Body Contouring - Frequently Asked Questions
ABDOMINOPLASTY or TUMMY TUCK:
Q: How do I know if I am a good candidate for tummy tuck plastic surgery?
A: If you have excess skin of the abdomen that does not go away with diet and exercise or may even become worse in its appearance after diet and exercise, you are likely a very good candidate for a tummy tuck. Dr. Godat will determine the appropriateness for surgery at the time of your consultation.
Q: I have been trying to lose weight before a tummy tuck. Should I wait before I talk to Dr. Godat?
A: Losing some weight often helps achieve a better result. You can discuss this with Dr. Godat at the time of consultation. If you do need to lose some weight before the operation, Dr. Godat can help you achieve this goal.
Q: Is a mini-tuck an option?
A: Few patients are actually good candidates for the mini tuck since it only addresses a minimal amount of extra skin. Dr. Godat will be able to tell you at the time of consultation if you are a good candidate for the procedure or if a traditional tummy tuck is the best option.
Q: What kind of anesthesia will I have for tummy tuck surgery?
A: General anesthesia is always recommended for tummy tuck surgery.
Q: Will I have staples?
A: No. There will be 3 layers of internal sutures that will dissolve over time, and an external layer of Dermabond (surgical glue) that will peel off within three weeks.
Q: How long will I need to take off work?
A: Most patients return after 2 weeks. The first week you will be very sore and walking with a slight bend at the waist. By the second week, patients are walking upright with significantly less pain.
Q: How long will it be before I ran return to exercise?
A: Three weeks, starting slowly and working up to a full routine at six weeks.
Q: Do I have to wear my abdominal binder at night?
A: Yes, you should wear it at all times for three weeks after surgery except to shower and to launder the binder. You will need two binders after surgery.
Q: When do the drains come out?
A: The drains are typically removed after one week while larger abdominoplasties require more time before they are removed. When drain output is less than one ounce per 24-hour period, the drains can be removed.
Q: When does all of the swelling go down so that I can see my final result?
A: Most of the swelling will go down after the second week, but six weeks is required for all of the swelling to dissipate.
Q: What’s the most common complication of abdominoplasty surgery?
A: Seromma. This is a collection of clear, yellow blister-like fluid that can collect in a discrete area of the abdominal wall, causing swelling in this area that does not go away on its own. This occurs in 10 to 15% of patients. It resolves after being drained in the office. Since the area around the incision is associated with numbness, the procedure is painless and takes less than five minutes. Some serommas require repeated drainage.
Q: Can I get pregnant again after abdominoplasty surgery?
A: Yes, abdominoplasty alone will not affect your ability to get pregnant or have a normal pregnancy. It will, however, stretch out the muscles and skin of the abdominal wall. If you are considering getting pregnant, do not get an abdominoplasty for this reason.
Q: Can I get a tummy tuck at the time of a hysterectomy or tubal ligation or other gynecologic procedure?
A: Yes, this is an excellent opportunity to get a tummy tuck as it may be combined with some gynecologic procedures. Additionally, some of the costs may be defrayed in combination with an insurance procedure.
Q: Will I stay overnight?
A: No, an abdominoplasty is performed as a day surgery procedure.
Q: What do I get for pain relief after tummy tuck surgery?
A: Oral narcotic pain medication will be provided as well as valium for muscle relaxation. Anti-inflammatory medication is also recommended.
Q: How do I know if I’m a good candidate for liposuction?
A: If you have discreet areas of fat that have persisted despite diet and exercise, then you are likely to be a good candidate for liposuction. If your body habitus is heavier and you have issues with fat in multiple locations, diet and exercise may be recommended before liposuction. You can discuss this with Dr. Godat at the time of your consultation and he can help you with weight loss if this is indicated. Obese patients are not recommended for liposuction, but may instead be candidates for bariatric surgery. Dr. Godat can refer you to a good bariatric surgeon for further evaluation.
Q: Does Dr. Godat do laser liposuction, or any other kind of new techniques?
A: Dr. Godat does traditional liposuction since he feels it is the best technique. There are no long-term studies available to show the long-term effects of the newer techniques. Every year, there is a “new” technique in liposuction promoted by one company or another. None of these techniques, including laser liposuction, have shown an ability to remove a significant amount of fat. Their effects are minimal and certainly worth the expense. Traditional, or tumescent, liposuction remains the only technique to have a demonstrable effect on removal of fat and improve contour significantly.
Q: What kind of anesthesia do I need for liposuction?
A: Liposuction alone or in just a few areas may be done under sedation or general anesthesia. Dr. Godat recommends general anesthesia for liposuction in multiple areas or in combination with other procedures.
Q: How is liposuction surgery performed?
A: Several quarter inch incisions are placed around the area to be treated. Through these incisions, a tumescent solution, a cannula, is placed with a thin metal tool. The solution contains an anesthetic and epinephrine to eliminate blood loss. Several minutes after the solution is placed, the fat is then sucked out through openings at the end of steel cannulas that range in diameter from a twelfth to a quarter-inch and six to twelve inches in length until a smooth, even contour is achieved.
Q: Where are the incisions?
A: There are 6mm (1/4 of an inch) incisions placed accordingly around the area that will be treated. A single small stitch is placed on the incision. The stitches will be removed one week after surgery during the first post-operative visit. After a year, these incisions can hardly be detected.
Q: What is the recovery time before I can return to work?
A: You can return to work as soon as you feel able. Some patients have returned to work two days after liposuction. No heavy lifting for 3 weeks. There will be mainly soreness rather than pain for the few weeks following surgery. Return to work depends on individual variability and the extent of the liposuction.
Q: How long do I have to wear the compression garments after surgery?
A: Dr. Godat recommends that you wear the compression garments for three weeks. You should have two sets and the garments should be worn 24 hours a day, seven days a week except to shower and launder. Dry gauze should be kept under the garments, over the incisions for the first 24 hours after surgery.
Q: How long before I see my final results?
A: Most swelling resolves after two weeks, however residual swelling can take up to two months to resolve before you can see the final result.
Q: How long will I be sore?
A: The majority of soreness dissipates after the first week, some mild soreness will remain for up to six weeks. This will not prevent you from participating in work, or regular activity, or exercise. There is no incisional pain.
Q: When can I exercise?
A: You can exercise starting three weeks after the surgery. Start slowly and build up to your regular pre-operative routine at sixe weeks.
Q: Will I have numbness after liposuction surgery?
A: Frequently patients have wide areas of numbness that resolve over periods of weeks to months. In some cases, areas of numbness may be permanent.
Q: Will I get fat in other areas because I had liposuction surgery?
A: Liposuction surgery in selected areas will not cause disproportionate gain in other areas.
Q: Can I gain weight in areas that I have had liposuction?
A: Yes. Liposuction permanently removes fat cells, however the cells that remain have an infinite capacity to enlarge as a person gains weight.
Q: How long does liposuction surgery last?
A: It lasts as long as a person maintains their weight, which will be dependent upon the patient’s diet and exercise routine.
Q: Am I a good candidate for contouring of the arms or thighs?
A: Traditionally, arm and thigh contouring has been performed on patients who have loose or sagging skin, or who having gone through pregnancy have lost and gained some weight. Despite diet and exercise this loose skin can still remain. These patients typically are very good candidates for this surgery.
Patients who have undergone bariatric surgery and experienced massive weight loss. LINK TO BARIATRIC SECTION->
Q: How do I know if I am a good candidate for a buttocks lift?
A: Most patients who have a concern about excess skin or ptosis of the buttocks can address these concerns with exercise. Some of these patients cannot and a buttock lift may be an appropriate surgical alternative to address these concerns. Dr. Godat will address these concerns after a full evaluation at the time of consulations. Patients who have undergone bariatric surgery and had massive weight loss more frequently need a buttocks lift. LINK TO BARIATRIC SECTION->
Q: What does the procedure entail?
A: Traditionally, arm or thigh contouring removes excess skin in these areas through a crescent shaped incision in the armpit or groin. With the buttock lift, excess skin is removed in the upper buttock/lower back area through an incision that runs from the hips to the midline of the back in a curvilinear fashion.
Q: Can it be done on an outpatient basis?
A: Yes. These surgeries can be done on an outpatient basis. Some patients, however, may choose to stay over night. If patients are having other procedures done, then Dr. Godat may recommend that they stay overnight in the hospital.
Q: Will I need to have general anesthetic?
A: Yes. Dr. Godat performs these procedures only with general anesthesia and only with a physician anesthesiologist.
Q: Will I have drains or stitches?
A: Dr. Godat uses multiple layers of stitches, which dissolve on their own. He also uses an outer layer of nylon stitches in the armpit and groin, which are removed a week after surgery during the first post-operative visit. Drains are used which will also be removed during the first post-operative visit. Removal of drains is painless.
Q: When can I return to work?
A: You can return to work usually at two weeks. Some patients may elect to take up to three weeks to return to work.
Q: Are compression garments required after this surgery?
A: Generally, no.
Q: When can I resume exercise?
A: Exercise may be resumed when the incisions are healed at least three weeks after surgery. Start slowly and build up to your regular exercise regimen at six weeks after surgery.