Abdominoplasty in Austin, TX
Multiple pregnancies, weight change, and aging can dramatically impact the appearance of your midsection. As a mother herself, Dr. Christine Fisher is personally familiar with the effects of pregnancy on a woman's body—and the reality that no amount of postpartum diet and exercise can fully restore a taut, pre-pregnancy abdomen. Surgery, however, such as a tummy tuck at Austin Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery in Austin, TX , can help restore the abdomen.
What Does A Tummy Tuck Address?
Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery is specifically intended to correct the look of a sagging belly that is not responsive to diet and exercise, which can occur due to muscle laxity, excess skin, and stubborn pockets of fat. Tummy tucks are an excellent solution for stretched skin around the navel or for loose skin that falls over the lower abdomen or pubic area. A tummy tuck is not intended to address significant body fat or sagging skin elsewhere on the body, though it can be combined with liposuction or other body lift procedures to create balanced results.
Candidates for Tummy Tuck Surgery
It is important to note that a tummy tuck is a body contouring procedure, not a weight loss procedure—it cannot be a substitute for diet and exercise. Patients who are at a BMI of 40 or above may not be able to undergo a procedure like an abdominoplasty safely. What’s more, it is best to have your tummy tuck at the end of your weight loss journey because your results will be entirely suited to your new figure and you will not be at risk of further skin sagging.
Austin Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
- Known for natural-looking aesthetic results in breast reconstruction and cosmetic surgery.
- Elected by peers for inclusion in Texas Monthly's Texas Super Doctors®: Rising Stars listing.
- Reconstructed over 6,000 patients, including more than 2,500 DIEP flap reconstructions.
- 4.9-star average rating over hundreds of reviews for reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.
Why Have A Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery can help men and women alike restore smoother, flatter contours to their abdomen. Many patients pursue tummy tuck surgery because they are unhappy with the appearance of their abdomen. Dr. Fisher enjoys performing cosmetic abdominoplasties for these patients because they get to see the difference this procedure can make in self-confidence and overall well being.
Medical Reasons for Tummy Tuck Surgery
Other patients may consider tummy tuck surgery due to medical conditions that are affecting their health in addition to the appearance of their abdomen, such as diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation) or an umbilical or ventral hernia. Abdominal surgery like an abdominoplasty can relieve symptoms of these medical conditions while improving the appearance of the abdomen.
Patients who lose a significant amount of weight may find themselves dealing with aesthetic concerns. The loss of excess volume in the abdominal area can leave behind redundant skin and slack tissue that does not respond to diet and exercise. The stretched skin may sag over the abdomen and create an unwanted bulge, which can be discouraging for patients who have worked hard to lose weight and are hoping to achieve a healthier physique. A tummy tuck procedure pulls your skin taut over your abdominal muscles and trims away the excess skin so you can once again enjoy a flat abdomen and defined waistline.
Childbearing can leave behind similar concerns, as the expansion of the abdomen during pregnancy followed by the postnatal loss of volume can have a stretching effect on the skin around the navel and lower belly. These changes in a woman’s body can lower her self-confidence and are often frustrating, particularly when she begins to lose her “baby weight” but does not see the abdomen return to normal. If you are a mother in this situation, you can choose to have a tummy tuck once you are finished having children. Abdominoplasty removes and re-drapes the stretched skin and tissues, restoring a pre-pregnancy abdomen.
Ventral or Umbilical Hernia
A hernia is a condition in which part of an internal organ — such as the intestines or the bladder — bulges through a weak point in your musculature and other tissues, creating a visible, sometimes uncomfortable lump under the skin. Ventral hernias are any hernias that occur on the abdomen, while umbilical hernias occur specifically when the intestines herniate through the navel. Hernias are not always symptomatic and do not always require treatment, but they can become inflamed and painful as well as unsightly. Patients with symptomatic hernias may need surgery to alleviate discomfort and to reinforce the area through which the hernia bulged.
Since a tummy tuck addresses the skin and musculature of the abdomen, a tummy tuck for a hernia in the ventral or umbilical region can be effective. What’s more, umbilical hernias commonly arise during childbirth due to the strain of labor and the expansion of the abdomen during pregnancy. Tummy tucks are frequently recommended for women who want to address post-pregnancy aesthetic concerns, so for women with umbilical hernias, this surgery can treat both the medical and cosmetic aspects of the condition.
Diastasis Recti (Abdominal Muscle Separation)
The skin is not the only part of the abdomen that experiences distention due to weight fluctuations or pregnancy. Many individuals who carry abdominal fat during years of obesity also experience laxity in the muscles and tissues within the abdominal wall. About two-thirds of pregnant women encounter the same effect as their abdomen expands during their third trimester. The stretching of muscle and tissue creates a condition called diastasis recti, in which the abdominal muscles (your “six-pack”) become physically separated.
As you lose weight or as the abdomen repairs itself postpartum, the gap between the muscles will narrow — but it will not close completely. In some cases, the gap remains visibly wide after your body has adjusted to weight loss or life after pregnancy. The gap causes a bulge in the belly that protrudes like belly fat. However, unlike belly fat, no amount of core exercises, yoga, or crunches and sit-ups will fully repair the gap between the separated muscles or the tears in the fascia.
A tummy tuck for diastasis recti is the most effective permanent solution. During your procedure, your surgeon can access the underlying musculature and tissues to suture your muscles back together. The reattached muscles will no longer sag and bulge and your abdomen will once again appear flat and toned after abdominal exercises.
A tummy tuck may not be appropriate if you are in the middle of a weight loss journey or if you are planning to become pregnant in the future. The best way to determine if a tummy tuck is right for you to is to schedule a consultation with an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Christine Fisher. When you visit our office in Austin, Texas for your consultation, you will undergo a full evaluation to determine whether a tummy tuck will meet your needs and whether you will be able to undergo the surgery with minimal risks. Your safety and satisfaction are our number one priorities.
Your abdominoplasty process begins with your initial consultation, during which our surgeons perform a complete, in-person examination of your health, your goals, your medical history, and your lifestyle to determine your suitability as a tummy tuck candidate. If abdominoplasty is appropriate for your needs and will not put your health at risk, your surgeon and her staff will work with you to create a customized surgical plan, schedule the surgery and help you begin planning for your recovery.
On the day of the procedure, general anesthesia will be handled by a board-certified anesthesiologist and/or certified anesthetist. You will be asleep and comfortable for the duration of the surgery. During the procedure, your surgeon makes a horizontal incision low across the abdomen in between the hip bones and just above the pubic region. This incision allows her access to the targeted tissues: The abdominal muscles and tissues can be tightened and sutured to prevent further belly bulge, the abdominal shape can be sculpted, stubborn fat cells can be removed, and excess, sagging skin can be excised.
After addressing underlying concerns like stubborn fat or diastasis recti, the surgeon will drape your skin over your abdomen so that it appears smooth and taut. For many patients, this involves restructuring the skin at the navel. Traditional tummy tuck techniques utilize a circular incision around the belly button so that the navel remains in place while the surrounding skin is pulled flat. Then, a new hole is created in the skin and attached at your natural navel. This technique, however, results in a visible scar around the belly button. Dr. Fisher's tummy tuck procedure instead employs umbilical techniques that hide the scar inside the umbilical dimple, resulting in a tummy tuck that appears natural when the abdomen is exposed.
With the changes made, the abdominal skin will be sutured into place along the initial horizontal incision. There will be a scar along this incision site, though it will be positioned low enough to be hidden by underwear and swimsuits. While the length of the tummy tuck incision will depend on how much skin needs to be removed, the position and prominence of the scar depend on the skill and experience of the surgeon, as well as other factors such as skin type and genetics. During your consultation, Dr. Fisher will discuss what results you can expect after your procedure and will offer aftercare suggestions to minimize visible scarring.
What To Expect During Recovery After A Tummy Tuck
Patients who have an abdominoplasty may choose to stay overnight at a "recovery hotel" such as Halcyon Post-Op Suites. We recommend taking at least two weeks away from work after your surgery, as you will need to rest and recover during this time and will not be comfortable driving yourself to work or sitting upright in an office for several hours. You will wear a compression garment to control swelling and promote blood flow for four to six weeks. There will be some swelling in the first month after tummy tuck surgery, but it should completely subside within three months. Scarring will fade and flatten over time with the most improvement occurring in the first three to six months post-op, though it can take up to two years for scars to settle into their final appearance. Dr. Fisher will recommend certain products including silicone sheeting that can help improve the appearance of surgical scarring.
When Can I Resume Exercise After A Tummy Tuck?
You can resume a very light exercise routine including walking and stretching after two weeks, light weights and low impact aerobics such as elliptical or swimming after four weeks, and yoga and abdominal crunches after eight weeks.
Download Our Cosmetic Surgery Post-Operative Care Guides
We've compiled detailed post-operative care instructions to best equip our cosmetic surgery patients throughout their recovery process. To ensure the best and safest recovery, your plan encompasses appropriate prescriptions and clear directions towards maintaining your comfort to get you back to normal life and activity as soon as possible. Individual patients respond uniquely, and the type of procedure may differ, but these basic guidelines will help you along your journey.
Can A Tummy Tuck Be Combined With Other Procedures?
Many women seeking a tummy tuck after pregnancy choose to combine a tummy tuck with liposuction and with a breast lift or breast augmentation. This combination of procedures is often referred to as a "Mommy Makeover," though Dr. Fisher prefers to think of it as "post-maternity reconstructive surgery," because it restores both the form and function of a woman's body.
Patients who seek a tummy tuck after weight loss may choose to combine their abdominoplasty with other lifting procedures, such as an arm lift, breast lift, butt lift, or thigh lift. This combination is typically called a body lift or a full body lift. These procedures remove excess skin and lingering body fat and may be completed in one or two separate surgeries depending on the patient’s concerns. Many men and women who undergo massive weight loss find that loose skin and stubborn fat prevent them from feeling proud of the body they have worked toward, and their surgery or surgeries allow them to fully enjoy a slimmer, contoured physique that reflects the hard work they have put in.
Schedule a Consultation
To learn more about abdominoplasty in Austin, Texas, contact our practice today by sending us a message online, or calling us at (512) 815-0123. Our helpful staff is available to answer any questions you may have and to schedule your consultation with Dr. Fisher.