St. Petersburg, FL office.

Who is a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck?

Individuals who are tired of living with flab, stretch marks, or excess skin on their abdomen that does not improve with diet or exercise can often benefit from a tummy tuck in St. Petersburg. Commonly, tummy tuck patients have loose skin after pregnancy. For some women, a tummy tuck is performed as part of a mommy makeover, a combination plastic surgery procedure.

Both men and women are also often candidates for a tummy tuck after losing a significant amount of weight. After losing weight, a patient may have loose skin in their abdominal region or waistline.

Many patients report an improvement in self-esteem as well as a result of this procedure. Ideal plastic surgery patients will be nonsmokers in good health with realistic expectations for the results of their procedure. Additionally, Dr. Newman may recommend that you wait to have a tummy tuck until after you are done having children, as future pregnancies can jeopardize your tummy tuck results.

The best way to determine if this procedure is right for you is through a consultation appointment with Dr. Newman. During your consultation in our St. Petersburg office, Dr. Newman will consider your goals for the procedure, evaluate your overall health, and assess your abdominal area to determine whether a tummy tuck is the correct plastic surgery option for you.

The Tummy Tuck Procedure

Abdominoplasty, or a tummy tuck, is done under general anesthesia.  This procedure involves three parts.

First, excess abdominal tissue, including excess skin and fat, is removed and discarded.  Often, liposuction is used to effectively remove excess fat.

Second, tightening of the separated rectus abdominus muscle (diastasis recti) is accomplished with sutures. The abdominal muscles commonly become separated or damaged due to several factors, including pregnancy, which can make it impossible to achieve a flat, toned appearance through diet and exercise. For this reason, they must be repaired during the tummy tuck procedure.

Lastly, umbilicoplasty is done allowing the umbilicus (belly button) to remain in place by creating a hole in the tightened skin as it is pulled down.  All of this is done through an incision that is located below the panty line extending from hip to hip. This allows St. Petersburg patients to easily conceal scars from their tummy tuck, even under a bathing suit. The surgery typically takes about three hours to complete.

Downtime and Recovery after Tummy Tuck

Following your tummy tuck surgery in St. Petersburg, gauze and an abdominal binder or compression garment are placed. It is important that you follow Dr. Newman’s instructions on how long to wear the compression garment to help reduce swelling and support your new body contours. There will be mild discomfort in the abdomen after tummy tuck surgery and patients will feel more comfortable sleeping in a recliner for the first couple of days.  Ideally, any drains are removed during the first post-operative visit one week after the tummy tuck procedure. Most tummy tuck patients return to work or other non-strenuous routines about a week after their surgery. Those with more physically demanding jobs require additional downtime after plastic surgery.

Activity should be decreased after plastic surgery to decrease fluid production and facilitate the removal of drains.  Once the drains are out, exercise should be avoided for at least 8 weeks.  Dr. Newman recommends silicone sheeting to optimize scar healing, which is applied to the incision for 8 weeks.

Schedule a Consultation

If you have abdominal laxity or have had liposuction and need your abdomen tightened, contact us to schedule an appointment to see Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Christopher Newman in St. Petersburg, FL today to determine if a tummy tuck is right for you.

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