Also known as Abdominoplasty
For some women and men throughout Southwest Texas, tummy tuck surgery seems like the fastest, easiest and least time consuming way to reshape and smooth out the abdominal area. And it is! Some people try for years to lose belly fat by going to the gym or dieting to try and get rid of stubborn love handles and fatty tissue in the belly region. Not only do most people not have that kind of time to spend at the gym or exercising, there are some cases in which abdominoplasty is truly the only way to achieve the results they seek.
Considering whether or not to get a tummy tuck is a personal decision and not one to take lightly, but if you do want to consult with a plastic surgeon to learn more about abdominoplasty, there are a few things you need to know first. Dr. Frank Agullo’s private plastic surgery practice is based in El Paso, Texas, and he holds the title of Clinical Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine as well as being an Affiliate Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. If you are considering a tummy tuck in El Paso, he has the reputation and experience to deliver top notch results.
Am I a good prospect for a tummy tuck?
If mere sit-ups are not doing enough to give you the firm tummy you wish you had, or if you have excess skin from pregnancy, losing weight or other reasons, then abdominoplasty may be the best way to get that taut stomach back to where it used to be. Diet and exercise can’t do anything for loose skin that lags behind after excessive stretching or losing weight, no matter how hard you try. A tummy tuck cosmetic procedure will make your belly look flatter by eliminating the love handles, “spare tire”, flab, extra skin and fatty tissue that lingers and just won’t go away.
An abdominoplasty is a bit different than just getting liposuction, although that will be one of the techniques used by Dr. Agullo during your tummy enhancement. Liposuction will only remove the excess fatty tissue in the abdomen; it will not reduce excess skin, abdominal wall weakness, or stretch marks. An abdominoplasty or tummy tuck will remove excess skin, stretch marks bellow the belly button, and tighten the abdominal muscles. Many women have lower abdominal laxity or a bulge in the lower tummy as a result of one or more pregnancies. No amount of exercise or sit ups will repair or tighten this bulge, it can only be repaired surgically with a tummy tuck with muscle repair and plication. The plication produces a permanent internal corset that flattens the tummy and accentuates the waist.
Both men and women seek the tummy tuck, so as long as you are healthy, there should be no reason not to consider abdominoplasty as a great solution. People who were once obese and then either through bariatric surgery or by losing an excessive amount of weight should consider a tummy tuck as part of a body contour surgery.
If you plan on getting pregnant someday, then abdominoplasty may not be the right procedure for you. It would be better to wait until you are done bearing children because you will likely undo all of the improvements achieved through your tummy tuck. Liposuction may be a good option if you are still considering pregnancy. You should also not consider getting a tummy tuck if you are not done losing weight and still have some time left to get to your ideal weight, although it wouldn’t hurt to start learning about it now and set up a consultation with Dr. Agullo and his team. If you are not at your ideal weight, but you are stuck at your present weight, then abdominoplasty in combination with liposuction, also known as weight reduction surgery, may be a good option for you.
Combined procedures with tummy tucks
Since a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is one of the most popular procedures, it is commonly chosen as an accompaniment to other plastic surgery procedures. From being part of a full body lift or contour to just being an add-on to thighplasty or breast augmentation, a tummy tuck is something that everyone most wishes for and can achieve through the marvel of new technologies and efficiency.
Some commonly applied tummy tuck partnership surgeries are:
- Mommy Makeover. The term “mommy makeover” refers to the combination of surgeries to improve the abdominal and breast contour at the same time. The most common combination entails a tummy tuck with liposuction and a breast augmentation with or without a lift. This is by far the most common combination of procedures performed by Dr. Agullo. The combination of these procedures is not only safe, but also decreases overall cost and recovery time.
- Body lifts. Also known as circumferential abdominoplasty, the tummy tuck portion of a full body lift is used to tighten up the abdominals and lower back (midriff in the “love handles” area). Learn more here.
- Breast enhancements. From breast augmentation or reductions; to breast lifts and other types of breast cosmetic surgical procedures, the tummy tuck is just an extra “bonus” to give a woman’s body that hourglass shape when combined with the tummy tuck. Read more here.
- Liposuction. One of the common techniques used in abdominoplasty is liposuction, which isolates fat stores and removes it from the body through a suction tool. Dr. Agullo will always combine liposuction with your tummy tuck surgery at no additional cost to achieve high definition results with improved waist and abdominal contour. Learn more about liposuction here.
- Other combinations: Abdominoplasty is a popular procedure that is often part of an overall body change. Ask about the many other options when you meet Dr. Agullo for a consultation.
Even when combining these procedures, most of them can be performed within a one-day outpatient cosmetic surgery. Your ability to have more than one procedure in conjunction with thighplasty will largely depend on your own physical makeup. You can discuss these options with Dr. Agullo in your consultation.
Popular tummy tuck surgery techniques
Tummy tucks have widespread popularity and are very commonplace among both men and women who seek a change in their physique. Dr. Frank Agullo and his team routinely perform entire trunk liposuction, including the abdomen, flanks and back during tummy tuck or abdominoplasty procedures. The amount of liposuction varies with each patient; some people have a lot of mid-section fat to lose, while others just have a bit of a spare tire, love handles, or a pocket from stretching caused by pregnancy.
The most common El Paso tummy tuck procedures are one of the following:
- Comprehensive abdominoplasty. A complete tummy tuck will entail smoothing out your entire mid-section. Dr. Agullo will make an incision on your abdomen from below the left hipbone to below the right hipbone. The incision will be kept low so that it is easily hidden when wearing low cut jeans, underwear, or bikini type bathing suits. Liposuction is done in the areas of the flanks (love handles) and abdomen. The excess skin and stretch marks are completely removed and the abdominal muscles are tightened to produce an internal corset.
- Mini abdominoplasty (or “partial tummy tuck”). Some people carry fat deposits primarily below the navel, in which case mini-abdominoplasties can be performed instead of a complete abdominoplasty. If you have abdominal wall muscle laxity or stretch marks, this is not the procedure for you. During a partial tummy tuck, Dr. Agullo will not need to move your belly button and all improvements will be seen below the umbilicus. This procedure is much shorter and can be done as an outpatient surgery and even under IV conscious sedation or “twilight anesthesia”.
- Extended abdominoplasty (or “extended tummy tuck”). When performing high definition and comprehensive abdominoplasties, Dr. Agullo will often recommend an extended abdominoplasty. If you have excess skin and fatty tissue in the waist and flanks (love handles), with some laxity in the lateral hips, this is the procedure for you. An extended abdominoplasty has a longer excision, which “extends” to the back. By performing this procedure, Dr. Agullo can obtain an improved abdominal contour with all the benefits of a standard tummy tuck. In addition, the patient will benefit from an improved waistline, no “dog ears”, a lateral thigh lift, and even a mild buttock lift.
Most patients undergo the procedure with general anesthesia. If you are only having a mini tummy tuck then “twilight” IV sedation is an option. We have a dedicated team of board certified anesthesiologist in the El Paso area, providing the best of standard of care and putting the minds of our patients at ease.
Depending on whether you receive an extended abdominoplasty or a mini tummy tuck, the surgery could take anywhere from two to four hours. Most patients achieve weight loss and size reduction which is maintained over time.
Preparing for abdominoplasty
Smokers will be asked to quit from at least 2 weeks before their surgery. This is not really optional because tobacco smoking not only slows down healing, it can lead to far greater chances of complications such as: improper circulation, blood clots, strokes, or skin loss.
Get ready for your tummy tuck surgery with:
- Enough time off from work to heal for two to three weeks.
- Ice packs, wound dressings, and other medical supplies
- Someone lined up to take you to and from the abdominoplasty surgery and pick up prescriptions for you
- Comfortable clothes that you can button up, slip into or pull on and off easily to avoid soreness or disrupting wounds as they heal
- Towels or extra pads on your mattress and bedding
- You will need to sleep half sitting. You may opt to sleep in a recliner or place extra pillows in your bed.
- Dr. Agullo’s team will teach you and your caretaker how to manage the drains after the surgery.
Eat well the day before your surgery. You will need your strength, as well as not being able to eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours prior to your surgery.
Are tummy tucks safe?
Right after surgery, you will have soreness, swelling, and probably also pain. Consult with Dr. Frank Agullo about pain management strategies. You will be given narcotic pain medications to manage the early stages of recovery. A pain pump (On-Q pain pump) will be offered as an option to decrease the amount of postoperative pain and faster recovery.
The pain and soreness is worse the first 3-5 days, but could last for a few weeks, depending on your body and its ability to heal. The areas of your stomach may feel numb and you may see bruises on your skin, which is normal. It is normal to feel fatigued, due to the anesthesia.
Tummy tuck surgeries do leave scars, although they will improve over time. The scars will never fully disappear, however they will be positioned strategically in a place where only you will see them. Dr. Agullo will place the scar below the bikini line so that it will be easily hidden.
All surgeries come with a different set of risks, but abdominoplasty is a very common cosmetic enhancement procedure that Dr. Agullo has performed on hundreds of patients with very successful results. Dr. Frank Agullo was recently recognized as a Texas Super Doctor “Rising Star” in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery in Texas Monthly. Here are some of the type of results you can expect:
Recovering from abdominoplasty
It may take some time for you to go back to your old self, at least mentally and physically. There may even be a few days where you will ask why you went through with it. Rest assured, these feelings are normal and understandable, due to the complexity of surgery and the pain that it takes to achieve your objectives. Most people love their new bellies after the swelling dissipates. This is when the real results of your efforts pay off. You’ll be able to start shopping for smaller sizes again or wear tight-fitting clothing instead of trying to cover your shape.
During the surgery Dr. Frank Agullo will stitch you with a special absorbable suture called Quill. He will also use a special dressing called Dermabond Prineo, which allows for improved healing. About two weeks after surgery you will be given instructions to start using ScarGuard on your skin. The combination of these techniques, technologies, and treatments will help you heal better and also serve as a scar treatment. He will ask you not to do any strenuous activities for four to six weeks after having the surgery. Nevertheless, you will need to walk around and keep mobile starting with the first postoperative day to avoid getting blood clots, which are more likely to occur in patients who have poor circulation.
Both complete abdominoplasty and mini tummy tuck patients will be given a soft, yet firm elastic bandage to help the tummy area stay tight and to avoid swelling. Wear your garment as often as possible, except in the shower. Pay attention to Dr. Agullo’s advice on sitting, lying down and frequency of movement (like walks, etc.).
You’ll feel better within less than a week of your surgery, and by a couple of weeks thereafter you may be ready to get out and see people. A few months after that, you may find that shopping for new clothes will be on your agenda, but probably nobody will be complaining about that!
Tummy tuck cost estimate
Because the surgery is not often a medical “need”, most insurance companies won’t cover the procedure. The cost for an abdominoplasty is between $7,300 – $13,000. The range varies greatly depending on type of anesthesia, whether a hospital overnight is required, how much fat is removed and if the patient gets a total abdominoplasty, extended, or a mini. Dr. Agullo would be happy to consult with you to determine which type of tummy tuck is right for you.
Schedule a consultation to talk more about getting a tummy tuck in El Paso.
SERI Internal Silk Corset for Abdominoplasty
Much like the Seri Silk Internal Bra, the Seri Internal Corset is a useful scaffold for patients with loose abdominal wall or who have weak tissue to sustain a surgery. This can be caused either by major weight loss or gain, from past hernia operations, or in women who have stretched stomachs from a previous pregnancy.
During an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck the SERI silk internal corset promotes robust tissue support and helps to support the muscles and tissues while healing. Dr. Agullo always performs a triple plication of the muscles which creates a very flat abdomen and a better defined waistline. The silk scaffold is placed over the plications in order to reinforce and strengthen them, allowing for a tighter and flatter abdominal contour. It is safe and comfortable, making healing more bearable and even pleasant.
The silk mesh corset is crafted from a woven, non-animal, multifilament that absorbs internally during the weeks following a postoperative recovery. It is a bioengineered, purified, BIOSILK™ fabric that is unique in its ability to strengthen the weakest areas, which gives the patient a better result and with less likeliness of postoperative corrections.
SERI Internal Corsets are not just for women. The silk scaffold is also designed for men who go through tummy tucks or abdominoplasties. One great use Dr. Agullo has found for the SERI silk corsets include hernia repair operations, which can give the patient a more comfortable and stronger recovery. The internal corset goes away on its own by absorbing into the body.
Many patients who have opted for the SERI Internal Corset have reported feeling a greater degree of flatness and a more defined waistline. The effects are long lasting. Younger patients with a lot of skin tissue and elasticity may not need the extra mesh biosilk support, but the doctor can help you determine whether you are a top candidate for the SERI abdominal scaffold or not. Contact usto learn more about SERI and how it can bring greater satisfaction to your abdominoplasty or stomach procedure.