If you ask any woman what she most dislikes about her body, the stomach is probably going to make the top of the list. It’s just a problem area for so many people. Some simply have a genetic predisposition to carry extra pounds in their mid-section. For others, however, a protruding belly is the result of childbirth, age, weight gain/loss, and even prior surgery. The frustrating thing with the belly is that oftentimes, no amount of healthful eating or exercise seems to make a difference. An abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat, and tighten your loose ab muscles in order to deliver a smoother, flatter contour to your mid-section.
The important thing to keep in mind with a tummy tuck is that it is not a weight loss procedure. It is about improving your body contour by restoring proper proportion. Pregnancy, weight gain/loss and age all take a toll on the skin and muscles of your abdomen. The skin can stretch past its ability to “snap back” while the muscles in the tummy can get pulled apart to the point where no amount of sit ups are going to make a dent.
Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Bruce Van Natta has been helping the women of Indianapolis restore their figures for over 25 years. His goal with every tummy tuck procedure is to create a more youthful abdominal contour so that you feel strong, confident and able to wear all the clothes that you want (including that sexy bathing suit).
Are You a Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
Figuring out whether or not an abdominoplasty is right for you always requires an in person exam. During your initial consultation, Dr. Van Natta will spend considerable time listening to what really bothers you about your body contour, as well as what you expect from a tummy tuck. He will then perform a thorough physical exam to assess your skin and muscle laxity. Together, you will come up with the treatment plan that is right for your anatomy, goals and lifestyle.
Most patients today are more knowledgeable about procedure specifics thanks to the web. As a longtime advocate of patient education, Dr. Van Natta finds this fantastic. But sometimes, patients come in wanting a procedure that actually isn’t right for their anatomy. For example, patients typically desire a mini-tummy tuck. Let’s be honest. Anything with “mini” in front of it sounds good. But this procedure is really only appropriate for patients whose loose skin is solely below the belly button. This pretty much excludes everyone who has had a baby, gained or lost weight or is over the age of 50.
Assuming that your weight remains stable, the results from your tummy tuck are permanent. However, if you are planning to lose a substantial amount of weight (over 10 pounds) and/or have more children, it is best to postpone your surgery as either may adversely affect your results. Furthermore, an abdominoplasty can’t address stretch marks unless they are located on the skin that is being removed (typically below the belly button). Dr. Van Natta strives to deliver every patient’s dream body. But he will also be totally candid about what you personally can and cannot achieve with a tummy tuck.
How Abdominoplasty Surgery is Different with Dr. Van Natta
Dr. Van Natta takes a somewhat different approach with tummy tuck surgery than many of his peers. First, he starts by placing his incision much lower — typically well below your pubic hair line so that it can be concealed by even the tiniest bikini bottom or underwear. Next, he utilizes his cutting-edge liposuction techniques to remove excess fat and sculpt:
- the abdomen
- love handles
With body contouring, it is imperative that your surgeon take a 360° approach as all of the areas of the torso work together. Last, Dr. Van Natta puts things back together with an advanced technique using progressive tension sutures that eliminates the need for drains. This greatly minimizes discomfort so that you can get back to your normal activities in just a few days.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
One of the biggest deterrents for woman who want a tummy tuck has historically been the recovery. But, it has really gotten a bad rap. With the recent advances in surgical techniques such as progressive tension sutures to repair the skin/fat flap, Dr. Van Natta is able to avoid the use of drains. This has been huge since patients often find drains to be uncomfortable, cumbersome and embarrassing. In addition, he utilizes a long-acting anesthetic agent in the abdominal muscles that makes recovery significantly more comfortable. He also has his patients take a powerful anti-inflammatory/pain medication that minimizes the need for narcotics. Because of this, most of Dr. Van Natta’s abdominoplasty patients are back to normal activities fairly quickly. His goal with every tummy tuck procedure is a smoother, flatter torso for the patient with as little post-operative discomfort as possible.
Many patients describe recovery from a tummy tuck as being on par with a C-section. Your stomach muscles will feel sore. This is totally normal. You can also expect to be bruised and swollen for at least two weeks. In order to combat the swelling and speed up your healing process, Dr. Van Natta has his tummy tuck patients wear a compression garment for 3 weeks. It’s basically like a pair of Spanx. While it might seem like a pain (not literally), the garment is integral to your rapid recovery.
Most patients can return to light exercise by two weeks, but will need to refrain from any strenuous core work for at least 2 months. While it can take anywhere from 3-6 months for the swelling to completely resolve and for you to see your final final results, you should notice an improvement in your stomach contour immediately. And assuming that your weight stays stable (and there are no more pregnancies), these results are permanent.
To find out more about an abdominoplasty with Dr. Bruce Van Natta at Meridian Plastic Surgeons in Indianapolis, contact us today or call (317) 575-0330 to schedule a consultation.