Choose Abdominoplasty for New Belly Contours in St. Louis, MO
What Is an Abdominoplasty?
A tummy tuck gives St. Louis, MO, residents an opportunity to tighten lax abdominal muscles, remove extra skin and fat from the abdomen, or minimize stretch marks between the belly button and the pubic area. For certain patients, a tummy tuck—also known as abdominoplasty—can provide more dramatic results in the abdomen than any lipo techniques currently available.
At West County Plastic Surgeons, our tummy tuck patients—both women and men—have access to leading innovators in the field of plastic surgery. Dr. Terry Myckatyn serves as director of cosmetic and breast plastic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine, specializing in all forms of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Marissa Tenenbaum also performs all forms of cosmetic surgery and breast reconstruction, employing techniques acquired through working with some of the most respected cosmetic and reconstructive surgeons in the country. Our practice offers a patient-friendly atmosphere and a university medical-school reputation for cutting-edge techniques and technologies that lead to optimal results and patient satisfaction.
What’s New with Abdominoplasty?
Formerly, we would usually place a drainage tube when doing a tummy tuck. Nowadays, we rarely use a drainage tube. This can make recovery easier, making the drainless tummy tuck a more attractive option for many patients.
Less Painful Drainless Tummy Tucks
The West County Plastic Surgeons team has put in considerable effort to help patients recover more quickly. The "Enhanced Recovery Protocol" is now used to reduce pain following an abdominoplasty surgery, minimizing a patient's need to manage pain with medications after their procedure and shortening the recovery window. This protocol has won international plastic surgery awards and been the subject of multiple publications.
We use the Embrace scar management system that goes a long way to making scars lighter and thinner than ever before.
No drains, less pain, less pain medicine, and fewer scars—we have come a long way!
When surgical skill is paired with a clear understanding of each patient's needs and expectations, abdominoplasty can lead to increased personal satisfaction and self-confidence.
Tummy Tuck Basics and Variations
A standard tummy tuck typically results in two incisions: one low-lying incision that extends across the lower abdomen, and another incision concealed around the belly button. Most bathing suits, bikinis, and underwear will conceal these incision scars. However, every person is different, so scar length can be customized to each patient's contour goals. When a standard tummy tuck is not ideal, many St. Louis patients opt to have a short-scar mini-abdominoplasty or an extended abdominoplasty.
Click here to view a video on tummy tucks (abdominoplasty).
A mini-abdominoplasty is for patients who have a small amount of loose abdominal skin accompanied by laxity or separation of the abdominal muscles. Loose skin is removed and abdominal muscles tightened through a short, low scar just over the pubic area.
Click here to view a video on mini-tummy tuck surgery.
An extended abdominoplasty is for patients who have excess skin extending from the abdomen to the flanks accompanied by laxity of the abdominal muscles. A large amount of abdominal and flank skin is removed and abdominal muscles tightened through a low scar that runs along the lower flanks, abdomen, and pubic area. This operation can avoid the formation of “muffin tops” or side bulges that form in people who undergo a standard tummy tuck or liposuction when an extended abdominoplasty would have been a more appropriate procedure for them.
Tummy Tuck Details
Anesthesia: All tummy tuck surgeries are usually performed with the patient under general anesthesia.
Length of procedure: 60 to 90 minutes (mini), 1 to 2 hours (tummy tuck), 2 to 3 hours (extended)
Estimated recovery time: Patients can expect to return to work 10 to 14 days following mini or standard tummy tuck surgery, with a 2 to 3 week window for extended abdominoplasty. Avoid vigorous activity for 3 to 6 weeks, depending on the tummy tuck chosen. Visible bruising typically subsides in 1 to 2 weeks, and swelling begins to resolve within 3 weeks to 1 month. To learn how to prepare for tummy tuck surgery and what to expect afterward, click here to download our patient instructions for abdominoplasty.
Side effects: Common side effects include bruising, swelling, a few spitting sutures, and some numbness, itching, and spasm of the abdomen. You may feel side spams, too, after an extended tummy tuck. For 5 to 10 days after surgery, patients will have drain tubes, and they must walk gently flexed at the waist. To prevent blood clots, most of our St. Louis tummy tuck patients receive an injectable blood thinner called Lovenox® for 5 to 10 days following surgery. Click here to download a detailed consent form from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons that lists the risks and benefits of abdominoplasty.
For before-and-after photos of tummy tuck results, Click here.
Procedures That Complement a Tummy Tuck in St. Louis
Breast Augmentation (Augmentation Mammoplasty)
Patients with redundant abdominal skin who desire larger breasts or a more rounded shape to the upper part of the breast may choose to undergo breast augmentation.
Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
Patients who have nipples that point down and descended breasts may choose a breast lift. This procedure can lift breast tissue and nipples higher so they appear more youthful.
Simultaneous Breast Augmentation and Breast Lift
Some women may benefit from additional breast volume, tightening of the breast skin, and repositioning of the nipples to a more youthful position. This is often best achieved with a combination breast lift and a breast augmentation, also known as an augmentation mastopexy.
Click here to read Dr. Tenenbaum's article on combining breast surgery and abdominoplasty.
Removal of fat from the sides, thighs, back, and buttocks with standard tumescent liposuction provides a nice complement to a tummy tuck.
The main focus of a tummy tuck at St. Louis' West County Plastic Surgeons is to tighten lax muscles and remove sagging abdominal tissue that creates the appearance of a pouch or gut. Though it may involve some small amount of liposuction for fine-tuning contours, an abdominoplasty is most often chosen by patients who have lost a significant amount of weight on their own—whether by diet and exercise or surgery—but find that they're left with excess skin that continues to give them a flabby look.
Combining a tummy tuck with liposuction is designed for patients who want to combine the fat-reduction benefits of a standard abdominal liposuction procedure with the tightening effects of a tummy tuck. Putting the two together allows patients to enjoy the results of both surgeries with only one recovery time afterward. This is ideal for people who are close to their target body weight but need a little extra help in achieving their desired shape. Note that the procedure is not intended for weight-loss purposes, but will provide cosmetic changes in the form of a sleeker, slimmer silhouette. To learn more about tummy tuck, liposuction, or other body contouring procedures, contact the team at West County Plastic Surgeons.