Tummy Tuck in Albany
Also Serving Patients in Saratoga Springs, Schenectady and Troy, NY
An abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a procedure performed to provide you with a more toned, flat abdomen. Albany plastic surgeon Dr. Barach understands the transformative impact a tummy tuck can have on your life. The procedure has the power to turn back the clock several years, returning your figure to its ideal contour. At his Albany, New York practice, Dr. Barach listens carefully to each patient’s goals in order to ensure the best possible outcome for each individual.
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Why Tummy Tuck Is Needed
Due to the natural aging process, the body gradually stops producing elastin and collagen, two proteins that are necessary for optimal skin health and elasticity. Without a sufficient amount of these proteins, the skin — including the abdominal skin — loses its elastic quality and starts to sag, leading to loose skin that hangs off the abdomen. Furthermore, other factors, particularly pregnancy, major weight loss or hereditary traits, can compound this aesthetic concern.
In addition, pregnancy can greatly weaken the abdominal muscles, often causing them to separate in the midline or become stretched out. When this occurs, no amount of diet and exercise will restore muscle tone throughout the midsection.
To remove loose, excess abdominal skin and repair the underlying musculature, for a taut, toned midsection, Dr. Barach performs abdominoplasty. Although abdominoplasty is usually a procedure for women looking to tighten their abdominal muscles and remove loose skin following pregnancy, both men and women might undergo a tummy tuck to reclaim the youthful, taut mid-section they once had.
Appropriate Tummy Tuck Candidates in Albany
Even though undergoing tummy tuck surgery is an effective way to tone and tighten the abdominal area, it is not for everyone. In general, suitable tummy tuck candidates include individuals who:
- Are frustrated with loose abdominal skin and / or severely damaged abdominal muscles that cannot be toned
- Have poor skin elasticity (Patients with sound skin elasticity who are bothered by unwanted fat throughout their midsection might be more suitable candidates for liposuction alone.)
- Have tried to follow a healthy diet and regular exercise routine, but still cannot achieve a flatter, firmer abdomen
- Are at or slightly above their ideal bodyweight, and are confident they can maintain that weight following the procedure (because regaining a substantial amount of weight can counteract the cosmetic results of surgery)
- Are not currently pregnant and don’t plan on becoming pregnant in the future
- Are in good mental and physical health
- Have realistic expectations for the outcome of abdominoplasty
The Standard Tummy Tuck Procedure
Albany-area plastic surgeon Dr. Bruce Barach will make a horizontal incision across the lower portion of your abdomen. A second incision around your belly button may be necessary to pull down and remove excess skin in the region.
Dr. Barach will separate the skin flap from your abdominal wall in order to visualize and tighten your abdominal muscles. Excess skin will then be removed, and the remaining skin will be stretched over the abdominal region and stitched into place. If you have stretch marks on your abdomen, many of them may be removed.
If your skin laxity and muscle weakness are mainly below the belly button region, you may be a candidate for a modified tummy tuck which results in a shorter scar. At your initial consultation, Dr. Barach will advise you as to whether this is the right approach to help you achieve the best results. Often, liposuction is performed in conjunction with a tummy tuck for an enhanced body contouring outcome, especially in the hip area.
Post-Tummy Tuck Scarring
You will have a tiny scar which encircles your belly button and a more significant scar which runs across the lower abdomen where the long incision was made. This scar can usually be hidden under a bathing suit, underwear, or other clothes. Some patients have a short vertical scar as well. This occurs in patients with less excess skin.
Recovery and Aftercare
Dr. Barach will give you detailed instructions regarding your tummy tuck aftercare. It is important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure proper healing.
You will need to avoid strenuous activity immediately following your procedure. The day after surgery, you should limit your activity to brief periods of walking in order to promote blood circulation. It will be several weeks before you can return to vigorous activity. Many people will return to non-physical work in a week or so.
Post Surgery Expectations
Following your tummy tuck procedure, Dr. Barach will provide you with detailed instructions regarding your after-care. It is important to follow them carefully to ensure proper healing.
A compression garment is sometimes provided that should be worn for a few weeks to help diminish the swelling. Drainage tubes are often left in place and are removed within a few days. You can expect to return to work after about one to two weeks, but strenuous activity should be avoided for at least one month.
You may experience a moderate amount of discomfort after your tummy tuck. You might walk in a slightly bent-over position for the first few days because of the unnatural tightness in your abdominal area. Schenectady plastic surgeon Dr. Bruce Barach will give you thorough instructions as to what to do and what to avoid.
There may be some swelling that should pass within a few days. On a rare occasion, this can last for a few months. You may also feel a pulling sensation in your abdominal region which may continue for several weeks. The stitches from the tummy tuck procedure will be removed within a week. Most people will experience numbness of the abdominal skin which usually lasts for a few months.
Your scars may go through a period where they thicken a bit in the months following the surgery, but you should allow 6-12 months for the scars to flatten out and for the color to fade.
Everyone’s individual healing time will vary so Dr. Barach will be able to instruct you based on your progress. Complications such as postoperative bleeding or infection are not common. You may have a little skin loss above your pubic hair, which results in a wider, more noticeable scar; however, this is rare, and most scars can be revised later if they are unsatisfactory.
Tummy tucks usually provide pleasing and long lasting improvement, but obviously another pregnancy or overeating might return you to your pre-surgical condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between liposuction and tummy tuck surgery?
Liposuction is less invasive than abdominoplasty. It is performed to remove localized pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. Again, appropriate liposuction candidates have good skin elasticity and don’t require skin removal and muscle repair.
Do I have to stay overnight in the hospital following abdominoplasty?
For reasons of utmost safety, for around-the-clock nursing care and, particularly for your comfort, most patients stay overnight after surgery and return home the next day.
Are my tummy tuck results permanent?
The results of tummy tuck are generally long lasting, as long as the patient does not (re)gain too much weight. Doing so could reverse the aesthetic effects of surgery. For this reason, Dr. Barach recommends that patients be at a weight they feel they can maintain after surgery and wait until they are finished having children before undergoing tummy tuck. In addition, no one can stop the natural aging process, and the treatment area will continue to age over time.
Is tummy tuck a solution for obesity?
Tummy tuck is not a weight management tool. In fact, obese individuals are advised to lose as much weight as possible before considering abdominoplasty. Patients who have lost significant weight and now notice loose skin on the belly are good candidates for the procedure.
Are there other options to consider?
For patients whose fat is located mostly below the belly button, Dr. Barach may recommend a partial or mini abdominoplasty, described above. Liposuction may be the preferred choice when creating a more natural-looking body shape requires the removal of a significant amount of fat in targeted areas. Liposuction and tummy tuck can be combined in a same-day surgery known as lipoabdominoplasty. This technique has the added benefit of giving a surgeon increased flexibility in shaping the abdomen, flanks and areas around the waist. It is an option for patients who have been unable to reduce their weight sufficiently to allow for a successful abdominoplasty.
Will tummy tuck erase stretch marks?
If your stretch marks are located in the lower abdomen, they will disappear when the skin is surgically removed. Stretch marks on the mid-portion of the abdomen can be improved but not entirely eliminated. Stretch marks on the upper abdomen usually remain.
How soon after a C-section can I have tummy tuck?
Dr. Barach recommends waiting about three months for women who are not nursing. This allows time for the uterus to regain its normal size and shape.
Will a pregnancy reverse the results of tummy tuck?
Yes, and that is why Dr. Barach advises that women wait until after the final pregnancy before having the procedure. Pregnancy puts a great deal of strain on the abdomen, and muscles that have been repaired in an abdominoplasty may once again separate. Similarly, women or men who gain substantial weight in the future may see a recurrence of the issues that led them to choose tummy tuck. Barring future pregnancies and dramatic weight gain, your tummy tuck should not need to be repeated to maintain your smooth and fit profile.
Will I retain my natural belly button?
Yes, although it may undergo some repositioning, depending on the amount of skin that needs to be removed. The belly button is typically separated from the surrounding skin, then sewn back after muscles and skin are tightened. In the case of a mini abdominoplasty, the belly button is not separated or moved.
Are there other benefits of tummy tuck?
In addition to the benefit of increased self-confidence, there may be other positive side effects. Tummy tuck appears to reduce the incidence of stress urinary incontinence and improve ventral and umbilical hernias. A tighter abdomen also seems to be associated with improved posture and even better weight management. For example, a study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found evidence of short- and long-term weight loss in women who underwent the procedure. Removal of fat cells appeared to alter the hormonal activity that governs appetite.