I have had the good fortune to do an incredible number of abdominoplasties (tummy tucks) in my career as a board certified plastic surgeon so far. I passed 1000 tummy tucks done as an outpatient in my private offices at Yager Esthetics, with 119 in 2010. As I reflect on my experience and all that I have learned, I wanted to share with you what makes for the world’s best tummy tuck.
Most of my tummy tuck patients have had children, and desire to correct the loose skin, stretch marks, and lax muscle left behind. More than half also elect to do liposuction of the back as well. Other popular combinations usually involve breast surgery. Others come after gastric bypass and massive weight loss. But what makes some results better than others?
I find that the best results have 4 common factors, and I try to put them together as often as possible. They are the result of careful study, and not all are in the surgeon’s control.
First is that after surgery, you should not look like you had a tummy tuck, you should simply look great. The signs of an obvious surgery are upper abdominal fullness and a flat area below the belly button, a flat stomach with a fat back, no curve to the waist, and an unnatural looking belly button. While the belly button is a tiny fraction of the work, it is what generates most complaints after an abdominoplasty if it is not done right. I always tell patients about potential unnatural results on there consult, such as the need for back liposuction, umbilical hernias, or if weight loss is needed.
Next is a scar that is too high or that sticks out of the underwear. I always mark my tummy tucks with the patient wearing the style of panty they want to wear after surgery to insure it is well hidden in case the scar does not completely fade.
Thirdly, patients who have a good support system of positive friends and family around them. The recovery takes time, and doubts creep in. Having someone tell you you look great really helps. A jealous spouse or a mean spirited friend can ruin even the best surgical results by insensitive comments. If you have negative people in your life, you are better off without them.
Lastly, as a plastic surgeon, I have to be there for each patient to support them, listen to them, and do everything possible to make the tummy tuck experience a positive one. It is an honor to be chosen to reconstruct the human body, with all the hopes and dreams of my patients riding on the result.
I wish to thank the 1000 plus tummy tuck patients I have taken care of for their confidence, and hope to see the next 1000 at Yager Esthetics soon.