Body Shaping Procedures in the San Francisco Bay Area
Abdominoplasty literally means abdomen changing, and the change can be dramatic. Despite doing countless abdominal crunches and eating a healthy diet, many people find it extremely difficult to reduce excess fat in the abdominal area. When diet and exercise prove to be ineffective, Abdominoplasty, also known as a Tummy Tuck, offers San Francisco Bay Area residents a great alternative. A Tummy Tuck can significantly reduce excess stomach fat and create a more toned, sculpted appearance. Dr. Joseph Mele has performed many successful Tummy Tuck procedures for people in Northern California from the San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Valley. If you are frustrated with excess abdominal fat, a Tummy Tuck is available at our San Francisco Bay Area office to help you achieve your goals.
Your Tummy Tuck procedure will be discussed in detail at our San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgery office in Walnut Creek, California. There are several options depending on the amount of skin excess, the tightness of the abdominal wall muscles and the amount of fat on the abdomen. Dr. Mele will listen to you and review your surgical goals and expectations. He will select and explain the best treatments for your tummy, any alternatives and the expected recovery period. A pre-operative medical history and physical examination are part of the preparation, and will guide us to the safest and most predictable results. Depending on your health, additional pre-operative tests may be recommended.
What distinguishes a Tummy Tuck from liposuction is its ability to remove not only abdominal wall fat, but to tighten both the abdominal wall muscles and loose abdominal skin. While both Liposuction and Abdominoplasty are surgical procedures, Liposuction uses multiple small incisions to suction away the fat from under the skin. Abdominoplasty, on the other hand, uses an incision low on the abdominal wall to excise both skin and fat. Removing the excess skin allows the remaining abdominal skin to be tightened and smoothed. An Abdominoplasty also allows access to the abdominal wall muscles. When the abdominal wall muscles are loose, or separated (diastasis recti), the muscle sheath is tightened with sutures placed like an internal, supportive corset. Many of our tummy tuck patients combine Abdominoplasty with Liposuction to obtain even better results.
Cosmetic Plastic Surgery cannot substitute for a proper diet and exercise. However, there are some problems that diet and exercise alone cannot fix. Excess energy consumed is stored as fat. Where the fat is stored depends on your individual genetic programming. For some, it is the abdomen, and for others the thighs. When the fat is stored disproportionately, it forms a bulge. It may not be possible to spot remove these fat bulges with diet and exercise alone. Often other parts of the body appear gaunt and unhealthy before this stubborn fat is removed by weight loss. Liposuction, on the other hand, can directly remove stubborn fat deposits, providing you with a more proportionate shape, and sexier curves.
If the abdominal skin is tight, localized disproportionate accumulations of fat can be efficiently removed with Tumescent Liposuction. If you have a belly bulge caused by fat, accompanied by both good muscle tone and good skin tone, tumescent liposuction provides a simpler, and faster, alternative to a tummy tuck. Unfortunately, Liposuction (SAL) cannot tighten loose skin. Even laser liposuction (LAL) and ultrasonic liposuction (UAL) cannot significantly tighten skin that has lost its tone. Liposuction may instead make loose skin look worse. Removing fat under loose skin removes the skin's support. This loss of support causes the skin to fold over.
On the abdomen, problems with loose skin are most prominent in the lower abdomen and in the area above the belly-button. Unlike Liposuction, the Tummy Tuck is specifically designed to address the problem of loose redundant skin.
More information is also available on our Liposuction page.
When the laxity of the abdominal skin and muscle is isolated to the area below the belly-button (umbilicus), a Mini Tummy Tuck may be the best option. A Mini Tummy Tuck is often combined with Liposuction of the upper abdomen and sides to further reduce unwanted abdominal wall fat and enhance your final result.
A low abdominal incision is used to tighten the skin and muscles of the lower abdomen. The incision for a Mini Abdominoplasty is normally shorter than the incision for a "full" tummy tuck. This is because mini tummy tucks are usually performed when there is less redundant skin on the abdominal wall. Less skin to remove means a shorter scar is required. For more information visit our Mini Tummy Tuck page.
When the abdominal skin and muscle laxity is isolated to the area below the belly-button, but there is also a small amount of loose skin just above the belly-button, a “floating” belly-button technique is used. This is not the usual way to do a tummy tuck. Patients who are good candidates for the “Floating” Belly-Button Tummy Tuck need to be carefully selected by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon experienced with the "Floating" Belly-Button Abdominoplasty technique. If you are a candidate, however, it usually means an enhanced result with the same scar as a Mini Tummy Tuck, and no scar around the belly-button.
The Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty is the work horse of abdominal rejuvenation, and the gold standard to which every other abdominal tightening procedure is compared. Abdominoplasty requires and incision low on the abdomen, and one around the umbilicus. The procedure not only tightens the abdominal skin, but removes excess fat and tightens the muscles of the abdominal wall. By tightening the abdominal muscle wall, a tighter foundation is created on which to build your new tummy.
If the abdominal fat is primarily inside the abdomen, behind the abdominal muscles, it may not be possible to sufficiently tighten the abdominal muscles. It is similar to trying to close an overstuffed suitcase. When too much fat is inside the belly, the abdominal muscles cannot be satisfactorily tightened, leaving a rounded appearance. This situation is more common in men, but is also seen in women. For this reason, tummy tucks work better if you are near your ideal body weight. Fat outside the abdominal cavity, between the skin and the abdominal muscles, can easily be removed. This is often done as part of a tummy tuck, and further flattens the belly.
The term Mommy Makeover refers to a combination of procedures used to rejuvenate the areas most commonly stretched out and deflated after pregnancy - the belly and the breasts. Originally applied to the combination of Breast Augmentation and Tummy Tuck, the term Mommy Makeover has become a generic term for any combination of procedures that rejuvenates both the abdomen and the chest.
The abdominal rejuvenation may include any if the procedures mentioned on this page: Liposuction, Mini Tummy Tuck, Full Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) or Lower Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy). The breast enhancement may include Breast Augmentation, Breast Lift, Mastopexy Augmentation or, in some cases, Breast Reduction.
More information about Mommy Makeovers is available on Dr. Mele's Mommy Makeover Page.
The Fleur-De-Lis Tummy Tuck is used when the skin laxity of the abdominal wall is massive. This is most often seen after bariatric surgery, but may also be the result of weight loss of greater than 75 pounds. The Fleur-De-Lis Abdominoplasty incorporates all the features of a Full Tummy-Tuck, and has an additional incision running down the middle of the abdomen. The vertical midline incision allows large excesses of upper abdominal skin to be directly removed from the central abdomen. The Fleur-De-Lis Abdominoplasty is the biggest abdominoplasty available, and is designed to reduce the most extreme amounts of excess abdominal skin.
The Lower Body Lift is a tummy tuck that extends all the way around the body. It is almost exclusively performed for post-bariatric surgery patients and for people who have lost large amounts of weight. Extreme weight gain leads to overstretched skin. When this is followed by a large weight loss, the skin remains stretched out, and cannot return to its original shape. A skirt of loose skin extending all the way around the trunk may be the result. In these cases, additional weight loss and muscle building will not improve appearance. The excess skin needs to be removed with a lower body lift.
The lower body lift is also called a Belt Lipectomy, because a belt of excess skin and fat is removed. During the procedure, the abdominal muscles can also be tightened. This enhances the abdominal contours, like in a traditional tummy tuck. More information about this and other Post-Bariatric Cosmetic Plastic Surgery is available by clicking on Post Bariatrics under Procedures in the menu at the top of this page.
Tightening the abdominal muscles makes them sore; however, the sooner you get moving, the sooner you will feel better. Oral analgesics (pain pills) can significantly decrease post-operative pain, and assist with movement. Still, it is good to have someone around to help you the first few days after you tummy tuck procedure. You may need gentle assistance the first few times when getting up from laying down, or sitting, but it quickly gets better.
Walking in encouraged beginning right after surgery. Most patients feel better when they are up and moving. The movement helps work out the soreness, maintain strength and recover more quickly. Moreover, early ambulation decreases the risk of complications. Standing helps the lungs fully expand, and helps with digestion too.
Hydration is also important. Proper hydration makes us feel better, speeds healing, and also prevents postoperative complications. Surgery increases the need for fluids, so it is important to drink plenty of liquids during recovery.
Heavy lifting, more than 20 pounds, is avoided for six weeks. This allows the tightened muscle fascia to fully heal, and keeps everything tight. To help get you moving right after surgery, Dr. Mele may recommend a post-operative pain relieving pump. The pumps infuse local anesthesia into the operative site. By delivering the pain medicine directly to the area that needs it, more effective pain relief is provided with fewer side effects. Since this type of anesthesia uses non-narcotic medications, there is no chance of dependency. Moreover, less narcotic medication is usually required when a pain pump is used. Unfortunately, from time to time, shortages of local anesthesia medications, limit their availability for elective use. Information on two of these pain relieving pumps used can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking on the following links:
A Tummy Tuck at our San Francisco Bay Area office may be the perfect solution for you. If you are in good health, but frustrated with loose abdominal skin, stretched-out abdominal muscles or excess abdominal fat, give our Board Certified Plastic Surgeon a call at (925) 943-6353. Alternatively, you can use our online contact form to schedule a consultation in our Walnut Creek, CA, plastic surgery office to learn more.