Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that is popularly known as the “tummy tuck.” In Houston, Texas, Dr. Cara Downey, uses the procedure to safely eliminate excess skin and fat from the abdomen to address aesthetic concerns due to aging, heredity, pregnancy, or significant fluctuations in weight. Additionally, this procedure repairs weakened and separated muscles.
Dr. Downey, a distinguished alumna of the University of Texas at Austin and Baylor College of Medicine, has welcomed hundreds of tummy tuck patients who want to recreate smoother and firmer abdominal profiles through her expertise.
Ideal Candidates for Tummy Tuck
At Downey Plastic Surgery, tummy tuck candidates are evaluated according to this criteria:
- Have a sagging abdominal wall
- Have overstretched abdominal muscles
- Have lessened skin elasticity in the stomach area
- Bothered by the appearance of the abdomen
Upon consultation, Dr. Downey clarifies that tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or a means to get rid of excess stomach fat. It’s usually the best option for people who want to tidy up the excess skin and muscle in the area after already losing weight or giving birth.
Tummy Tuck Cost
On average, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) says that tummy tuck patients pay about $5,500 for the procedure. But the full range is between $3,000 to $12,000 depending on your surgeon’s clinic location, the scope of treatment, among other factors.
For an accurate quotation and financing options, it’s best to personally schedule an appointment with Dr. Downey.
Types of Tummy Tuck
As a specialist in body contouring procedures for women, Dr. Downey understands how each patient has her own set of issues which can be properly addressed with the right technique. This holds true when it comes to tummy tucks as well.
Check out the list for a briefer on the different types and which could be best for your needs.
Traditional Tummy Tuck
If you want to improve both your upper and lower abdomen, the traditional or full tummy tuck repairs the problem area with a horizontal or U-shaped incision made from hip bone-to-hip bone and just above the pubic hairline. Then, excess skin is removed while abdominal muscles are tightened. Though it yields a longer scar than other tummy tuck types, the full tuck can give you a flatter, smoother stomach resulting in increased comfort in pants and skirts plus more flattering silhouettes in form-fitting clothes.
If your issue includes only a protruding or unflattering lower belly, a mini-tummy tuck might be enough to address it. In this procedure, Dr. Downey makes a single incision – just a few inches long – right above the pubic mound and proceeds to tighten loose muscles and remove excess skin to flatten your abdominal wall. As the name suggests, this involves a shorter, less invasive procedure, a quicker recovery, and a more flattering lower belly.
Endoscopic Tummy Tuck
This type of approach is considered solely as a muscle-tightening procedure. At Downey Plastic Surgery, the endoscopic tummy tuck is the best course of action for patients with the rare condition dubbed ‘rectus diastasis,’ wherein pregnancy or age play a part in the separation of abdominal muscles. While the endoscopic way minimizes the appearance of a scar, it does nothing to remove or lessen loose skin. It also costs and takes as much time (to perform and recover from) as a traditional tummy tuck.
Extended Tummy Tuck
For patients who desire the removal of loose skin from a wide area, the extended type could be a better fit than the traditional technique. In the first phase, Dr. Downey makes a longer incision that extends from the hip to the sides of the lower back and removes the patient’s excess skin. For the second phase, Dr. Downey makes a second cut – this time around one – to free the navel and reposition it at a higher spot. According to experience, Downey Plastic Surgery patients who have had massive weight loss benefit most from this approach.
Circumferential Tummy Tuck
This technique gets its name from the fact that the incision is made all around the waistline, spanning the entire lower body. The extreme cut, also known as a lower body lift, is recommended by Dr. Downey to patients who have had undergone equally extreme weight loss. The circumferential approach aims to remove an abundant share of excess fat and loose skin in common problem areas such as the tummy, outer thighs, and buttocks. After the incision is made, excess fat is suctioned out from the front and back of the body – from the ribs to knees. It’s common for Downey Plastic Surgery patients to be turned during this type of surgery during this first phase. Next, the abdominal muscles are tightened and the navel repositioned. Excess skin is the last to go before Dr. Downey uses sutures to reconnect the skin and tissue in the upper and lower body.
Preparing for Tummy Tuck
Aside from the usual pre-operation reminders, Downey Plastic Surgery patients are given the following tips before their tummy tuck procedure:
- Avoid drastic changes in diet.According to Dr. Downey, this is to minimize complications and instances of constipation during recovery.
- Avoid smoking.It’s a difficult habit to kick, but it would do you and your body well to keep away from cigarettes for at least two to four weeks before surgery for optimum health.
- Prepare mentally.Tummy tuck patients are among those most prone to alternating episodes of doubt and excitement, so train yourself to moderate your emotions and expectations even before you check in at the hospital. Keep in mind that great results take time, patience, and trust in your surgeon’s abilities and advice.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Check out our step-by-step guide from Dr. Downey, culled from years of experience as a body contouring specialist with hundreds of successful tummy tuck operations under her belt.
- AnesthesiaPatients and surgeons can weigh the pros and cons of intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Though, Dr. Downey opts for general anesthesia for patients.
- IncisionThe cut, whether traditional, mini, extended, or circumferential, is made in the abdominal area. Dr. Downey deals with excess fat first by sculpting them out to reveal a smoother body plane. Then off comes the excess skin. If necessary, Dr. Downey also makes another incision to reposition the navel and excise loose skin along the upper abdomen.
- SuturesThese are used to safely close off any incisions made during the tummy tuck procedure. For some patients, Dr. Downey may also use skin adhesives, tapes, or clips to reinforce closure.
Tummy tuck surgery can last between two to four hours, depending on each patient’s needs, tummy tuck technique, and the surgeon’s skills.
I’ve been wanting to do botox and get my skin looking great for some time now. I was a little nervous, Dr. Downey had a great staff, and she was super patient and fed me enough information to calm m…
– Stephanie O.
I had such a great experience with Dr. Downey. I was referred by a friend. This was my third attempt at getting surgery on some trouble spots after significant weight loss. I didn’t go in with h…
– Paul V.
It was very easy for me to make a consultation appointment. There was no pressure to sign up for surgery that day. Dr. Downey was very professional and friendly. She answered all my questions an…
– Brittany G.
I had breast augmentation on 12/2/14 and Dr. Downey and staff made the whole experience amazing. Since the surgery I have minimal scarring and I look and feel great! This was one of the best decis…
– Ashly T.
Dr. Cara Downey, thank you so much for the care you gave to me and the exceptional work you have done to my body! You are amazing. Because of you, dreams come true! You are the best! Thank you for ble…
– Andrea C.
I didn’t think I would ever feel this great again. Now I can wear strapless dresses. My shirts no longer have the peep holes near the buttons. I’m just so pleased with the work Dr. Downey has done. Bu…
Risks of Tummy Tuck Surgery
Any invasive plastic surgery procedure has associated risks. And during pre-operation consultations, Dr. Downey openly discusses the ones that most concern her tummy tuck patients.
- Anesthesia risks
- Seroma (accumulation of fluids)
- Substandard healing of surgical wounds
- Loss of sections of skin
- Numbness or changes in the sensation of the skin
- Skin discoloration
- Fat necrosis (the death of fatty tissue)
To minimize the risks, it’s important to have board-certified plastic surgeons like Dr. Downey on your team and to have your surgery performed at a fully-accredited hospital where 24/7 care is available from the minute you lie down on the operating table until the moment you check out.
After Tummy Tuck Surgery
What happens after your tummy tuck procedure? Here’s a helpful timeline for the Downey Plastic Surgery team.
24 Hours after Surgery
- You may be released from the hospital, pending approval from Dr. Downey and barring any complications that would require immediate care.
- Expect slower movement, particularly when it comes to walking.
- A compression garment is given to help you keep your new shape in place.
- You’ll notice the most noticeable change: your “stubborn” excess skin is gone.
1-3 Weeks after Surgery
- You may go back to work, provided it doesn’t involve heavy lifting, long commutes, or other strenuous activities, in about a week or two.
- Patients report better management of swelling, tenderness, and pain.
- Re-train yourself to walk normally again.
3 Months after Surgery
- Patients gradually lose the last traces of swelling and tightness in both the skin and muscle.
- More or less, the final look is revealed.
If results fall short of your and your surgeon’s expectations, Dr. Downey is also rigorously trained in revision surgery, particularly of body contouring procedures.
Request Your Consultation
To learn more about tummy tuck abdominoplasty houston, you can schedule an appointment online or you can call +1 713-496-2427