Many women look to tone their midsection after reaching their goal weight or after having children. Some patients choose the traditional tummy tuck approach, but many patients simply have not considered abdominoplasty in the past because of the significant downtime required for recovery. These patients now have an easier option with the Awake Tummy Tuck procedure. Dr. Johnson performs the Awake Tummy Tuck procedure in the office at Innovations Medical.
Abdominoplasty, also known as the tummy tuck, is a major surgery. Traditional tummy tuck procedures require general anesthesia, and also result in significant downtime post-op. When the abdominal muscles are sutured during the procedure to tighten the midsection, the recovery from a traditional tummy tuck is extended further, and it can be several months before you get back to your normal routine. You will not be able to drive a car or even sit upright for a period after surgery, which will mean time off work and avoiding activities for up to six weeks.
Depending on how extensive the tummy tuck procedure, full recovery can take from three to six months. Traditional abdominoplasty can cause nerve damage which results in numbness.
There is an alternative to traditional abdominoplasty. Awake Tummy Tucks, also known as Avelar Abdominoplasty, are becoming a popular option for patients because they do not require general anesthesia. Patients are awake throughout the procedure, need only two to three days off of work, and usually return to their normal routines pretty quickly – even with a few restrictions limiting activity.
Awake Tummy Tuck patients typically have fewer complications after surgery, and the use of liposuction helps lower the risk of numbness after the procedure. This procedure does not suture the muscles of the abdomen, which greatly reduces the recovery period. In contrast to traditional abdominoplasty, the navel is usually returned to its original position for a natural look.
The first step in the Awake Tummy Tuck uses liposuction to remove excess fat and reshape the abdomen and sides, known as the love handles, if necessary. A local anesthetic is used to numb the areas of incision for the liposuction cannula. Tumescent fluid made up of saline and lidocaine is pumped in to numb the entire area. For part of the procedure, Dr. Johnson uses SmartLipo laser liposuction to tighten the skin on the sides, giving a result of up to 30% tighter skin than traditional liposuction.
After the liposuction portion of the procedure is completed, the abdominoplasty portion will begin. Patients remain awake during the abdominoplasty, and the area is still numbed by the tumescent fluid. Excess skin is marked and excised, and the incision is closed with special sutures designed to facilitate a nice thin scar. Post-op awake tummy tuck patients should expect to have drains for a few days and will be limited to lifting five pounds or less for up to six weeks in as to not reopen the wound.
Ideal candidates for either procedure are typically those individuals who have a larger area of skin and bulges of fat to remove. You can read more details and see a video explanation by Dr. Johnson here. If you are considering Avelar ‘Awake’ Abdominoplasty and want to know if you are a good candidate for the procedure, call Dr. Johnson today at (214) 347-8667 to set up a consultation.