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Tummy-Tuck (abdominoplasty) by Columbus, Ohio plastic surgeon, Dr. Robert S. Houser

Information provided by Robert S. Houser, board certified plastic surgeon.

The standard abdominoplasty, also called a tummy-tuck, involves an incision in the low bikini line that extends from hip to hip and removes all of the excess skin up to the belly button. This involves relocating the belly button once the extra skin is removed and the incision closed. Often after childbirth or weight loss, the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominus) are separated. If this is the case, sutures are used to repair the separation, creating a sort of internal corset. A drain is required to remove excess fluid while healing, but is generally removed after a week. The result of a tummy tuck is a flatter, thinner abdomen (goodbye muffin-top!). Although each patient is different, recovery is generally about 2 to 3 weeks.

Many people think that they have to be in great shape or have to “work on their abs” before they can have a tummy tuck. This is not the case at all. While it is true that you should be at or near your ideal weight, it is not necessary to work on your abs prior to your surgery. In fact, the surgery works on your abs for you! After your tummy tuck, you will have tight, firm abdominal muscles!

Find out more about abdominoplasty by reading reviews written by our patients.

Miniabdominoplasty / Mini tummy tuck

This procedure is very similar to the full tummy tuck, but the belly button is not repositioned. The bikini line scar is the same. Only about half of the skin below the belly button is removed and there is not the same opportunity to tighten the abdominal muscles. Recovery is about 1 to 2 weeks.

Video: Dr. Houser discusses abdominoplasty

FAQs on abdominoplasty (tummy-tuck)

What is a tummy tuck?

Does Dr. Houser perform many tummy tucks?

Can a tummy tuck be used as a substitute for exercise and weight loss?

Are tummy tucks just for women who have had children?

How long will it take me to recover after a tummy tuck?

Will I have a scar from my tummy tuck?

Can I get the results of a tummy tuck by dieting and exercising?

Is a tummy tuck the same as a ‘mommy makeover’ or a ‘mom job?’

Will I need to quit smoking before I have a tummy tuck?

What are the risks involved with having a tummy tuck?

How long before I can exercise after my tummy tuck surgery?

How much does a tummy tuck cost in Columbus,Ohio?

Will my tummy tuck be performed in a hospital or in your office?

I am in my late 50’s. Am I too old to have a tummy tuck?

Why are there no before and after pictures of tummy tucks on this website?

Why is it important to choose a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?

I don’t live in the Columbus, Ohio area. Is there a post surgical care facility for outpatient surgeries in Columbus?

How can I obtain more information on abdominoplasty?

What is a tummy tuck?

Abdominoplasty, also called tummy tuck, is surgery performed to rid a patient of excess fat and skin around the tummy and to tighten muscles in the abdomen which may have weakened, separated or stretched due to pregnancy or weight loss. Abdominoplasty may also somewhat improve the appearance of stretch marks, especially those located below the navel. The results of a properly performed tummy tuck are a firmer and flatter tummy.

Does Dr. Houser perform many tummy tucks?

Abdominoplasty is a common procedure for Dr. Houser in his Columbus Ohio surgical facility. He is experienced and skilled in the latest tummy tuck techniques. Dr. Houser is also active in resident education in Columbus, both at Ohio State University in the plastic surgery program as well as in the general surgery program at Mount Carmel Medical Center in Columbus.

Can a tummy tuck be used as a substitute for exercise and weight loss?

No, a tummy tuck is not a good substitute for weight loss and exercise. A tummy tuck should be performed when a patient is at or near his/her ideal weight, but is having difficulty getting a firm, flat abdomen even after trying exercise. Often, patients seek tummy tucks after losing weight. After working hard to lose weight, it can be disheartening to find yourself left with loose sagging skin around the abdomen. A tummy tuck can give you the firm flat abdomen that you have been working toward.

Are tummy tucks just for women who have had children?

Abdominoplasty is performed on patients from many walks of life. Both men and women, who have gained and lost significant amounts of weight may seek abdominoplasty to help get rid of excess skin and tissue around the abdomen. Sometimes extra abdominal skin and fat is hereditary or due to a congenital spine disorder. After a tummy tuck, patients find that they feel better about how they look in bathing suits as well as everyday clothing.

How long will it take me to recover after a tummy tuck?

Recovery from a tummy tuck is generally two to three weeks. However, no two patients are alike and each patient should consult with Dr. Houser to find out what type of recovery to expect after their tummy tuck.

Will I have a scar from my tummy tuck?

The length, severity and location of the scar depend on the amount and location of fat and skin which is removed. In many cases scars are not noticeable. Dr. Houser is often able to camouflage the scar by locating the incision just at or above the pubic hair line. For most patients, tummy tuck scars are hidden by most clothing and swimsuits. Abdominoplasty may also improve the appearance of stretch marks, especially those located below the navel.

Can I get the results of a tummy tuck by dieting and exercising?

Some people are able to. However, most women find that after multiple pregnancies they are unable to achieve the results that they want through diet and exercise. This is due to the stretching and weakening of the abdominal muscles. A tummy tuck will also remove excess skin around the abdomen resulting in a flatter, smoother abdomen.

Is a tummy tuck the same as a “mommy makeover” or a “mom job?”

The term “mommy makeover” is a popular term used to refer to a combination of surgical procedures, usually performed in one visit, on a woman who has had children and is looking to regain her pre-baby body. A tummy tuck is often one of these procedures. Although many women find that they have problem areas in common after having children, plastic surgery should not be a “one size fits all” endeavor. Instead, you should consult with your doctor to plan a course of action which fits your needs and lifestyle.

Will I need to quit smoking before I have a tummy tuck?

You will be required to quit smoking before your abdominoplasty. Smokers should also stop smoking for 2 weeks AFTER tummy tuck surgery to reduce post operative complications caused by smoking. This includes use of nicotine in any form (tobacco, nicotine patches or gum.) Skin loss is 8 to 10 times more likely in smokers. Smoking may cause poor or delayed healing – even death of skin (gangrene) in addition to lung complications and bleeding.

What are the risks involved with having a tummy tuck?

Every surgery comes with its own specific risks and outcomes. These may involve swelling or wound healing issues. It is the surgeon’s responsibility to design a safe, low risk, highly effective surgery for you. It is the patient’s responsibility to follow the post-operative instructions, avoid smoking and limit vigorous activities immediately after surgery. Dr. Houser will discuss all of the common risks associated with a tummy tuck either at the time of the initial consultation or during your pre-operative visit.

How long before I can exercise after my tummy tuck surgery?

Patients can usually expect to resume strenuous exercise (swimming, biking, tennis) after three weeks. Exercise and physical activity will be discussed at your post-op appointment following your tummy tuck.

How much does a tummy tuck cost in Columbus,Ohio?

Cost varies from patient to patient depending on length and difficulty of surgery. Dr. Houser discusses the cost of procedure after consulting with and examining each patient, as no two tummy tuck surgeries are just alike. Some individuals require a full tummy tuck combined with liposuction to remove excess skin and fat. Other individuals only require a mini tummy tuck.

It is important to consider factors other than cost when searching for a doctor to perform your tummy tuck. Abdominoplasty techniques and experience vary greatly from doctor to doctor. When searching for a doctor to perform your tummy tuck, you should look for a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (not all surgeons performing abdominoplasty are ) and to find a surgeon who will spend time with you to find out your goals for your surgery. Dr. Houser spends a great amount of time consulting with each patient. He understands that surgery is a big decision, not to be entered into lightly, and he works hard to ensure that will be happy with your tummy tuck.

Will my tummy tuck be performed in a hospital or in your office?

Most tummy tuck procedures can be performed in our Westerville / Columbus, Ohio office which is located next to Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital.

Our office has a fully equipped operating room that is certified by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilitates (AAAASF) and is fully compliant. Procedures in the office are performed with twilight sedation and local anesthesia. Regional anesthesia (epidural catheters or spinal anesthesia) is performed as needed by a qualified nurse anesthetist or an anesthesiologist. Most of our cosmetic procedures are performed in our facility which keeps your experience private and in the company of our staff with whom you will have already become accustomed.

I am in my late 50’s. Am I too old to have a tummy tuck?

Patient health and fitness are important, not age. However, a thorough consultation with Dr. Houser is the best way to determine if you are a good candidate for abdominoplasty.

Why are there no before and after pictures of tummy tucks on this website?

Out of concern for patient privacy, Dr. Houser does not publish patient photos on the internet. In addition, because patients come in all shapes and sizes, posting photographs may lead to unrealistic expectations. During your tummy tuck consultation at our Columbus, Ohio office, Dr. Houser can show you photos of patients with your physical characteristics, so that similarities and differences may be addressed.

Why is it important to choose a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?

Many physicians who perform cosmetic procedures will claim board certification, but it is important to clarify which board. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is a part of the American Board of Medical Specialties and has been in existence since 1937. Certification by this board signifies that the surgeon has completed an approved plastic surgery residency, has passed a comprehensive written examination, and has passed an oral examination. Following this, he or she is then required to maintain certification through case submissions, continuing medical education and written examinations. This rigorous process ensures that those who identify themselves as a diplomat of the American Board of Plastic Surgery are held to the highest standards of patient safety, patient satisfaction and ethical behavior.

I don’t live in the Columbus, Ohio area. Is there a post surgical care facility for outpatient surgeries in Columbus?

Dr. Houser has many patients who travel from outside the Columbus, Ohio area to have plastic surgery. Because of this, we have partnered with a post-surgical care facility located in a luxury hotel in downtown Columbus. The professionals at Cosmetic Surgery Recovery Suites / Columbus, Ohio provide private and attentive care following surgical procedures. For more information see cosmeticsurgeryrecoverysuites.com. Other options are available as well to meet individual needs.

How can I obtain more information on abdominoplasty?

Dr. Houser would be happy to meet with you and answer your questions at our Westerville/ Columbus, Ohio office. Please contact us to schedule a private consultation.

Glossary of abdominoplasty / tummy-tuck words:

Diastasis: Condition in which abdominal muscles have separated.

General anesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.

Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin.

Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.

Liposuction: Also called lipoplasty or suction lipectomy, this procedure vacuums out fat from beneath the skin’s surface to reduce fat.

Local anesthesia: A drug is injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.

Sutures: Stitches used by surgeons to hold skin and tissue together.

Twilight sedation: commonly known as conscious sedation or twilight anesthesia consists of intravenous medications to decrease pain, reduce anxiety, and facilitate relaxation during surgical procedures. Twilight sedation causes fewer complications than general anesthesia and allows for a quicker recovery.