Dr. Griffin's Tummy Tuck 101

A Lipoabdominoplasty corrects three main areas of concern:

  • Liposuction of the entire abdominal wall is used to reduce the fat thickness throughout. 
  • The rectus abdominis muscles (or the sit-up muscles) are repaired. With most  pregnancies, these are stretched apart in the middle and no amount of crunches will work!
  • Finally, the excess skin is removed resulting in a contoured flat tummy.

Not everyone needs a full lipoabdominoplasty or full abdominoplasty. If the area of loose skin and fat is entirely below the bellow button, a mini-abdominoplasty/lipoabdominoplasty is possible.  During a mini, the incision can be hidden in the bikini area, and there is no scar around the belly button. Women who have had Cesarean Sections are delighted to find out Dr. Griffin can often use the same incision.

If the area that is to be treated also includes loose skin in the upper abdomen, Dr. Griffin may suggest a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). In this procedure, the incision extends outward toward the hipbone. The length of the incision depends on the amount of skin that needs to be removed. It is usually possible for Dr. Griffin to place these incisions so they can be hidden underneath a swimsuit. There may also be an incision around the belly button as this is repositioned during the tummy tuck.

It is important to understand that abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is not considered a weight loss procedure and is best suited for men and women that are in relatively good shape. A tummy tuck is not recommended for you if you still need to lose a significant amount of weight or if you plan on becoming pregnant again.

Operation and Recovery

Dr. Griffin performs abdominoplasties (tummy tucks) and lipoabdominoplasties under general anesthesia in a certified accredited surgery center.  The procedure is done as an outpatient procedure and can last anywhere from 1 - 3 hours depending upon the type of procedure and any additional procedures being performed.   

Helping our patients manage a speedy recovery is one of our primary goals. The length of the recovery will depend on the amount of muscle repaired, and the physical condition of the patient. For a full abdominoplasty, the recovery period is usually 3 to 4 weeks, but can be longer-particularly if you have a strenuous job. This may seem a like long time, but the muscles repaired are used for everything we do. The better the repair, the better the long term result. For a mini-lipoabdominoplasty, the recovery period may be shorter, but you should plan on a recovery time of at least 2-3 weeks.

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Will I have a drain?  How long will it be in?

Drains are often used in abdominoplasties and lipoabdominoplasties to remove the fluid that is secreted by your body into the space created in surgery between your muscle and skin. Traditionally, two drains are used and usually are removed between 7 and 10 days after surgery. Dr. Griffin has recently begun using a technique called subcutaneous plication to help decrease the amount of fluid produced and lessen the number of drains and the length of time that they are required. With this technique, only one small drain is necessary and is removed in 5 to 7 days.

Do I have to wear special garments, and how long?

After your surgery, but while you are still under anesthesia, Dr. Griffin will place foam pads and a compression garment to help control swelling and bruising. This Velcro garment can be removed for showering. After one to two weeks, Dr. Griffin will allow you to wear a lighter compression garment. Compression garments are necessary for the first three to four weeks after surgery, but most patients tell us they continue to wear some form of compression (Spanx) for several months after surgery.