The Surgeon Minute

The Tummy Tuck Transformation

The Tummy Tuck Transformation

There’s just something different about a tummy tuck procedure. Incorrectly thought of as a weight-loss operation, a tummy tuck – or abdominoplasty – is a procedure meant to correct loose skin and repair damaged muscles. Following child birth, a woman’s midsection may never return to it’s pre-pregnancy appearance. These issues can be difficult, even impossible to repair through diet and exercise.

Dr. Paul Watterson of Charlotte sees frustrated patients every week in his office. These patients can be nervous, inquisitive, and hesitant at the idea of elective surgery. Dr. Watterson explains why these traits make for excellent patients, and how this procedure can be transformative in more ways than one.

By: Paul A. Watterson, MD
and Adam McMillon
The Plastic Surgery Channel

Hesitance is the mark of thoughtfulness

Some patients who come in to learn more about an abdominoplasty are at wit’s end when it comes to their midsection. Frenetic exercising and dieting doesn’t always mirror their hard work. Maybe a tummy tuck is the right thing?

“I know for many women, it’s a big deal,” says Dr. Watterson. “A tummy tuck has a reputation for being a painful, big operation… even a scary operation. It is a big deal for patients when they come in and ask about it. They would like to avoid any tummy tuck really, but when you show them the loose skin and stretch marks that they’ve developed, or how the muscles have spread apart, they get it.

“It doesn’t matter how many sit ups they do, they’ll never get that tone they’re after without the procedure.”


Modern techniques make the procedure easier than before

Pulling back from everyday life, it’s plain to see technology has skyrocketed, even just over the past 5 years. It’s changed a lot about everyday life, and it’s also changed quite a bit for surgeons. New medicines, devices, and techniques combine to provide patients excellent results with a better recovery. This is especially true for tummy tuck patients.

“The procedure has really transformed in the past few years,” says Watterson. “We’ve had a lot of new changes. We’ve added Exparel, which is a medicine we can inject across the suture lines and in the muscles. This makes it less painful for three days, the three days that hurt the worst. By getting patients over the hump, the recovery is dramatically easier than before. It’s fabulous and has really changed the tummy tuck landscape for patients.”


Talk can be cheap, so how do women truly feel after they’ve recovered and look in the mirror?

“I’ve had all kinds of emotions,” says Watterson. “When you ‘unveil’ their results the next day when they come in, some get tearful cause they’re overjoyed. Others are gleeful and happy. Of course, they still have to go through a period of post-operative recovery, but there is an extremely high satisfaction rate with this procedure.”


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