Abdominoplasty at Chicago’s Iteld Plastic Surgery
While blaming a bulging belly on one too many donuts (or more) is easy, finding a way to effectively get rid of the flab can be more difficult. Stubborn fat earns its title by resisting even hardcore diets and workout plans, and this clingy fat is not the only culprit. Loose skin can contribute to an unwanted gut, as can lax abdominal muscles. A tummy tuck at Chicago’s Iteld Plastic Surgery is designed to address all these problems, with Dr. Lawrence Iteld removing the problem fat cells and tightening what needs tightening for a slimmer, sleeker silhouette.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck, which can also be referred to as an “abdominoplasty” (if you feel like getting technical) is a form of body surgery used to improve the look of the abdominal area by making it flatter, firmer, and more toned. The procedure specifics depend on the patient, so it can involve Dr. Iteld doing any combination of the following: removing excess skin and fat from the midsection, tightening connective tissues and skin in the area, repairing the vertical, “sit-up” muscles of the abdominal wall, and creating a new navel.
There are two main types of tummy tuck operations: a full abdominoplasty (which involves the entire abdominal region) and a partial or mini abdominoplasty (which only includes the lower belly area below the belly button).
How Does a Tummy Tuck Work?
Though every tummy tuck is unique, the procedure is made up of the three common elements of excess skin removal, liposuction, and muscle repair. Dr. Iteld assesses each patient individually and works in three dimensions, because we live in three dimensions. A tummy tuck is not a theoretical flattening of a round shape into a plane, but the sculpting of living tissue into a natural-looking, flatter, more youthful and shapely abdomen.
The horizontal surgical incision necessary for a tummy tuck allows Dr. Iteld access to the muscle layer, and also frees the skin to be pulled flatter and tighter. Redundant skin that hangs down over the waist of a skirt or pair of pants (or that is often flattened under a tight belt or similar bit of wardrobe trickery) is trimmed away during abdominoplasty surgery. Picture a tablecloth that has gotten bunched up. The edge can be tugged down so the rest lies flat again. Though most people likely wouldn’t get rid of the fabric now dangling over the side of the table, it’s a different story for skin. The excess goes away, and all that’s left is a smooth, flat surface—unless there is still stuff underneath (and there’s always stuff underneath), which bring us to…
Though there are multiple variations possible with a tummy tuck, Dr. Iteld makes a point of always performing a “lipo abdominoplasty,” which ensures the removal of unwanted fat. Since fat cells are prone to growing and shrinking (and growing again), physically removing them from the target area via the initial incision is one of the surest ways to keep them from continuing to contribute to unwanted bulk. Dr. Iteld “liquefies” the troublesome cells, then suctions the resulting goop out with a cannula. Without that bit of bulge to get in the way, the skin can truly lie flat—unless weakened abdominal muscles are no longer able to properly hold everything together, which brings us to…
Abs do more than look good on action heroes and models. These important muscles act as a barrier for everything behind them, protecting the goods from injury from the outside, as well as keeping them from slumping forward. Significant weight gain or a developing baby can weaken those muscles, spreading them apart and preventing them from doing their job properly. The result is a sloppy stomach. Dr. Iteld can surgically repair this wall of muscle during a tummy tuck, making it all structurally sound once more. Think of it like cinching down a corset.
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Once Dr. Iteld finishes the structural work, it’s time for a meticulous closure to create a well-healed scar that can be hidden under a bathing suit, and creation of an “innie” belly button that can be proudly shown around the pool and on the beach.
What Can I Expect After a Tummy Tuck?
There will be some initial swelling following a tummy tuck surgery, but patients will notice a dramatic change right away!
Incisions are typically covered with light dressings and a compression garment to provide support to the abdominal area and help to accelerate the healing process.
Recovery times vary, but a tummy tuck is surgery and patients are encouraged to plan for some downtime before engaging in their typical pre-operative activities, such as exercise. If you need an excuse to avoid helping a friend move, this is the perfect time to bow out of carrying boxes and furniture down a flight of stairs and to a waiting van.
Over the days and weeks after a tummy tuck, the area will continue to heal, and you will be able to see the ultimate results. Note that a tummy tuck will not prevent you from gaining weight in the future. The slimming effects can last for as long as you keep your weight stable with a balanced diet and exercise routine.
Is a Narcotics-Free Tummy Tuck Possible?
Absolutely! Although a tummy tuck can be an involved procedure, Dr. Iteld has worked for years to develop strategies and techniques to make narcotics-free surgery possible, even for something with as many elements as an abdominoplasty. The focus is on stopping pain before it starts, which frees the patient from the need for opioids during recovery and makes the entire process smoother.
Beyond abdominoplasty, the narcotics-free option is also available for liposuction as a standalone procedure, body lifts after massive weight loss, and a range of breast surgeries, including breast augmentation, breast lifts, and breast reductions.
MEET LAWRENCE ITELD, M.D.
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Lawrence Iteld, MD, is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and a highly regarded Chicago based plastic surgeon, receiving awards from Chicago Magazine's Top Docs, and Castle Connolly Top Doctors®.Read More Book an Appointment
Am I a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck in Chicago?
Excess belly flab can be a knock to anyone’s self-esteem, as well as a nuisance (or worse) when it comes to fitting into a favorite outfit. Anyone who wants a solution to the problem of a sagging belly could be a good tummy tuck candidate. In general, men and women who are considering tummy tuck surgery should be in good overall health and be close to hitting their ideal numbers on the bathroom scale, but still deal with some stubborn belly fat in the lower abdomen region.
In many cases, patients who have stretched out or lax skin and fat on the stomach after childbirth or weight loss can especially benefit from a tummy tuck.
Abdominoplasty is not a weight-loss surgery, though it can be an effective way for women and men who have lost weight to make the most of their new contours. Women who plan to have children in the future are advised to wait before having a tummy tuck, as pregnancy can take those beautiful results and stretch them all out of shape once again.
Talk with Dr. Iteld during a personalized consultation to discover whether you are a good candidate for a tummy tuck.
Are There Options for Body Contouring Beyond a Tummy Tuck?
If belly fat is your primary problem, a tummy tuck may not be the ideal procedure for you. Liposuction can be performed on its own. For patients who want to slim down without surgery, CoolSculpting® provides a noninvasive alternative. A tummy tuck may also be part of a larger Mommy Makeover, which makes all sorts of features look more like they did before pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding stretched them out of shape.
Whether the thing keeping you from the body you want is a little bit of fat or a whole lot of skin, Dr. Iteld and his team can help.
* Results will vary from patient to patient. No guarantees about an individual’s result can or should be made based on information provided here.