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For the millions of people who struggle with weight loss, we know the journey to health can be a long and difficult process. Some individuals are able to lose weight by changing their lifestyle and diet. Others use medications, appetite suppressants and newer, prescription medications with significant impact. Many may find success with bariatric weight loss surgeries such as gastric banding, gastric sleeves or gastric bypass.

Regardless of your path, significant weight loss reduces the size and diameter of your abdomen and body, but often leaves significant changes that do not correct with time, exercise or increased fitness. All patients who have succeeded with massive weight loss are left with excess hanging, loose skin, loss of muscle tone, many stretch marks and significant laxity in the pubic area. While you have been successful with your weight loss, many find themselves battling with loose skin and loss of muscle tone, serving as a constant reminder of when they were larger.

The Post Weight Loss Transformation

Significant weight loss not only affects a person’s health, mentality and well-being, it can result in numerous physical changes in the body. Many individuals who successfully reach their goal weights are surprised by how unhappy they still are with their appearance. Unfortunately the joy of having lost a significant amount of weight, is often marred by the distress of continuing to carry around excess skin.

Following weight loss, individuals often experience loose, sagging skin in the face, neck, upper arms, breasts, abdomen, buttocks and thighs. In addition to being an aesthetic concern, the redundant skin and folds can harbour bacteria and moisture, causing fungal infections and embarrassing odours. For patients considering surgery for loose abdominal skin to create a more streamlined silhouette, an abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, is an excellent option. The following article will answer the question, ‘what is a tummy tuck’, explore different types of abdominoplasty after weight loss, and detail what is involved in a tummy tuck procedure performed by Dr. Barr.

Types of Tummy Tucks

There are various types of tummy tuck procedures available based on your aesthetic goals and needs. Dr.Barr will recommend the type of surgery that will best be able to address the amount of skin removal, muscle tightening and waist reshaping required and achieve your goals.

Full Tummy Tuck

A full, or standard, tummy tuck addresses both the upper and lower regions of the abdomen. Many individuals with excess skin around their midsection consider this procedure to remove the excess skin, flatten their abdomen and tighten their muscles.

Mini Tummy Tuck

This type of excess tummy skin removal address the lower portion of the abdomen below the belly button. This is an ideal procedure for patients who are concerned with a smaller amount of loose skin just below their belly button. This is often used in female patients that have had a single pregnancy or in men or women who had a moderate weight loss and have skin laxity in the lower abdomen only.

Extended Tummy Tuck

An extended tummy tuck addresses both the upper and lower portion of the abdomen with the added improvement of removing excess skin from a patient’s flanks. While this procedure does involve a longer incision, it can be an ideal option for patients who have lost a significant amount of weight.

Fleur-De-Lis Tummy Tuck

This type of tummy tuck is aptly named for the shape of the incisions used during the procedure. In addition to the horizontal incision used in other tummy tuck procedures, a vertical incision is also made. This enables Dr. Barr to remove a greater amount of skin and tissue from both the upper and lower abdominal region. In addition, it removes a great deal of skin along the vertical midline incision creating an amazingly tight waistline and removing much of the skin laxity that would otherwise remain in the lateral lower back.

Benefits of Tummy Tuck Surgery Following Weight Loss

There are a many benefits appreciated by pursuing a tummy tuck after weight loss, including:

  • Removal of excess skin and fat in the abdominal area
  • Removal of stretch marks between the belly button and pubic region
  • Improved support in the core abdominal muscles.
  • Reshaping of the midsection with the creation of a “six pack look”
  • Repair of the “diastasis” (spread) of the abdominal muscles cause by the weight gain or pregnancies.
  • Rejuvenation of the belly button
  • Definition in the upper abdomen and beautiful definition and contours at the rib margin
  • Improved shape and self-esteem
  • Incisions that are hidden with a small bikini and small underwear and become undetectable with time
  •  Results are permanent

Dr. Barr utilizes a 360 degree approach to addressing your body concerns. Most patients also choose to have concurrent VASER liposuction of the “muffin top” waist region in order to enhance the hourglass shape in women, and the “love handles” in men to eliminate the fullness in the lower back when in jeans or a swim suit.

Curious to know what a tummy tuck looks like? Visit our online gallery to view real patient results.

The Surgical Experience

Dr. Barr provides a comfort pump system for all his tummy tuck patients, so you should be quite comfortable on minimal medications during the first 2 days. A comfort pump infuses a long acting local anaesthetic along the area where your muscles were repaired to reshape your abdomen. This medication infuses automatically for 48 hours after surgery and makes patients much more comfortable and mobile immediately after their procedure

At the completion of the tummy tuck, you will have a small binder in place to support the muscles, minimize the risk of tummy tuck complications, and enhance the outcome. This is worn for up to six weeks and can easily be hidden by all clothing.

Patients need a friend or family member to assist them around their home for the first 3 days following surgery. Most patients are able to return to work after 10 days, and can return to the gym fully after 6 weeks.

Consulting a Qualified Surgeon

  • Confirm that your prospective surgeon is a member of the Canadian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons and a member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. . This ensures that your surgeon has extensive experience and proper training required to perform cosmetic / aesthetic surgery.
  • Confirm with your provincial college of physicians and surgeons that your prospective surgeon is licensed and whether disciplinary action has been taken against him/her.
  • Confirm credentials and training. While many cosmetic surgeons advertise they are “board-certified ” requirements vary greatly depending on which professional board is cited. In Canada, only the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons certifies physicians and surgeons in medical specialties.
  • Peruse your prospective surgeon’s website and review their Before/After gallery to see their work.
  • Just as important as verifying credentials and reviewing their work, you must meet and feel comfortable with the surgeon you have selected. Be thorough when discussing your expectations with your prospective surgeon. Proper communication before surgery is key to achieving the best possible surgical outcome.

Next Steps

The first step when considering a tummy tuck procedure is to schedule your consultation with Dr. Barr. During this consultation, Dr. Barr will carefully examine your abdomen both while you are standing, as well as in a horizontal position. He will examine your overall skin tone and degree of loose skin in the abdominal region along with the amount of excess fat in your abdomen and the condition of your abdominal muscles. The different surgical approaches and options will be discussed and Dr. Barr will explain which surgical approach would be best suited to you based on your individual characteristics and aesthetic goals.