Tummy tucks, also called abdominoplasty, are among the most common cosmetic surgery procedures and carry one of the highest rates of patient satisfaction. These procedures help women and men with loose or sagging skin in the stomach area to regain a firmer and more appealing midsection.
The Awake Tummy Tuck Procedure
There are a number of techniques for performing tummy tuck procedures. At Innovations Medical, we take an approach called the awake tummy tuck, which is also known as the Avelar procedure. The awake tummy tuck procedure is performed at our Dallas and Fort Worth locations and combines tumescent liposuction with a minimally invasive approach to tummy tucks.
Awake tummy tucks are done in the office, under local anesthesia and mild sedation. This allows for a shorter recovery with minimal time off work, usually a few days. The awake tummy tuck can be a great option for many patients who would not normally consider a traditional abdominoplasty. Although it is called “awake”, most patients sleep through most of their procedures. It is very comfortable under local anesthesia.
Is an Awake Tummy Tuck Safe?
When considering the safety of an awake tummy tuck, it’s important to consider the safety of both liposuction under local anesthesia and awake tummy tuck. Liposuction under local anesthesia, called tumescent liposuction, is an extremely safe technique. Several studies have shown only minor complications when tumescent liposuction is done by itself, resulting in:
- No pulmonary embolisms
- No organ perforation
- No other major complication
- No deaths
The tummy tuck portion of the awake tummy tuck procedure is also extremely safe. The technique was originally developed to reduce complications from standard tummy tuck procedures, including reactions to general anesthesia and skin problems. Using local anesthesia, liposuction on the upper abdomen can frequently give better reduction than standard tummy tuck techniques.
In fact, it is not unusual for standard tummy tuck patients to require upper abdominal liposuction afterward, especially with a little weight gain. This is rare with awake tummy tucks. Because of this, awake tummy tuck results in an improved appearance for many patients.
Who Is an Ideal Candidate for Awake Tummy Tuck?
Patients who should consider awake tummy tuck include:
- Women after childbirth who have a moderate to a large amount of loose or sagging skin on their stomachs.
- Women or men after weight loss or aging who have a moderate to a large amount of loose or sagging skin on their stomachs.
- Women or men who have gained weight in their stomachs and have a moderate or large amount of extra skin in the area they would like to reduce.
- Women or men who do not like the way their blouses or shirts fit.
- Women or men who do not like how their pants fit.
Those who are NOT good candidates for awake tummy tuck are:
- Women or men with medical problems that would make surgery unsafe or risky. This can be evaluated when you have a preoperative examination.
- Women or men who are or should be considering significant weight loss via diet or weight loss surgery.
- Women or men with stomach fat or loose skin that could be improved with liposuction and SmartLipo alone.
- Women or men with a small amount of loose skin on their stomach for which other non-invasive skin tightening would give the desired results.
What should I expect after having Awake Tummy Tuck?
After undergoing awake tummy tuck, we recommend you take two to three days off of work and stay away from being highly active. Some of our patients return to work or vigorous activities sooner without any problems, but we prefer a two to three days break from normal activities. After this time, unless the work involves strenuous activity or a large amount of standing, most people can return to work.
Other recovery considerations include:
- Medications to take after surgery: You will be given an antibiotic to take for a few days. You will also be given some pain medication. We strongly recommend taking the pain medication at bedtime on the day of the surgery. After that, you need only take it if needed. Many people use ibuprofen post-operatively.
- Swelling and bruising after surgery: Some swelling and bruising can be expected. This typically lasts for two to three weeks but can be longer. Greater activity post-operatively and older age tend to prolong the swelling. You will go home from the surgery with drains in place. The drains are typically removed in two to three days but can remain in place for a week or so.
- Drains and bandages post-surgery: The drains should be kept covered with pads to avoid accidents. Typically there is little drainage after the first two days. After the drains are removed most patients are able to return to most normal activities except exercise.
- Exercise and weight lifting: We recommend you wait at least two weeks before resuming exercise. We strongly recommend that you not lift anything weighing more than five pounds for six weeks. Avoiding lifting helps reduce the size of the scar. Initially, you will be seen in the office every few days. After about two weeks, you will only be seen about once a month until three months and again at six months.
Awake Tummy Tuck Results
The awake tummy tuck procedure gives similar results to standard tummy tuck procedures. The awake tummy tuck does have some advantages:
- Awake tummy tuck liposuctions the entire abdominal area. Standard tummy tuck procedures can leave fat in the upper abdomen because it can be hard and time-consuming to reach. This can lead to a chesty look.
- A better position for the belly button. Some standard tummy tuck procedures pull the belly button downwards and give a lower look to the abdomen.
During an awake tummy tuck, we do not place sutures or plicate the abdominal muscles. This can limit the results in women with loose abdominal muscles. However, much of the downtime from standard tummy tuck procedures comes from plicating the muscles. Not plicating the muscles shortens the downtime and simplifies the procedure and recovery.
Awake Tummy Tuck Cost
The average price of a tummy tuck can range in cost from $6,000 to $7,000 for the procedure. By performing a minimally invasive, outpatient tummy tuck, we are able to reduce facility costs, anesthesia costs, and other costs associated with traditional tummy tucks.
Innovations Medical wants to be able to help the widest range of budgets and treatment plans. From financing options, to combining treatments, to breaking up procedures, we want to help you find a good balance of results and value.
Awake Tummy Tuck Before and After
See the amazing before-and-after results* of actual patients who have undergone awake tummy tuck:
*Results may vary.
Learn More About Tummy Tucks
Check out Dr. Johnson’s recent article that outlines the entire tummy tuck process here.
Check out our articles on Awake Tummy Tucks:
- An Easier Approach to Tummy Tucks
- Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction: Which Is Better for Me?
- What You Should Know About Tummy Tucks & Pregnancy
- What is the process of getting a tummy tuck?
Contact Innovations Medical for a Consultation
If you’re looking for a flatter and smoother abdominal area, Innovations Medical is here for you. Our skilled professionals help you decide which treatment is best for you – keeping you informed and confident in the next steps. We’ve been helping our patients look and feel their best since 2005, and even our most advanced procedures are often minimally invasive.