Sometimes diet and exercise alone are not enough to get rid of stubborn fat around the midsection. If you are dissatisfied with the appearance of your stomach, a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) can provide a dramatic enhancement. Dr. Stephen P. Hardy performs tummy tuck surgery as a stand-alone procedure or in combination with other cosmetic procedures, including liposuction, breast augmentation, breast lift, or breast reduction. If you are interested in learning about tummy tuck surgery and how it can improve your physique, contact our Missoula, MT, practice to schedule a consultation.
Prior to the procedure, Dr. Hardy will conduct a thorough examination to determine whether you are a candidate for tummy tuck surgery, and recommend a treatment plan to achieve your goals. The extent of your treatment will depend on the amount of excess skin and fat you wish to remove, the degree of abdominal muscle separation, and other factors. Dr. Hardy will give you detailed pre-surgery instructions, which may include avoiding certain medications, incorporating more protein into your diet (to promote healing), and abstaining from smoking. During your consultation, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss any concerns.
On the day of surgery, we will administer general anesthesia to maintain your comfort. This also ensures that your abdominal muscles are completely relaxed. Depending on the type of tummy tuck you choose, your surgery could last from 90 minutes to five hours.
Dr. Hardy will make a horizontal incision low on the abdomen so that the resulting scar is concealable with underwear, a bikini, or other swimwear. The shape and length of the incision will vary depending on your needs and goals. After making the incision, Dr. Hardy will lift the skin and tighten underlying abdominal muscles to create a more toned stomach and a narrower waistline. Dr. Hardy will tighten the remaining skin and trim away excess tissue. He may also use liposuction to remove excess fat.
Another incision may be made around the navel to remove excess skin in the upper abdomen. If needed, Dr. Hardy will either reattach your navel in its new position, or create the appearance of a new one. It is important to select a highly experienced surgeon because naval reattachment and sculpting require careful attention to detail in order to produce a natural-looking result.
After completing the surgery, Dr. Hardy will close the incisions with sutures. He will insert a surgical drain at the incision site to prevent fluid buildup. We will remove the drain about a week after your surgery. Your stitches will be completely removed after about two weeks.
Dr. Hardy is committed to guiding you through every step of the process, including recovery. Following surgery, you can expect to experience swelling and bruising. You will need to rest for at least two weeks. You will have to take time off from work, with the duration depending on the extent of your surgery. You should avoid strenuous physical activities, maintain a healthy diet, and sleep with your head elevated for at least two weeks following surgery.
You will be required to empty your drainage tubes and change your bandages several times throughout the day. Dr. Hardy may also direct you to wear a compression garment around your midsection in order to minimize blood clotting. You may be prescribed pain medication to make you more comfortable, and an antibiotic to minimize the risk of infection.
Tummy tuck surgery can provide beautiful results, but like any surgery, it does pose some risks, including blood clotting and infection. The most important step in minimizing risks is selecting an experienced, board-certified surgeon like Dr. Hardy.
If you are self-conscious about your stomach due to the effects of pregnancy or significant weight loss, or you simply desire a tighter, leaner midsection, contact us. During your consultation with Dr. Hardy, you will have the opportunity to discuss tummy tuck surgery and find out about the costs and benefits.