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Tummy Tuck

Tummy tuck surgery is one of the highest patient satisfaction procedures that Dr. Stoeckel performs. It is a dramatic way to correct the changes that often occur after significant weight loss or pregnancy. The classic procedure accomplishes two major goals. The first is to tighten the abdominal wall muscles (rectus abdominis) and correct the separation of those muscles (rectus diastasis) that is often seen during and after pregnancy. The second is to remove the excess skin and fatty tissue from below the belly button to create a tighter and smoother contour to the abdomen.

Why choose Dr. Stoeckel?

Abdominoplasty surgery is one of the top two surgeries performed by Dr. Stoeckel. Unlike most surgeons, he completes the surgery using MAC anesthesia without the need for general-anesthesia gases, airway tubes, or ventilators. The recovery is quicker, anesthesia related nausea and vomiting is minimized, there is no risk for sore throats or chipped teeth, and the risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolus (PE) is decreased. Dr. Stoeckel also does not use drains for the typical tummy tuck surgery. He was one of the first surgeons in the area to adopt the drainless tummy tuck surgery in his practice and has taught his technique to other surgeons.

Dr. Stoeckel's Tummy Tuck Results

What are the goals achieved with abdominoplasty surgery?

Who is a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery?

The ideal tummy tuck patient is already in good physical condition. Tummy tuck surgery is not considered a weight loss procedure and best results are obtained when patients have already reached their weight loss goals. Dr. Stoeckel wants you to have the best possible results with the fewest potential risks. Being at a healthy weight, avoiding smoking, and maintaining a healthy diet are just a few things that you can do to optimize your end result.

How bad is the scar?

Typical scar after four months of healing

Typical scar after four months of healing

Most patients are very concerned about the scarring that is involved with the tummy tuck surgery, and for good reason.  Some patients’ scars heal incredibly well and almost fade away after about a year or so. But others remain either darkened or widened and are quite noticeable. The scar with a tummy tuck is placed under a significant amount of tension, even when quilting sutures are used, and different patients respond differently to this tension scar environment.  And different skin types and ethnic skin varieties are more or less susceptible to poor scarring. However, when the surgery is performed properly, the scar should be easily hidden with normal undergarments.  The example on the right is a typical scar 3 months after surgery.

What happens to the belly button?

Typical belly button appearance using Dr. Stoeckel’s technique for closure

Typical belly button appearance using Dr. Stoeckel’s technique for closure

The belly button or umbilicus is another source of anxiety for many patients considering tummy tuck surgery. There certainly are many examples of belly buttons that no longer appear normal or natural after the procedure. But these are most often a result of the technique used during the procedure. Dr. Stoeckel uses a technique that hides the scar on the inner wall of the belly button and avoids the problematic widened scar of which so many patients are afraid. The belly button is not removed and creating a new one is not required.  It remains in place on the abdominal wall and is brought out through the overlying skin during the procedure.

How difficult is the recovery?

Recovery after tummy tuck surgery is often over-estimated. Dr. Stoeckel typically has patients taking postoperative narcotic medication for only 3-5 days after surgery. Patients are up and walking around the day after surgery, but are of course restricted from vigorous exercise and heavy lifting. Most of Dr. Stoeckel’s patients report that the recovery was actually quite a bit easier than expected.

What is the drainless tummy tuck?

Traditionally, surgeons use drains during abdominoplasty surgery to prevent unwanted fluid collection under the skin called a seroma. During the last several years a technique called progressive-tension-sutures has become popularized. The technique, which is a way of quilting the skin back into place, eliminates the need for drains. Dr. Stoeckel has been using this technique since 2011. It not only allows patients to resume certain activities more quickly, it also allows for reduced tension on the skin closure, which has led to better scar healing. Patients are thrilled to be able to avoid the use of the drains, take a normal shower just 36 hours after surgery, and the risk of seroma formation is extremely low. There is also a psychological advantage of not having tubes hanging from the body after surgery that seems to make the recovery more tolerable and easier to manage.

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