Abdominoplasty in Manchester, NH
New England's Leading Abdominoplasty Procedures
By Daniel A. Sterling, MD, FACS
Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is an extremely popular surgical procedure with more than 110,000 women having had it done in the United States in 2011 alone. The most common reason women elect to have a tummy tuck is the changes to their abdomen from childbirth, mainly loose skin and stretch marks. Many women are uncomfortable with the changes in their bodies that occur after childbirth, with the most often affected areas being the breasts and abdomen, both of which can be corrected in very safe and common procedures performed routinely at my plastic surgery practice in New Hampshire.
Massive weight loss also results in similar changes, and many patients complete their transition to a healthier body with a tummy tuck.
During pregnancy, the deep abdominal wall is stretched as is the overlying skin resulting in laxity of all the layers of your abdomen. A widening of the central portion of the abdominal wall is called diastasis recti. Stretch marks, also known as striae, may also be present, usually in the mid- to lower portion of the tummy.
Some women find it difficult to lose the last few pounds that they gained during pregnancy, most of which is in the abdominal area. The good news is that all of these issues are addressed at the time of your surgery as part of the tummy tuck procedure!
Tummy tuck benefits
The deep abdominal wall is strengthened by performing a plication of the diastasis recti, resulting in a flattening and tightening of the tummy. The skin (including stretch marks) and fat are then removed and the skin edges pulled tight to give you a flat tummy with no loose skin.
Most women are able to wear a bikini following a tummy tuck since the scar is hidden in the lowest portion of the abdomen. If you have a scar from a cesarean section it is removed at the time of your tummy tuck.
If you are looking to regain the figure you had prior to childbirth, if you have loose skin after weight loss or you’re just carrying some extra weight in the lower abdomen, then abdominoplasty may be just the procedure you are seeking.
There is a variation of abdominoplasty called panniculectomy, but this is reserved for patients that are usually heavier. It is more of a functional procedure, rather than a purely cosmetic procedure.
Abdominoplasty for men and women
Abdominoplasty can be done for both men and women who carry extra fat in the lower abdomen but are otherwise in relatively good shape and just a bit overweight.
At the time of your consultation, your tummy will be examined for laxity of all the layers of the abdomen. If a diastasis recti or hernia is present, it will be repaired at the time of your surgery. All of the details of the procedure will be discussed including the location of your scar, the routine on the day of surgery, what to avoid immediately before and after surgery, and things you can do to optimize your result.
Many photos are available for your review as are past patients to whom you can speak for support if you desire. If you decide to have surgery, you will receive paperwork detailing pre- and post-operative instructions, consents, prescriptions and everything else you might need to make the procedure as stress-free as possible. Together we will plan your procedure so as to restore the form and function you are seeking.
Tummy Tuck FAQs
How long does the procedure take and do I have to stay overnight in the hospital?
A tummy tuck usually takes about two hours to complete. You then spend several hours in the recovery room until you are drinking fluids, walking around, and are able to go to the bathroom. A drain will be in place and you will be instructed prior to discharge how to care for it. It is very easy to do and will require emptying usually twice a day until it is removed in one to two weeks. An abdominal binder will also be covering your abdomen to help maintain gentle pressure and provide comfort during the early portion of your recovery. Unless you have a pre-existing medical issue, you will not be required to stay overnight in the hospital, although it can be arranged if you desire to do so. Virtually none of my tummy tuck patients over the last 8 years have needed a hospital stay and our safety record has been outstanding. Patients that live more than an hour away stay in a local hotel and are seen in the office the following morning prior to your departure for home.
What type of anesthesia is used?
Abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia. This is the safest method and allows you to receive medications to minimize your pain and any anxiety you may have surrounding the time of surgery. Multiple agents are administered to prevent nausea and vomiting so you should not be concerned about that being an issue postoperatively. You will wake up gradually and sleep in the recovery room for several hours and before you know it you will be up and able to walk to the bathroom.
Will I have a lot of pain afterward?
You will have a moderate amount of discomfort the first few days, but it improves quickly as you begin to become more active. A combination of medications will be provided and I encourage you to take whatever you need during those first two or three days to be comfortable. The most important thing to remember is to take what you need prior to the onset of pain. Most patients are able to manage their pain with Tylenol or Advil within a day or two after surgery.
How active can I be after surgery and what are the restrictions?
I require you to walk several times the evening of surgery. The most important thing you can do to minimize pain and decrease the risk of complications is early ambulation and keeping yourself well-hydrated. I tell my patients to act as if they had a bad cold, meaning you still remain active but get as much rest as you can. I encourage you to resume light exercise within a few days and even allow you to walk around outside or on a treadmill if you desire. After six weeks I remove all restrictions and you can do as many sit-ups or run a marathon if you wish. Once your drain is removed you can begin swimming.
What are the risks and complications associated with tummy tuck surgery?
The incidence of major complications from abdominoplasty in my practice is exceedingly low and certainly below 1%. The most common complication is a collection of fluid that needs to be drained in the office; perhaps 5% of my tummy tucks require this. It is painless to drain and usually resolves after being drained once. Other complications include infection and bleeding but are, as I mentioned above, exceedingly infrequent. As with all of my procedures, we make sure you are cleared by your regular physician and check all pertinent lab work that may be indicated.
Where is my surgery performed?
The majority of my procedures are performed at the Bedford Ambulatory Surgery Center (BASC) located just off Rte. 293 on South River Rd. in Bedford. The BASC is known for being a very comfortable and convenient setting, and has an outstanding reputation for patient safety.
Certain procedures are done at The River’s Edge facility located adjacent with the Queen City Bridge in Manchester, NH.
The staff at both locations is highly trained to care for my cosmetic surgery patients and almost all comment on how well they were treated.
When do I see you after surgery?
We see you in the office the morning after surgery to exam you and answer any questions you may have. Then you are seen weekly until your drain is removed and at 3, 6 and 12 months, all included in the cost of surgery.
After the initial month post-surgery, I had follow-up visits every few months to make sure I was healing properly. Nearly a year after my first consultation with Dr. Sterling, I finally look like I feel – healthy and happy. I can confidently wear tank tops. My clothes fit well (I threw out all my shape wear!). I ran my first half marathon four months ago. And, for the first time in my life, I feel sexy… read more
First, I want to apologize for taking so long to write this testimonial. Life is so busy, and I should have taken the time sooner to thank you for my new figure. I am so thrilled with the result from my tummy tuck and liposuction in late January. I have a new confidence and lease on life, and I’m taking on more challenges physically and fitness wise…. read more
My Dear Dr. Sterling, You gave me back my life!! If I could have done this earlier in my life I would have but it doesn’t matter because to date it’s the best thing I have ever done for myself and the best money I have ever spent. Dr. Sterling, you did an amazing job and your staff was friendly and attentive. This tummy tuck made me look 10-15 years younger!… read more