Abhay Gupta, MD, FACS, a board-certified plastic surgeon and experienced provider of tummy tuck in San Diego, recognizes that certain individuals can exercise regularly, follow a proper diet and still not see the visible results in the stomach area that they would like. Often, an inability to get rid of stubborn fat or loose skin from the midsection is not due to a lack of effort on the part of the individual. Rather, factors such as aging, major weight loss, pregnancy and hereditary traits can leave individuals with excess abdominal skin that has lost elasticity and pockets of fat that resist diet and exercise. In addition to generating saggy skin and stubborn fat, pregnancy can also severely weaken or separate abdominal muscles.
Although this may sound bleak, Dr. Gupta is able to combat these undesirable problems with abdominoplasty, also known as tummy tuck surgery.
With tummy tuck, the surgeon eliminates extra skin and fat from the midsection, and restores abdominal muscles. In this way, Dr. Gupta provides tummy tuck patients with a firmer, flatter abdominal profile.
Suitable tummy tuck candidates want Dr. Gupta to remove excess, sagging skin and unattractive fat from their midsection. They may also want the meticulous plastic surgeon to repair separated or greatly weakened abdominal muscles.
Patients should be in good overall health and must not smoke. They must be at or close to their desired weight, and feel comfortable maintaining that weight after the procedure. While tummy tuck results are technically permanent, a significant amount of weight gain may counteract aesthetic results. This is why women who are not finished having children should wait to get tummy tuck until they are.
Additionally, suitable candidates for tummy tuck have realistic expectations regarding surgery and know that tummy tuck is not intended as a means for major weight loss. In fact, bariatric patients often undergo tummy tuck surgery after they have lost a lot of weight to remove the skin that is left over after the weight loss.
Tummy tuck patients should also know that this surgical procedure tends to leave a significant horizontal scar across the lower abdomen. However, Dr. Gupta is a master at making the needed incisions low enough on the abdomen to be hidden by the bikini or underwear line. And, most patients feel that the scar is a fair trade-off for a trim, attractive midsection.
Abdominoplasty takes anywhere from one to five hours, depending on the complexity of the patient’s physique and aesthetic aims. In the majority of cases, Dr. Gupta performs the surgery on an outpatient basis, but patients will need someone responsible to drop them off and pick them up from the procedure.
A Board Certified Anesthesiologist administers general anesthesia to ensure that he or she is comfortable throughout surgery. Dr. Gupta then begins tummy tuck treatment by making a horizontal incision across the lower abdomen, just above the pubic bone. The patient can later cover the incision site with underwear or a bikini. In some cases, Dr. Gupta may need to make another incision around the navel if there is a significant amount of excess skin in the upper abdomen too.
Dr. Gupta continues the process by pulling the skin taut and eliminating any extra skin. Dr. Gupta may also perform liposuction at this point in the process if needed. The next step involves repairing separated or weakened abdominal muscles before he sutures the muscles into place. Finally, Dr. Gupta repositions the navel if necessary, re-drapes skin, closes any incision sites and dresses the treated area with bandages.
Right after tummy tuck surgery, patients are brought to a room to rest for a few hours as the anesthesia subsides. Once they have had time to rest, an authorized individual may take them home. In a few circumstances, patients may have to spend the first night following surgery at a hospital or recovery facility, so a medical professional can monitor their progress. If this is not the case, patients should have someone stay the night with them.
Once the bandages are removed, patients should wear compression garments on the treated area for about six weeks, or as directed by Dr. Gupta. Sometimes during surgery, Dr. Gupta will insert small tubes under the skin to help alleviate any postoperative fluid. If this is the case, the drainage tubes will be removed a few days after the procedure.
Abdominoplasty patients should arrange to take about two to four weeks off of work. Recovering patients need to rest as much as possible and limit activity during this time. Although patients may need help getting around the house in the first day or two after the operation, they should walk around the house several times throughout the day to decrease the risk of blood clots that may form in legs or in other parts of the body.
Patients are advised to wait about six weeks to ease back into their usual exercise routine. Dr. Gupta will let patients know when it is safe to resume all normal activities.
Patients may experience discomfort or pain in the treated area. They may notice that their midsection is bruised, swollen, or possibly numb. These symptoms should dissipate as time goes on. Dr. Gupta will provide a prescription for pain medication and possibly for antibiotics prior to surgery, so patients are prepared for the recovery period.
Tummy tuck patients may see some of the aesthetic results of surgery within the first few weeks. However, it may take nine months to one year to see fully realized results because that is how long it takes for the body to heal entirely.
To help the body heal, as well as reduce the risk of complications, patients should refrain from smoking. They should eat healthful meals and follow Dr. Gupta’s directions precisely.
Although all surgeries involve some inherent risks, these risks are rare. Risks associated with tummy tuck surgery are bleeding, infection, fluid accumulation, poor wound healing, blood clots, a change in sensation in the abdomen area (e.g., numbness), nerve damage, persistent pain, asymmetry or the possibility of a need for revision surgery.
Tummy tuck patients count on Dr. Gupta to take every safety measure possible to minimize the risk of surgical complications. Patients must also help minimize the risks associated with surgery by strictly adhering to Dr. Gupta’s directions both before and after surgery.
Beyond his tummy tuck expertise, Dr. Gupta is also a highly respected provider of breast augmentation. Patients likewise know Dr. Gupta as an expert in facial rejuvenation procedures, including facelift. Dr. Gupta offers a multitude of cosmetic surgery procedures to enhance anybody.
Q. What is the best way to determine if I am a good candidate for a tummy tuck in San Diego?
A. Scheduling a complimentary consultation with Dr. Gupta to go over options and any concerns about your tummy tuck will be the best way to determine if you are a fit for this procedure.
Q. How long do the results last for a tummy tuck procedure?
A. Liposuction results can last up to many years. If no significant weight gain or pregnancy after your procedure has occurred, then the changes will be rather permanent.
Q. How long can a tummy tuck procedure take?
A. Each tummy tuck patient is different as well as every cosmetic surgeon and their team. Though, on average, the procedure can be between three to five hours.
Q. When will I be able to start seeing results from my tummy tuck?
A. Typically, and results may vary but you will begin seeing a difference once your swelling subsides.
Q. Can I get pregnant after my tummy tuck procedure?
A. Yes, you can still get pregnant post tummy tuck.