With three different procedures available, local surgeons discuss everything you need to know about tummy tucks

Post-pregnancy mommies and extreme weight loss patients love it when they reach their goal weight because it’s the moment when they realize that all their hard work paid off.

Their goal has been realized.

What they don’t love, though, is the loose, sagging skin that significant weight loss can leave behind. Even though most of the belly is gone, the stubborn skin that dangles around the waist often sticks around, no matter how many times or how intense they work the core.

This is why many people looking to get rid of that little bit extra are turning to abdominoplasty plastic surgery, also known as a tummy tuck, to reshape their abs and get their rockin’ core back. More than 144,000 tummy tucks were performed in 2010, making it the 4th most popular cosmetic surgical procedure, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

There are three common types of tummy tuck surgeries: the mini, the traditional, and the extended tummy tuck.

Traditional Tummy Tucks

The traditional, or full tummy tuck, targets the entire abdominal area, both above and below the belly button.

Liposuction is frequently performed at the same time as a tradition tummy tuck to improve contouring and provide better cosmetic results. The traditional tummy tuck is most commonly performed on post-pregnancy or weight-loss patients to reshape the entire abdominal area, says Dr. John Williams of John Williams MD Plastic Surgery in North Scottsdale.

Mini Tummy Tucks

The mini tummy tuck targets the area below the belly button — the lower abdomen.

It is mainly targeted for a “very specific patient” that has some excess skin below the belly button, according to Dr. Williams, an American Board of Plastic Surgery certified plastic surgeon for more than 15 years.

Extended Tummy Tucks

The extended abdominoplasty covers the entire abdominal area, improving the waist and smoothing the shape of the upper lateral thigh as well.

An extended tummy tuck is a more extensive procedure that is often used for extreme weight loss patients because this procedure reshapes the abdominal area as well as the waist and the upper lateral thigh areas in many cases, says Williams.

Current Trends

Valley doctors are finding that many abdominoplasty patients are now opting for combination procedures, where they get an abdominoplasty and another surgery — such as breast augmentation  —  performed simultaneously to save money and share downtime for the procedures.

One way this is gaining popularity is with the “Mommy Makeovers” for post-pregnancy women.

According to Scottsdale double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Sumer Daiza, who owns the Plastic Surgery Center of Scottsdale, the Mommy Makeover series of body contouring procedures is currently the most popular cosmetic surgery package.

The Mommy Makeover includes a package of cosmetic surgeries that address areas that pregnancy can impact, including the abdomen and breasts.

“(The Mommy Makeover) is popular with my patients because they have multiple surgeries done at one time,” says Daiza, who has been practicing for nine years.

Daiza’s Mommy Makeover patients often end up getting tummy tucks and breast augmentation at once to lessen the cost of anesthesia fees. Also, multiple surgeries at one time means only one period of recovery time for busy moms who are looking to get their pre-baby bodies back, she says.

Williams says that his take on the Mommy Makeover, the Total Body Rejuvenation, is also very popular with his patients. This typically includes a tummy tuck, breast augmentation and some liposuction.

Another popular option that Williams offers is his high-lateral-tension tummy tuck.

“My high-lateral -tension tummy tuck is very popular because it creates much more tension to really define the abdominal muscles,” Williams says. “I am one of the only ones in the Valley doing this.”

Downtime and Risks

As with any surgical procedure, certain risks or potential complications are possible with an abdominoplasty. Some of the risks associated with tummy tuck procedures include blood clots, infection and anesthesia risks, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Both Daiza and Williams agree that the most important thing you can do to ensure your safety is to research the doctor you want to perform your surgery.

“The plastic surgeon should be board certified,” Williams says.

Daiza suggests using the resources available to patients, including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website, www.plasticsurgery.org, to check out potential doctors. It is important for the doctor to have the proper credentials.

She also suggests you ask the doctor about their hospital privileges for tummy tuck procedures.

“The key is it is all about educating yourself,” Williams says. “Potential patients have to do their homework.”

For more information about tummy tucks:

Plastic Surgery Center of Scottsdale
18325 N. Allied Way, Phoenix
(480) 585-0011

John Williams MD Plastic Surgery
9377 E. Bell Road
(480) 502-5755

Scottsdale Living Magazine Fall 2011