What is a Tummy Tuck?
When evaluating a patient’s abdomen, there are three separate components – skin, fat and muscles. An abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” addresses the excess skin, excess fat and diminished muscle tone and muscle separation that may occur after significant weight loss, aging, or pregnancy. There may also be an umbilical hernia which can also be treated at the time of surgery.
Why Choose Us?
- The Plastic Surgery Institute of Washington is a world-class cosmetic practice in North Bethesda, MD serving the Washington, DC metropolitan region for over 30 years.
- Our highly skilled, board-certified plastic surgeons value exceptional quality and individualized patient care. We perform our tummy tuck in Washington DC in either our fully accredited in-office surgery center or in the recently modernized Sibley Hospital, both overseen by board-certified anesthesiologists.
- We deliver care and service above and beyond what patients expect from a high-end plastic surgery provider.
The elasticity of the skin determines how well it will contract in response to removal of fat underneath. A patient with good skin tone may not require a tummy tuck and may be a better candidate for conventional liposuction or if there is a little skin laxity, VASER ultrasonic liposuction. In contrast, a patient with significant stretch marks and loose or hanging skin will have poor skin retraction after removal of fat alone and will get a significantly better result with the excision of the excess skin.
Muscle tone can be improved by exercise, but if the muscles have been stretched too far, there may be a separation between them that cannot be resolved with exercise. This is known as a diastasis. It can only be corrected with surgery to narrow the bridge between the rectus abdominis (six-pack) muscles.
This technique is ideal for people who have a small amount of excess skin or muscle laxity below the umbilicus (belly button). The scar is limited, but the muscles can be tightened, and a small amount of skin can be removed.
If a patient has significant excess skin along with excess fat, a full abdominoplasty may be necessary to achieve the most dramatic improvement in body contour. The incision line will extend from hip to hip, and there will be a scar around the navel. In certain cases, there may be a small vertical scar in the lower abdomen from the previous site of the belly button. Incision lines from your Washington DC tummy tuck surgery will fade and soften over the course of a year.
Tummy Tuck and Hernia Repair
If a hernia is present, this may be addressed at the same time as your tummy tuck in Bethesda. Small hernias may be repaired by a plastic surgeon. However, large hernias may require working in conjunction with a general surgeon. Abdominoplasty may also be performed simultaneously with other abdominal surgeries, such as a hysterectomy.
What to Expect with a Tummy Tuck in Washington, DC
Our Washington DC abdominoplasty is typically performed on an outpatient basis with general anesthesia. If combined with other procedures, an overnight stay in the hospital may be recommended. This is determined on a case-by-case basis.
- You will first be marked in an upright position before entering the operating room.
- At the end of the procedure, temporary drains may be placed beneath the skin to prevent fluid accumulation in the abdomen.
- You will be placed in an abdominal binder, which provides compression to the surgical site, along with back support.
Recovery from Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
You will awake in a flexed (bent) position, as this takes tension off the incision. A slightly flexed position is encouraged for the first two weeks after surgery while standing and walking. While sleeping, you may be more comfortable with pillows beneath the head and knees.
For the first 24 hours after the procedure, it is normal to have drainage staining the dressing on the outside. You will be seen in the next few days for a postoperative visit. Your drains will remain until the body stops draining fluid.
Limitations during Recovery
You will be asked to limit your activity for a period of two weeks from the day of the surgery. At that time, you may gradually begin resuming your usual level of activity, with the expectation that you will be back to normal at approximately four to six weeks.
Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) Risks and Complications
Although uncommon, risks and complications may occur with abdominoplasty. They include, but are not limited to:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Delayed wound healing
- Sensory changes of the overlying skin
- Fluid collection beneath the skin (seroma)
- Need for revision in the future.
Swelling is normal after tummy tuck surgery. It can be minimized by wearing a compression garment for several weeks, and carefully following all aftercare instructions. Our patients report they are extremely pleased to finally achieve a trimmer, more attractive body shape after a tummy tuck, and that it has been a very rewarding experience.