The top five cosmetic surgeries for women in 2006, according to the Federal Drug Administration were:
- Breast augmentation = 383,885
- Liposuction = 350,420
- Eyelid surgery = 182,397
- Tummy tuck = 164,800
- Breast reduction = 145,822
Dr. Ben Lee, a double board certified surgeon with offices in Englewood, Colo., a suburb of Denver, performs tummy tucks, called abdominoplasty, on women and men, sometimes in conjunction with liposuction. A tummy tuck removes excess folds of skin and tightens the abdominal muscles to create a lean, flat stomach and sometimes diminishing stretch marks caused by pregnancy.
This surgery is ideal for men and women who are in good shape but may have inherently excessive abdominal skin or those who have undergone substantial weight loss causing the abdominal skin to become flaccid. Those who intend to lose a substantial amount of weight should postpone their tummy tuck because it will offset their results. Also, women who intend to have more pregnancies in the future should postpone their procedure since the vertical muscles that are tightened during surgery can separate again during pregnancy.
There are many variations both to the design of the incisions and the technique itself. In some instances, it may be possible to avoid an incision around the navel. When the amount of loose skin is minimal and the excess fat deposits are located below the navel, a short horizontal incision is all that is necessary. This procedure is called a partial, or “mini” abdominoplasty.
During a traditional abdominoplasty, a long incision is made from hipbone to hipbone and a second incision is made to free the navel from the surrounding tissue. The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall all the way up to the ribs to reveal the vertical muscles in your abdomen. These muscles are pulled close together and tightened and then stitched into their new position providing a firmer abdomen wall and a narrower waist. The skin is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed, a new bellybutton is created and the incisions are stitched shut. Sometimes, a tube is inserted to drain excess fluid from the incision.
For optimal results, liposuction may be used or in conjunction with abdominoplasty, to remove abdominal fat. Endoscopic abdominoplasty is another technique for minimizing scars and may be useful when patients have only a mild degree of excess fat and muscle laxity.
Are you a candidate for a tummy tuck?
If you are at your ideal body weight and have maintained that weight for 6 months, don’t smoke, and have realistic expectations, talk to your doctor about this surgery.
Where is the incision made for a tummy tuck?
The tummy tuck incision is elliptically-shaped (a slight curve like a contact lens) from side to side at the hip. The incision for the mini tummy tuck is significantly reduced from the full tummy tuck.
What are the risks?
Aesthesia reaction, Belly button death, Bleeding, Hematoma, Infection , Keloid, Puckered skin, Seroma, Skin irregularities, Skin necrosis or skin death (more common in smokers), Suture Rupture, & Swelling.
As with all surgery, says Dr. Lee, one must be realistic about expectations and outcomes. “No cosmetic surgery will change your life, but patients regularly report back that their self image is improved after plastic surgery. That translates to their outlook on life and they feel better about how they look in clothing and, in the case of a tummy tuck, in a swim suit too. We want our patients to seek surgery for the right reasons: not at the urging of a partner or spouse, but rather because the patient has tried all else—exercise and eating right—and has yet been unable to restore their physique to that of their younger years.”
See more about Dr. Ben Lee at www.benleemd.com or call (303) 770-1379.