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Tummy Tuck FAQ

Questions About Tummy Tuck Surgery

Should I wait until I am done with kids to have a tummy tuck?

We typically recommend that you be done with having children prior to undergoing a tummy tuck. In Denver and Golden, CO, our plastic surgeons have had some patients that have not required additional surgery after a post tummy tuck pregnancy, some that have required a mini-tuck and still others that have required a complete re-do. Unfortunately, there is no way to know what category a patient will fall into, so from a financial perspective, waiting is the smartest option.

I recieved a tummy tuck and breast reduction from Dr. Vath over a year ago, and I am still numb on my tummy. How long does it usually take for that to go away?

It can take 18 months to 2 years for all of the numbness to subside following a tummy tuck. A small percentage of people never regain 100% sensation just below the scar.

Can I have my hernia repaired at the same time as an abdominoplasty?

It is not uncommon to see different types of hernias when performing an abdominoplasty. Both our physicians, Dr. Andrew Wolfe and Dr. Steven Vath will often repair hernias in conjunction with a tummy tuck/abdominoplasty. In our experience though, the tummy tuck portion of the procedure is not covered by insurance. The hernia repair portion can be billed to insurance, but you would have to use your out of network benifits which is not always cost effective. Most of out patients have found that paying their insurance deductible along with the cost of a tummy tuck is actually more expensive than simply paying out of pocket as a cosmetic patient.

Would I be able to have a tummy tuck done the same day as a breast lift?

Many people have tummy tucks and breast procedures at the same time, this is commonly referred to as a mommy makeover. Take a look at our before & after pictures and you’ll see that many patients have chosen to undergo these two procedures in one surgical setting. This means only one recovery and less overall cost to you.

What health conditions threaten a successful recovery after surgery?

Cosmetic surgery should only be performed on healthy, non-smoking patients without any significant history of medical problems. We do a complete history and physical on all patients prior to undergoing cosmetic surgery. If any concern is identified, you may not be a good candidate for an elective, cosmetic procedure. There is nothing specific to African-American patients that puts them at higher risk.

I am a 23 year old mother of two and I have stretch marks all over my stomach and upper thighs, can this surgery remove my stretch marks?

In order to remove stretch marks, they must be excised or “cut out”. This is achieved with a tummy tuck, which will give you a flat tummy and remove all of the stretch marks from below your belly button to above your pubic area.

I am not sure whether I want to have more children or not and am considering a tummy tuck. Do I need to be done having children before getting an abdominoplasty?

Should you decide to have a child after a tummy tuck, your muscles and skin will stretch out to accomodate the pregnancy just as they did before. However, you will probably negate much of the benefit you received from the abdominoplasty. It is recommended that you complete having children prior to having a tummy tuck; however, if you are unsure as to your reproductive future and would like to have your tummy tightened now, that is perfectly reasonable with the understanding that future pregnancies may stretch things out again.

How do you remove fluid from the abdomen after you have had a tummy tuck?

Following abdominoplasty surgery, your body will naturally absorb any excess fluid. In some circumstances drains will need to be used, but not as a standard.

Will smoking affect my recovery?

Smoking adversely affects wound healing. The small vessels that supply blood to the tissues shrink up and prevent the necessary nutrients for healing to get to the wound. The incidence of having a wound complication such as an open wound or skin death is much higher in smokers. Furthermore, the rate of wound infection is also significantly increased in smokers for the same reason of limited blood flow. Because of this, a patient must stop smoking for a minimum of two weeks prior to surgery to decrease the risk of these complications.

How long do I have to wait after giving birth to have breast augmentation and a tummy tuck?

It is best to wait 6 months after giving birth to have breast and tummy surgery. If you are breast feeding you should wait until 3 months after you are finished nursing.

I have had a c-section.. is there anyway to remove the scar?

When there is extra skin on your tummy after pregnancy, an abdominoplasty is generally the best means of managing it. The procedure tightens the abdominal muscles and removes excess fat and skin leaving you with a flat abdomen. The c-section scar is removed during the procedure. Often, women choose to have liposuction of nearby areas such as the flanks (love handles), hips, back, or thighs at the same time to improve their overall look.

Hello! I’ve been interested in getting a tummy tuck for awhile now, but have a tattoo above my belly button. Would this interfere with the surgery?

Having a tattoo in that area would not interfere with your surgery, but it may move or change your tattoo. An abdominoplasty is a surgery where the fat and skin from your belly button down to your pubis is removed. The muscles are tightened from under your breasts down to the pubic bone. The skin is then pulled down and closed resulting in a scar from hip to hip, but low enough to hide under a two-piece bathing suit. The length of the scar varies a bit depending upon the degree of skin redundancy. But as you can see from the photos of our surgeon’s work, this surgery is a wonderful trade off for a flat tummy!

Can your doctors do a tummy tuck with a fat transfer to the buttocks?

It may be possible to have a tummy tuck and fat transfer.

Can you perform a tummy tuck and brow lift at the same time?

Yes, our doctors can perform a tummy tuck and brow lift at the same time. Most procedures can be done as a combination. This means only one recovery and less overall cost to you.

Can I have a tummy tuck and a thigh lift at the same time?

It may be possible to have a tummy tuck and thigh lift at the same time. Many of our patients choose to combine procedures.

I have lost a massive amount of weight and would like to know what my surgical options are to remove the excess skin.

Congratulations on your weight loss. There are several well developed operations intended to rid you of your excess skin. A lower body lift combined with an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck will lift the buttocks and outer thighs while also tightening the abdomen. An inner thigh lift will tighten the upper, inner thighs while an arm lift can reduce the skin laxity on your upper arms. If your breast are too relaxed, you may benifit from a breast lift (mastopexy) or combination breast augmentation with lift. Finally, if lax, sagging facial skin is a problem, a facelift or mini-facelift combined with a brow lift will tighten your facial tissues without giving you that fake, operated appearance.

When would be the right time for my first consultation if I am currently pregnant?

Thank you for contacting the Center for Cosmetic Surgery and your interest in a Tummy Tuck and Breast Augmentation. We would recommend seeing you about three months after the birth of your baby. You will want to be finished nursing and your breasts have finished changing before having surgery. This may be anywhere from 1 to 6 months after nursing.

Can tummy tucks be covered by insurance? If so, what are the scenario’s?

In our experience, abdominoplasty is not covered by insurance.

Are drains involved with a mini tummy tuck? Is general anesthesia used for a mini tummy tuck? Thx

A mini tummy tuck is a less aggressive form of a full tummy tuck. With a full tummy tuck, most or all of the skin between the belly button and the top of the pubic area is removed, the muscles are tightened all the way up to the ribs, and the remaining skin is stretched down to close the open area. The belly button is usually brought up through the new skin and sewn into place. With a mini tummy tuck, in contrast, a much smaller area of skin is removed, and only the muscle in the lower abdomen is tightened. The belly button is not relocated. Good candidates for a mini tummy tuck are rare, as most patients with abdominal laxity are much better candidates for a full tummy tuck. Occasionally, a patient will present with isolated lower abdominal laxity and a firm upper abdomen. For these select few, a mini tummy tuck can be a good option. We are no longer using drains for most of our tummy tuck patients. General or deep IV sedation anesthesia can be used for a mini tummy tuck.

Should you consider a tummy tuck if you want more kids?

A tummy tuck should not be performed if you want more children. There are no safety issues with doing a tummy tuck and then having more children, however your results can be completely or partially un-done.

Hi, your website is very informative and the results are amazing. i have few questions for you. can i choose not to have the lollilop scare for breast augmentation ? i prefer to have the circular one. how long does it take to recover after Mommy Makeover ?

The lollipop scar is only necessary for women who need a full breast lift, with or without an implant. A cirucular incision is used for women who would like to reduce the size of their areola and/or if their nipple is low on the breast. The incisions used for a breast augmentation alone are around the lower part of the nipple or in the fold of the breast and both of those incisions are approximately 3-4 centimeters long. Recovery after a Mommy Makeover varies from person to person. Most people need to take 1-2 weeks off of work and at that time are able to do normal daily activities that do not increase heart rate and blood pressure or involve core muscles. Women are able to start excercising by 3 weeks and are restriction free by 6 weeks. The final results after a Mommy Makeover take up to 9 months, however, the body is drastically transformed from day one and the results are very impressive. Sexual activity can be resumed by 10-14 days. The bra and binder are worn for 2-4 weeks after the surgery. All of the sutures used in a Mommy Makeover dissolve, so no sutures need to be removed.

I lost a lot of weight after a gastric bypass. My thighs, tummy, and butt are really saggy. What can I do?

After large volume weight loss, there is usually excess skin that sags and bothers the patient. There are several well-designed operations that can rid you of much of this skin redundancy and allow you to feel better in clothes. A circumferential body lift can lift up the buttocks, outer thighs, and tighten the tummy. Also, an inner thigh lift can tighten the inside of your legs. The scars are all hidden beneath your underwear.

I have lost a significant amount of weight but still have some to go and I can see that there is extra skin. I am interested in having the body lift surgery and breast reduction next summer after I finish graduate school. I wanted to know if I need to ma

Thanks for your inquiry and congratulations on all of your weight loss. It is ideal that you have reached a stable weight for at least 6 months prior to undergoing a body lift and breast reduction. Good luck with your goals and we welcome you to a free consultation to discuss your surgical options with either Dr. Vath or Dr. Wolfe at your convenience.

I have had 3 c-sections. Is the current scar a concern when it comes to having a tummy tuck?

The current scar is not only not a concern, but will be removed during the tummy tuck procedure. The abdominoplasty scar will be low enough to hide under a two-piece bathing suit and without the indentation or overhang often created from c-section scars. Most women agree that the scarring trade off to get a flat abdomen is an excellent one.

How much time passes between the initial consultation and surgery?

Once you have had your complementary consult with one of our surgeons, it is typically 2-4 weeks before surgery. However, this can vary significantly.

Can you have children after a tummy tuck?

Should you decide to have a child after a tummy tuck, your muscles and skin will stretch out to accommodate the pregnancy just as they did before. However, you will probably negate much of the benefit you received from the abdominoplasty. It is recommended that you complete having children prior to having a tummy tuck; however, if you are unsure as to your reproductive future and would like to have your tummy tightened now, that is perfectly reasonable with the understanding that future pregnancies may stretch things out again.

Can you perform a tummy tuck and breast lift at the same time?

A tummy tuck is commonly performed in combination with a breast lift or augmentation at the same time. This “mommy makeover” will flatten the tummy out while lifting and/or filling out the breasts all at the same time. This allows for one recovery and a complete restoration of your body with the least hassle.

Can you do a tummy tuck using a c-section scar?

When a tummy tuck is performed on someone with a c-section scar, the c-section scar is completely removed. The tummy tuck scar will be kept very low in order easily hide it. Often, women find their c-section scar unattractive, “indented”, dimpled, wide, or thick. The new tummy tuck scar will not “indent” or create any “overhang”, rather will be thin, low, and hide able. This is usually a very welcome trade off.

Can I get a breast augmentation and tummy tuck at the same time? If so, what is the recovery time?

You can absolutely have a tummy tuck and breast augmentation at the same time. This is commonly referred to as the “mommy makeover” and is a combination procedure we do often. Most people are out and about by 7-10 days and are able to return to work by 10-14 days. You can resume low impact exercise at 3 weeks and are restriction free at 6 weeks.

Typically, how long does it take for the swelling to go down? How long can you expect to have to wear loose fitting clothing? Can you expect a significant amount of weight loss with a tummy tuck?

Surprisingly, there is not a great deal of swelling after a tummy tuck. You’ll have some firmness and swelling at the incision site. Because of the abdominal compression garment that you’ll need to wear after surgery for 2-4 weeks, you’ll need to wear loose clothing for that. You retain water throughout your entire body after the stress of surgery so you’ll initially gain weight. This is all water weight, so if you don’t gain fat during your recovery, you will certainly get back to your preoperative weight. The amount of tissue removed weighs between 2 and 10 pounds depending upon your size. Often people don’t ultimately lose much weight from a tummy tuck but their shape is dramatically improved.

How long is the recovery from a tummy tuck? I am a runner, how long would I have to take off from running?

A tummy tuck requires a one to two week recovery before getting back to non-exertional activities in a comfortable way. Recovery time varies a great deal between individuals. For higher impact activities such as running, you will need to take 5-6 weeks off. It may be difficult to stay away from running for that long, but most women feel it was worth it. No amount of exercise can tighten up your tummy like a tummy tuck.

I’m a 23 year old diabetic and roughly 40 lbs overweight. Am I a candidate for a tummy tuck and breast augmentation?

If your diabetes is controlled with diet and oral medication and you are otherwise in good health, this may be a reasonable consideration for you. Certainly, at your complementary consult with one of our surgeons, your medical history will be discussed. All risks will be reviewed and you will be examined with the surgeon explaining what you might expect as far as achieving your goals. We call these procedures a “Mommy Makeover”, and after having children, it is a very common combination. We always encourage patients to lose as much weight as they can before surgery, but you certainly may schedule your appointment and use the information as part of your goal setting. Patients often have their tummy tucks and go on to lose more weight and tone up their bodies!

What is a “mini tummy tuck”, and who is a good candidate?

A mini tummy tuck is a less aggressive form of a full tummy tuck. WIth a full tummy tuck, most or all of the skin between the belly button and the top of the pubic area is removed, the muscles are tightened all the way up to the ribs, and the remaining skin is stretched down to close the open area. The belly button is usually brought up through the new skin and sewn into place. WIth a mini tummy tuck, in contrast, a much smaller area of skin is removed, and only the muscle in the lower abdomen is tightened. The belly button is not relocated. Good candidates for a mini tummy tuck are rare, as most patients with abdominal laxity are much better candidates for a full tummy tuck. Occasionally, a patient will present with isolated lower abdominal laxity and a firm upper abdomen. For these select few, a mini tummy tuck can be a good option.

I delivered twins eight years ago by c-section and have that overlap of skin that looks so ugly. What can I do?

When there is extra skin on your tummy after pregnancy, an abdominoplasty is generally the best means of managing it. The procedure tightens the abdominal muscles and removes excess fat and skin leaving you with a flat abdomen. The c-section scar is removed during the procedure. Often, women choose to have liposuction of nearby areas such as the flanks (love handles), hips, back, or thighs at the same time to improve their overall look.

I want to have a tummy tuck during a c-section. Can it be done?

You should be healed from your c-section before an abdominoplasty is performed. Once you have lost your weight gain from pregnancy and you have stabilized, the maximum amount of tightening can be achieved to optimize your results. Although it would make sense to have it all done at once, the studies show that the complications from surgery increase when combining these two procedures.

Does an abdominoplasty take care of “love handles” as well?

A tummy tuck manages the entire abdomen, tightening the front of your torso. The abdominoplasty can also tighten the waist, but generally liposuction is used to manage the “love handles” or flanks. Liposuction of the flanks, as well as other areas, is commonly performed at the same time as a tummy tuck.

I am a 5’2″ female weighing 205 pounds. Can you do a tummy tuck while I am losing weight or do I have to wait?

Ideally, you would like to lose as much weight on your own as possible prior to undergoing a tummy tuck. This way, the maximum amount of excess skin can be removed to get you the best possible result. Generally, we recommend that you try to lose roughly 2/3 of your goal before having surgery. But this varies from person to person depending upon individual body proportions. You may want to see your primary doctor or a nutritionist to help you define your weight loss goals prior to surgery.

I am 5’1″ and weigh 240 lbs. How much weight would I need to lose before I should consider a breast reduction or a tummy tuck?

Ideally, you would like to lose as much weight on your own as possible prior to undergoing a tummy tuck or breast reduction. This way, the maximum amount of excess skin can be removed to get you the best possible result. Generally, we recommend that you try to lose roughly 2/3 of your goal before having surgery. But this varies from person to person depending upon individual body proportions. You may want to see your primary doctor or a nutritionist to help you define your weight loss goals prior to surgery.

How long is the scar from an abdominoplasty? Will my stretch marks be removed?

An abdominoplasty is a surgery where the fat and skin from your belly button down to your pubis is removed. Any stretch marks in this region will be removed. The muscles are tightened from under your breasts down to the pubic bone. The skin is then pulled down and closed resulting in a scar from hip to hip, but low enough to hide under a two-piece bathing suit. The length of the scar varies a bit depending upon the degree of skin redundancy. But as you can see from the photos of our surgeon’s work, this surgery is a wonderful trade off for a flat tummy!

Can you do liposuction of the upper abdomen in conjunction with a tummy tuck?

Liposuction of the upper abdomen can be performed with a tummy tuck. Often, there is significant improvement of upper abdominal contour by tightening the musculature underneath and tightening the overlying skin.

Can a tummy tuck be performed at the same time as a c-section?

Studies have shown that performing a tummy tuck at the same time as a c-section increases the risks and complications of surgery. Additionally, it is best to be healed from a c-section and down to a stable weight prior to undergoing an abdominoplasty. This way, the best possible aesthetic result can be achieved in the safest fashion.

What are the most common problems after a tummy tuck?

Wound healing complications such as a small opening of the incision can happen. The risk of a wound healing problems is increased by obesity and smoking. Infection of the skin and fat can occur, but is quite rare in non-smokers. A fluid collection or “seroma” can develop underneath the mobilized skin and fat. This is generally neither difficult nor painful to manage.

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