What Is A Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck, also referred to as an abdominoplasty, is a popular body contouring procedure that shapes and tightens the abdomen. Loose, sagging skin and excess fat are removed. Muscles that have been stretched by pregnancy and weight changes may be pulled together. Tighter, flatter abdomens, new belly buttons, beautiful new shapes and contours…these are operations that can produce “Wow!” types of results. A tummy tuck helps provide a fabulous look in a bathing suit during those hot Fort Worth/North Texas summers. That loose, sometimes bulging skin and fat no longer hang over jeans and shorts… “Wow”!
Who Is A Candidate For A Tummy Tuck?
While often thought of as an operation for younger patients, Dr. Kunkel has performed abdominoplasty surgery on patients ranging in age from 22 to 69. As long as the person’s health is good, age by itself should not deter someone from this procedure. Most of Dr. Kunkel’s patients are from Fort Worth and North Texas, but he has performed tummy tucks on women from places like Colorado, Illinois, and Florida as well. Stretch marks are found in every state!
The best candidates for tummy tuck surgery are in good physical condition and have loose skin/sagging skin in the lower abdomen. Maybe some skin drapes over a cesarean section scar. A woman may have “a lap in her lap” when she sits down. Perhaps the wrinkles in the skin around her belly button look like a carnation. Dr. Kunkel and his staff have heard and seen a lot over 20 years; these are some of the common complaints.
Pregnancy can create some pretty dramatic changes to an abdomen…wrinkles, stretch marks, loosening of the muscles with accompanying central bulges. Whether a woman has had one child or she is a mother of multiples (twins, triplets, quadruplets!), tummy tuck surgery can help guide her back to that flatter and tighter abdomen of years ago.
Another group of people who may achieve stunning results with tummy tuck surgery are those who have lost a lot of weight. This form of body sculpting surgery can help complete a transformation and provide a wonderful increase in self-confidence for weight loss patients.
The Tummy Tuck Consultation
An abdominoplasty consultation in Dr. Kunkel’s Fort Worth office takes about 2 hours. The Vectra 3-dimensional photography system is used as part of the consultation. This 3-d system is a powerful educational tool and helps ensure that the patient and Dr. Kunkel are seeing and talking about the areas of the body that are most important to the patient. After listening to and examining the patient, Dr. Kunkel customizes a treatment plan. A tummy tuck consultation is not a quick “in-and-out” visit with a random office staff member. The visit includes substantial interaction with Dr. Kunkel. A booklet written by Dr. Kunkel containing essential information to know about body contour surgery is also provided.
How Is A Tummy Tuck Performed?
Dr. Kunkel performs tummy tuck surgery in a hospital or surgery center in Fort Worth. The patient is put to sleep under the direction of an anesthesiologist (general anesthesia). The procedure takes about 3 hours to complete.
There are a few variations to abdominoplasty surgery. With the most common procedure, an incision is made beginning in the pubic hairline, extending toward the hip on each side. The loose skin and fat are separated from the underlying muscles. In most cases the central abdominal muscles are pulled together, creating what some people have described as an “internal girdle”.
The loose skin is removed next. The umbilicus remains physically attached to the underlying tissues in its normal position. When the loose skin is pulled tight and removed, a new hole must be made for the belly button. The belly button is pulled through the new hole and sutured into place where it had always been. Dissolving sutures are used to close the incisions.
Tummy Tuck With Liposuction (Lipoabdominoplasty)
Many patients choose to undergo liposuction at the same time. Liposuction helps improve the contours of the flanks, back, and abdomen. For a woman who is near her ideal body weight and wants to do what she can to achieve that ‘hourglass’ figure, adding liposuction of the flanks and back can dramatically enhance the result of abdominoplasty surgery.
Tummy Tuck With Fat Grafting
Instead of discarding the fat that is suctioned away, a woman who undergoes liposuction during her abdominoplasty may have the fat injected into other areas. Fat may be added to the buttocks, breasts, and even in small amounts to the face. Fat grafting adds just a few minutes to the procedure but may add a lifetime of subtle contour enhancements.
Mini Tummy Tuck
A mini tummy tuck combines liposuction with a short lower abdominal incision. The incision is usually limited to about the width of the pubic hair. Liposuction is performed to improve contour, and excess skin is removed from the lower central abdomen. The muscles may be tightened, depending on the woman’s findings and desires. An incision around the belly button is generally not performed. A mini tummy tuck works best for a woman who has just a little loose skin in the central lower abdomen and a little fullness from fat. The procedure takes about two hours and women usually go home the same day.
Can A Tummy Tuck Be Combined With Other Procedures?
It is common for a woman undergoing abdominoplasty surgery to have additional procedures performed at the same time. Breast operations are popular. A mommy makeover is a combination of a tummy tuck and breast surgery. Breast augmentation, breast lift, and breast reduction procedures are frequently selected. Some women who require a hysterectomy or bladder suspension also want to have a tummy tuck at the same time. Dr. Kunkel works with many gynecologists and urologists in Fort Worth. Typically the gynecologist or urologist performs that part of the procedure first, then Dr. Kunkel performs the abdominoplasty procedure.
Risks Of Tummy Tuck Surgery
Every surgical procedure includes risks. All operations, from cesarean sections to tubal ligations to tummy tucks include risks of infection, bleeding, blood clots, and difficulty healing. Risks more unique to tummy tucks include the possibility that the belly button could end up in a slightly different position than it had been, the belly button may have a different shape, the scar on one side of the abdomen could be longer or higher than the scar on the other side, and it is possible to have long-term numbness in the lower abdomen or even the upper thighs.
Recovery After Tummy Tuck Surgery
Dr. Kunkel prefers his patients spend the night in the surgical facility. It’s nice to spend the night in a quiet environment, having trained nurses help during the initial part of the recovery process. Intravenous medications are available to help minimize nausea and discomfort. Less nausea and less discomfort make it easier for the patient to get up and start moving, and early movement helps minimize risks of blood clots and respiratory issues.
Spending the night in the surgical facility is not mandatory, but those who do spend the night commonly remark how valuable they found the experience to be.
Patients commonly talk about feeling tired for about five days. Their tissues are usually pulled so tight that they walk in a ‘bent-over’ position during the first several days. Most patients take two or three weeks off from work. Women with young children need to make arrangements for someone else to be driving their kids to school and other activities for the first week. Compression garments are recommended for two or three months. Strenuous activities like running, working out, and swimming should be avoided for about six weeks.
How Much Does A Tummy Tuck Cost In Fort Worth?
The prices listed here include Dr. Kunkel’s fee, the surgical facility fee, the anesthesia fee, and an overnight stay in the surgical facility. Prescription medications cost extra. Insurance may pay the majority of the costs of these but that varies by insurance company. The costs of abdominoplasty surgery will vary, depending on a person’s unique physical attributes, what she hopes to achieve, where the procedure is performed, and the length of the operation.
- A tummy tuck alone, without other procedures: about $9,700.
- A tummy tuck with liposuction of the flanks: about $14,000.
Schedule A Consultation
A tummy tuck creates a flatter, tighter abdomen, and lower abdominal stretch marks are removed. Self-confidence often soars after a tummy tuck! Combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, the results of tummy tuck surgery are likely to provide years of happiness with the shape and look of the abdomen.
Tummy Tuck Videos
Watch this video to see Dr. Kunkel as he is about to start an abdominoplasty:
Dr. Kunkel's Introduction to his 'Before and After' Gallery of Tummy Tucks