New England’s Leading Abdominoplasty Procedures
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Abdominoplasty Before & After Gallery
My full experience with Sterling Plastic Surgery for my tummy tuck, from consultation to post-op follow ups, exceeded my expectations. After a 60+ lb weight loss and being extremely dissatisfied with my belly left behind, I cautiously went in for a consultation to explore my options. Upon meeting Dr. Sterling and hearing him speak about the procedure and what he can do to improve my body, I knew, without a doubt, I would be getting the results I had been hoping for. His knowledge and confidence was incredibly reassuring. Not only was Dr. Sterling knowledgeable, but the entire medical and office staff of Sterling Plastic Surgery is bright, amazing, positive and incredibly accommodating for someone with a crazy hectic schedule.
My surgery was perfect and recovery was smooth. I took all Dr. Sterling’s suggestions & orders seriously and felt as well as I could from start to finish during my recovery process. I am now left with the flat stomach I always imagined I had! I would not change a thing about my experience with Sterling Plastic Surgery and would be back for any future needs and recommend them to anyone!!
To say my life has been changed is an understatement. When I looked into abdominoplasty and saw what my belly could look like, I was so eager to have the surgery. I knew my stomach wouldn’t look perfect and I would be left with a big scar but I felt it was better than the loose sagging skin and stretch marks my kids had left me with. I made the decision to do it and I’m SO glad I did! My results are no less than AMAZING!!! After a year and a half, my scar was completely smooth and very light. I chose to have a large tattoo on my stomach and now you cannot tell I have even had surgery! Dr. Sterling is a miracle worker and his staff are fabulous! If you’re considering Dr. Sterling for your surgery, RUN, don’t walk to his office and get it done! He will change your life as he has changed mine! Thank you so much Dr. Sterling!
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. Before, nothing I did gave me the results I wanted. So, I just stopped trying and didn’t care about my diet. After three children via C-section, it seemed my belly was hopeless.
Now, for the first time in eight years, I actually look through the Victoria’s Secret bikini catalog shopping, instead of self-disgust. I feel better, I look better and I am happier. Its funny what a simple change can make in your overall happiness, when as a person, working hard for a good figure and not getting it can get you so down.
I remarked to a friend that I feel like I felt 15 years ago, self-confidence wise.
The recovery, while not a breeze, was not as difficult as I thought it would be and I would do this over again in a heartbeat.
Dr. Sterling seems to know exactly what to do to get realistic results that meet a patient’s goals. I was thrilled with the results and the costs were reasonable. The staff at the Elliott One Day Surgery Center was wonderful.
If you are considering this procedure, I would recommend Dr. Sterling for many reasons, and have already for several friends that are considering it in the next few years.
As I sit and write this letter, a testimonial long overdue considering the daily gratitude I feel for Dr. Sterling, I can say I am perfectly happy with my body and I feel confident and beautiful. I am tall and thin and my body was never an issue for me before I had children. We all find flaws in ourselves, but I knew I was pretty darn lucky. I had twins in 2007. Having any child is detrimental to a woman’s body, but having twins is complete body trauma. When I was pregnant my abdomen and breasts were so huge and stretched, I looked like I could tip over. I watched my body change, and although having children was a wonderful and exciting time for me, it was strange to see what was familiar and likable about my body disappear. No one knows how her body will react to pregnancy and I know some people bounce right back. That was impossible for me.
When my twins were 3-years old I realized I was mourning for my pre-pregnancy body. No one who knows me would characterize me as a self-centered or vain person. I felt guilty thinking about myself and considering the possibility of plastic surgery, however, I also understood that pregnancy had changed my body dramatically, and it seemed logical to repair the damage. My breasts really deflated after I was done nursing, from a C cup to an AA cup. Before my implants, I had very little breast tissue left, my breasts just sat on my ribs, in a manner I imagine only seen on an old woman. The skin on my stomach was loose and rippled with stretch marks. I was embarrassed to wear a bathing suit, even a one piece, and I was self-conscious about my body in front of my husband. I didn’t look at myself in the mirror.
It was my mother who actually told me to at least go to a consultation. She truly understood how uncomfortable I was about how I looked. She said, “People repair dents and scratches on cars even if it’s only cosmetic. You should not feel guilty for wanting to repair your body after pregnancy.”
I researched plastic surgeons extensively before scheduling any consultations. After meeting Dr. Sterling I knew I didn’t need to look any further. What impressed me most about Dr. Sterling when I first met him was not only how knowledgeable and intelligent he was, but also how warm and funny he was. He listened to all of my concerns, and spent a significant amount of time talking to me. Plastic surgery is a big decision, and knowing that the Dr. is taking it as seriously as you are is really important. Dr. Sterling was a remarkable listener and such a likable person that I knew instantly that he was the one. It’s like picking out your wedding dress, you just know!
Dr. Sterling gave me a mini-tummy tuck and breast implants in mid-August. I was able to go back to teaching 2 weeks later with no pain. I was blown away by the rapidity of my recovery and the speed in which my implants dropped into place and became soft and natural. I have spoken to many other women, who went to other doctors, who took over three months to start showing final results after breast augmentation. Within one week my incisions were healed. In one month my breasts looked amazing. My tummy looked great right away. I was able to go out for lunch the day after my surgeries and experienced minor pain and discomfort. In my extensive research, this type of recovery was really unheard of! Dr. Sterling performs miracles.
I cannot speak more highly of Dr. Sterling’s skill or ability. My results are incredible and I feel wonderful. I am so happy that I chose to take care of myself and repair my body after pregnancy. I thought I would encounter negativity after my surgeries, but women really seem to understand the importance of feeling good about ourselves after we have children. I think my children have only benefited from having a happy, confident mommy.
I highly recommend Dr. Sterling. I did my research and I am positive my results could not be better.
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!