Plastic Surgery FAQ Provided by Dr. Jon Harrell
Frequently Asked Questions
Enhancing your appearance with a Tummy Tuck
A tight, sculpted tummy is a hot commodity these days. Many people spend hours
in the gym and meticulously watch what they eat in order to achieve 'rock hard
abs'. For the rest of us, however, the tasks of diet and exercise are not so easy.
Many factors contribute to excess fat around the waistline, including:
The abdominoplasty procedure, commonly referred to as the "Tummy Tuck"
can be an effective way of eliminating excess fatty tissues and stretched skin,
and even tightening weak and collapsed abdominal muscles, dramatically flattening
- Dramatic weight gain or loss
- Lack of exercise
What it won't do
This procedure has yielded amazing results for countless people, but it is not
a replacement for proper diet and exercise. Rather, when the abdominoplasty is
used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, the results can be both
amazing and long-lasting. There are some things you should consider before an
abdominoplasty, however. If you are planning on dramatic weight loss, or plan
on becoming pregnant, it would make sense to postpone abdominoplasty, as weight
loss or pregnancy can have adverse effects on the results of the Tummy Tuck.
Stretch marks can also be a concern for those seeking abdominoplasty, and although
the procedure can oftentimes remove some of the damaged skin, especially below
the belly button where excess skin is removed, the abdominoplasty is not specifically
performed to remove stretch marks. Talk to your doctor regarding your concerns
and perhaps he or she will have a suggestion for the best course of action.
Is it right for me?
As with any cosmetic enhancement surgery, you should first consider your motivations
for surgery to be sure that you're choosing surgery for yourself and not to fulfill
someone else's' desires or expectations of you or your body. It is a very personal
matter and any decision for surgery should come after careful consideration of
all the facts and emotions involved.
The abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck may be a good option for you if you:
What to expect during your consultation
- Maintain good physical health and weight
- Don't smoke
- Have realistic expectations
- Are frustrated by your attempts at weight loss and firming of your abdominal
area with diet and exercise
- Have stretch marks from lack of elasticity
In order to create the best possible results from your Tummy Tuck surgery, it
is important that your surgeon consult with you to discuss your desires and expectations,
as well as how abdominoplasty surgery will impact your health, lifestyle and general
well-being. It is a good idea to prepare by considering the following before your
- General medical history, including the results of laboratory work and past
- A detailed account of current prescription medications, supplements (vitamins
or others) that you take
- Any use of tobacco or other drugs
- What are your motivations for surgery? What are your expectations?
At the consultation, your surgeon will also:
- Evaluate your current health
- Photographically document the abdominal area
- Based on the information gathered, your surgeon will discuss your surgical
options and recommend a course of treatment
- Disclose the risk of common complications associated with abdominoplasty
surgery and the use of anesthesia
- Cover what to do the day of surgery
- Cover post-operative care and recovery
Preparing for surgery
In the weeks before surgery, your surgeon may request:
- Further laboratory testing or medical evaluations
- Adjusting current prescriptions
- That you avoid the consumption of alcohol, drugs and abstain from smoking
for a certain period surrounding surgery
Finally, your surgeon will go over the options you may have regarding the location
of your surgery. Typically, abdominoplasty procedures are performed in an accredited
surgical center, outpatient ambulatory surgical center or a hospital.
Important facts about the safety and risks of abdominoplasty
Ultimately, the decision to undergo the Tummy Tuck procedure is yours alone. After
careful consideration of both the risks and benefits of surgery, you'll have to
weigh the risks against the potential benefits to make an informed decision that
you can live with. Your health care professional will go over all potential risks
of surgery and will make themselves available to answer any and all of your questions.
Here is a listing of some of the risks associated with Tummy Tuck surgery:
- Adverse scarring
- Excessive bleeding (hematoma)
- Complications associated with scar healing, including pain associated with
- Fluids aggregation
- Necrosis, or fatty tissues deep within the affected area may die
- Leg swelling that won't go away
- Skin loosening persists
- Potential risks of anesthesia use
- Blood clots
What happens during tummy tuck surgery?
Depending on your individual circumstances, your doctor will suggest either
intravenous or general anesthesia.
Surgeons today have almost perfected the art of the abdominoplasty incision,
so that scarring is minimal and is located between the pubic hairline and the
belly button where it can be covered by bathing suits or underwear. Of course,
the length of the incision will be determined by your surgeon, based on the
nature of your individual surgical needs.
The incision itself is the portal through which the surgeon will remove excess
fatty tissues and repair sagging, weak abdominal muscles. A second, smaller,
vertical incision may be required between the pubic hairline and the belly button
to remove excess skin left by the removal of the fatty tissue.
Closing the incisions
Once the procedure has been completed, the incisions are closed with layered
sutures, clips and surgical tape.
See the results
The immediate results are oftentimes difficult to see through the swelling and
discoloration caused by the procedure itself. However, within a week or two
you'll be fully ambulatory, able to stand-up straight and appreciate the new,
The recovery period immediately following your surgery is critical to achieving
the best results possible from the surgery. It is, therefore, of paramount importance
that you follow your doctor's instructions exactly. Bandages will need to be
changed and restrictions on physical activity are just a few of the steps one
must take in order to fully realize the potential results of abdominoplasty
surgery. In most cases, you can return to work within two weeks and resume limited
physical activity shortly thereafter.
Here are some important questions regarding recovery to ask your doctor before
How much will tummy tuck surgery cost?
- Where will I recover directly after surgery?
- Will I be prescribed any post-surgery medications?
- How often do my bandages need to be changed and when will they be removed
- When will the stitches be removed?
- How soon will I need to return for a follow-up visit?
Cost depends on many varying factors, including the experience of the surgeon
and the location of the procedure. Be sure to interview several surgeons when
doing your research so you can get a clear picture of your options. Oftentimes,
higher cost is not indicative of higher quality; but, it can also be said that
you get what you pay for. Shop around and do your homework.
Costs you can expect to incur:
- Surgeon's fee
- Facility fee
- Laboratory tests
In addition, many plastic surgeons offer their own patient financing plans,
so be sure to ask your doctor!
Email Dr. Harrell
|Jon F. Harrell, F.A.C.S. |
|Center for Cosmetic Surgery|
|Office Address: |
|2133 North Commerce Pkwy.|
|Weston, FL 33326|