Dr. Mack Sullivan is a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Here the Doctor has answered some of the common questions bizymoms visitors have about Tummy Tuck.
Q. What is a Tummy Tuck?
A. A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a surgically invasive procedure which involves excision of excess abdominal skin and tightening of the abdominal wall (muscle fascia plication). The result is a more flat and nonprotuberant appearance of the abdomen. General anesthesia is required and an overnight hospital stay is recommended for pain management and general observation.
Q. Are there risks and complications to a tummy tuck?
A. The risks of a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) are primarily related to the risks of undergoing general anesthesia. The procedure can take several hours and patients need medical clearance. In other words, risk correlates with the overall health of the patient.
Healthy patients are good candidates for surgery. Risk assessments are determined via communications between your primary care physician, plastic surgeon and anesthesiologist. Patient safety is always placed first!
Tummy tucks (abdominoplasties) can lead to complications common to many surgical procedures. Enlarged scars ( hypertrophic scars and keloids), infection, blood collections (hematomas), fluid collections (seroma), skin loss (necrosis), delayed wound healing, wound separation (dehiscence), alteration in shape of belly button (umbilicus), transient loss of sensation around belly button (umbilicus) and lower tummy (abdominal ) skin, and scar and abdominal asymmetry may occur. Development of blood clots of the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and lungs (pulmonary embolism) have been reported in a small percentage of cases nationwide.
It is paramount to note that complications are increased in patients with a history of smoking, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Smoking is particularly detrimental to the healing process due to nicotine’s narrowing of small blood vessels. This results in diminished blood flow (oxygen and nutrients) to tissues. Thus, there is a higher risk of skin loss (necrosis), wound separation (dehiscence), delayed wound healing and poor scars.
Q. Will Smoking slow down the Healing Process?
A. Cessation of smoking several weeks prior to and after surgery is mandatory! No tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) will be performed on an active smoker. Urine tests can be performed the morning of surgery to confirm compliance. Though cessation reduces the risks, it does not completely eliminate the risks in smokers.
Q. Will a person have a scar after the tummy tuck?
A. A transverse lower abdominal scar is necessary. Maturation and the ultimate appearance of the scar are dictated by genetic factors. Though, there are multiple scar management options. Patient selection, establishment of realistic patient expectations, surgical skill and attentive postoperative management are all essential to a satisfactory outcome.
Q. How long do the results of a tummy tuck last?
A. Satisfaction may be reduced by pregnancy, weight gain or loss and the impact of aging on tissues. Despite the advances in plastic surgery, the proverbial "fountain of youth" remains elusive. No plastic surgery lasts a lifetime.
Q. How much does a tummy tuck cost?
A. The cost of a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) can vary. It depends upon the region of the country, magnitude of the surgery (full tummy tuck vs. mini tummy tuck), operation room time and recommendation/request for overnight hospitalization. The total cost includes the surgeon’s fee; anesthesiologist’s/ certified registered nurse anesthetist’s (CRNA) fee, and the facility fee (office-based surgery suite, ambulatory surgery center, or hospital operating room and overnight stay). I recommend performance of the procedure in a hospital setting with an overnight stay. Our total cost typically ranges from $6,575 to $7,575, but these costs may vary.