There are different types of flaws that can affect the stomach. Unwanted fat, wrinkled skin, stretch marks, and displacement of the belly button can make patients feel embarrassed about exposing their bellies. When pregnancy, weight fluctuations, or aging have affected skin and muscle tone, along with the appearance of the belly button, Dr. Copit performs tummy tuck surgery, or abdominoplasty.

Tummy Tuck Candidates

While liposuction surgery is performed when patients have excess abdominal fat, tummy tuck surgery may be used to treat:

  • Loose skin
  • Stretch marks
  • Poor muscle tone

These flaws commonly affect patients that have had children or lost a significant amount of weight; they are also common in patients over the age of 40.

Good candidates for tummy tuck surgery should also be in good health and not smoke cigarettes.

Tummy Tuck Techniques

The tummy tuck procedure is tailored to the needs of patients. Some may require a smaller incision and minimal skin tightening, while others require a longer incision and more skin removal. Dr. Copit will make that determination during a comprehensive consultation.

  • Tummy tuck: The tummy tuck is best suited to patients in need of tightening of the skin on the stomach by removing excess skin, tightening muscles that have become displaced or loose, and may require adjustment of the belly button for a natural look and placement.

Tummy Tuck Procedure

The abdominoplasty procedure takes about two hours to perform. It involves these surgical steps:

  1. A surgical pen is used to mark the location and length of the abdominal incision
  2. Our board certified anesthesiologist puts the patient under general anesthesia
  3. Anti-bacterial solution is applied to the lower abdomen and belly button to reduce the risk of infection
  4. An incision is made in the lower abdomen, and belly button, if needed
  5. The skin is separated from the underlying muscles
  6. The muscles are adjusted, re-positioned, and sutured
  7. Excess skin is removed, along with any stretch marks that affect the skin below the belly button
  8. The skin is re-draped over the abdomen, producing a smooth and toned appearance
  9. If necessary, the belly button is reconstructed
  10. All incisions are closed and the area is cleaned
  11. Medical tape is applied over the incisions and gauze is applied to the treatment area
  12. The patient is put in a compression garment

Tummy Tuck Recovery

The tummy tuck procedure requires a lengthier recovery than most other plastic surgery procedures. For the first week after surgery, we recommend that patients rest, keep the head elevated, and apply soft ice packs to the stomach.

Patients can shower, with the drains in place, 48 hours after surgery. Be sure to exercise caution and pat the medical tape and drains dry after the shower. You can change the gauze, but do not remove the medical tape before your first post-operative appointment. Tummy tuck patients should wear a compression garment, at all times except when showering, for at least four weeks after surgery.

We encourage patients to perform lower leg and calf exercises, while lying down, to prevent blood clots. Patients should also start taking five-minute walks as soon as they feel up to it. However, strenuous exercise, bending, and lifting should be avoided for four to six weeks after surgery.

Do not expose the stomach to the sun or heat for three months after surgery. Sun exposure can worsen scarring and heat can increase inflammation.

Tummy Tuck Side Effects

Tummy tuck surgery results in the following side effects:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Numbness or itching at the incision site

Tummy Tuck Risks

Though rare, complications can result during or after tummy tuck surgery. Possible risks include:

  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia or medical materials
  • Infection
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Hematoma
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Blood clots
  • Slow wound healing
  • Skin numbness
  • Nerve damage

Tummy Tuck Results

It takes time to recover from tummy tuck surgery. As such, the best and final results are not visible immediately. Final results of tummy tuck surgery are apparent by two to three months after surgery.

Vail Valley Tummy Tuck Consultations

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