Achieve a Lean, Flat Stomach with a Traditional Abdominoplasty

What would life be like if you no longer had to worry about loose skin around your abdomen and an annoying out-pouching of your abdomen that won’t diminish with exercise? With a traditional tummy tuck in Tampa by Dr. Brad Stephan, you can experience these changes first-hand and enjoy the freedom of a lean and firm midsection.  If you feel self-conscious about excess skin and tissue created by pregnancy, significant weight loss, or aging, our surgeon can help.

For your abdominoplasty consultation, visit us at Stephan Surgical Arts. Call (813) 549-6299 to speak to a member of our team and learn more about what we can do for you. 

Your Tampa Abdominoplasty Consultation with Dr. Stephan

The first step in any successful aesthetic surgical treatment plan is to meet with your surgeon to determine the best way to address your current issues. Dr. Stephan provides one-on-one consultations to gain a complete understanding of the extent of loose tissue and explain what you can expect during and after your tummy tuck procedure.

Our entire team at Stephan Surgical Arts believes in patient education. We use your initial appointment as an opportunity to provide all relevant information regarding your surgical treatment. We encourage patients to carefully research the abdominoplasty procedure and bring questions to their consultation, so we may help them make an informed decision about their treatment plan.

What Happens During a
Traditional Tummy Tuck?

This procedure is intended to remove excess abdominal skin and tighten the abdominal muscles to restore an aesthetically-pleasing appearance. Excess skin and widening of the area between the abdominal muscles in the midline (diastasis recti) often occur after pregnancy, with significant weight loss, or even with the effects of gravity and loss of skin elasticity with age. During an abdominoplasty, Dr. Stephan creates an incision low on the abdomen to allow him to effectively remove excess skin, as well as some fat.  For patients with diastasis recti, Dr. Stephan reapproximates the midline muscular structure.

The belly button is repositioned as well to achieve a natural appearance with the newly tightened abdominal tissue in patients with excessive abdominal skin or widening of the midline musculature. After treatment is complete, surgical drains are placed to prevent accumulation of fluid, help with post-treatment swelling, and create the best results.

The benefits of treatment include:

  • A better fit into clothing of all types
  • Improved body confidence
  • Tightening of the abdominal muscles in the midline to restore a natural beautiful abdominal contour
  • Restoration of natural physique

Tummy Tuck Treatment Options at
Stephan Surgical Arts

Our surgeon, Dr. Brad Stephan, provides two primary ways to help you see the results you want from your abdominoplasty: traditional abdominoplasty and liposuction-based abdominoplasty. We review these options during your consultation and help you determine the best treatment for your concerns.

This standard treatment involves excision of loose tissue, which also removes stretch marks from the lower part of the abdominal skin – a part of the surgery that many patients find to be a pleasant surprise.  In addition, the midline of the abdominal muscles is restored to a beautiful natural shape (diastasis recti is fixed). A traditional abdominoplasty is primarily intended to correct drooping skin and diastasis recti, but some fatty deposits may be removed as well. Before treatment, patients should be at or near their ideal body weight to see the best results. Aesthetic surgery is not intended to help with weight loss, although patients do feel lighter after the loose skin and tissue has been removed.

A traditional tummy tuck is a great way to regain your pre-baby body or to achieve ideal contours after your successful weight loss efforts.

Patients who are concerned with stubborn fat and excess skin of the lower abdomen, which often creates a visible belly pooch on a physique that is otherwise balanced, can benefit from abdominal liposuction and removal of excess skin during the same operation. This allows Dr. Stephan to sculpt a trim and lean stomach and waist. This operation is best suited for individuals with minimal to no widening of abdominal wall in the midline (minimal to no diastasis recti). The nuances of abdominoplasty operations are discussed in detail during your consultation.

A procedure that patients sometimes request is revision of a previous abdominoplasty. Patients request this procedure at times due to significant weight fluctuations or multiple pregnancies after a previous abdominoplasty. Another common reason for why patients approach us for a revision is that they were not happy with their previous abdominoplasty performed elsewhere. Dr. Stephan’s experience and meticulous attention to detail allow for safe and aesthetically-pleasing results during revisional surgeries. If you are considering a revision of a previous abdominoplasty, please contact us to schedule an informative consultation regarding your options. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Abdominoplasty

Patients who want to look their best after surgery are justifiably often concerned with scarring post-procedure. Creation of an incision and resultant scarring are unavoidable during any surgery, including an abdominoplasty, but scarring can be minimized and well-hidden with help from our surgeon. Dr. Stephan uses specific types of sutures, types of suturing techniques, and postoperative care regimens to minimize scarring. In addition, the incision is placed low between the hips and is normally concealed by bikinis or underwear. Patients can normally wear any clothing they’d like with confidence, without worrying that their scar will be visible.

Just about every aesthetic surgery results in some swelling. After a tummy tuck, swelling persists for several weeks. Patients are often sent home after treatment with drains and compression garments to help alleviate the swelling.  Individuals who expect to see immediate results after their procedure can be easily frustrated by swelling obscuring their results. However, it’s essential to understand that this will recede. With patience and by following Dr. Stephan’s instructions, patients can quickly make it through this period of swelling and realize their final beautiful physique.

Patients should take at least one week away from work, and some take two for the best result. Immediately after your procedure, you will be sore and drowsy from anesthesia. When you are released to return home, it’s essential to have everything you need set-up ahead of time, such as a comfortable resting area, medication, entertainment, and food and water. Many patients spend the first few days sleeping and taking the prescribed medication to ensure their comfort; you will be tired after treatment, and your body needs adequate rest to heal.

If muscle alignment is repaired during surgery, you will need help standing and getting the recommended amount of movement, as suggested by Dr. Stephan. This helps improve blood flow and allows you to stand up straight as the healing process progresses. After the first week, patients report improvements in energy and mood; some regular daily activities may be resumed then, but patients will have to take it easy for up to six weeks – this includes no heavy lifting or strenuous physical exertion.

During a traditional abdominoplasty, diastasis recti is corrected. Diastasis recti is the widening of the linea alba, a midline band of tissue between the rectus abdominis muscles (the “six-pack” muscles). An increase in intra-abdominal girth (i.e. due to pregnancy or previous obesity) may cause this band of tissue to widen between the left and right rectus abdominis muscles. This may lead to a bulge in the midline of the abdomen, which is different than a hernia.

The skin overlying the abdominal muscles are supplied by both vessels that run between the rectus abdominis muscles and the skin, as well as other nearby “collateral” vessels. Even with use of careful liposuction technique, there is still a small chance of injury to collateral blood vessels that supply the skin. When diastasis recti is corrected (by suturing the sides of the rectus abdominis muscles together to reform the midline of the “six-pack”), there is a small risk of injury to these vessels between the muscle and the skin. If one of the vessel systems is injured, the overlying skin will stay healthy. The risk of injury to either system is small; however, if both systems are injured (i.e. if midline liposuction and tightening of the rectus muscles are performed at the same time), a portion of the overlying skin may die. It is our belief that this risk is not at all worth taking.

Any type of cosmetic surgery is intended to enhance the individual’s aesthetic appearance. None of these operations are indicated to help you lose weight. The traditional abdominoplasty is a great operation to tighten up the abdominal wall and remove excess skin but must not be thought of as a quick way to lose weight.

Drains are commonly used during a traditional abdominoplasty. This is to prevent seroma formation (a sterile collection of fluid between the skin and abdominal wall). The drains are normally removed approximately one week after surgery. 

During a traditional abdominoplasty sutures are normally placed under the skin, except for suture around the umbilicus (which dissolves on its own over the course of one week) and one around each drain (which normally will be removed one week postoperatively). The low incision between the hips is closed in multiple layers with very strong sutures which dissolve over the course of a few months.

Individuals who undergo a traditional abdominoplasty can normally return to work in two weeks. This also depends on the type of work that the individual performs.

Please take multiple short walks (i.e. around the house) as soon as you feel steady on your feet. This is imperative for the recovery process. You will be instructed to slowly increase your activity level. Don’t lift anything heavier than 10 lbs for the first four weeks. You will likely be cleared for full activity without any restrictions by six to eight weeks after surgery. This will be further discussed during your postoperative appointments and tailored to your individual situation.

After a traditional abdominoplasty, there will be multiple layers of sutures in different layers of tissue under your skin. These sutures are very strong and are exceptionally difficult to break. You should not hurt the sutures or your results if you move as instructed by Dr. Stephan. You should take periodic short walks shortly after surgery and advance your activity level as instructed during your postoperative appointments.

An abdominoplasty will not adversely affect your ability to become pregnant. If you become pregnant after having this operation, your abdominal wall and skin may later become lax. The results of your abdominoplasty will change if you become pregnant.

Download the Traditional Abdominoplasty Patient Education & Surgical Consent PDF for more information.

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If you’re ready to enjoy a new look and feel confident in your appearance, visit Dr. Brad Stephan for a tummy tuck in Tampa, FL!

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