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Plastic Surgery Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Plastic Surgery

Tummy Tuck – Abdominoplasty – in Orlando

What is typical recovery time for a tummy tuck?

This depends on the type of tummy tuck. Most full tummy tuck patients take 2 weeks off work, by this time the drains have been removed, the patient is walking upright, and is able to drive. There should be no heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks (do so only after being advised by your plastic surgeon).

Mini tummy tucks have a slightly shorter recovery time and depending on the extent of the procedure some patients are able to return to work after 7 to 10 days (again this is based on the advice of your plastic surgeon).


I want to have a tummy tuck but I am afraid of the scars...

With regards to surgery scars, the most important part is the planning of the surgery. Your surgeon must have an idea of the kind of clothing you wear so the scars are easily hidden beneath the undergarment in a natural skin crease.

There are now many treatments such as topical bleaching creams, silicone sheeting, lasers, and intense pulse light devices that can improve the scars from a tummy tuck.


I am overweight but wish to have a tummy tuck; when is the right time?

It is always best to be close to your ideal body weight at the time of surgery, this makes for a healthier patient with a better outcome. In cases where the patient has a fat upper abdomen doing a tummy tuck will not produce a flat abdomen. These patients may be candidates for staged procedures with liposuction performed first to thin out the abdominal skin for a better result. These patients must have their lifestyle under control with dietary restrictions. Candidates for these procedures should not be more than 30 lbs above their ideal body weight.


When will I see my final result from a tummy tuck?

Usually by about 8 weeks most of the swelling is gone out of the abdomen and the patient is able to appreciate the final result; in instances where other procedures are performed this may take even longer.


Do all tummy tucks have muscle-tightening procedures?

No, this is performed depending on whether the muscles are lax. If the problem is mainly excess skin, a skin only tummy tuck can be performed and the recovery time is somewhat shorter, as the discomfort from muscle tightening does not slow recovery.


Will a tummy tuck give me a narrow waist?

In some cases liposuction of the waist needs to be added to a tummy tuck to improve the waistline. When you visit with your surgeon by sure to ask very specific questions and have a picture in your mind of what you want your overall body contour to look like.


When will the drains come out after a tummy tuck?

This varies from surgeon to surgeon. In Dr. Spence's practice in Orlando, abdominoplasty drains are taken out when they are putting out less then 30 cc's per day; this is typically between 5 and 7 days.


Can I reshape my belly button without a tummy tuck?

Yes, the procedure is called an umbilicoplasty and can often be performed under local anesthesia as an outpatient.


Can a tummy tuck be performed with liposuction?

Dr. Spence does combine tummy tucks with liposuction on other areas of the body. It is his preference to perform liposuction of the abdomen in a separate stage.


Can I have a hernia fixed at the same time as my tummy tuck?

It is best to have your hernia repaired before or at the time of your tummy tuck. This is usually performed in a hospital setting where Dr. Spence can coordinate with your general surgeon.


When can I return to exercise after a tummy tuck?

Lower body exercises can usually be started within 2 to 4 weeks. Heavy lifting or exercise that involves stress on the abdomen should not begin for 6 to 8 weeks; again, consult with your plastic surgeon.


What kind of scar will I have with a tummy tuck?

The scar will depend on the extent of the tummy tuck. Full tummy tucks have a scar that lies beneath the bikini line from hipbone to hipbone. Planning is key, we ask our patients to fit their garments, showing us where they would prefer their scars positioned.


Should I have a tummy tuck if I plan to get pregnant in the near future?

Child bearing after abdominoplasty would negate the effects of the procedure. There are other methods of contouring, such as liposuction, which work well for these patients.


When can I replace my belly button ring after my tummy tuck?

This should only be done after all of your incisions are well healed. A belly button ring can become infected and interfere with the quality of your result. When this ring is replaced it must be done in a strict sterile environment to prevent any risk of infection.


What will happen with my stretch marks after a tummy tuck?

Stretch marks between the belly button and the pubis will be removed with a full tummy tuck. Stretch marks in the upper abdomen will be moved to the lower abdomen.


I have had multiple abdominal operations and have many scars on my tummy; can I have a tummy tuck?

This depends on the location of the scars on your abdomen. Dr. Spence will discuss the risk to the blood supply when additional scars from a tummy tuck are placed.


My girlfriend had a tummy tuck and formed scar tissue around her belly button, which closed it off. I am afraid of this happening to me.

This is a risk of having a tummy tuck because the outer rim of the belly button is a circle. Formation of a hypertrophic scar can often lead to contraction of the belly button. This can be addressed with steroid injections, a scar revision, or an umbilicoplasty; these may be performed under local anesthesia.


What is the short access tummy tuck (SATT) procedure?

A short access tummy tuck, or mini tummy tuck, is used for patients with small amounts of excess skin and fat on the abdomen and that are also in need of liposuction. A small incision is made above the pubis and around the belly button; the excess skin is removed through these incisions, the muscles are tightened, and liposuction is performed.  This procedure is popular among both men and women.


What will happen if I lose weight after my tummy tuck?

Significant weight loss after a tummy tuck can interfere with your results depending on skin tone, as drooping skin may develop. It is important to undergo your surgery when you are closest to your planned weight.


I have lost weight on my abdomen. I now have skin hanging over my pubis but nowhere else. My abs are tight from sit-ups, do I need a full tummy tuck?

No, This hanging skin is called a pannus. If the remainder of your abdomen is in good shape this skin can be removed by a panniculectomy. This procedure has a much shorter recovery than a tummy tuck, as only skin from the lower abdomen is removed.


I have a lot of fat over my pubis hanging like a pouch even though I have lost a lot of weight elsewhere, can anything be done for this?

A combination of liposuction, removal of the excess skin, and suturing the pubis back to its previous position can produce a pleasing aesthetic result.


How soon after pregnancy can I have a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?

A tummy tuck can be performed once you have recovered from your pregnancy; however, it is not advisable for women needing to frequently lift a young baby. It is preferable to wait until you have strong family support is in place and the immediate need to lift your child has passed.


Can my c-section scar be used as my tummy tuck scar?

In many instances your c-section scar can be included in your tummy tuck scar. The lower the scar, the better it can be hidden beneath the panty line.


I am a 42-year-old male who has lost 100 lbs from gastric bypass. I exercise every day and I have tight abs. How can I get rid of the excess skin?

If your abdominal muscles are already tight, a skin only tummy tuck will correct the excess skin on the abdomen. This still requires drains to be used, but has a shorter recovery time than a tummy tuck with muscle tightening and in general has less discomfort.


Will a tummy tuck hurt as much as my c-section?

Dr. Spence's patients frequently ask this question. In a c-section muscles are cut and in a tummy tuck the muscles of the abdomen are not cut, but they are tightened. This does produce some discomfort, but of a slightly different nature.


When does Dr. Spence perform staged tummy tucks?

When there is a thick layer of fat in the upper abdomen, if this is transferred to the lower abdomen with a full tummy tuck, it will not produce a flat abdominal contour. In a staged tummy tuck this fat is first removed with liposuction, then after 8 to 12 weeks a full tummy tuck is performed. The entire abdomen is then flat and contoured for a much more pleasing result.


How soon can I pick up my child after a full tummy tuck?

The same rules of heavy lifting apply to picking up your child; this can cause disruption of your muscle tightening procedures.


How soon can I drive after a tummy tuck?

Seek specific instructions from your surgeon. Most patients are able to drive after about 2 weeks. It is unsafe to drive while still on narcotic medications and recovering from surgery.


Insurance paid for my gastric bypass; will they pay for my tummy tuck after my 150 lb weight loss?

While some insurance plans do cover these procedures, Dr. Spence does not participate in any insurance plans. Please contact your insurance carrier for a plastic surgeon who participates with your plan. Our practice does offer a wide range of financing options for such a procedure.


The responses to Frequently Asked Questions listed here are not intended to be medical advice, but are the practice of Dr. Spence and will vary from surgeon to surgeon and patient to patient.

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To schedule an abdominoplasty consultation at Orlando Plastic Surgery with Dr. Spence, call 407-999-2585 or request a consultation online.