Bizymoms, April 12, 2010 – Interview on Tummy Tuck

Bizymom Interviews Columbus plastic surgeon Jeffrey H. Donaldson, MD

An Interview with Dr. Jeffrey H. Donaldson on Tummy Tuck

Q. What is a tummy tuck?

A. A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that flattens and rejuvenates the abdomen. While some surgeons are content to simply remove the “spare tire,” I spend extra time to eliminate the bulge and stretch marks between the belly button and pubic area, tighten the “six-pack” muscles, refine the belly button and recontour the “love handles” to enhance the feminine curves above the hips.

Q. How is a tummy tuck performed?

A. I begin by making precise measurements and markings before the patient goes under anesthesia, so
she can have some input regarding the position and length of the final scar. Once the patient is asleep,
I routinely begin with gentle liposuction of the flanks to achieve the soft, attractive “hourglass” shape.
Next, I bring the abdominal muscles back together if they have been stretched by pregnancy or weight
fluctuations, then I remove the extra fat and skin that accumulates in the lower part of the belly.
Finally, I refine the belly button and spend extra time making the scar as invisible as possible: I hide it
within the pubic area so it is disguised by swimsuits, underwear and low-cut jeans.

Q. How long does tummy tuck surgery take?

A. It takes me between two and three hours, depending upon the patient’s individual anatomy and
goals. I take a highly customized, personalized approach to each operation.

Q. Are there risks and complications to a tummy tuck?

A. Yes. These include bleeding, infection, fluid collection and poor wound healing — fortunately, they
can be minimized through meticulous technique and attention to detail. Extreme obesity and tobacco
use increase these risks, and pregnancy after a tummy tuck might necessitate a touch-up revision.

Q. What should one expect after the operation?

A. The procedure is outpatient, same-day surgery and comfort is maximized with an aggressive pain
control regimen. The patient wears a supportive binder, and should maintain a slightly hunched-over
position for to avoid stretching the scar. During the first two or three days, the patient limits activity
and tries to rest; for the next several days, normal house activities are encouraged and by one week
light work duty is allowed. By two weeks to three weeks most patients begin to feel “back to normal”
and strenuous exercise may resume at four to six weeks. I insist on close follow-up and honest
communication during the first couple of weeks to monitor for correct healing. Once recovery is
complete, one should expect youthful, natural, beautiful results!

Q. How much does a tummy tuck cost?

A. The surgeon’s fee is approximately $5000, and OR/anesthesia fees bring the total to around
$8000.

Q. How long do the results of a tummy tuck last?

A. Forever, unless the patient becomes pregnant or experiences massive weight fluctuations. When a
tummy tuck is combined with breast enhancement, it is widely known as a “mommy makeover,” which
has the most dramatic and long-lasting effect.