Friday, May 14, 2010

Common Q's Regarding Tummy Tuck

Who is the best candidate for Tummy Tuck and why?

There are several groups of people who would benefit greatly by a tummy tuck. The best candidates are individuals who are at or near what is their best or most stable weight.
Women who have had children and have excess skin and or fatty tissue in the lower abdomen, flanks and upper abdomen can benefit by a tummy tuck or possibly a mini tummy tuck. This allows for removal of loose, excess skin and for repositioning and tightening the muscle layer of the abdominal wall that has been stretched out by pregnancy.
Other candidates would include patients who have lost a great deal of weight and have excess loose skin and fat in the abdomen and flank region.

If anyone is considering this procedure, what should they ask themselves first? What should they look for in a surgeon?

The first thing the patient should ask themselves is if they feel they are at their ideal or most stable weight. The best results are achieved with patient's who are near their best weight. Other questions that may arise would include the down time which would most likely be a week to two weeks off work, and three weeks before any exercise could be resumed. You are going to trade off tightening and reduction of fat in the abdomen for a low transverse or horizontal scar which should be located within the pubic hair line extending laterally for varying amounts depending on which procedure is being performed.
There are new procedures which are being offered which may provide a good deal of the benefits of a tummy tuck without the need for a general anesthetic and are performed in the physician's office under oral sedation and local anesthesia. One of these new procedures is called BodyTite. This involves the use of a small probe that introduces radiofrequency energy through a needlestick that liquefies fat and is felt to have some tightening effect on the fibrous tissue and overlying skin. The safety issue with this procedure is addressed by a skin monitor which offers a continuous reading of skin temperature in order to avoid overheating the overlying skin. This procedure is not yet FDA approved but approval is pending and results to date have been very encouraging.
Patient should look for a board certified plastic surgeon. Surgery of this type can sometimes involve the unexpected. It is always important to have someone who is experienced in performing surgery of this type.

What are new less invasive procedures to help lose excess fat and skin around the tummy?

The latest advancement in fat reduction procedures has been the BodyTite technique. This new procedure uses radiofrequency energy converted from electrical energy to melt the fat cells while leaving the surrounding tissues unaffected. It removes unwanted fat, re-contours the area andat the same time firms your skin and reduces wrinkles without surgery or scars. This is a common problem for women who have had children and want to tighten the muscle layer and excess skin stretched out by pregnancy. It's a fairly revolutionary new procedure. Patients report less bruising, swelling and recovery time than when undergoing traditional lipolysis.

What is the most important piece of advice on the topic?

You should choose your surgeon wisely. Make sure you're comfortable with his recommendations. Make sure he discusses the procedure the pre- and postoperative course and any risks and complications. He should show you pre- and postoperative photographs, and should take time to answer your questions. If you ask he should be able to provide patients who have undergone similar procedures for you to speak with as well. If your unsure it is often wise to get second or third opinions.

-William G. Hart MD FACS, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

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