Tummy Tuck in Birmingham, AL
At Core Plastic Surgery, Grady Core, M.D., F.A.C.S., a board-certified plastic surgeon, performs abdominoplasty on men and women living in Birmingham, Mountain Brook, and the surrounding communities who want a flatter, more contoured abdomen.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
Abdominoplasty is a procedure that has undergone significant changes over the last few years. Recent innovations have made the procedure less invasive for some qualified candidates. Abdominoplasty is especially helpful for men who have obtained excess weight or skin in their midsection, as well as for women who have undergone multiple pregnancies with relaxed muscles and stretched skin. It is also helpful now for patients who only have mild skin relaxation and/or muscle relaxation. Abdominoplasty patients can expect a flatter, more contoured and more visually satisfying mid-section area.
Benefits of Tummy Tuck
Tummy tucks create a flatter, more contoured abdomen following a significant weight loss or pregnancy by removing excess fat and sagging skin. Other benefits include:
- Increase in self-confidence
- Tighter and flatter abdomen
- Less self-consciousness about appearance
- Ability to participate in more activities
Who is a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck?
Anyone with excess fat and skin in the abdominal area, along with stretched abdominal muscles that are not affected by a healthy lifestyle, may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck. It is important to consult with a plastic surgeon to determine that abdominoplasty is the best option for you. Women should also have no plans for more children.
How Do I Prepare for My Tummy Tuck?
During the consultation, Dr. Core evaluates your abdomen to ensure this is the best option to achieve your desired look. He also provides you with detailed preoperative instructions to follow leading up to your tummy tuck, since the preparation varies from patient to patient.
What is Involved with My Tummy Tuck?
The abdominoplasty procedure varies with each patient depending on the extent of the improvements to be made. There are several methods for abdominoplasty:
For patients with good quality skin and no abdominal wall laxity, or have a small to moderate amount of excess subcutaneous fat, liposuction is an option. Dr. Core’s primary form of dealing with excess subcutaneous fat is through a technique called ultrasonic assisted lipoplasty, also termed lipo selection. This is where a solid probe that is quite thin is placed under the skin, and ultrasonic energy is emitted into the subcutaneous fat. This is specific for fat cells and causes the fat cells to rupture leaving other surrounding structures intact. The aspert is then removed gently with a low powered suction. This is in contrast to a traditional liposuction where high-powered suction is used to remove fat.
For those patients who have minimal excess skin laxity of the lower abdomen and/or minimal laxity of the abdominal muscles, a mini abdominoplasty is an option. A mini abdominoplasty involves a small transverse incision just above the pubic area measuring approximately six to eight inches in length. A small amount of skin is taken out, and the abdominal area is liposuctioned. A small amount of undermining is done below the umbilicus and the muscles re-tightened with several sutures in the lower abdominal midline. A drain is usually placed for eight to 10 days in order to prevent the buildup of tissue fluid in the pocket. Recovery from a mini abdominoplasty is fairly rapid with the patient returning to full activity in approximately two weeks.
Dr. Core is one of the original inventors of endoscopic abdominoplasty and has been practicing this technique since 1993. Endoscopic abdominoplasty is only for those patients who have no skin problem and who have only muscle laxity. A small incision approximately one-inch long is made just above the hair-bearing portion of the pubic area and in the umbilicus. The skin envelope is then elevated to reveal underlying musculature, which is then repaired under direct endoscopic vision. The skin is then allowed to retract into place. A drain is also used for this procedure, and recovery requires two weeks due to the fact that muscle is, of course, what causes the soreness after abdominoplasty. However, this is an excellent option for those people who have excellent skin and only suffer abdominal wall laxity caused by separation of the muscles usually from pregnancy. This procedure can also be applied in men who have had intra-abdominal fat that has caused their muscle to separate over the years.
For the majority of our patients who have trouble with excess skin as well as muscle laxity, the cosmetic abdominoplasty is most commonly the option. The high lateral tension of abdominoplasty is the one most commonly practiced by Dr. Core, but he also practices the newer technique of lipo-abdominoplasty developed in Brazil. The Brazilian technique involves a combination of liposuction with minimal undermining in central muscle repair.
Skin Only Abdominoplasty
For many of our patients who have maintained good abdominal muscular integrality and have not had problems with diastasis recti, we have found significant improvement in recovery times by not addressing any tightening of the abdominal wall muscle. For these patients of whom skin is the only issue, we are able to perform a “skin only” abdominoplasty. This involves liposuction and the undermining of the skin flap with stretching of the skin to tighten the abdominal area. The incision is within the panty line, and the postoperative result is excellent. We have found that in many cases of abdominoplasty, the tightening of the abdominal musculature is not as necessary as once believed. This procedure, as in most other abdominoplasties, also requires placement of a drain, which is present for approximately 10 days. Full recovery is actually much quicker with a skin only abdominoplasty than regular abdominoplasty, with full activity being able to be undertaken within three to four days.
Your New Bellybutton
Dr. Core employs a technique, which he developed in 1996 called the “caudal flap technique”. In the caudal flap technique, the scar of the umbilicus is placed within the recess of the umbilicus instead of around it. The typical circumferential scar around the umbilicus appears like a target and makes the umbilicus too noticeable and is a telltale sign that the patient has undergone abdominoplasty. In the caudal flap technique, the result is an inverted U (see photo) and completely eliminates a visible scar in most patients and gives a natural appearance to the umbilicus.
What are the risks of having tummy tuck surgery?
Thousands of people undergo abdominoplasty each year with no adverse effects and with great results. However, as with any surgical procedure, there is an inherent risk. Some of the risks associated with tummy tuck surgery include blood clots, the effects of anesthesia, swelling, infection, bleeding, and pain or discomfort. Thankfully, these complications are rare and can usually be avoided. Dr. Core will review these risks with you prior to your surgery. By carefully following your pre- and post-operative instructions, you can considerably reduce the risk of complications. Being a respected teaching cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Core is not only knowledgeable about endoscopic cosmetic surgery he’s an innovator in this field. He provides his patients with the most up-to-date procedures and technology available, and even practices special pain relief techniques. Dr. Core’s experience and knowledge is second to none.
How long is the recovery period?
Recovery periods will vary from patient to patient depending on the condition of your health. You will usually be advised to avoid heavy lifting and vigorous activities while you are recovering. A light exercise program will help you heal better and can help avoid medical complications, such as excess swelling and blood clotting. Like most scars, it takes about a year for abdominoplasty scars to mature and form a subtle pale line.
When Will I See the Results from Tummy Tuck?
The results from abdominoplasty take several weeks to fully become visible as the swelling and bruising from the surgery resolve. Once the healing and recovery are complete, the result is a smoother, flatter, more contoured abdomen. Any scarring is well below the panty line and significantly fades over time.
How Much Does Tummy Tuck Cost in Birmingham?
The cost of abdominoplasty is different with each patient depending on the technique and whether other treatments are performed during the same procedure. We review the costs during your consultation along with payment and financing options. We offer financing through CareCredit®.
Grady Core, M.D., F.A.C.S., a board-certified plastic surgeon, offers plastic and reconstructive surgery to people living in and around Birmingham, Mountain Brook, and across the Southeast to look and feel younger. Contact Dr. Core’s office today to schedule your consultation!