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Abdominoplasty Northern Virginia

… …With A Lot Less Pain

Tummy tucks are surgical procedures used to correct protruding or sagging in the abdominal area. These areas seem immune to diet and exercise, and may be the result of aging, weight loss, or childbirth.

There are two general categories of tummy tucks: Complete abdominoplasty and partial abdominoplasty. When deciding which type is right for you, it is important to understand the risks and benefits of each procedure as well as your individual needs and goals, and discuss the options with the experienced  Virginia plastic surgeons at the Virginia Center for Plastic Surgery before making your final choice.

Complete Abdominoplasty Procedure

A complete tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure, which usually takes about two to four hours.

In a complete tummy tuck:

  • Alexandria cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Desman makes an incision that spans the lower abdomen, from one pubic bone to the other, and then detaches the belly button to allow for full access to the abdominal area.
  • Your skin is lifted to expose the covering over the abdominal muscles. Dr. Desman then pulls these muscles closer together and stitches them in place to create a tighter abdomen and a narrower waistline.
  • Your skin is then pulled back over the area and stitched into place. This removes excess skin and cuts a new hole to replace the now-displaced belly button. Sometimes liposuction of the flanks or hips may also be recommended by your surgeon.


Partial Abdominoplasty Procedure

A partial tummy tuck is a less invasive version of the complete tummy tuck, suitable for those who require less extreme changes. Determining whether or not you are a candidate for a partial tummy tuck really depends upon your exam.

In a partial tummy tuck:

  • The initial incision is smaller than with the complete tummy tuck, and the belly button is not detached. The only tightening occurs below the belly button.
  • Once the incision is made, Dr. Desman lifts the skin up to the point where it is attached at the belly button and tightens the abdominal muscles below the belly button, as in the complete tummy tuck.
  • Your skin is then pulled back over the area, removing excess skin, and stitched back into place. Because the belly button is not detached in a partial tummy tuck, Dr. Desman does not need to create a new one as in the complete tummy tuck.

Tummy Tuck Recovery With A Lot Less Pain

Recovering from the tummy tuck procedure depends on the individual and how you respond to the procedure. You will have swelling for the first few days following the procedure.

You may be worried about the pain associated with tummy tuck surgery. Narcotic pain prescriptions have been the mainstay of treatment in the past. Unfortunately you can have side effects like nausea, drowsiness and constipation. Another option for managing your pain has been to insert a pain pump. Your surgeon places a tube through the skin of your upper abdomen that disperses an anesthetic to the surgical area. Your anesthetic solution is stored in a bulb about the size of a tennis ball and is automatically released over a period of about three days. You may find this somewhat cumbersome and restricts your movement. Also, you may not get optimal relief of your pain because the solution randomly floats under your skin.
Dr. Desman now uses a medication called Exparel, a slow release numbing agent that is injected during the surgical procedure which makes a huge difference to the first few days of your recovery! Here’s why – the key to minimizing these problems is to reduce the pain at its source so there is less of a need for narcotic medication. Exparel is injected once during surgery directly into the tissues that cause your pain. You get slow release pain medication delivered exactly where you need it. Since its’ FDA approval in 2011, Experal, has become increasingly popular. You may notice the effects for about 72 hours, which is the duration of the worst part of the post-surgical discomfort. Dr. Desman routinely uses Exparel in his tummy tucks (and mommy makeovers).

Your stitches will dissolve on their own, so there is no suture removal after surgery. A support garment will help as the healing process continues for anywhere between two to six weeks.

It may take weeks or months before you feel fully normal and are able to resume all normal activities. The length of recovery, as with anything, depends on the type of surgery performed and on individual physiological factors. It is recommended that you adopt an exercise program after the procedure when released by Dr. Desman. This will both speed the healing process and maximize the results of the procedure.

Please visit the following pages to learn more about abdominoplasty:

If you live in the Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, or Springfield, Virginia area, and are interested in finding out more about the tummy tuck procedure, please contact board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Desman at the Virginia Center for Plastic Surgery. We also serve patients in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC.

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