The Surgeon Minute

Personalizing a Tummy Tuck for Your Unique Needs

Personalizing a Tummy Tuck for Your Unique Needs

After several pregnancies it is safe to assume the majority of women yearn for their pre-baby bodies. Changes in metabolism and fat storage are the natural effects of pregnancy, and afterwards it is often a battle to snap back. Unfortunately, diet and exercise are sometimes not enough. Stretchmarks, loose skin and excess fat may never go away without surgical intervention. What determines a mini tummy tuck versus a full tummy tuck? When is liposuction enough? Reno, NV, plastic surgeon Tiffany McCormack discusses the various indications that suggest one procedure over another.

by The Plastic Surgery Channel
and Tiffany McCormack, MD

Three Important Factors

“I look at 3 things,” says Dr. McCormack, “Skin laxity and stretch marks, fat distribution and amounts and muscle. If all 3 of those components have been damaged or changed…I will typically recommend a tummy tuck. If it is just fat I might recommend just liposuction instead.” She adds that it is not so much about body type or size or even the desire for limited surgery–it is the location of skin laxity and/or stretch marks that ultimately determine whether a full tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck is performed. If there is excess skin above the belly button, a full tummy tuck is the only option. If the skin exists only below the belly button, a mini tummy tuck is all that is necessary.

Aside from loose skin, muscles are also a factor. During pregnancy the two large parallel bands of muscles that meet in the middle of the abdomen can separate causing a condition known as “diastasis recti.” This is responsible for the bulging belly many women complain about. Dr. McCormack dispels the notion that exercise can correct the situation.

“You can make muscles stronger and bigger, but you cannot pull them back together through exercise. That’s where I come in surgically.” – Tiffany McCormack, MD

Securing the muscles can be done in a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck and acts like an internal girdle. She notes that many post-surgical patients report feeling “like they got their core back…flat and strong.”

3 abdominal issues.

What about incisions?

What about scars? In either case the scar will be from hip to hip albeit below the bikini line. In almost all cases, women consider it a fair trade off. Before surgery Dr. McCormack estimates the length of the scar for the patient and can often use a C Section scar. Aside from keeping the scar very low, she also uses layering techniques to minimize tension in the skin. Afterwards, Dr. McCormack keeps an eye on the scar for the first few months to ensure adequate healing.

Almost always, liposuction accompanies a tummy tuck. Dr. McCormack typically targets the upper hip or anterior flank. “You want to be sure the waist is coming in and you don’t have extra bulges. It’s all about the shape and contour.”

Prior to scheduling surgery Dr. McCormack is careful to manage expectations about recovery. She cautions moms that pre planning is extremely important because regular activity is discouraged for at least 2 weeks. Any activity that elevates blood pressure or heart rate is off limits for 3 weeks. “This is elective surgery. Do it when you have the time, resources, help and time off work.” Ideal candidates are women who are at a stable weight, not planning on any more children and with realistic expectations about the scar, recovery and the final result.

Tummy tuck before and after.

Happy Patients Mean Everything

Patient satisfaction is significant and tummy tucks are one of Dr. McCormack’s favorite procedures. Patients get immediate gratification at the first visit seeing their flat tummy. “Whether it is your goal to wear a bikini or just wear a nice blouse that folds softly, or button your pants and not have a muffin top hanging over…it’s very rewarding because that is almost a guaranteed result after your surgery.”

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Surgeon Minute

More in The Surgeon Minute

Extreme weight loss creates surge in plastic surgery.

Extreme Weight Loss Creates Surge in Plastic Surgery

Dawn TongishMay 17, 2018
Choosing the right breast implants.

Choosing the Right Breast Implants

Dawn TongishMay 16, 2018
Using platelet-rich plasma to counteract hair loss.

Using Platelet-Rich Plasma To Counteract Hair Loss

Dawn TongishMay 15, 2018
Playing it safe during the big butt boom.

Playing it Safe During the Big Butt Boom

Anne MeyerMay 14, 2018
Improving The Mid Face With Fillers and Fat.

Improving The Mid Face With Fillers and Fat

Dawn TongishMay 9, 2018
Moderation is Good for Your Diet AND Plastic Surgery.

Moderation is Good for Your Diet AND Plastic Surgery

John HammarleyMay 8, 2018
Combined Procedures - How Much is Too Much?

Combined Procedures – How Much is Too Much?

Anne MeyerMay 4, 2018
Abdominoplasty and the mommy makeover.

Abdominoplasty and the Mommy Makeover

Katherine StuartMay 3, 2018
A guide to improving your abdomen with plastic surgery.

A Guide to Improving Your Abdomen with Plastic Surgery

Anne MeyerApril 27, 2018