Tummy Tuck in Fredericksburg, VA
Dr. R. Shane Palmer is known for the exceptional results he achieves with tummy tuck surgery. He is also known for his interest and expertise in working with patients with higher body mass index and after massive weight loss. His attention to detail is why he is the preferred abdominoplasty surgeon for men and women in Washington DC, Fredericksburg, Richmond, Charlottesville, and the surrounding areas of Virginia and Maryland.
What is a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)?
A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure used to restore a more youthful, aesthetic appearance to the stomach area (abdomen). This typically involves the following components:
- Muscle tightening to flatten the belly and narrow the waist
- Excess skin and fat removal to tighten the skin
- Liposuction to remove excess fat, if needed
What Are The Different Types Of Tummy Tuck?
The Mini-Tummy Tuck or mini-abdominoplasty is a modification of the tummy tuck designed for patients with only minimal excess skin in the lower abdomen. The major difference between this procedure and the standard tummy tuck is that no incision is required around the belly button because there is minimal skin laxity above it. There is usually a shorter horizontal scar required as well.
In most patients a standard Tummy Tuck will be required. This involves an incision around and repositioning of the belly button so that the skin laxity above it can be addressed. The horizontal scar is longer, typically extending from hip to hip. The abdominal muscle is tightened as well.
Dr. Palmer also performs an Modified or Extended Abdominoplasty for plus size patients who need more extensive skin and fat removal. This requires a longer horizontal incision that can extend as far as the buttocks. If excess fat and laxity extends all the way around the lower body, as is commonly seen in massive weight loss patients, then the procedure in known as a Body Lift or Circumferential Abdominoplasty.
For patients with a large apron of skin and fat that hangs below the waist (also known as a pannus), Dr. Palmer performs a Modified Abdominoplasty instead of a panniculectomy. This removes the pannus while also repositioning the belly button in order to avoid the disfigurement that often results from a standard panniculectomy. Typically for the Modified Abdominoplasty, Dr. Palmer also tightens to abdominal muscles as well.
How is a Tummy Tuck Performed?
Abdominoplasty is a relatively standardized procedure, however there are some surgeon specific variations that should be mentioned.
One important variable is the incision location. Over the years this has evolved as swim wear has changed. Dr. Palmer places the incision low, such that it is concealed in underwear and modern swimwear. The older “handlebar” incision should be avoided to prevent the sides of the incision from poking out of underwear and swimwear. Although not necessary, it is often helpful if the patient brings in an article of underwear or swimwear the day of the procedure. Dr. Palmer will outline this clothing with a skin marker and that will help ensure that the subsequent incision is placed within these boundaries.
Another variable is the placement of “progressive tension sutures”. This is a newer technique which Dr. Palmer employs to keep tension off the horizontal incision at closure. This is felt to diminish appearance of scarring and to keep the mons pubis from rising to an unnatural position. Minimal flap undermining and quilting sutures are used by some surgeons to reduce the incidence of seroma (fluid collection) and to improve blood to areas which will be healing in the postoperative period.
To eliminate postpartum “baby bulge” and abdominal distension, it is important to give particular attention to muscle plication. Pregnancy, weight gain, and aging cause the muscles in the front of the belly to spread apart. Muscle plication brings these muscles back together to help give a flat belly on profile and to tighten the waist. To correctly and securely accomplish this, Dr. Palmer performs the plication in two layers with double stranded permanent sutures from the breastbone down to the pubic bone.
What Type of Anesthesia Is Used?
Dr. Palmer performs body contouring in our office surgical suite using monitored intravenous sedation and tumescent local anesthesia. Advantages include patient convenience, avoidance of general anesthesia risks, lower cost, easier recovery, and excellent tolerance. The patient is fully monitored throughout surgery by Dr. Palmer’s registered nurse who is qualified and experienced with conscious sedation procedures. This is the anesthesia most used in our office and we are proud of our 100% safety track record since its inception in 2008. No patient has ever required transfer to a hospital, although this is an option if an anesthesia complication were to be encountered.
What Is Recovery Like After Tummy Tuck?
One should not underestimate the recovery required after a tummy tuck. This is a major rearrangement to your abdominal wall, which the body interprets simply as trauma. You will require a responsible adult for transportation and to be available for your care for at least the first week postoperatively. You will leave here with an abdominal garment for light compression to reduce edema and support the belly. You will also have a single drain that will likely be in place for one week and will require intermittent attention. Medications will include a narcotic pain medication (Hydrocodone), an anti-inflammatory (Toradol), an antibiotic, a medication to reduce muscle spasms, and a medicine for nausea should it develop. You will also be instructed to use a stool softener to prevent constipation.
Patients are instructed in safe posture for at least a week and to avoid lifting over 25lbs for at least six weeks. You should not expect to return to work sooner than weeks, with a minimum of three weeks being recommended.
We like to see patients the day immediately following surgery, therefore if you are coming from long distance you should plan to stay the first evening at a local hotel. We can assist you in making these arrangements. Following this first postoperative visit, we typically see patients at one week for drain removal, then the next week for routine postoperative evaluation, and then through the next three months. Most patients are ready for postoperative photos at three months, however some patients (mostly plus size) will need up to six months for all swelling to resolve.
Are There Any Risks Involved With Tummy Tuck?
All surgery carries risk, but you can take steps to minimize the chances of experiencing complications resulting from your abdominoplasty. The most important thing you can do is to work with a board-certified surgeon who is experienced with body contouring. It is also important to understand and follow all postoperative instructions, especially limiting your activity in the first week and avoiding nicotine related products.
What is the Cost of a Tummy Tuck in Fredericksburg, VA?
Tummy Tuck surgery starts at $4,840. When you have a personal consultation with Dr. Palmer, you will receive his full recommendation and your personalized quote for the procedure. Surgical Arts of Virginia accepts payment by cash, personal check, money order, and credit card, as well as financing options through CareCredit®, United Medical Credit and Prosper™ Healthcare Lending.
Abdominoplasty surgery is an effective option for sagging skin and abdominal muscles. Dr. R. Shane Palmer offers tummy tucks for women in Washington DC, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Richmond, Charlottesville, and nearby communities in Virginia. Contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation.