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Question: I'm interested in a tummy tuck, and one of the things I want repaired is the diastasis recti from my three pregnancies. It's more than a 3" gap. Does insurance cover this?
Answer: Insurance coverage varies so it’s best to consult with your individual carrier regarding coverage. Many insurance companies have become more restrictive in recent years and are not covering repair of diastasis recti unless functional impairment can be documented.
Question: What sort of risks or complications may occur with abdominoplasty?
Answer: When performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, the tummy tuck is a safe procedure. However, as with any surgery, there are potential complications. Those associated with the tummy tuck may include infection, bleeding, poor wound healing, unfavorable scarring, fluid accumulation, skin loss, numbness, blood clots, adverse anesthesia reactions, swelling, skin discoloration, fat necrosis, wound separation, asymmetry, pain, deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications, and nerve damage. It's important to carefully weigh the risks and benefits and to find a qualified, board certified plastic surgeon.
Question: What would happen if you have a baby after having a tummy tuck?
Answer: Patients are generally advised to wait until they are finished having children before undergoing abdominoplasty. While pregnancy after a tummy tuck is safe, it will lead to weight gain and skin laxity which can negatively impact the results. These changes would most likely be reversible with a secondary tummy tuck procedure.
Question: How long after my tummy tuck will I need to wear a compression garment or binder?
Answer: Some doctors recommend that patients wear a compression garment after tummy tuck or other body contouring surgeries, while others may not. It's generally believed that compression garments help to minimize swelling and support the treatment area as it heals. Some patients also find that they ease discomfort. They are generally worn for two to four weeks but may be worn for up to six weeks.
Question: What is a mini tummy tuck?
Answer: The mini tummy tuck, also referred to as a partial abdominoplasty, is a less extensive abdominoplasty technique which tightens the lower abdominal wall skin below the belly button. This technique does not address excess skin above the belly button. Unlike a traditional full tummy tuck, the mini tuck can be performed with local anesthesia and sedation rather than general anesthesia. It often involves a shorter incision and thus a smaller scar. The recovery following the mini tummy tuck also tends to be shorter.
Question: I recently heard of something called an extended abdominoplasty. What is this?
Answer: The traditional or standard tummy tuck tightens all of the abdominal wall skin through an incision which runs in the pubic area between the hipbones. The extended tummy tuck provides additional correction in the flanks or sides by extending the incision around the sides to the lower back.
Question: I was a very obese man three years ago but I am happy to say that my weight loss was quite successful. Now the problem I have is sagging, loose skin around my waist, thighs and buttocks. I have read that there is a procedure that will correct all three areas, a belt lipectomy. I have waited for a year to stabilize my weight, I exercise regularly and I am ready. My question is this – how long will this procedure take, is it done under local anesthesia and where will the scars be afterwards?
Answer: Technically speaking, in my opinion the combined procedures that accomplish what you are describing are most appropriately named as an abdominoplasty with a lower body lift. A belt lipectomy or belt-plasty or circumferential abdominoplasty are all terms that describe the same procedure. These operations tighten skin all the way around the waistline but they do not lift and tighten the skin of the buttocks or thighs. A lower body lift is more extensive and involved than the posterior portion of the belt lipectomy, because it does involve lifting and often augmenting the buttocks and lifting and tightening the skin of the lateral and posterior thighs.
None of these procedures is designed to improve the contour of the inner thighs. For that, an additional medial thigh lift procedure would be indicated. Following a lower body lift, a medial thigh lift would also further tighten the skin of the lateral and posterior thighs.
A belt lipectomy or abdominoplasty with lower body lift will probably take between four and five hours. It is most often and most safely performed under general anesthesia. The scars will extend completely around the lower trunk in a belt-like fashion. The scar is meant to be kept low so that it is concealed below the waistline of your swimsuit.
Question: I have a very flabby stomach. I know it got worse after I had a baby but it wasn't that great before. I am looking into abdominoplasty and wonder if it involves the muscles of the abdomen or just the skin and fat.
Answer: Both of these options are possible. Tightening of the muscle/fascia is a routine part of a full abdominoplasty but it is not always necessary. Avoiding this step can reduce the amount of post-op pain and tightness that a patient experiences, and may allow for a more rapid recovery. For patients who have only skin laxity and excess and no laxity of muscle/fascia or separation of the muscle in the central abdomen (rectus diastasis), a “skin only” abdominoplasty may be the best procedure for abdominal contouring. For patients with a significant rectus diastasis, tightening of the muscle/fascia will most likely be necessary to produce the desired improvement in contour. Expansion of the intra-abdominal contents by pregnancy or obesity is usually the cause of a rectus diastasis. The best way to test for this is to lie down flat on your back and do a double straight leg raise while lifting your head up off of the ground. A rectus diastasis is indicated by bulging along the midline of the abdomen.