Tummy Tuck and Flank Liposuction

November 22, 2014

Patients who decide to undergo any body contouring procedure, such as a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) or liposuction, often have specific goals that they would like to achieve with treatment. In many cases, they maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a sensible diet, a regular work out routine, and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. A tummy tuck or liposuction puts the “finishing touches” on the results of all their hard work.

Tummy Tuck and Flank Liposuction Procedures

Although these procedures can be done separately, it is not unusual to have both procedures done at the same time. A tummy tuck procedure will tighten up loose skin and abdominal muscles. A flank liposuction procedure will remove stubborn pockets of fat from the sides of the torso, although liposuction can be performed just about anywhere on the body.

Tummy tuck: In a tummy tuck procedure, an incision is made along the lower abdomen, allowing the surgeon to gently lift away abdominal skin, tissue, and muscle. The muscles can be tightened, excess skin removed, and the incisions closed. Depending on the amount of excess to be removed, patients will undergo either a mini tummy tuck, which involves the use of a much shorter incision, or a full tummy tuck, which involves the use of a horizontal incision going from one hipbone across to the other,.

Flank liposuction: In a flank liposuction procedure, a series of incisions are made in the specific areas where there are pockets of fat to be removed. This is done by means of a thin metal tube, called a cannula, which is inserted through the incisions. The fat is then gently vacuumed out of the body. In some cases, ultrasound technology may also be used to help break up particularly stubborn areas of fat. In other cases, a low-power laser may be used before the surgical procedure to help heat up and melt the fat, making it easier to remove.

Recovery from a Tummy Tuck and Flank Liposuction

Because a tummy tuck procedure is extensive (unlike liposuction by itself), it may take anywhere from four to eight weeks for patients to fully heal and begin to see results from the procedure. The most common side effects during the initial healing process from a combined tummy tuck and liposuction procedure are bruising and swelling at the incision sites.

Drs. Marcus Crawford and Steven Bailey will provide patients with a special compression garment to wear immediately following the surgical procedures. This garment will help reduce the amount and duration of bruising and swelling. Taking the herb Arnica montana, along with using ice and cold compresses once the incisions have healed over, will also help reduce bruising and swelling. Patients may also gently massage the area around the liposuction incision areas once they have closed over. This will help redistribute any remaining fat, as well as stimulate circulation to the area, which may also reduce swelling.

Although patients may be eager to show off their new figure to family and friends, Drs. Crawford and McKnight strongly recommend giving the body the time it needs to properly heal. This will guarantee the best results possible from a tummy tuck and liposuction procedure. 

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