There are many myths about getting a tummy tuck and many questions both women and men have, but are afraid to ask… or even afraid to even think about!
There is often a stigma that goes along with plastic surgery. People gossip that women (and men) who get plastic surgery are weak, superficial and people who have no self-control. Well that is simply not true! We sat down with board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Kevin Brenner to help answer some of the most common questions. A tummy tuck may not be the right decision for every mom, but no matter what you decide in the end, be informed!
I don’t need surgery. I just need to eat better and work out more…
Working out and eating better is always suggested in living a healthy life, right? But, at what point do you need help? At one point do you say, I may not be able to do this on my own and I need help?
When asked, Dr. Brenner said most of his patients live a very active and healthy lifestyle; however, once a person develops a significant diastasis (a technical term for the separation of the abdominal muscles) it is extremely difficult, if not sometimes impossible, to correct it on your own.
So what exactly is Diastasis Recti?
According to Dr. Brenner, Diastasis Recti is a condition where the abdominal wall muscles (known as the rectus abdominis muscles) separate from one another and splay apart from a person’s midline. Ordinarily, there is a thin layer called the linea alba that connects the right and left rectus muscles to each other. Functionally, this imparts integrity to the abdominal wall. Aesthetically, this keeps the abdominal wall flat and bulge-free.
During the gestational period of pregnancy, the linea alba thins out in response to a mother’s change in hormone levels in order to accommodate the enlarging uterus. This is one important way that a mother’s body changes to allow a baby to grow in utero. Following delivery, as the mom’s hormone levels return to her pre-pregnancy levels, the degree of effacement (thinning) of the linea alba does improve somewhat. However, in most mothers, the tissues get so stretched out during pregnancy that they lose their elasticity and therefore lose the ability to retract back into position, much like a rubber band that has been overstretched.
Surgery is really dangerous and I don’t want to take that chance…
As a mom, I think much more about the risks involved with… well everything. Realistically how dangerous is it to undergo a procedure like this?
Dr. Brenner explained, although tummy tuck surgery has become more mainstream, it is important to remember that abdominoplasty is real surgery and that it should be taken very seriously. It is important for your surgeon and anesthesiologist to thoroughly review your medical history and complete any necessary pre-operative testing. Dr. Brenner performs all of his procedures in a fully accredited, state-of-the art facility with experienced and competent staff. He also requires a minimum one night stay at nurse supervised aftercare facility. There are always risks involved when undergoing a surgical procedure; however, when all of the necessary precautions are taken and you have an excellent surgical team tummy tuck surgery can be performed very safely and effectively.
I heard the recovery is awful and I don’t know if I am up for that…
I consider myself pretty tough -after all, I am a mom! Is recovery like a C-Section or what I can realistically expect?
Dr. Brenner said that every woman’s pain tolerance is different, but it is realistic to compare it to a c-section in terms of pain and recovery. A c-section is a deeper incision, whereas a tummy tuck incision does not extend through the abdominal wall; however, patients experience a fair amount of soreness when the sutures are placed in the abdominal muscles to repair the diastasis. Injectable pain medication is administered at the aftercare facility the first night and patients are sent home with oral pain medication to help alleviate any discomfort. Most patients no longer need the pain medication after a week. Extra Strength Tylenol is usually sufficient for any soreness throughout the day.
Patients need to take it easy the first week, but they will not be completely bed ridden. It is advised to have someone to help around the house for a week or two and to take at least two weeks off of work. The biggest challenge, especially for moms with young children, is the weight lifting restriction. Patients are unable to do any heavy lifting (over 8-10lbs) for 4-6 weeks. This is manageable with the help of a spouse and/or friends and family.
I’m afraid of the scar and everyone knowing that I had a tummy tuck…
I understand that there’s no way around having a scar if you want to have this procedure, but is it that noticeable? I’m nervous that it will be obvious to everyone.
Dr. Brenner demonstrated through his before and after photos that he makes his incisions very low so that they can be easily hidden under a bikini or panties. When asked about the incision length, he said the best way to determine this is to sit at the edge of a chair. The approximate incision length will be anything that “hangs over”. Dr. Brenner was very reassuring about the belly button incision. He explained and shared a link on his blog as to why his technique provides a much more natural looking belly button. (Check it out here: Natural Looking Tummy Tuck Belly Button).
This all sounds great, but I don’t know if I can really afford something like this…
My kids always come first, so I’m a bit hesitant to spend this much money on myself. Is this something that’s affordable for the average mom?
Dr. Brenner’s surgical consultant explained that there are many costs to consider when undergoing a tummy tuck. There’s the surgery center equipment, the supplies, qualified staff, etc. She said when it’s your body you want to make sure you are making the best choice, not just the least expensive. Those little details definitely make a difference. She said Dr. Brenner’s practice always does their best to accommodate their patients and their financial situations by offering multiple options for payment – including financing options as low as $309 per month with an extended payment plan, as well as several interest free options.
Kevin Brenner, MD, FACS practices in Beverly Hills as a Plastic Surgeon, board certified by American Board of Surgery – General and American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Brenner began participating on RealSelf in 2009, and has achieved “Distinguished Member” status. The doctor has 9 years of experience providing cosmetic and aesthetic medical services, and is a member of American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and Fellow, American College of Surgeons (FACS). Dr. Brenner has hospital affiliations at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Providence Tarzana Medical Center, Marina Del Rey Hospital.
Beverly Hills: 465 North Roxbury Drive Suite 800 Beverly Hills, CA 90210 Phone: 310-777-5400
Encino: 15503 Ventura Boulevard Suite 370, Encino, CA 91436