We see patients of all shapes and sizes at Imagen. Every one of them has their own individual goals and desires when it comes to their body shape. The most common frustration that we are consulted for is abdominal fat. Some patients are already thin and desire a more flat and tight or defined abdomen; but more often, they are looking for a significant reduction in their abdomen, muffin top or spare tire. Many of the patients we see have some degree of laxity (sagginess) in the skin of their belly. This can come from pregnancy, significant weight loss or even age.
A tummy tuck is an invasive procedure, most commonly done under general anesthesia. It results in a large scar, which generally runs from hip to hip. Down time for a tummy tuck will vary depending on whether you had muscle repair, whether you had lipo at the same time, personal pain tolerance and many other factors. Most patients can expect to be home from work for at least 2 weeks after a tummy tuck.
Our Tummy Tite treatment can provide impressive improvements in skin laxity, but not everyone is a good candidate. So, when do we recommend that patients have a tummy tuck? There are two cases when we generally recommend tummy tuck over SmartLipo with Tummy Tite.
Patients with significant skin laxity, resulting in an “apron”
This often results from pregnancy or significant weight loss, where your skin becomes “too big for your body”. While Tummy Tite can provide significant tightening, we cannot predict how well each individual patient’s skin will respond to the treatment. If your skin actually hangs over, we may advise that a tummy tuck may get you a better result *. We do have patients who still opt for SmartLipo and Tummy Tite in this situation, because of the minimal recuperation time with SmartLipo or because there are more risks associated with general anesthesia and the tummy tuck.
Patients with extensive stretch marks
Liposuction, with or without Tummy Tite, cannot provide improvement for stretch marks. If you have many stretch marks on your belly and are bothered by them, you may be happier with the results from a tummy tuck. If you prefer not to have an invasive procedure, you could consider SmartLipo to reduce the fat and then other treatments to improve the stretch marks (laser, microneedling, PRP).
If you have mild skin laxity, or just a few stretch marks, the decision is a bit harder. You need to consider the outcomes and (along with your doctor) determine which is the best treatment for your case *. When stretch marks are present, they may change after liposuction relieves the pressure on the skin. They sometimes develop a crepe paper appearance. How well this can be hidden depends on where the stretch marks are. The alternative to this would be the hip-to-hip scar, which comes with a tummy tuck. This is generally well hidden with a bikini (but you still may not be able to get rid of all of your stretch marks). Therefore, again, it comes down to your personal goals and desires when choosing which procedure is the right one for you.
If you have any questions or are unsure about which procedure is right for you, it is a good idea to have multiple consultations. Be sure to talk to physicians who provide different services. If they do not perform a particular procedure, they may be less likely to steer you toward that procedure (and out of their office). Ask for before and after photos of patients whose age and “before” body shape is similar to yours. Finally, do your research. RealSelf.com has great patient reviews of different procedures. However, do not forget that the people giving the reviews are not medical professionals and you should always verify with your physician. We are always happy to answer any questions that you might have. You can call our office at 402-509-8473 or email us at [email protected] anytime.