Dr. Hunsicker is one of the most trusted plastic surgeons for tummy tuck surgery in the Littleton and Denver area. She understands the many changes a man or woman’s body can experience over his or her lifetime, due to factors such as aging, pregnancy, and weight fluctuations. Her genuine care for her patients is clear in her personalized approach to help achieve each indiviual achieve his or her unique body goals.
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgery to remove excess fat and skin from the stomach area, and can also tighten the underlying muscles to provide a smoother, flatter abdomen.
Women who have had multiple pregnancies or individuals who have lost significant weight often find that even a rigorous diet and exercise regimen will not result in a flat stomach. While there are other surgical and non-surgical methods for improving the look of your abdomen, a tummy tuck is unique in that it removes excess skin and fat, and repairs the muscle separation that often occurs after pregnancy or excessive weight gain.
A tummy tuck in Denver is usually performed under an epidural or possibly general anesthesia and usually takes approximately 4 hours. Although it is one of the most extensive types of plastic surgery, it can now usually be done on an outpatient basis.
Dr. Hunsicker begins with an incision above the pubic area that extends between the hipbones. This incision is placed along the same lines as your bathing suit or undergarment, so the scar remains hidden when clothed. A second incision is made around the belly button.
Next, the skin is separated up to the level of the ribs. Denver plastic surgeon Dr. Hunsicker will take care to stitch the abdominal muscles back into place and remove excess fat from under the skin flap. The flap is then pulled down, the belly button is repositioned and the excess skin trimmed off. Tubes are inserted into the incisions to allow excess fluid to drain. She will typically use a combination of internal sutures (that will dissolve on their own) and Dermabond (a surgical “super-glue”) on the skin surface. This combination helps to minimize scarring.
If fat deposits are limited to the region below the belly button, you may only need a partial abdominoplasty (mini-tummy tuck). This is also an outpatient procedure done under IV sedation or general anesthesia that lasts about two hours. In this procedure, a smaller incision is made, leaving the belly button in place. The surgeon stretches the flap of skin down, removes excess fat and tissue, and stitches the flap back into place. Tubes are inserted into the incisions to allow excess fluid to drain.
Following surgery, patients will experience some swelling and discomfort, however, Exparel® will be used to help minimize the need for prescription pain medication or narcotics. During this time, you will need to remain bent over to about 90 degrees at the waist while standing, or remain seated with legs elevated to 90 degrees, so not to inadvertently put too much pressure on the new surgical site.
You will also need to take care to “milk” your drain tubes and measure the drainage. These drain tubes will be removed once drainage has subsided to appropriate levels, usually 7-14 days. A surgical garment will need to be worn for at least 2 weeks after your surgery. You should plan to take about 2 weeks off work for this procedure and be prepared for lifting and exercise limitations for about 6 weeks.
Usually, tummy tucks are best combined only with other abdominal or OB/Gyn surgeries—such as umbilical hernia repair or hysterectomy. Because it is such extensive surgery, Dr. Hunsicker usually advises that patients do other cosmetic or Mommy Makeover procedures after the tummy tuck has been completed. This allows for optimal results, without putting excess strain on the surgical sites or delicate areas such as the breast fold.
It is important to understand that body contouring procedures, like a tummy tuck, are not weight-loss methods. Rather, they are completed after weight loss as a means to fine-tune the contours of the body.
Dr. Lisa M. Hunsicker has been practicing medicine since 1995. Since 2001, Revalla Plastic Surgery has been providing patients in the Denver area with excellent, individualized cosmetic surgery results. We encourage you to call us for a personal consultation with Dr. Hunsicker. Together, you can determine if you are a good candidate for the tummy tuck.