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Christopher K. Patronella, MD, FACS, FICS homepage


Liposuction or a Tummy Tuck After Pregnancy: How To Make the Best Choice

Posted June 15, 2015 in Body Contouring, Liposuction, Tummy Tuck

Dr. Patronella frequently consults with patients who are interested in attaining a firmer, leaner abdomen and waistline after pregnancy, age, and weight changes have left them with loose, flabby, or sagging skin. When it comes to contouring and enhancing the waistline, patients have two primary surgical options: liposuction and tummy tuck surgery (also known as abdominoplasty). While both of these procedures can slim your physique and rid you of excess fat, liposuction and tummy tuck surgery their purposes differ. To determine the best choice, Dr. Patronella evaluates three primary factors: an individual’s skin laxity, abdominal muscle wall and fat.

Skin Elasticity

If your concern is excess, stubborn fat, and you have good skin elasticity, then you may find that liposuction alone will provide you with ideal results. However, liposuction will not address loose or lax skin. Pregnancy and weight gain stretches skin on the abdomen and other regions of the body as well. This takes a toll on the skin’s firmness, which is compounded by the loss of skin elasticity that occurs as part of the natural aging process. The stretched skin may begin to sag and droop.

Depending on the degree of skin laxity, Dr. Patronella may recommend the removal of loose skin through a tummy tuck rather than liposuction alone, which could lead to skin contour irregularities and a less than desirable outcome.

Abdominal Muscle Laxity

Many of Dr. Patronella’s patients tell him in consultations that their efforts to reduce a post-pregnancy tummy pooch through diet and exercise met with little success. That’s not surprising given what occurs to the rectus muscles during pregnancy. To accommodate the infant growing inside of her, a mother’s abdominal muscle wall separates. But once they understand they The majority of women who’ve had babies experience some degree of muscle wall separation as a result of this region expanding during pregnancy to accommodate the growing infant.During tummy tuck surgery, abdominal muscles that have either loosened or separated due to childbirth or other factors can be repaired and tightened, leaving you with a smoother, fitter physique.

True Form Tummy Tuck®

When stubborn fat pockets are accompanied by substantial skin and muscle laxity, then tummy tuck surgery may be your ideal choice. However, adding liposuction into that procedure can help take your results to the next level and give you the pre-baby abdomen you’ve always wanted. The True Form Tummy Tuck® technique, created by Dr. Patronella, uses both traditional tummy tuck techniques and liposuction to smooth, redefine, and contour the abdomen, which will restore a natural, youthful, and sensual midsection. Liposuction is a contouring tool that he incorporates to blend the abdomen’s newly svelte appearance with adjacent areas to create a harmonious overall appearance. During this surgery, liposuction is used to thin the waist and allow it to gently taper toward the hips, creating subtle, natural, and beautiful curves. These nuances are what set Dr. Patronella’s results apart from standard tummy tuck methods and results. Every artistic detail he meticulously crafts, from the soft contours to the smooth, seamless transitions result in exceptionally beautiful, authentic-looking results.

“Occasionally during a consultation, a patient will push for liposuction despite my recommendation for a tummy tuck. Generally, this is because liposuction requires smaller incisions and a shorter recovery period of about 5 to 7 days compared to the 10 to 14 days of recovery time for tummy tuck surgery,” says Dr. Chris Patronella.

Whereas liposuction involves making incisions that are approximately ¼ inch long, the incision for a tummy tuck typically stretches from one hip to the other in a location that allows the resulting tummy tuck scar to be discreetly concealed beneath a bikini or underwear. Dr. Patronella looks at several factors to determine whether liposuction alone or a tummy tuck is a better fit for a patient seeking a more attractive abdominal appearance.

The tummy tuck incision is necessary to adequately and proportionately remove loose skin from the upper and lower abdomen and repair the underlying muscle wall when it has been weakened by pregnancy.attractive tummy

While I am sympathetic to these patients’ wishes, this is not a recommendation I am willing to compromise because I know that the results of doing so ultimately will be unsatisfactory to me and to them. Because these patients have loose skin, the performance of liposuction alone would make the problem worse. If fat is removed where loose skin is present, the skin will not shrink back evenly and smoothly, resulting in irregular contours.

I’ve seen this happen numerous times among the patients who consult with me for revision surgery to improve the disappointing results they received elsewhere. While liposuction is very inconspicuous in terms of the size and location of its incisions, the poor results are very noticeable if performed for a patient who is not an appropriate candidate for the procedure.

Though liposuction does not duplicate the benefits of tummy tuck surgery, it often serves as an excellent complement to it. For that reason, I combine it with the True Form Tummy Tuck in about 80 percent of my patients to contour the waist and improve the proportions of regions adjacent to the abdomen. These contouring details accentuate the attractive appearance of the abdomen and also help it to blend with the rest of the body to create results that appear natural rather than surgical in nature.

If you think you are a good candidate for liposuction or tummy tuck surgery, we encourage you to call (713) 575-1996 or fill out our online contact form today. Dr. Patronella and his caring staff look forward to meeting you and helping you achieve lasting results.

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