Tummy Tuck Surgery

View pre and post-operative photos involving a Tummy Tuck

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Gregory Dumanian, M.D., offers tummy tuck in Chicago for patients who have lost skin elasticity, all abdominal muscle strength or both due to major weight loss, pregnancy, heredity or other reasons. Technically called abdominoplasty, tummy tuck surgery is used to remove excess skin and fat from the abdominal region, as well as tighten or repair loose or separated abdominal muscles. Dr. Dumanian may also perform liposuction in the treated area to help patients achieve a more contoured appearance through the midsection. Dr. Dumanian is not only an expert in abdominoplasty but also in hernia repair for which he lectures nationally and internationally. Therefore, Dr. Dumanian is uniquely able to improve the abdomen both functionally and cosmetically.

Suitable Candidates for Tummy Tuck

Tummy tuck surgery may not be for everyone. For instance, abdominoplasty is not a plastic surgery procedure designed for very heavy patients. Suitable candidates should be close to or slightly over their ideal body weight, and they should feel that they can maintain that body weight following surgery.

ith tummy tuck, Dr. Dumanian makes an incision across the lower abdomen. He makes the incision beneath the underwear line so it is hidden from plain sight. Suitable tummy tuck candidates accept that they may have a scar following the procedure, but they are willing to trade the scar for a flatter abdominal profile.

As with any surgery, suitable candidates should be in good health, and they should not smoke. They should also understand the risks and benefits of the procedure. Suitable tummy tuck candidates are not pregnant and ideally do not plan on getting pregnant again.

Tummy Tuck Preparation

To ensure a patient’s overall health and to lessen any chance of complications, Dr. Dumanian will conduct a medical exam or have patients get some lab tests prior to the tummy tuck procedure. He may prescribe certain medications or have patients modify their current medication regimen. For example, tummy tuck patients should avoid anti-inflammatory medicines, such as Motrin, Advil, Aleve and aspirin, before and after surgery because they may increase bleeding.

Smokers undergoing abdominoplasty surgery should quit smoking well ahead of the procedure because smoking can increase the risk of complications and slow healing time. This means quitting altogether — not just cutting down — for about four weeks prior to and following the tummy-tuck, or as directed by Dr. Dumanian. They should also eat healthfully and avoid crash-dieting before the procedure. A well-balanced diet will help the body heal quicker and better.

It is also a good idea to stock up on the following items and put them in easy-to-reach places, as they will most likely come in handy following surgery: approved pain relievers, towels, ice packs, petroleum jelly and comfortable clothing that buttons instead of being pulled over the head. Patients may also need access to a hand-held shower head and a chair to sit in while showering.

What to Expect During the Procedure

Dr. Dumanian will administer either intravenous (IV) sedation or general anesthesia, as discussed prior to surgery day. The patient will be comfortable and will not feel anything during the procedure.

Dr. Dumanian then makes a horizontal incision across the lower abdomen from hipbone to hipbone, near or within the pubic hairline. The incision is placed low enough that it will be covered by an underwear or bikini line. Sometimes Dr. Dumanian must make a second incision near the navel to access tissue in the upper abdominal area.  

Dr. Dumanian repairs the stretched out stomach muscles that occur with pregnancy, termed rectus diastasis, with sutures that improve the contour of the patient’s abdominal profile. Dr. Dumanian has more than 20 years of experience performing abdominal wall procedures, and is known nationally as a leader in abdominal hernia repair and rectus diastasis treatment. In fact, Dr. Dumanian has authored several chapters on abdominal wall reconstruction. This gives him a leading edge over many other area tummy tuck surgeons. At his practice, repair of rectus diastasis is a standard part of full abdominoplasties. This advanced procedure not only provides aesthetic enhancements, but is also associated with improvements of core strength and alleviation of lower back pain.

After the muscle work, Dr. Dumanian removes excess fat and tissue, as well as any extra skin. Dr. Dumanian will reposition the patient’s navel so that it is line with the new abdominal profile. He will also place drainage tubes in the body to drain any fluid accumulation. Finally, he will use sutures or skin adhesives to close the incision(s).

Tummy Tuck Post-Operative Care and Recovery

During the consultation or pre-operative phase, Dr. Dumanian and his staff will go over what to expect during tummy tuck recovery. As mentioned above, tummy tuck is generally performed on an outpatient basis, so patients should have someone to drop them off and pick them up from surgery. Patients may feel groggy following surgery while any anesthesia used during the procedure wears off.

Following the procedure, Dr. Dumanian dresses the incision sites and wraps the patient in a compression garment or elastic bandage to reduce swelling and pain. Patients should expect to wear compression garments for about two to four weeks following tummy tuck. Again, Dr. Dumanian may also have placed small drainage tubes under the skin during the procedure to help drain any excess fluid. These will be removed about two days after tummy tuck surgery.

Dr. Dumanian will prescribe any needed pain medication to reduce post-operative pain or discomfort. He will also give specific instructions regarding how to care for the treated area. In general, patients should expect to be off their feet for the first few days following treatment and should expect to take about two weeks off from work. Patients should ease back into their normal routine and exercise plan as directed by Dr. Dumanian.

The treated area may be bruised, swollen, numb or tingly, but these symptoms should diminish as time goes on. Patients can expect to see some of the aesthetic results directly following the procedure. However, patients will see full results in about four to six months following tummy tuck surgery, as the body heals and abdominal tissues and muscle fibers bind together.

Before surgery, patients are recommended to purchase a “faja” over the Internet—a South American compressive garment. These garments are ideal for compressing the skin to eliminate postoperative swelling. Typically, patients should order these garments larger than the size recommended by the manufacturer, as with new incisions these slightly larger garments are easier to don.

Are Tummy Tuck Results Permanent?

Technically, tummy tuck results can be considered permanent. However, severe fluctuations in weight, including those caused by pregnancy, can greatly reduce the aesthetic results of a tummy tuck. That is why Dr. Dumanian advises women who are planning to get pregnant to wait until they are finished having children before pursuing tummy tuck surgery. Dr. Dumanian also advises individuals who are planning to gain or lose a significant amount of weight to hold off on tummy tuck.

Tummy Tuck Risks

Dr. Dumanian does not anticipate any adverse reactions following tummy tuck surgery and takes every precaution to minimize possible risks. However, as with any surgery, there are certain risks associated with tummy tuck. For example, tummy tuck patients may experience hematoma (pooling of blood beneath the skin), scarring, infection, accumulation of fluid, skin loss, numbness or other sensations in the treated area, asymmetrical results, pain, nerve damage, and other effects. Early ambulation helps to decrease the chance of a blood clot developing in the legs, and these clots can travel to the lungs with serious possible consequences. Speak with Dr. Dumanian about the risks of abdominoplasty. Most of these risks are rare and will go away with time if they occur. Suitable tummy tuck patients understand and accept these inherent surgical risks.

Is Tummy Tuck Covered by Insurance?

Tummy tuck surgery is considered an elective cosmetic procedure. Because of this, it is not typically covered by medical insurance.

To find out more about tummy tuck or to schedule a one-on-one consultation, please contact Dr. Dumanian at Northwestern Plastic Surgery by calling 312-695-1999.

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