"LJCSC's staff was trustworthy and very concerned about me at every stage of my recovery."-Stacey
Considering a Tummy Tuck in San Diego?
Abdominoplasty in San Diego
If you have loose skin on your tummy or have had multiple pregnancies, you are a prime candidate for a tummy tuck. Post massive weight loss patients often have this procedure, too. The medical term for a tummy tuck is abdominoplasty. This surgical procedure is common among women in San Diego, but men occasionally have it, too.
There are three basic types of tummy tucks that we perform at La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre—the mini, standard, and extended. Which one is best for you will be determined after your surgeon meets with you and examines you. An abdominoplasty has a more extensive recovery time than many other cosmetic procedures, but it provides a long lasting and a very effective result. After the surgery, there is a truly positive change to your body’s shape, and your tummy will be flatter and tighter.
Mini Tummy Tuck
The simplest and easiest tummy tuck to recover from is the “mini” tummy tuck. This procedure is typically suited to women who have never had children or only had one pregnancy. This procedure is appropriate if there is only a small amount of loose skin in the central lower abdomen. In this procedure, the surgeon tightens the skin only and doesn’t “plicate” (repair) the underlying abdominal muscle. The scar on the “mini” tummy tuck is normally shorter, horizontal, and usually placed just above the pubic area within the upper pubic hair line.
Standard Tummy Tuck
The next step up from the “mini” tummy tuck is the “standard” tummy tuck. If you have had several pregnancies, you usually need this procedure. Normally with this surgery, the excess skin is excised and there is repair of the underlying abdominal muscles. The scar is usually horizontal and above the pubic area, but it is longer, extending from approximately one hip bone out to the other hip bone.
Extended Tummy Tuck
The most extensive tummy tuck is the “extended” tummy tuck. This procedure is often indicated for women who have had multiple pregnancies or for those who are post massive weight loss. Excess skin is excised from the abdomen and flanks, and the underlying abdominal muscle is tightened, as well. The scar runs across the upper pubic hair area and extends upwards toward the back on both sides. It is a long scar, but the benefit is that it tightens your entire lower torso.
Once in a while, the surgeon needs to place a vertical scar in a tummy tuck procedure. This could be necessary if you have so much loose skin that a horizontal tightening only will not eliminate all the laxity. The price you pay for a better looking abdomen is visible scars. There really isn’t a way to conceal the scar (without clothes) as in many other cosmetic procedures. The scars are placed, however, so that they are well hidden in normal panties. Most patients happily accept the scar for the result. They consider it a very good “trade-off” for their improved appearance in clothing and their enhanced body image.
Weight Issues and Tummy Tuck Surgery
As with other body procedures, you’re going to be happiest with tummy tuck results if you are not considering the procedure to solve weight issues. Although you don’t have to be your “ideal” weight, it’s best to be near your target weight for maximum results. If you are a post massive weight loss patient, it is recommended that you hold your reduced weight goal for at least a year before considering cosmetic procedures.
Liposuction for a Refined Result
Sometimes with an abdominoplasty, the surgeon will also suggest liposuction. This gives the surgeon the ability to sculpt surrounding areas on your body so that your result will be even better. Liposuction is a very nice complimentary procedure to a tummy tuck. So don’t be surprised if a surgeon recommends liposuction for you. They aren’t just trying to run up your surgical costs—they know it will enhance your surgical outcome.
Tummy Tuck Surgery and Recovery
All tummy tucks are done under general anesthesia. With the standard and extended tummy tucks, the surgeon usually attaches a device called a “pain pump,” which helps with post surgical discomfort. The pain pump is usually left in for about four days, and then the doctor or nurse will remove it at an after surgery visit.
With the two more extensive tummy tucks—the standard and extended—your surgeon will probably recommend that you spend your first post-surgical night in the outpatient unit at the hospital. This insures that you can get intravenous pain medication and fluids and that you will have all the help you need during the first 24 hours after surgery.
Once home, you’ll continue with bed rest, but it is also important that you get up and move around several times a day. Plan your initial recovery so that there is a friend or family member who’s with you at home for at least the first three to five days. You will need help with the basics. There are also after surgery assistants and after surgery facilities that you can be arranged if you so desire.
It is very important that you plan on two to three weeks recuperation time before you get back to your normal daily activities. This will vary with the level of tummy tuck you have, but it’s a good basic estimate. It’s important that you plan well so that you give your body time to heal in the best manner possible. Aerobic activities can usually be resumed about 6 weeks after surgery.
As in any surgical procedure, there are risks to having a tummy tuck. The general surgical risks include swelling and bruising, inflammation and infection, blood loss, itching, and numbness. Surgical complications, although rare, can also occur and include cardiac problems, allergic reactions, pulmonary embolism, and hyperthermia. Some of the risks that are specific to tummy tucks are hematomas, seromas, infection, and scarring issues.
Tummy Tuck Consultation
At La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre, you will meet with a nurse before your surgery who will go through all of the specific and general risks and possible complications carefully with you. We want our patients to be fully informed, so we give you a booklet to keep that contains the surgical information. You can take all the time you need at this visit and ask any questions you have. Also at this pre-operative visit, we will take before surgery pictures, draw blood to do a CBC, and get an in-depth health history from you. If you are a smoker, surgeons like you to stop smoking entirely or for at least two weeks before the procedure.
It is always important that you reveal your entire health history. Never feel shy or embarrassed. Our surgeons want to know all they can about your medical background. All your personal health and lifestyle factors are part of your surgical plan.
Our board certified plastic surgeons and our board certified anesthesiologists review your chart. If there is something of concern, they want to address it before your surgery. Sometimes a medical clearance is required from another specialist such as an internist. The more detailed information you give your surgeon, the better he or she is able to care for you. Patient safety is our greatest concern, and your active and candid participation in that objective is of paramount importance.
Once you decide a tummy tuck is right for you, start by making an appointment with one or more surgeons. While at your consultation with one of our experienced plastic surgeon at La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre, talk to him or her about your specific goals and expectations. By discussing your specific expectations, a surgeon will be able to examine you and tell you what can be achieved with your body. The more you share in a consultation with the surgeon, the more likely you are to be happy with your result.
At the time of the consultation, you should be able to view lots of before and after pictures of real patient’s results. This will help you in assessing the experience and skills of the surgeon. In summary, here’s what to look for and what you’ll find at La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre:
- Meet personally in consultation with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon
- At the consultation have an examination and discuss your desires and expectations and the specifics of the recommended procedure
- Receive information and materials that help you in the decision making process
- See before and after pictures of real patients of the surgeon
- Get a specific written quote detailing all the costs
- After scheduling surgery attend an individual “pre-op” appointment to discuss the surgical aspects and risks
Besides these points, please refer to our article, Ten Points To Ponder. When you shop for a tummy tuck or any other procedure, you’ll want to know these ten important factors to consider. At La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre, we are committed to educating patients, so we hope this information is helpful to you.
The specific risks and the suitability of a tummy tuck for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation with a physician. All procedures have some degree of risk. The information provided here is not a substitute for a consultation.