Often times when I consult with patients who are considering a tummy tuck or liposuction, they will ask “How much weight will I lose?”. Unfortunately, for most patients the answer is a pound or two, so not very much. Plastic Surgery is just not intended as a weight loss tool.
While both procedures do remove fatty tissue, and in the case of a tummy tuck, loose skin, these just don’t weigh very much. Fat as a tissue, is not very dense. It takes a lot of fat to weigh even a pound. I always weigh the amount removed when I do a tummy tuck and it almost always between 2 to 3 pounds, that’s it. This if for the patients who have a fairly generous roll between their belly button and pubic area. For the patients who really only have loose skin, usually from babies, it might not even weigh a pound.
With lipo, the same applies. I am able to suction out the fat, but fat just doesn’t weigh that much. In the ‘pound of feathers vs pound of lead’ comparison, fat is in the feather category and a tissue like muscle is in the lead category.
What these operations are really intended to do is to shape and contour your figure by trimming off inches. They tighten loose skin and remove stubborn fat pockets to balance your body and improve your shape. They also change dress sizes for a lot of patients. So many patients tell me they have to buy larger sizes to accomodate their thighs or hips or tummy only to have their jeans or pants then be too loose every where else. These are the kinds of problems Lipo and Tummy Tucks do improve.
I hope this helps to answer the weight loss question. If you have questions please contact us at (502) 721 0330 or via our Virtual Consultation page at www.CorbettCosmeticSurgery.com
Lee Corbett, MD
Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and Med Spa
Reasons to stay: A tummy tuck, aka Abdominoplasty, is a pretty big operation. They typically take 2 or 3 hours or longer. My take on staying is that it provides for good nursing care which translates into pain control and early mobility which helps keep complications at bay. The cost is minimal in the overall scheme of things and a lot of surgeons think it’s safer.
Reasons to go home: You won’t get woken up all night, you can be in your own bed, and you might simply hate hospitals. It does save a little money. We give you narcotics and I use pain pumps so a lot of patients don’t feel like they need to stay for pain control reasons.
In the end, there are no set rules. I let some folks go home and ask others to stay. A recent study published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Journal looked at this question and found that complications were no higher for the patients who went home vs. the ones who stayed overnight.
What I am seeing is that all of these requests for insurance coverage are denied. A Tummy Tuck is and always has been considered a cosmetic procedure. Cosmetic translates into self pay. We have been asking insurance companies to pay for panniculectomies but what we get 100% of the time is a refusal. We have not had a panniculectomy be approved since sometime back in 2007. In ’08 and ’09 we had a zero % approval rate.
I am writing this blog because a lot of people think that if they have a tummy tuck they get a ‘new’ belly button. You don’t. You get to keep the one you’ve always had.
When we do a tummy tuck we make an incision that sits low like a C-section and goes from hip to hip. We go down thru the fatty layer until we hit your muscles. That’s all the deeper we go. We then work up to the belly button and lift the skin/fat layer off of the muscle.
When we get to the belly button we come back to the skin surface and make a circular incision around it. We core straight down around it, like an apple corer would do. All that your belly button is, is a stalk of scar tissue. So, we isolate it and continue to undermine the skin/fat layer. Then we remove the skin from belly button down and the remaining skin pulls down like a window shade.
At this point your tummy tuck incision is closed but your belly button is buried. So, we make a new circular incision, remove a plug of skin/fat and Voila, your belly button pops thru like that button on your turkey when it’s done!
So in the end your belly button is the same one you’ve always had, but the skin around it is new.
First is comfort. From my experience, most patients wait at least a week or more before they start exercising again. I recommend starting with a light version of your typical routine. Guage how you feel, and then ease back into things as your comfort allows.
Second, is swelling. When we do surgery on you, what happens is that the blood vessels in that area get leaky. The purpose is for the cells that heal us need to be able to leak out of the blood steam and get in there to do their thing. So, in effect, think of the blood vessels as leaky piping, much like a soaker hose. Well, if you exercise you increase your blood pressure and pulse rate. So, you are driving the blood through a leaky system faster and with more pressure. The end result is the watery part of the blood leaks into the tissues and you swell. From this point of view, I typically recommend waiting 2 weeks before doing cardio. At that point, you can get going again and see how you do. If you swell up like the Michelin Man we need to hold off a little longer. But it’s important to understand that the swelling wont hurt you, it just temporarily affects your weight and appearance.
In the end, there are no hard and fast rules. You have to stick your toe in and see how you do!