Among our most frequently performed cosmetic surgery procedures is the tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty. Patients from Colorado Springs and Fort Collins come to our Denver practice in search of a flatter stomach and a tighter, thinner abdomen. Ideal for the removal of loose, sagging skin and excess fat, tummy tuck surgery leaves behind a low, fine scar that can be easily hidden beneath the bikini line.
A consultation with Dr. Wolfe, Dr. Vath, or Dr. Steinwald is the best way to determine whether the procedure is right for you. You may request a consultationrequest a consultation or give us a call at (720) 279-1926.
Before & After Tummy Tuck
After having children, this 42-year-old woman had sagging skin and lax muscles that didn't respond to exercise. A tummy tuck gave her the flat stomach she had been working so hard to get. View more results like hers in our tummy tuck before-and-after photo gallery.
Am I a Good Candidate?
An ideal tummy tuck candidate has excess abdominal skin and bowed, or lax, abdominal muscles, which are typically caused by pregnancy or weight loss. Good candidates also have a few things in common:
- They are at or near their ideal weight.
- They maintain a regular diet and exercise routine.
- Skin and muscle laxity seems unaffected by workouts.
For these patients, a tummy tuck can both sculpt the waistline and repair weakened muscles in the abdominal wall. Some excess abdominal fat is removed, as well, but a patient with significant tummy rolls may want to consider liposuction. Patients who have both excess fat and skin may benefit from a combination of the 2 procedures.
Full vs. Mini Tummy Tuck
You may be familiar with the concept of a "mini" tummy tuck, which is a modified version of the traditional ("full") tummy tuck. A mini tummy tuck uses a slightly shorter incision and focuses only on the area below the navel. This is a common location for unwanted fat and skin to accumulate, and some patients may achieve satisfactory results by limiting the surgery to this area.
During your consultation, your surgeon thoroughly examines your abdomen and helps you determine if this approach is likely to give you the results you'd like.
What to Expect
The tummy tuck procedure slims the waist and flattens the stomach by removing excess skin and tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall. During your procedure, the surgeon begins by making a horizontal incision along the lower abdomen. Depending on the extent of the tummy tuck, a slightly longer incision or an additional incision at the navel may be necessary.
In a traditional tummy tuck, fluid can accumulate in the "open space" that the procedure creates between the abdominal flap (the skin and fat) and the abdominal wall. Some surgeons insert drains to avoid this. Dr. Wolfe, Dr. Steinwald, and Dr. Vath perform a specialized "no-drain tummy tuck," which uses progressive tension sutures to essentially eliminate the open space, removing the need for a drain. Patients are unable to feel the sutures, and they dissolve over time. In addition to eliminating the need for drains, this form of suturing removes tension from the incision resulting in a very fine-line scar when healed.
After the procedure, many patients report a tighter feel to the abdomen right away. This tight feeling does diminish in the weeks that follow, because the initial swelling decreases and your body readjusts to the new shape of your midsection.
Because our surgeons practice the no-drain tummy tuck, there are no drain tubes to manage or remove later in the process. It also reduces discomfort and the risk of infection.
Even on the day of your surgery, it's very important to get up and move around a bit, because it prevents blood clots and encourages your body to heal more quickly. Resuming normal activity is more gradual: Most patients can resume light activity after 10 to 15 days, but you will need to wait at least 6 weeks before any rigorous exercise.
Keys to Attractive Results
Placing the incision low for an inconspicuous scar.
Because the length of the incision required by a typical tummy tuck can extend from hip to hip, it's imperative that the surgeon places it as low as possible on the abdomen and uses a meticulous technique to ensure a smooth healing process.
Although the resulting scar will not fully disappear, with proper aftercare, it can fade and flatten significantly until it's quite hard to see. As with any other surgical procedure, abdominoplasty patients should be careful to avoid exposing their incisions to sunlight until they're fully healed.
Selectively using liposuction to "blend" the abdomen with the hips.
Tummy tuck surgery isn't simply a matter of removing excess skin. For natural-looking, aesthetically pleasing results that last, you need careful shaping and smoothing of the entire torso. This often includes selective liposuction of the flanks, hips, and other areas to reduce fat and sculpt the improved abdomen along with the rest of the body. This creates an overall improved appearance that matches your own natural proportions and contours.
Paying special attention to the navel.
Rebuilding and improving the navel is an integral part of the abdominoplasty procedure. A normal belly button blends with the rest of the abdomen, with a natural-looking "funneled" appearance that you feel comfortable showing off. Abdominoplasty does require a small incision made within the navel, but careful sculpting and reshaping of the area create an attractive appearance that's neither too taut or too round — a perfectly natural-looking dimple.
Can I combine a tummy tuck with other procedures?
Yes, and many of our patients decide to do so. People who have lost a lot of weight often combine their tummy tucks with other body contouring surgeries. Another very common way to combine procedures is a Mommy Makeover, which adds liposuction and a breast lift or breast augmentation. This combination of treatments addresses the areas most commonly affected by pregnancy. Combining procedures is perfectly safe, and is even recommended as the patient can undergo just one anesthesia event and one recovery period. Additionally, there is typically a price reduction when procedures are combined.
Before & After Tummy Tuck With Mommy Makeover
This 51-year-old woman sought a Mommy Makeover to return to her pre-pregnancy shape and give her body a perkier, more lifted appearance. View more cases in our tummy tuck before-and-after photo gallery.
Is a tummy tuck or liposuction better for me?
If the main thing causing dissatisfaction with your midsection is excess skin, especially if that excess skin is a result of pregnancy or prior weight loss, a tummy tuck is likely the right choice. If it's excess fat, then liposuction may be a better choice.
In your initial consultation, Dr. Wolfe, Dr. Vath, or Dr. Steinwald will examine your abdomen and provide a recommendation of whether a tummy tuck, liposuction, or both would produce better results.
What should I expect in terms of scarring?
In a tummy tuck procedure, the surgeon makes a horizontal incision along the bottom of the abdomen, from hip to hip just above the pubic area. The low placement is purposeful: It makes the resulting scar easy to hide under clothes, because it falls below the bikini line. Initially, the scar may feel hard or puffy. It will take up to 1 year to fully heal and fade. We can provide tips on scar care during your consultation.