A bulging tummy is a source of angst for many, many people. You diet and exercise, but still you have a pouch where your stomach was once flat and athletic – a very frustrating physical problem. A tummy tuck, technically called an abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure to tighten the skin and muscles of the abdomen. The result is a restoration of the smooth, flat stomach of your youth.
Dr. Robert Whitfield understands the importance of resolving an unsightly tummy bulge in restoring self-esteem and confidence in your body image. He is sensitive to the fact that you lead a busy life and may not be able to afford a long recovery time. Historically, the downside of a tummy tuck is the long recovery. For certain qualified patients, Dr. Whitfield offers a drainless and painless tummy tuck, a modern technique that significantly reduces recovery time.
During your abdominoplasty consultation, Dr. Whitfield will perform a full physical exam to assess:
He will listen to your goals and discuss your current lifestyle. This comprehensive evaluation and in-depth discussion results in the development of a custom treatment plan to address all physical issues with the abdomen, including excess fat and hanging skin, and split muscle structure.
With several options available, Dr. Whitfield will determine which procedure will be most effective in your case. All tummy tuck procedures are customized to suit the patient.
Most patients want a mini tummy tuck because it sounds less invasive. However, not all patients are good candidates for this procedure. A mini abdominoplasty is designed mostly for mild cases where loose muscles and excess fat and skin are strictly on the lower abdomen, below the belly button. To be a good candidate, you should have little skin laxity or presence of stretch marks.
Rectus plication (muscle separation above the belly button) is a common problem for mothers and requires more surgical correction than a mini tummy tuck delivers. However, for the right patient, a mini combined with liposuction can deliver a nicely re-contoured abdomen.
Most women who have had children will require a full tummy tuck. It is the only procedure that addresses both loose skin and stretched muscles. An abdominoplasty will lift and trim the excess skin and underlying muscle in the entire abdominal region, both above and below the below button. If necessary, Dr. Whitfield can also correct the appearance of “split” muscles, technically called “rectus plication.” A full abdominoplasty is often combined with liposuction to smooth the contours of the hips, thighs, back and bra roll if necessary.
Men who have undergone significant weight loss may also be good candidates for a full tummy tuck.
Most tummy tuck procedures performed by Dr. Whitfield are “drainless & painless.” During surgery, Dr. Whitfield injects a long-lasting analgesic called Exparel into your abdomen. The benefit of Exparel is that you will be in considerably less pain during your early recovery as the painkiller stays active for about three days.
The decreased discomfort makes it possible for you to be up and moving quicker, hastening recovery. Another benefit is that you will not need as many, if any, post-op narcotics – many patients are fine with just Tylenol. Not only is this better for your recovery, but it means that you can return to your normal life much faster.
In the past, a tummy tuck surgery left the patient with drains. The drains remove the fluid buildup triggered by the skin and muscles separation during surgery, assisting with recovery and helping to avoid complications. Most patients find drains to be one of the most unpleasant parts of a tummy tuck.
For many patients, Dr. Whitfield uses an advanced technique, with a medical product called TissuGlu to reduce the space between the abdominal wall flap and the underlying muscle. The result is a drainless tummy tuck. Not only does this speed the healing process, but it means that you can start wearing your regular clothes much faster.
Recovery from any surgical procedure is dependent on your individual healing process. Almost everyone can expect to return to all usual activities within two to four weeks after surgery. The most difficult section is the first few days, but Dr. Whitfield’s use of the long-lasting analgesic has led to a far easier recovery, less pain, less stress, and a happier, easier recovery.
Widely recognized as being one of the finest board-certified plastic surgeons practicing in Texas.