Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) in San Antonio, TX
Time has a way of affecting us all. Changes that involve appearance aren’t always a welcome sight. If pregnancy and parenting or aging and weight fluctuations have altered the tightness of your midsection, you may want to know about the benefits of abdominoplasty.
During a consultation with Dr. Eric Schaffer in San Antonio, TX you can discuss your goals as well as develop a custom plan to achieve the best possible results for you. Dr. Schaffer is a board-certified plastic surgeon with credentials from Harvard Medical School and at the University of Texas Health Science Center who has performed abdominoplasty procedures for over 30 years.
What Is an Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty is the tummy-tightening procedure commonly referred to as a tummy tuck. This cosmetic surgery removes excess tissue that sags across the midsection and, in some cases, around the sides. This gives a more sculpted silhouette for the man or woman wanting the procedure.
Is a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty painful?
No. Your tummy tuck will be performed while you are under general anesthesia. The medication delivered by the board-certified anesthesiologist creates a sleep-state in which the brain cannot register pain signals. You will not feel anything and will likely remember very little about your surgery day. When you wake up in the recovery room and your anesthesia has begun to wear off, you may experience mild to moderate soreness and tenderness. The abdomen may feel noticeably tight. During your recovery, you will take prescription pain medication to mitigate surgical side effects. It is important to take your pain medication exactly as prescribed. Do not, during the first days of your recovery, skip doses. This could lead to pain that is then difficult to get under control.
How can I prepare for the Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty procedure?
First, when considering the tummy tuck procedure, take your time finding a board-certified plastic surgeon with whom you are completely comfortable. You build trust and comfort with your doctor by engaging in a thoughtful discussion during your consultation. During this visit, your doctor may ask about your medical history, including allergies and previous surgeries. They will want to know what goals you have for your surgery and what expectations you have. Be prepared to discuss your lifestyle habits, as well, with full transparency about your use of tobacco, alcohol, other drugs, supplements, and more). Also, come with questions. It is important that you leave your consultation with a full understanding of all aspects of your tummy tuck and recovery.
Steps to help you prepare for the best tummy tuck experience include:
- Develop a strong support system. You will need help during the first week or two of your recovery period. It may take the support of multiple friends and family members to prepare healthy meals, ensure you take your medication as directed, help you bathe and use the restroom, and care for children and pets.
- Eat a healthy diet before surgery. Consuming plenty of lean protein, healthy fats, and fresh fruits and vegetables nourishes your body into optimal healing capacity.
- Avoid certain medications as directed by your surgeon.
- Be mindful of your health and immunity. If you experience signs of a cold or flu, contact the surgeon’s office.
- Avoid tobacco use starting at least one month before your tummy tuck. This decreases the risk of operative complications.
- Avoid alcohol starting one week before surgery. Alcohol can thin the blood, interfere with anesthesia, and cause dehydration that can inhibit healing.
What is recovery like from a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty?
Most patients are back to light daily activities near the end of their first week of recovery. Most can return to work about 2-6 weeks after their procedure. Still, activities that require heavy lifting or pushing, or that increase the heart rate must continue to be avoided. You may resume most normal activities by six-eight weeks post-op. Expect to receive detailed instructions from your surgeon that outline how to care for drains, incisions, and how to manage your comfort. Your post-op instructions may include details regarding what activities to avoid, as well. Examples include smoking, consuming alcohol, vaping, and strenuous physical activity. To help process anesthesia and prescription painkillers, patients are advised to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Narcotic pain medication may cause constipation. If needed, patients may take a stool softener.
The first few days after abdominoplasty are typically the most challenging in terms of pain management and moving around the house. Swelling and soreness are normal. While the muscle tissue and skin are settling into their new shape, it may be most comfortable to sleep in a reclined position, if not in a reclining chair. It may also be advantageous to equip the bathroom with a raised toilet seat and removable shower head. As healing continues, the skin or tissue around the tummy tuck incision may continue to feel numb or tingly. Scars are usually red and raised for some time. As healing progresses, we expect scarring to fade to a very light color.
What is the best way for me to maintain my results?
The results of a tummy tuck can last indefinitely. The cosmetic outcome is best maintained by keeping your weight stable over time. A healthy diet and regular exercise should be sufficient for prolonging the rewarding benefits of your abdominoplasty procedure.
How long does a tummy tuck/Abdominoplasty usually take?
Tummy tuck surgery typically takes anywhere between 3-8 hours. If you combine your tummy tuck with other procedures, your surgeon will advise you regarding how long you should plan on being at the surgical center. This information should be passed along to the person who will pick you up from the facility so they can plan accordingly.
What should I avoid following my tummy tuck/Abdominoplasty?
In addition to avoiding smoking, drinking alcohol, vaping, and strenuous activity (including sex), patients will feel more comfortable if they avoid wearing tight clothing. While recovering from abdominoplasty, it is beneficial to wear clothes that are loose and easy to remove. Patients also want to avoid overdoing it in any way. When comfort begins to improve, the rest that the body still requires may start to feel stifling and frustrating. It is imperative not to rush back to normal activities too quickly. Even as comfort improves, energy may still be lacking. This is because the body is doing a lot of internal work to regenerate tissue strength and flexibility. For at least three to four weeks after a tummy tuck, it is important to rest as much as is needed to allow the body to maintain its healing work.
What Our Patients are Saying
Dr. Eric Schaffer is an extraordinary surgeon. I decided to have a tummy tuck after naturally losing 167 pounds and maintaining my weight loss nearly four years. While my weight loss was a success the excess skin was extremely unattractive. After consulting with four doctors, I knew Dr. Schaffer was the surgeon for me. During my consultation he patiently allowed me the opportunity to ask questions, his responses were thorough and honest. Dr. Schaffer is truly a gifted doctor and I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone interested in a tummy tuck. My results exceeded my expectation and I feel and look amazing! – S.M.
I’m a breast cancer survivor and this was my second trip to surgery with Dr. Schaffer. My tummy tuck was the best thing I ever did for myself. Gave me a whole new outlook on life and Dr. Schaffer did a wonderful job. After care was great too.. I love their staff. – V.J.
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Ideal Candidates for a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty
Men and women who are dissatisfied with their stomachs and are over the age of 18 are suitable candidates for tummy tuck surgery. However, emotional maturity is equally as important as biological age when it comes to cosmetic procedures. Abdominoplasty will not “make you beautiful.” Patients who are most satisfied with their results are those who have a good self-image and have realistic expectations prior to surgery.Candidates for this procedure should be in generally good health, both mentally and physically. Additionally, women must take into consideration their future pregnancy plans when deciding on such a major cosmetic surgery.
Female Abdominoplasty Before And After
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Male Abdominoplasty Before And After
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What are the benefits of an abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty may also improve or eliminate stretch marks that have resulted from weight fluctuation and pregnancy.
An abdominoplasty an outpatient procedure that Dr. Schaffer performs in an accredited surgical facility. In order to control pain and bleeding our staff will also administer epinephrine. Typically, an abdominoplasty reduces the excess and sagging skin and encompasses the entire abdominal area. This includes from the lower abdomen to the area above the belly button. Additionally, patients can opt for a mini tummy tuck which focuses on only the lower abdomen.
To start the procedure Dr. Schaffer will make an incision from one hipbone to the other. In some procedures, a second incision is made around the belly button. Through these incisions Dr. Schaffer can strategically remove and tighten tissue.
Next, the tissue is gently released from the abdominal wall before sutures are placed into the fascia surrounding abdominal muscles. This suturing pulls the muscles into a tighter position. Following this step, Dr. Schaffer will remove the excess skin at the incision line and close the incisions.
Does a Tummy Tuck Procedure Require Anesthesia?
Patients receive a general and local anesthetic to sedate them during surgery.
Risks of a Tummy Tuck
As with any surgical procedure, a tummy tuck comes with the same risks such as infection, bleeding, and poor scarring. A tummy tuck penetrates superficial tissues and fascia so there is also a risk of fluid accumulation and disruption to nerve sensations. To avoid fluid accumulation drains are placed in the surgical area and removed in the days following surgery.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
Abdominoplasty separates then reattaches the muscular structure within the abdominal cavity which means a full recovery from this procedure takes weeks. However, most patients find that comfort improves significantly within the first 5 to 7 days. Patients find that with pain medication and rest they can walk the day after surgery and progress their physical activity, as tolerable, from there. Provided that patient’s job responsibilities do not include heavy lifting or long periods of standing it may be possible to return to work after two weeks.
Tummy Tuck Before And After
Patients who implement healthy lifestyle habits such as daily exercise and a well-balanced diet can enjoy the results of abdominoplasty for decades. While age and weight fluctuations will affect the shape of the body as a whole, the midsection should remain smoother and flatter than it would had that patient not had abdominoplasty surgery.
Tummy Tuck Procedure
Combining Procedures with a Tummy Tuck
Depending on the custom surgical plan Dr. Schaffer plans a tummy tuck can be combined with other procedures in order to achieve ideal results. Liposuction is the most commonly combined procedure. Patients can also choose to have a back lift, arm lift, thigh lift, or a breast lift. In conjunction, these techniques can dramatically refine the contour of the body without additional recovery time.