You may notice with the passage of time you formed a tummy. This can be due to many factors: excess or loose skin, excess fat, or stretching of the abdominal fascia and muscles. Significant weight loss and pregnancy can stretch the abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point they can return to normal. A healthy diet and regular workouts may not correct the problem.
An abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) works in two ways. First, under the skin the abdominal muscles are tightened, like an internal ‘corset.’ The muscles loosen during pregnancy, causing a separation of the rectus muscles. This separation is called a “diastasis.” Sometimes this happens with a hernia near the belly button. A hernia is an actual hole in the fascia, and is less common. You cannot fix a diastasis by sit ups, as the muscles do not cross the midline. I find you notice this looseness when you “suck it in” and still cannot get your belly as flat as before children. The muscle tightening helps narrow your waist and firm your abdominal wall.
Second, an abdominoplasty removes excess skin and fat, frequently removing all the skin between the belly button and the pubis. The scar looks like a C-section scar with a scar around the belly button. The length of the scar depends on the amount of skin and fat removed. Removing skin will rid stretch marks and wrinkling of the lower abdomen, and flatten and tighten the contour of the entire abdomen.
You can’t have surgery without scars but I know Dr. Greenberg did everything she could minimize the scars and put them low so I can easily hide them.
– K.G., Boulder Creek
The abdominoplasty procedure is done under general anesthesia in one of two surgical facilities near my office in Palo Alto. The surgery facility in Palo Alto is outpatient; the Menlo Park facility has the capability of an overnight stay. Surgery lasts about three hours. I use a pain pump for many patients. The pain pump is put in at surgery and drips numbing medication internally for the first three days after surgery. I find it reduces postoperative pain significantly.
I frequently combine abdominoplasty with liposuction or other cosmetic surgery procedures such as breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast lift, or eyelid surgery. Depending upon the length and size of surgery, an overnight stay may be required. Abdominoplasty can be combined with non-cosmetic procedures, such as hysterectomy or umbilical and ventral hernia repair. When this is done, the surgery is done usually at Stanford or Sequoia Hospital. Recovery takes two to three weeks. People who are still losing significant weight or who are planning another pregnancy should wait.
To schedule your consultation for a body contouring treatment such as liposuction or abdominoplasty, contact my Bay Area practice in Palo Alto. If you are actively smoking, you need to stop at least one month before doing this surgery.