Hidden Scar Tummy Tuck
Generally referred to as a “tummy tuck”, abdominoplasty removes excess fat and skin from the abdomen. The procedure also helps to flatten the abdomen by tightening the surrounding muscles. Women, with stretched abdominal areas due to previous pregnancies, can benefit considerably from abdominoplasty, although they should have completed their childbearing. Older individuals whose skin has lost some of its elasticity and are slightly obese can experience an improvement in their abdominal area.
If you are in generally good physical shape but are concerned about abdominal fat deposits or loose skin that does not respond to diet and exercise, the procedure can potentially reduce or even eliminate a protruding abdomen. It can also be very helpful in getting rid of persistent stretch marks, caused by pregnancy or rapid weight loss or gain.
What about the scar?
It is impossible to remove the excess skin of the lower abdomen without a scar. Other treatments such as lasers, mesotherapy, and even liposuction will not remove or significantly tighten loose, hanging skin. They are a waste of time and money. The only way to remove this skin, tighten the loose muscle, and create the flattest tummy possible is via a tummy tuck. This surgery does create a relatively long permanent scar, however in most patients the scar fades with time. While abdominoplasty will produce a permanent scar, Dr. Youn focuses on placing the scar low, below the bikini or bathing suit line. In this way it can be easily hidden, therefore earning the name the “Hidden Scar Tummy Tuck.”
How long is the recovery from the surgery?
Most patients need 2 weeks to recover from a tummy tuck and are back to exercising by 3-4 weeks. Dr. Youn uses a pain pump in his patients, which significantly decreases discomfort for the first 3-4 days. Patients must wear an abdominal binder, which is like a corset, for three weeks. A small drain is also used to remove fluid which can accumulate in the surgical area. These are removed within 3-7 days. Dr. Youn utilizes revolutionary progressive tension sutures in all of his tummy tuck surgeries to limit the risk of fluid collections, the number of drains used, and the amount of time the patient has the drain. This can cut his patients’ healing time in half.
Tummy tucks can be performed in one of three ways, depending on how much excess skin needs to be removed. Most patients are candidates for a “full abdominoplasty”, where the scar extends from hip to hip.
Patients with less excess skin are candidates for a “mini-abdominoplasty,” where the scar is shorter and there is no scar around the belly button. The scar is usually not visible under a bikini. This is best for patients who have loose skin in the lower abdomen only, and remain flat above the belly button. While the scar is shorter than with a full abdominoplasty, the results are unfortunately much less dramatic with a mini-abdominoplasty. Remember that ‘mini-abdominoplasty generally equals mini-results.’
Circumferential Abdominoplasty and Fleur-De-Lis Abdominoplasty
Patients who have a lot of excess skin, usually after massive weight loss, are candidates for a “circumferential abdominoplasty,” where the scar extends around to the back, or a “Fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty” which creates an upside-down ‘T’ shaped scar of the abdomen. Both of these procedures are for patients with a large amount of excess skin which would be inadequately removed with a traditional abdominoplasty. While health insurance may help to pay for some of the operating room and surgeon costs, it usually does not pay for the cosmetic portions of this procedure.
During the consultation, Dr. Youn will explain these different types of tummy tucks in detail, and decide together which is right for you.
Dr. Youn does not perform circumferential abdominoplasty and is no longer taking new insurance patients.