Body Procedures » Tummy Tuck a.k.a. Abdominoplasty

Abdominoplasty a.k.a. tummy tuck by Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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Tummy Tuck a.k.a. Abdominoplasty

I just love what a tummy tuck can do for an abdomen that has been assaulted by child bearing, massive weight loss, gravity, previous abdominal surgery or just plain old aging.  A tummy tuck removes the excess skin and fat and tightens the muscle layer.  It is truly an operation that improves form and function.  And yes, this operation also treats sagging or bulkiness of the mons pubis.

Quick facts:

  • Costs: $10,500 – $14,000 depending on the extent of surgery and how long it takes.  This includes surgeon’s fee, facility fee in my certified operating room, postoperative girdle and Cosmetassure.  These prices are current as of January, 2017 and subject to change.   Adding liposuction to the procedure is extra.
  • Post-operative pain: quite a bit.  Similar to the pain after a C-section (but without the screaming baby).
  • Time in compression garment:  4 weeks.
  • Time off work or school: 2 – 3 weeks.
  • Time off driving the kids to lacrosse:  1 – 2  weeks or once you are off narcotic pain meds.
  • Time off the gym:  6 weeks depending on which procedures are done.
  • Time off the slopes:  6  weeks.
  • Time off the kite board: 8 weeks.
  • Time off house work:  forever!   Just kidding, usually 4-6 weeks.
  • How long does it last:  forever unless you have another baby and/or significant weight change.
  • Patient satisfaction:  very, very high

A few before and afters are worth a thousand words.  Check out my photo gallery.

The fine print:

Abdominoplasty is one of my most frequently performed procedures. It is an effective treatment for localized abdominal fat and abdominal laxity. The procedure involves removing the excess skin and fat from the abdomen and also tightening up the abdominal muscles. Many women who are interested in this procedure have had children and/or pelvic surgery that have left them with some abdominal weakness.

A few patients will have “borderline” muscle and skin tone and may be candidates for a “mini” abdominoplasty. Warning:  Mini abdominoplasty is appropriate for a very small minority of patients. For patients who have only some excess fat and have good muscle and skin tone, liposuction can be an effective treatment. I would determine which procedure would be best for you at your initial consultation.

I do most of my abdominoplasty procedures in my AAAASF certified Seattle office operating room.  Patients are under a general or a spinal anesthetic.  Almost all patients can go home the day of surgery. I can also do this procedure at Seattle Surgery Center or Swedish Medical Center but the facility fees are in the stratosphere and the costs will increase substantially.   

I ask patients to wear a special compression garment (girdle) or abdominal binder for 4 weeks postoperatively. I use progressive tension sutures which decrease the need for drains.  I still use drains in most patients but they usually come out in 2 – 5 days. The drains look scary but are easy to care for and help prevent excess fluid from collecting under the skin. Patients need to avoid heavy lifting for 6 weeks to allow the deeper tissues to heal. Abdominoplasty leaves a hip-to-hip scar. This scar fades with time and can usually be placed to interfere minimally with the selection of swimwear and underwear unless we’re talking string bikinis.  Occasionally it is necessary to leave a vertical incision just about the pubis.  It depends on skin laxity.

Mini-abdominoplasty leaves a smaller scar – like a C-section scar above the pubic area but again this is an appropriate operation in only a small number of patients.

If patients require only liposuction, those tiny scars can be hidden in the shadow of the navel and the pubic area and sometimes just under the breasts.

Patients with excess intra-abdominal fat a.k.a visceral fat a.k.a. belly fat are usually poor candidates for abdominal contouring surgery. In these patients, most of the excess fat is internal and will respond only to weight loss.  The easiest way to check for intra-abominal fat is have the patient lie on their back and see if the abdomen flattens.  If it does, great.  Let’s do surgery!  If the belly stays rounded, there is significant intra-abdominal fat and I will likely recommend significant weight loss before recommending surgery.  I know of no way other than weight loss to reduce intra-abdominal fat.

The results of abdominoplasty are long lasting if patients maintain a healthy weight and do not become pregnant. Pregnancy is possible after abdominoplasty but the surgery may need to be repeated to tighten up stretched out tissues.

During the initial consultation, I examine the patient and determine which procedure is the most appropriate.  A written price quote and additional information is also given.

Abdominoplasty is a major operation that leaves a significant scar, but most patient feel the discomfort, cost and recovery are good tradeoffs for the benefits of a strong and flat abdomen.

Some patients seek out a female, woman or lady plastic surgeon in Seattle and I certainly qualify. I understand all too well post-partum body issues and how darn hard it can be for a busy mom to schedule a procedure that requires significant down time

For patients who have issues only with their mons pubis, there is help!

Check out by blog entries on abdominoplasty. 

If you would like to schedule consultation, please give my office a call at 206 467-1101.