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Both fashion and our active lifestyles have placed increased importance on personal appearance. We are conscious of the benefits of weight control and physical fitness on health and body image. Consequently, more interest is directed towards surgery to improve one’s figure. Abdominoplasty, also called a tummy tuck, in Eugene, Oregon, with Dr. Mark Jewell remains the best treatment solution for excess skin and looseness in the tissues of the abdominal area.
To meet with Dr. Jewell in person, request a consultation online or give our office a call at 541-683-3234. He serves tummy tuck patients from Bend, Salem, and Medford, Oregon, and other nearby communities.
What is the cause of problems in the abdominal area?
The three major reasons for laxness within the abdomen are pregnancy, weight gain / loss, and aging. The abdominal skin looses tone and cannot regain its normal tightness. The stomach muscles are also stretched apart and contribute to laxness in the this area. Abdominoplasty surgery recontours this area by permitting liposuction to the entire abdomen, waist, flanks, and pubic area, removing excess skin, and by tightening the muscles. It is often performed as part of a combination procedure called a “mommy makeover” to renew women’s bodies after pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Where are the incisions placed?
The incisions for the tummy tuck are placed along the lower abdomen in the “bikini line”. Excess skin is removed and the abdominal muscles are made tighter. At times it may be necessary to reposition the navel when there is a large amount of lax skin to be removed. Liposuction is frequently utilized to improve the contour of stomach tissues which require minute incisions.
Why is it necessary to tighten the abdominal muscles?
The major support of the abdominal area comes from the layer of muscle in the abdominal wall. This is called in medical terms the rectus abdominus muscle. There are two large bands of this muscle that run side by side from the rib cage downward to the pubic bone. The internal support of the abdominal wall depends on the muscles. During pregnancy the two bands of the rectus abdominus muscle are stretched apart as the baby grows before birth. After the baby is born, the muscles may remain apart. This makes it impossible for you to have a tight abdomen. No amount of abdominal type exercise will correct the separation of the muscles, which causes the laxness of the abdominal wall. The muscle separation is corrected during the tummy tuck surgery. Some patients who have reported problems with low back pain and poor bowel/bladder function report some improvement in this area after the abdomen is tightened.
Will the tummy tuck remove my stretch marks?
The abdominoplasty will remove stretch marks from the lower stomach area. Skin tone is improved. Depending on the location of your stretch marks, it may not be possible to remove all stretch marks.
What is the scarring like after the operation?
Whenever a surgical incision is made, the body will produce scar tissue. As a plastic surgeon, I pride myself on the best techniques in wound closure and healing. If you already have scars from an earlier surgery such as a C-section and have healed well, the abdominoplasty incision will probably resemble the existing scar but a bit longer. As a patient, you must decide whether excess loose skin, stretch marks and prominent lower abdomen is more desirable than the surgical incision from the tummy tuck.
What is done with other scars I have on my abdomen from a C-section or other surgeries?
While tummy tuck surgery leaves a scar (as described above), in many cases old scars can be removed depending on where they are on your abdomen. This is an additional benefit from the tummy tuck surgery.
What if my lower tummy is not fat but just “sticks out”?
This is a fairly common problem in ladies who have had children. Despite being thin and athletic, nothing seems to tighten the lower abdominal area. The “mini” or “limited tummy tuck” is the solution here, which is an operation to tighten the abdominal wall and remove skin from the lower abdomen. The position of the navel is not disturbed. This operation uses a smaller incision and has a faster recovery time. Liposuction is frequently performed at the time of a limited abdominoplasty to thin areas of fat within the abdomen, waist, flanks and pubic region.
What if there is fat, but good skin and muscle tone present?
In your case, if you are of normal weight, the best operation for you would be liposuction. Liposuction is an effective solution to localized lower stomach fatty deposits that are “diet and exercise resistant” provided that good skin tone is present. Liposuction is also used at the time of the regular and “mini” abdominoplasty operations. In order to determine your exact needs a consultation and examination is necessary. Dr. Jewell believes that for many patients, the combination of abdominal wall tightening through a tummy tuck and liposuction represents an excellent option for most patients. The so called lipoabdominoplasty was developed by colleagues in Brazil.
What if I have lost large amounts of weight and have an apron of skin that hangs from my abdomen?
Patients who have undergone massive weight loss often times have a large apron of skin and residual fatty tissue. This can be corrected with the extended abdominoplasty that requires longer incisions to remove loose skin. Other areas of the body such as the arms, trunk, and thighs can be tightened in a similar manner after a patient has successfully maintained normal weight.
I have heard fat can actually be inside the abdomen behind the muscles. Will liposuction work in this situation?
Individuals with large amounts of fat that is inside the abdominal cavity generally will not achieve good improvement in abdominal contour with tummy tuck surgery.
Is this a painful operation?
The abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia. After surgery, patients report some pain for a few days, but this is controlled with medication. Patients report that the lower abdomen feels “tight” after the surgical repair of the muscle layer.
What is the recovery period for abdominoplasty?
Most tummy tuck surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis in a surgery center. In most cases, hospitalization is not necessary and actually preferable because it just costs a lot more to have elective self-pay surgery performed in a hospital. Vigorous activities are limited for six weeks. Many patients are able to return to work within one or two weeks, depending upon the work you do.
Can other types of surgery be performed at the time of the abdominoplasty?
Depending on the other type of surgery to be performed, frequently patients can under-go additional elective surgical operation such as hysterectomy, tubal ligation, or other cosmetic procedures at the time of the abdominoplasty.
What are the risks to abdominoplasty?
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks. Bleeding, infection, and scarring may occur. Occasionally, fluid may collect under the skin (seroma). Rarely does loss of skin occur. Patients who smoke are at risk for skin dying and pulmonary problems after surgery. Abdominoplasty is an operation for non-smokers. While uncommon, patients occasionally have lower abdomen pain, which can last for an extended period. Pulmonary complications after surgery such deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism rarely occur. Occasionally, a small secondary operation is necessary to “fine tune” your result after the tummy tuck. Obese patients with body mass indexes of >30 are at greater risk for complications and less than optimal results due to their obesity. This information is given not to frighten you, but to help you make an informed decision concerning this type of surgery. Although a tummy tuck is generally a safe surgical procedure, it should not be taken lightly. It is important that you and your caregiver plan to stay in the Eugene, Oregon area for the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery. You will have your first follow up appointment the day after surgery.
Is surgery right for me?
That’s a question that only you can answer. At your consultation, speak frankly, ask questions, and explain to Dr. Jewell your expectations. We will work together to make the right decision for you regarding body contouring surgery.