Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that is popularly known as the tummy tuck. In Houston, Texas, Dr. Cara Downey, uses the procedure to safely remove 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.
Board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Cara Downey has welcomed hundreds of patients who wish to achieve smoother and firmer abdominal profiles through her expertise.
HOW MUCH DOES A TUMMY TUCK COST?
On average, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) says that patients pay about $5,500 for the procedure. But the full range is from $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 a consultation with Dr. Downey at +1 713-496-2427.
ARE YOU QUALIFIED FOR THE PROCEDURE?
At Heights Plastic Surgery, men and women are evaluated according to the following 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 abdominoplasty 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.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES?
As a specialist in the tummy tuck procedures for men and women, Dr. Downey understands how each patient has their own set of issues that can be properly addressed with the right technique.
Check out the list for a briefer and which could be best for your needs.
Traditional Tummy Tuck
If you want to improve 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 over the pubic hairline. Then, excess skin is removed while abdominal muscles are tightened. Though it yields a longer scar than other surgical methods, the full tuck can give you a flatter, smoother stomach. This results in an increased comfort in pants and skirts plus more flattering silhouettes in form-fitting clothes.
If your issue is limited to just a protruding or unflattering lower belly, a mini-tummy tuck might be enough to address it. Dr. Downey makes one short incision beneath the panty line. Loose muscles are tightened and excess skin is removed to flatten your abdominal wall. The procedure is relatively quicker than the traditional technique and yields a shorter recovery, and a flattering lower belly.
Endoscopic Tummy Tuck
This type of approach is considered solely as a muscle-tightening procedure. At Heights Plastic Surgery, the endoscopic technique 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 the traditional technique.
Extended Tummy Tuck
For patients who desire the removal of loose abdominal skin from a wider area, this approach 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 – to free the belly button and reposition it at a higher spot. According to experience, patients who have had massive weight loss benefit most from this method.
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 aim of the circumferential approach is 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 patients to be turned during the first phase of this surgery. Next, the abdominal muscles are tightened and the belly button is 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.
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THE PROCEDURE?
Aside from the usual pre-operation reminders, patients are given the following tips before surgery:
- Avoid drastic changes in diet
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 2 – 4 weeks before your procedure for optimum health.
- Prepare mentally
Patients are typically prone to alternating episodes of doubt and excitement, so train yourself to moderate your emotions and expectations 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.
Check out Dr. Downey’s full instructions for more information.
HOW IS TUMMY TUCK PERFORMED?
Patients and surgeons can weigh the pros and cons of intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Generally, though, Dr. Downey opts for general anesthesia for her patients.
The 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.
These are used to safely close off any incisions made during the procedure. For some patients, Dr. Downey may also use skin adhesives, tapes, or clips to reinforce the closure.
The procedure can last from 2 – 4 hours, depending on your needs, technique, and your doctor’s skill. Additionally, Dr. Downey can combine abdominoplasty with other cosmetic procedures in a Mommy Makeover, such as liposuction and breast augmentation and reduction.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS INVOLVED?
Any invasive surgical procedure has associated risks. And during preoperative consultations, Dr. Downey openly discusses the ones that most concern her patients.
- Anesthesia risks
- Seroma (accumulation of fluids)
- Substandard healing of surgical wounds
- The possible occurrence of Hernia
- Loss of sections of skin
- Protruding skin or tissues on both ends of the closed incision
- Numbness or changes in the sensation of the skin
- Skin discoloration
- Fat necrosis (the death of fatty tissue)
WHAT IS THE EXPECTED RECOVERY?
What happens after your procedure? Here’s a helpful timeline from Dr. Downey.
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 obvious change: your “stubborn” excess skin is gone.
- Discomfort is expected and can be controlled through prescribed pain medication
1 – 3 Weeks after Surgery
- You may return 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.
- Retrain yourself to walk normally again.
3 Months after Surgery
- Patients gradually lose the last traces of swelling and tightness of both the skin and muscle.
- More or less, the final look is revealed.
Final results are easily maintained through diet and exercise. If results fall short of yours and your surgeon’s expectations or if you experience future weight gain, Dr. Downey is also rigorously trained in revision surgery, particularly of body contouring procedures.
Request Your Consultation
To learn more about tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), you can schedule an appointment online or you can call +1 713-496-2427