Candidates for Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
Learn about the different reasons people come to Dr. Cook for Abdominoplasty
People come to see Dr. John Q. Cook at the Whole Beauty® Institute for consultation regarding abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) for a variety of reasons. We have a wide range of techniques that are based on the principle of the high lateral tension abdominoplasty that can help to solve many specific problems of abdominal contour.
Changes After Pregnancy
Perhaps the most common reason that people come to us for abdominoplasty is to correct the changes in the tone and shape of the abdomen that have come about as a result of pregnancy.
Some women are fortunate in this regard; they can carry several pregnancies, yet the abdomen returns to its original shape each time. A more common pattern it that the skin, fascia, and deep muscle support of the abdomen lose their tone in a more permanent way. Good habits of nutrition and exercise are always helpful, but may be insufficient to restore a beautiful abdominal contour.
Women with post-pregnancy changes are typically delighted by the improvements that result from the abdominoplasty procedure. The tone of the skin and the mid-level fascia of the abdomen are restored, zones of excess fat are contoured, and the abdominal muscles are returned to a position of optimum function.
Since the breasts are often altered by pregnancy as well, many patients who come to us for abdominoplasty are also interested in surgery to restore breast tone, position, and volume (breast lift, breast augmentation, and breast reduction). For convenience the breast and abdominal procedures often can be combined into a single operation.
We recommend that a woman should undergo abdominoplasty only when she is fairly certain that there will not be any future pregnancies, since the stretching of the abdomen that comes about as a result of pregnancy, will undo a good portion of the benefits of the surgery.
Changes After Previous Surgery of The Abdomen
There are patients who experience a significant loss of deep structural support after they have undergone hysterectomy, caesarian section, or other abdominal surgeries. These patients frequently remark that they are unable to maintain their previous abdominal tone despite a strict regimen of sit-ups and other abdominal exercises.
The problem may be a widening of the space between the rectus muscles (diastasis) or a more general loss of support. Very often, the three layer repair that occurs with the high lateral tension abdominoplasty can restore good tone to the abdomen.
There are often powerful physical benefits for these patients, since the abdominal musculature is intimately involved in posture and back comfort. Restoration of the normal dynamic balance of the abdominal muscles significantly improves the patient’s quality of life.
Abdominoplasty to Correct Abdominal Scars
It may be possible to remove or diminish scars from previous abdominal surgery when an abdominoplasty is carried out. The amount of skin removed with an abdominoplasty varies from patient to patient. In some patients there is sufficient looseness to the lower abdomen that all of the skin below the umbilicus is removed. Any scar that exists in this area will also be removed.
Abdominoplasty for Patients With Significant Weight Loss
We also see quite a few patients who were once heavy, but who have successfully lost significant amounts of weight as a result of improved nutrition and exercise habits. Some patients come to us after they have undergone bariatric surgery in order to lose weight.
Often patients who have lost a large amount of weight are frustrated by the poor tone and loose skin that remain in the abdomen despite their very best efforts. They are disappointed that beyond a certain point the abdomen may be thinner, but actually look worse as the overhang of the skin becomes more pronounced.
For these patients the abdominoplasty procedure can serve as a wonderful reward for their efforts. When a beautiful shape is restored to the abdomen, it will serve as a powerful motivator to maintain healthy habits of nutrition and exercise.
Abdominoplasty After Liposuction
Poor tone of the skin and intermediate layers of the abdomen may also exist in a patient who has undergone overly aggressive liposuction.
Some surgeons seem to feel that liposuction is a contest to see how much fat can be removed. This is typically not a contest in which the patient wins! The primary purpose of liposuction in any form (classical, ultrasonic, Vaser®, or any other variety) is to obtain a beautiful contour.
When liposuction is used primarily as a means to lose weight, the result will almost always be disappointing. Although the bulk of the fat will be reduced, the skin will now hang loose.
Patients who experience this sort of post-liposuction looseness in the abdomen or in other regions can be restored to balance with a well-performed abdominoplasty or other body contour procedure.
Abdominoplasty for Patients With Midbody Fat Excess and Loose Skin
Patients who have a relative excess of fat in the mid-body regions (the abdomen, flanks, and hips) and who have diminished skin tone are particularly well-served by the combination of liposuction with removal of excess skin from the lower abdomen.
Dr. Cook provides several versions of this combination, but all are influenced by the basic concept of the high lateral tension technique; limited skin undermining other than in zones that are to be removed allows for liposuction to be carried out with a reasonable level of safety. Patients with a classic mid body excess may be very trim in other areas, such as the arms, legs, and face, so a mid-body sculpting of this nature can restore a pleasing artistic balance to their physical form.
Dr. Cook carefully examines patients with mid-body excess to determine whether the true problem is intraabdominal fat, since this must be addressed with diet and exercise.
Abdominoplasty for Patients Who Have Gradually Lost Abdominal Tone
The abdomen is not immune to the forces of time and gravity. There are some patients who come to us who have maintained a trim physique and good nutritional habits, but who experience a gradual loss of abdominal tone, sometimes over several decades. The situation is similar to that of the patient who seeks a face lift due to a loss of tone in the cheeks or a breast lift (mastopexy) due to a gradual settling of the breast. Surgical rejuvenation of abdominal tone can be very beneficial for these patients.
Abdominoplasty for A Variety of Physiques
The abdominoplasty operation can be applied to men and women with a variety of physiques. One particular type of patient who deserves special consideration is the woman with a fuller, curvaceous physique who is pleased with all her body lines except those of the abdomen. Often this is because the abdomen has been stretched by the cycle of pregnancy. With the high lateral tension technique it is possible to bring the abdomen into artistic balance with the rest of the body.