If you’re bothered by extra weight or prominent stretch marks, a lower abdominal bulge or “spare tire,” you may consider a tummy tuck. Women often opt for this procedure after childbirth, as pregnancy can separate the abdominal muscles and stretch the skin. This procedure is especially popular among men and women who have lost considerable weight but still haven’t achieved a flat or defined result.
The tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is designed to remove the sagging skin and excess tissue that contributes to an unshapely appearance. During an abdominoplasty, Drs. Donaldson and Sieffert create a flatter, more youthful contour by repairing the abdominal muscles, removing fat and tightening the skin. “Love handles” will diminish as a curved, hourglass shape takes effect. Our two board-certified surgeons are highly regarded for their meticulous approach to abdominoplasty, and have refined their skills over many years.
Dr. Donaldson and Dr. Sieffert spend extra time hiding the incisions, creating an attractive umbilical shape, curving the flanks and combining liposuction techniques as necessary to realize the best possible outcome. Patients typically rave about their natural, slim shape and their ability to wear tight jeans, dresses and even bikinis once again!
An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure that flattens the abdominal contour. Typically, any separation of the rectus abdominus muscles (six-pack muscles) is repaired, the stubborn fat between the belly button and the pubic area is removed, the belly button is restored if necessary, stretch marks are improved and the skin is tightened. The procedure is tailored to match each individual patient’s anatomy and goals, but overall it results in a thinner, sleeker figure with enhanced curves at the sides.
As a relatively low-risk operation, the tummy tuck procedure allows individuals to contour their bodies in ways that diet and exercise often do not. If you are frustrated when you look in the mirror because your hard work does not seem to make your belly any better, then a tummy tuck may be the best solution. Additional tummy tuck surgery details can be found here.
Pregnancy is the number one reason cited for abdominoplasty because it changes the abdominal contour in predictable ways by thinning the connection between the abdominal muscles, adding baby weight in the form of fat that doesn’t go away, and causing permanent stretch marks and chronic back pain. A tummy tuck provides the only way to correct all of these physical changes at the same time. If you have had one or more pregnancies and dislike your shape, then a tummy tuck may be right for you.
Gradual weight gain and/or weight loss through diet, exercise or bariatric surgery can also cause a round shape and loose, hanging skin. If these are your circumstances, then abdominoplasty will also likely improve them.
During the consultation, Dr. Donaldson or Dr. Sieffert will help decide whether you are a candidate for the procedure. Patients should be in good health and reasonably close (within 10-20 pounds) to their average normal weight. The closer you are to your ideal weight, the easier it will be for Dr. Donaldson or Dr. Sieffert to create the ideal results. Combining the abdominoplasty with liposuction at the same time may be of further benefit, especially under the breasts and/or around the flanks. Your surgeon will discuss this option with you when you visit.
Your consultation is your opportunity to get answers to all your questions about the Tummy Tuck procedure, especially all of the knowledge that is unique to you and your individual circumstances that you cannot find online.
Throughout this time, our team will discuss the nuances of the procedure, pre-planning considerations, proper aftercare, recovery timelines and any additional procedures or treatments that will help you reach your confidence goals. These surgical procedures typically include liposuction, breast augmentation, breast lift and labiaplasty. This combination is often referred to as the Mommy Makeover.
We will also perform a thorough physical examination, obtain important measurements and deliver Tummy Tuck before and after photos that best reflect what you can expect from your results. You can expect to discuss your medical history to ensure maximum safety, pricing information, financing options and scheduling.
In the months leading up to your abdominoplasty procedure, maintain a healthy lifestyle including exercise, a well-balanced diet, limited alcohol and no smoking. Smoking impairs the healing process and leads to wound issues, infection and poor scarring, so it’s vital that you quit at least a few weeks before your operation. Discontinue medications that “thin the blood” or increase bleeding such as aspirin, ibuprofen and supplements such as vitamin E and fish oil. Dr. Donaldson’s staff will provide a list of contraindicated substances in advance, so you can wean off of them in time for surgery.
Standing straight upright will be difficult for the first week, so it’s helpful to have personal items organized and within reach. Establish a comfortable environment for healing and recruit a friend or family member to help you. Your post-operative condition will make everyday tasks more difficult for the first few days, so setting up a proper plan in advance will make your recovery much easier.
There will always be a scar after surgery, but it will be low – at the top of the pubic line – and it will fade with time. The length is different for every patient but is generally from hip to hip on the front of the abdomen. If the belly was larger before surgery such that the skin folds extended onto the flanks, then the scar may wrap around to the flanks too (extended abdominoplasty).
If you have a well-healed c-section scar, Dr. Donaldson or Dr. Sieffert may choose to simply extend it on either side. If the c-section scar is wide or forms a “step-off” deformity, then they will likely remove or revise it at the time of the tummy tuck to ensure the best possible results.
Approximately two weeks after surgery, the surgical glue begins to peel away, and it is time to begin medical-grade scar treatment. Dr. Donaldson or Dr. Sieffert and their staff will teach you how to massage scar gel or cream along the healing area twice daily, and they will help monitor your progress. The final appearance of the scar is often not established for several months to a year.
Tummy Tuck surgery recovery usually requires at least a week to ten days away from work and other normal activities, and four to six weeks before resuming exercise. The first several days are the most difficult, and patients tend to relax while reading and watching television. It is important to stand up and take short walks throughout the day – even right after surgery – but otherwise, rest is required. Your belly will seem tight, so staying in a “bent-over” position while walking provides relief. Your head and feet should be elevated on pillows when you are lying down. It is very helpful to have a friend or family member available for assistance during this period.
After a week goes by, most patients are standing fairly straight, the small drain is removed, and the discomfort has largely subsided. Many normal activities may resume, including less physical types of work. Dr. Donaldson recommends several homeopathic supplements to continue the healing process.
The Donaldson Plastic Surgery team has created several easy-to-follow video tutorials for your tummy tuck postoperative care: How To Walk, Stand, and Sit After Tummy Tuck
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Every operation has associated risks; however, Drs. Donaldson and Sieffert take many steps to minimize and avoid them. Bleeding and infection are prevented with meticulous surgical and sterile techniques, as well as clear post-operative instructions and antibiotics. Fluid collections are minimized with the placement of a small drain that is removed after approximately one week. Deep venous thrombosis (DVT or blood clots) are significantly decreased through sub-cutaneous heparin and sequential compression devices (SCD’s) before and during surgery, and early ambulation after surgery. Thickened or widened scars are generally avoided by closing the incision at four separate levels and using dissolvable sutures during surgery, as well as applying scar gel and gentle massage during recovery.
Cigarette smoking, and other forms of tobacco use, dramatically increase the risk of wound complications and wound separation. Nicotine decreases blood flow to the skin, and limits the body’s ability to heal. This can lead to skin loss, poor scarring and fat necrosis.
Address any concerns you may have about complications during your consultation. Complications are always possible, so it’s best to prepare in advance by asking Dr. Donaldson, Dr. Sieffert, and our staff about your specific risks and how to prevent them.
Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson and Dr. Michelle Sieffert are meticulous about all aspects of the abdominoplasty procedure, and they are both widely regarded for their beautiful, natural results. Each expert surgeon spends extra time making the incisions as thin and as low as possible so they may be concealed easily. Drs. Donaldson and Sieffert believe the belly button should seem completely normal, with a pleasant vertical indentation and no obvious external scar – they actually hide the scar on the inner walls of the naval whenever possible. Our surgeons prefer to curve the flanks and accentuate an hourglass appearance, instead of flattening the sides.
Voted one of America’s Most Compassionate Doctors, Dr. Donaldson’s kind and genuine nature are apparent to everyone who visits his office. Patients go out of their way to describe their satisfaction with our surgeons’ bedside manner, as well as their surgical skills. For more information on our practice, approach and accolades, you can visit About the Plastic Surgeon and Awards & Distinctions.
The average cost for a Tummy Tuck in Columbus, Ohio ranges from $8,500 to $14,000. This is dependent on a number of factors, including operating room fees, the amount of fat that is removed throughout the surgery and any additional procedures that may help you reach your desired results.
If you are interested in having a tummy tuck, you can start by calling our office or contact us through our form! A friendly staff member will be happy to answer your preliminary questions and set up a consultation.