Restore Your Body
Tummy tuck and liposuction are some of the most common surgical procedures performed by our Albuquerque plastic surgeons to improve abdominal contour. Many people work hard to get in shape but still have to live with their unattractive abdomen after childbirth and/or weight loss. The issue is often a combination of stretch marks, excess skin hanging over the lower abdomen, excess fatty deposits and muscle weakness causing bulging of the lower abdomen. For before & after photos of our Albuquerque abdominoplasty procedures please check out our photo gallery.
So, what can tummy tuck and/or liposuction do for your abdominal contour?
Before recommending a surgical procedure, one of our board-certified plastic surgeons will see you to determine the best procedure to meet your goals, budget and timeline. The ideal patient is at a stable and maintainable weight, and occasionally our plastic surgeons may recommend dieting and exercise either before or after the surgery to achieve your desired results.
Abdominoplasty vs Liposuction or Both
Abdominoplasty and liposuction are not weight reduction operations. Rather, they are surgical procedures aimed at improving abdominal contour.
Patients do not necessarily need to be at an “ideal body weight,” though patients that are, often get the best results. They tend to need less liposuction and have a faster recovery.
In summary, liposuction in general is used to remove the fatty deposits directly under the skin and above the muscles. For patients to have an ideal result with liposuction alone, their skin tone needs to be relatively tight before the procedure.
If there is excess skin before surgery, or if your surgeon believes liposuction will leave you with excess skin, they may recommend doing a tummy tuck at the same time. This requires a low incision on the abdomen to remove the excess skin and produce a flatter result.
Therefore, liposuction and tummy tuck are not interchangeable operations in most situations. Liposuction will reduce the fatty deposits but will not tighten skin. Tummy tuck, on the other hand, can tighten significantly both the skin and the rectus muscle to achieve a much flatter abdomen. Many women choose to have both at the same time.
Pre-op or Post-op Diet and Exercise
Another caveat is patients, especially men, who store their fat deeper in the abdomen, below the muscles and around the organs of the abdomen. This is often termed visceral fat. While these patients may still be surgical candidates, pre- or post-op diet and exercise may be needed to obtain the flattest result.
Your surgeon will be able to advice you during your consultation whether your expectations should be altered, or whether you should expect to do some weight loss before or after surgery to get the results you want.
For those patients with a minimal amount of abdominal skin, some do chose to just have liposuction as a primary operation, with the understanding they may need to come back and have a tummy tuck later if their skin does not retract well enough after liposuction. Everyone’s skin will retract differently, and in general, those with no stretch marks or hanging skin before surgery have the best results.
Abdominoplasty Following Massive Weight Loss
After massive weight loss, achieved via a weight loss procedure like gastric banding or through diet and exercise, many patients are bothered by the residual deflated and hanging skin at their abdomen. If the skin is only deflated in the front of the abdomen, then a tummy tuck can be done to remove the excess skin.
If the excess skin extends around to drooping buttocks, a body lift operation may be a better option. The scar for a body lift is similarly low like a tummy tuck, but goes all the way around the mid-section like a belt.
The vast majority of people with massive weight loss do not have any problems accepting these scars, as they improve with time and are a good trade-off for the superior results possible.
As usual, all surgical plans need to customized for each patient. Call our office to make an appointment for your personal consultation.
Albuquerque Abdominoplasty Surgery Options
In abdominoplasty, two main goals are achieved to result in a firmer and more toned appearance. The first step is to remove excess skin and the second is to tighten the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis muscles). We take pride in helping our clients feel more confident wearing clothing they have not been able to wear for many years due to their abdominal deformity. For women following pregnancy, an abdominoplasty can help regain self-confidence and a pre-pregnancy body. That is why abdominoplasty is consistently one of the most rewarding operations in cosmetic surgery.
When there is excess fatty deposits at the flanks, we can perform liposuction at the same time there. However, for safety reasons, aggressive liposuction is not performed in the upper abdomen at the time of tummy tuck as this can potentially reduce the circulation at the skin edges, which can in turn cause problems in healing.
Recently, Exparel (an emulsified Marcain solution) have gained significant popularity in post-operative pain management. Exparel is not an opioid and provides an extended numbing effect of the surgical area. Discuss with us in your consultation to determine whether you are a good candidate.