There is no easy solution to getting rid of sagging skin in the mid-section, stretch marks or love handles. That may be part of the reason why an abdominoplasty, better known as tummy tuck, is a very popular elective cosmetic procedure. In recent years, upwards of more than 100,00o of the procedures were performed. Tummy tucks are most common in women, generally in those who have given birth and may want to repair the lingering damage of pregnancy. As Dr. Paul Watterson discusses, the procedure is safe, effective and often produces overwhelming results.
Why Can’t I Get Rid Of This?
It is a common complaint among women who have given birth,”I work out, eat right and go to the gym, but still I can’t seem to get rid of the lose skin and stretch marks.” Doctors say women often feel ashamed or embarassed about their post baby bodies. “Pregnancy is a great thing,” says Dr. Paul Watterson, who practices in Charlotte at the Charlotte Plastic Surgery Center.
“But, having a baby can do tough things to the body.” Dr. Watterson says an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a good option for many women who have tried other methods, but just can’t seem to get their pre-baby body back. “A woman may be working out and eating properly and the lose skin and stretch marks are still there. The tummy tuck can address those issues.”
Dr. Watterson says the tummy tuck can also be used on patients who have recently lost a lot of weight and may have issues with sagging skin.
A limited or “mini” tummy tuck focuses on the lower abdomen in patients who don’t need the full procedure.”We do a mini tummy tuck, where we just tighten the lower part of the skin below the belly button.” The recovery time may be shorter for the mini tummy tuck.
Dr. Watterson says for those requiring a more elaborate procedure, he can expand the surgery around the body. “We can go all around the body and remove skin, if necessary.” For many patients the results can be emotional.
“It’s kind of like this big reveal. When we take the bandages off, it can be overwhelming for some,” Dr. Watterson says.
The road to a smoother torso is much less bumpy than it used to be. There are new drug options to help relieve pain and and scar gels that benefit the patient. “The recovery is very different these days than not too long ago,” says Dr. Watterson. He compares the post-operative process to a c-section delivery.
“Many women have delivered babies via c-section, so they know what that kind of recovery is like. That very much compares to the a tummy tuck recovery.” It may take a couple of weeks to feel mobile again, but after that time, most patients are cleared to drive. In the immediate days following the procedure, Dr. Watterson recommends a new form of pain relief called Exparel. It is a single-dose, non-opioid that numbs the tissue. “It lasts for three days, rather than three hours and so it’s really wonderful for the patients.”
Many times patients will also be concerned about scar tissue during this type of surgery. The incision is typically placed in the lower abdomen in the area that will be covered by underwear or a bathing suit. With proper healing, any scar will lighten. Dr. Watterson says revolutionary products like SkinMedica Scar Recovery Gel, help with healing.
With all of these options, Dr. Watterson says women are restoring their bodies and finding new confidence. “A tummy tuck is very powerful in the right patient and can deliver a great result.”