Tummy Tuck Surgery or Abdominoplasy in Ashburn, Virginia

Tummy Tuck Cosmetic Plastic Surgery for Loudoun, Fairfax, Northern Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, & Washington DC

A tummy tuck is one of the best plastic surgery options to firm the stomach. The results of tummy tuck can be very dramatic. The best reason for this type of surgery is to get rid of the excess skin and fat and tighten the muscles of the abdomen. The result is smoother, tighter tummy. Pregnancies and weight changes are the most frequent factors that play a role in the loss of shape and tone of the tummy. When the skin expands, the deeper elastic structures of the skin can be torn. This results in stretch marks. After weight loss or pregnancy, a good diet and exercise may help up to a point, but exercise will not take away loose skin and excess skin folds. A tummy tuck works best for the redundant skin.

Who are the best candidates for a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck is best for patients who are in good shape but have some fat and loose skin around the abdomen that will not respond to diets or exercise. You may be a candidate for a tummy tuck if you have one or more of the following:

  • Excess or loose, sagging abdominal skin
  • An abdomen that sticks out and is out of proportion to the rest of the body
  • Ab muscles that have been weakened by pregnancy
  • Excess fat that is concentrated beneath the abdominal skin in the area near the belly button

If you have plans to become pregnant or to lose a considerable amount of weight, you should discuss these plans with the surgeon. It is best for patients to wait to have a tummy tuck until after pregnancies or after completing a weight loss plan. Scars from a prior abdominal surgery may be used again with the new incision. This is often the case for women who have Cesarean section (C-section) scars.

Tummy Tuck Consultation

To start the process, contact Dr. Michael J. Brown to discuss your situation. At your consultation, Dr. Brown will:

  • Listen to your concerns
  • Evaluate your health
  • Perform a physical
  • Assess the skin tone and the amount of loose skin around the abdominal region
  • Evaluate the amount of excess fat and the condition of your tummy muscles

Another area of concern will be the amount of fat you may have inside of your abdomen. This fat is not changed by a tummy tuck. If you are a good candidate for a tummy tuck, then Dr. Brown will explain the different options. The best candidates for a tummy tuck will be able to get a flat stomach after a tummy tuck. Liposuction may be done to improve the result. During the consultation, you will also learn about the anesthesia that will be used, the facility where the surgery will be done and all of the costs. You can ask any questions you may have.

Tummy Tuck Surgery Options

There are a couple tummy tuck options. Which one is right for you depends on the amount of excess skin and muscle tone. In general, the options are a complete tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck.

Complete Tummy Tuck

A complete tummy tuck is for patients who require the most skin and fat removed. Dr. Brown will use an access incision to move and change how the skin, tissue and muscles lay. An incision is made around the navel to release the navel from the abdominal skin. The original belly button opening is pulled down and removed with the excess skin that is cut away. The more dramatic result desired, the longer the scar will have to be. A new opening is created to replace the belly button. At the end of the process, drainage tubes may be placed under the skin; these will be removed in a few days. The video below is the full tummy tuck surgery.

Variations of the complete tummy tuck centers on the muscles. In some cases, the skin and fat removal is done but the muscles are not tightened. This done for people with good muscle tone but with lots of skin and fat. This will allow for a flat tummy and a faster recovery. Sewing the muscles is what makes for a long recovery.

Partial or Mini Tummy Tuck

Some cosmetic plastic surgery patients may only need a mini tummy tuck to achieve their goals. The mini tummy tuck is the best option for those who have less skin and fat deposits than the full tummy tuck candidate. Their concern is mostly the lower abdomen. Mini tummy tucks are best for people who have only a minor amount of skin and fat to be removed, but liposuction alone will not make them tight enough. A mini-tummy tuck uses a shorter incision than a full tummy tuck. During this procedure, your navel is typically not cut away from the abdominal skin. The belly button is not moved. The skin and fat layers are separated between the incision and your belly button. In most mini tummy tucks, only a minor muscle tightening or no muscle tightening is needed. The mini tummy tuck will not produce an extreme change in tightness. It will also be limited in how much excess skin can be removed. The process usually takes one to one and a half hours; the total time depends on your condition. This is a easier recovery but there are still risks with a mini tummy tuck. The video below is a mini tummy tuck plastic surgery

In both surgeries

Tummy tuck generally begins with a horizontal incision just above the pubic area. The incision goes upwards and outwards towards the hips. The length mostly depends on the amount of skin to be removed and whether the muscles will be tightened. The curve of this incision will also vary in line with your body shape, the style of bathing suit or undergarments you prefer, and the technique used by Dr. Brown. For example, with today’s clothes styles, the incision has had to be flattened out due to the lower waist height of most pants. When the higher legged swim suits were in style, the incision had to be more curved to be hidden. Dr. Brown can place the incision anywhere that you like, but once that decision is made, the scar is permanent. A second incision is made to free the navel from the abdominal tissue when performing a full tummy tuck. Whether you are having a complete or a mini tummy tuck, the incision site will require stitches and bandages.

Preparing for Tummy Tuck Surgery

Dr. Brown’s office will provide specific instructions on how to best prepare for surgery. This will include guidelines on drinking, eating, smoking, vitamins, and medications. There are actually many steps you can take to help make sure the surgery is a success. A person who is proactive, involved, and prepares for the surgery will help to improve their results.

Lifestyle preparations that include diet, exercise and health maintenance can be very helpful. Keeping a healthy, balanced diet is key when planning for plastic surgery. Preferably, patients should be at their ideal weight. Even if not yet at ideal weight, a regular exercise routine is a good way to prepare. Here’s why:

  • By building muscle, you increase your base metabolic rate. This makes it easier to avoid weight gain in the time right after the procedure when physical activity is minimal.
  • Cardio exercise strengthens the heart.
  • Starting out in good physical condition and with having strong ab muscles can also make recovery much faster. Patients who are active and healthy will have the best results, least complications and fastest recovery.
  • If a person has a regular exercise routine, it is much easier to resume these activities after recovering. Many patients will diet and exercise more after seeing their results. Patients who lose more weight after the tummy tuck will usually see further improvement in their figure.

If you smoke, it is best to quit three to four weeks before the surgery. Don’t begin again for two weeks after. Smoking will increase the risk of complications and should be avoided. Nicotine patches and gums are also linked with a higher rate of complications, so they should not be used.

Other medical problems should also be managed before the surgery. Patients are advised to see their own doctor for a general health screening in advance.

Here is a list of a few of the things you can do to prepare that will help make recovery more comfortable. It is best to:

  • Clean the house (or have it cleaned) a few days before your tummy tuck.
  • Stock up on foods like pudding, Jell-O, or things that are quick and easy to make.
  • Have all of your laundry done ahead of time.
  • Fill all prescriptions and buy some bandage dressings in advance.
  • Have movies, books, magazines and/or a laptop ready.
  • Have someone help with your kid(s) and/or pet(s) for the first few days after.
  • Use a comfortable recliner or use the bed with extra pillows to keep your upper body elevated. Put pillows under your knees.
  • Place items you may need at mid level so you do not have to reach or bend down. Bending down too far is just as bad as trying to stand up straight too soon.
  • Wear comfy, oversized shirts that can be opened from the front. Also wear loose elastic or drawstring pants. Pajama bottoms are a good choice.
  • Wash your hair the night before or the morning of your surgery.
  • Make plans for someone to drive you home. Also make plans to have someone to stay with you for at least 2 days after the surgery.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Recovery

It could take from six weeks to a few months to feel like yourself again. Total recovery time varies by an individual’s age, their physical condition, and the nature of their work and activities. If no muscle tightening was needed, the patient is back to regular activity with lifting within about 10 days. The skill of the plastic surgeon also plays a role in recovery. The more gently and skillfully the tissues are handled, the faster the recovery and the less likely to be complications

Dr. Brown and his staff will give you info on what to expect as you recover. It is very important that you follow all of the instructions. There will be info on how to care for the dressings and drain tubes (if needed) in the days after the surgery. Dr. Brown and his staff will also tell you how to position yourself while sitting or lying down to help ease any pain.

For the first few days after the tummy tuck, your stomach will be swollen. You will feel some pain. This can be controlled by pain medication. The swelling will resolve over time, but it may take a few weeks or months. As you begin to move around more, the ab area will sometimes swell. This should be used to figure out how much activity you are ready for.

You will not be able to stand up straight at first after tummy tuck but you should still walk as soon as you can. It is good to take short walks to promote good blood flow. After a complete tummy tuck, you will walk bent over for about ten days to two weeks. This will be shorter if you have a mini tummy tuck and even shorter if no muscle tightening was done. The skin will slowly relax and you will feel better standing up straight. You will be given a support garment to wear for the first few weeks. Activities that require straining, bending, and lifting must be avoided; these activities increase the chance of disrupting the muscle stitches. Sleeping with a pillow under your knees and a few behind your back is advised.

The use of drainage tubes depends on your anatomy and on the extent of the surgery. You may have one or two drains in your pubic area. The drainage from these tubes needs to be watched and recorded. The color of the drainage will start out bloody; it will then turn paler and appear thinner. The fluid will eventually turn yellowish-clear and be even thinner. When the amount is at a reasonable volume, the tubes will be removed.

Incisions will start off red or pink. They will stay this way for a few months following the tummy tuck. It may take up to nine months to a year before your scars flatten out and lighten. While they will never completely go away, the scars will not show under most clothes. Whether partial or complete, a tummy tuck produces great results for patients who have weakened ab muscles or excess skin. In most cases, results are long lasting. This will be the case as long as you follow a good diet and get regular exercise.

Exercise may also help the healing process. People who have never exercised before should start an exercise program to help reduce swelling. It will also lower the chance of blood clots in your legs. And of course it will tone muscles. However, heavy exercise should be avoided until you feel able. This will take at least 8 weeks.

Depending on the extent of your tummy tuck and your physical condition, you may be able to return to non-strenuous work one to three weeks after surgery.

Realistic Expectations

Some women come into the office and want all of the excess skin removed from below their belly button (after pregnancy) but do not want a scar. You must understand that every plastic surgery has trade-offs and limitations. Having realistic expectations is key. Prepare to have a permanent scar and a lengthy recovery. With any surgical procedure, it is best that you have read and understand the tummy tuck risks and consent form.

Insurance coverage for Tummy Tuck

Insurances generally will not cover elective plastic surgery. They also don’t usually cover any complications that may occur. A tummy tuck is usually considered an elective surgery. This is true unless there is extreme spreading of the muscles or a hernia. It is best to check with your own insurance carrier about the amount of coverage (if any). Talking with your company at the beginning is important. You should talk to Dr. Brown about your insurance concerns too. In some cases, if exceptions may apply to your case, Dr. Brown may be able to write a letter to your insurance carrier.

Alternatives to a Tummy Tuck

When considering any surgery such as a tummy tuck, it is important to know of other options as well. Liposuction may be an alternative to a tummy tuck if there is good skin tone and only local abdominal fatty deposits in a person of normal weight. Dr. Brown has lasers that are used to tighten modest amounts of loose skin on the lower abdomen and around the belly button. Diet and exercise programs may be of benefit in the overall reduction of excess body fat.

Tummy Tuck Surgery Testimonials

History: Giving birth to a child is one of the most rewarding experiences a woman can have in her life. I am very proud of the two handsome boys that I carried and delivered into this world. They both add so much to my life. However, during this beautiful and natural process, my body was not spared some of the most common side effects of pregnancy. I gained over 70 pounds, developed many ugly stretch marks, and had a C section delivery with both boys. My boys both weighted 10 pounds at birth! So, where did this leave the shape of my once 115 pound body not to mention my self-esteem? Surgery: After establishing a good healthy diet and following a consistent exercise plan, I lost the 70 pounds I gained during the pregnancy process. However, I did not loose the lower abdominal bulge from the C-section, weight gain, and the stretch marks. I decided to research plastic surgery as an option, because I realized the bulge was not all fat. The bulge was loose skin! I exercise every day, and I do a lot of sit-ups. The abdominal problem remained despite my effort. I consulted with several plastic surgeons all over the Northern Virginia Area about my lower abdominal problem. What bothered me is most of the plastic surgeons I consulted with, gave me unrealistic ideas of what to expect after the tummy tuck. For instance, one plastic surgeon told me that my body would look just like it did when I was eighteen. Yeah right! No one in the right frame of mind would believe such a story. I quickly realized that some of these plastic surgeons would tell me anything just to win my business for my money. At this point, I was certain that I wanted the tummy tuck but I did not want to choose a physician that tried to sell me on unrealistic results. I have more faith and confidence in someone who tells the truth. I consulted with Dr. Brown and was very impressed with his realistic approach to my tummy tuck. Dr. Brown told me up front that he could make my tummy look better than it did, but did not promise me that eighteen year old body I once had. Out of all the physicians I consulted in the plastic surgery field, Dr. Brown was the first physician that was up front about a realistic after surgery appearance. He delivered the results that I expected.Recovery: Because of my experience with two prior C sections, I recovered rapidly. My scar is a little bigger than the C section scar, but my tummy is as flat as a board now. The scar is fading with time, just as it did with the C sections. The appearance of my stretch marks is not as noticeable. I can wear my bikini again thanks to Dr. Brown. Thank you, Dr. Brown – you really have changed my life.

T.N.

Confidence: I would have had the Tummy Tuck a long time ago if I had known how much better I would feel about myself. I have spent a good 12 years disguising my tummy and unsuccessfully exercising and dieting. It wasn’t until I met Dr. Michael J. Brown and he clearly explained the tummy tuck procedure, that I felt I may have a new lease on life. I can now wear clothes that actually fit. I used to have to buy clothes that were big enough to disguise my midsection and would in turn be too big everywhere else, causing me to look and feel ‘dumpy’. I can actually breath in my jeans!!!! By having a tummy tuck procedure, a whole new world has opened up for me. I feel better about the way I look which has given me more confidence to shed my clothes and actually be proud of my body once again. I truly feel that I gave my heart, soul, and body over the years to having children. I wouldn’t trade them for the world, but it is my time now! I have done my tour of duty and my body took some serious ‘hits’. I believe I deserve to have my body back and I could not have done it without Dr. Brown! Thank you for giving me the courage to have the tummy tuck procedure and the new confidence that I wake up with each day!

E.S.

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