Are you looking for that flatter, tighterlooking lower abdomen? You’re not alone – cosmetic procedures to get the lower abdomen shaped and sculpted are always among patients’ most popular requests. But which procedure is best and will work the best – for you? There seem to be so many choices and options. Researching them all and checking into recovery issues, risks, costs, typical before and after photos and everything else can be overwhelming and confusing. However, the single most important thing you can do to sort this all out is to have a personal consultation and evaluation by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Your goals and your body will guide your Plastic Surgeon toward deciding what will represent the most realistic and, if possible, least invasive options. Having more than one consultation to do this is also a very good idea – remember, part of this process also includes deciding which physician and office is right for you.
Do you need a “Tummy Tuck“? This is an extremely popular procedure. Year after year, the “Tummy Tuck” (which Plastic Surgeons call an “abdominoplasty”) is near the top of the list of the most commonly performed procedures in the United States. This is a time-tested operation which has been successfully performed by Plastic Surgeons for decades. Loose, hanging, full skin, numerous stretch marks and a bulge to the lower abdomen are the usual indications. But an abdominoplasty is actually a fairly major undertaking, requiring both an operating room and general anesthesia. It may just be the “biggest” cosmetic procedure that any Plastic Surgeon will regularly perform – and it has a recovery and risks to match. Great results are typically obtained but they don’t come easy. You might think that this all makes no difference because you are sure that a “tummy tuck” is what you really need. But what if you can get the results that you are seeking without having to resort to a “tummy tuck”? An abdominoplasty is often not really necessary to achieve the “flatter” or “tighter” look that you desire.
What about Liposuction? This is another great procedureand is also extremely popular. Is it “easier” than an abdominoplasty? Absolutely, and in almost every way you can think of. So how do you know if you are a good candidate and will get good results with abdominal liposuction? The deal breaker here is the “snap-back” ability and quality of the lower abdominal skin tissue. Liposuction is likely a poor choice with skin of limited elastic tone – inelastic, loose skin is at great risk to get even more loose after traditional liposuction! The end result could be an overall flatter stomach but now with empty, wrinkly, hanging skin! Not exactly what we would call a nice result. This is a perfect example of why the pre-procedure consultation process is so important. A “lesser operation” might sound great but could actually be riskier for you than a seemingly more involved option!
What can Smartlipo™ do?Using tiny instruments and a tiny laser fiber (about the diameter of a paper clip wire), plastic surgeons can simultaneously melt fat and tighten the skin of the lower abdomen at the same time – in the office – no O.R. – using local anesthesia! The recovery from Smartlipo™ is correspondingly just as simple and easy, with minimal bruising or swelling, and no restrictions after just one week! What’s not to like? Well, although the retraction of the skin can be improved over that seen with traditional liposuction, poor elastic tone might still challenge the results you’ll be likely to get, even from Smartlipo™. In other words, that is best determined before you have any procedure. That’s right, it’s actually your consultation that can make the key difference between success and failure!
Your personal consultation with a Board Certified plastic surgeon will help determine what your best options are and ultimately, which procedure is probably the best for you. Time off from work, financial issues and your overall medical health are other significant factors that will play a role in this process. Most plastic surgeons would prefer to get you where you want to go in the simplest, most straightforward and least invasive manner as possible. For those who are good candidates for something as simple as Smartlipo™, this can be a great choice. For those whose body is saying “I need more than just some liposuction!”, an abdominoplasty will be a much better and more satisfying choice.
Dr. Lyle Back is originally from New York City, receiving his medical and surgical training at Rutgers Medical School, Cooper Hospital – University Medical Center, and Ohio State. He is Board Certified in General Surgery (ABS) and Plastic Surgery (ABPS). He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS), and a longstanding member of the premier American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). He served as a Professor of Plastic Surgery at Temple University and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and performed reconstructive surgery with “Operation Smile” in Vietnam. He specializes in the full range of the most modern and state of the art cosmetic surgery procedures for the body and non-surgical cosmetic enhancement techniques available today.