The abdominal area, or the “belly,” is one of the areas of the body that tends to undergo some of the most noticeable changes over the course of our lives. Whether it’s a small pooch inherited from a parent, changes from diet and stress, pregnancy, or cycles of weight gain or loss, the abdomen reveals experiences from life. Noticeable bulges in clothing, stretch marks, persistent fat pockets despite diet and exercise, abdominal or belly bloating or bulging after eating, loose skin or excess skin and fat are all problems that can be addressed with a tummy tuck in Houston, TX, from an experienced plastic surgeon. Dr. Leo Lapuerta is proud to offer a tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, to patients throughout Houston, including Pearland, Piney Point, and Katy, TX.
A tummy tuck is a permanent surgical procedure that removes excess skin, fat, and tissue from areas of the middle and lower stomach. The procedure also tightens the abdominal wall muscles, resulting in a dramatically flatter stomach. Dr. Lapuerta specializes in abdominoplasty in Houston, TX, helping patients achieve outstanding results.
Dr. Lapuerta is a tummy tuck expert, with over 20 years of experience with abdominoplasty in Houston. What sets Dr. Lapuerta apart from other plastic surgeons is his approach to addressing his patient’s concerns. With his extensive experience and approachable personality, patients find that Dr. Lapuerta understands their concerns and offers an individualized approach that addresses their needs and achieves their goals.
Dr. Lapuerta’s approach to a tummy tuck is unique in many ways from other plastic surgeons. First, Dr. Lapuerta often utilizes liposuction in the hip or flank areas in addition to the tummy tuck in order to create a feminine contour that results in a tummy tuck that is more natural in appearance. For full tummy tuck procedures, Dr. Lapuerta uses a multiple suture technique for plicating or bringing the abdominal wall muscles together and a progressive technique for restoring the natural flat contours of the abdomen. This technique results in fewer complications, better wound healing, and an abdomen that will hold its new shape and has a more natural form. With a full tummy tuck, the patient’s belly button will also have to be repositioned. Recreating the appearance of a natural belly button is an important feature of a well-done tummy tuck and Dr. Lapuerta takes great care to ensure the best result possible for this signature feature.
Lastly, Dr. Lapuerta provides injections of a long-lasting local anesthetic medication into the tummy tuck area, which reduces the need for postoperative oral pain medications. Dr. Lapuerta’s ability to understand every patient’s goals, combined with his unique approach and attention to detail, ensures a smooth recovery and optimal outcomes for patients.
There are a few different approaches that can be used to address the problem areas, depending on the patient’s history and the amount of excess skin, fat and tissue. During a consultation with Dr. Lapuerta, he will partner with the patient to determine which surgical technique best addresses the individual needs of that patient. Below is a brief overview of the three primary surgical techniques for a tummy tuck in Houston.
A traditional (full) tummy tuck is suitable for both women and men who have a moderate amount of excess skin in their midsection. The surgery is also commonly performed on women post-pregnancy. During this surgery, an incision is made that extends from hipbone to hipbone. The incision is placed low on the abdomen such that panties or a swimsuit bottom will cover the scar. Patients may wear these when Dr. Lapuerta marks the incision prior to surgery to ensure their scar will be in the optimal position.
Once the incision is made, the skin, excess tissue and fat, and any stretch marks or scars in the marked area will be elevated away from the abdominal muscle wall. Dr. Lapuerta will remove this section, then begin to reconstruct the abdominal wall by bringing the abdominal muscles together to ensure a flat foundation for the abdomen. Dr. Lapuerta will also utilize liposuction to sculpt the area to ensure a feminine, natural form.
The belly button will be repositioned in a natural fashion and Dr. Lapuerta will close the new, flat abdomen in a progressive fashion to ensure reduced complications and better healing of the scars. During the procedure, he will inject a local anesthetic that will provide a base level of pain relief for three days post-surgery.
Individuals who are in relatively good shape, have minimal amounts of excess skin, tissue or fat, or have stretch marks or undesirable scars are excellent candidates for a mini tummy tuck. A mini tummy tuck differs from a full tummy tuck in three important ways: With a mini tummy tuck, only problem areas at the level of the belly button and below can be addressed, the belly button is not repositioned and the abdominal wall muscles are not pulled together with permanent sutures.
A shorter scar placed low on the abdomen (which can be concealed with panties or a swimsuit bottom) is made. This incision allows the removal of undesirable problem areas of skin, tissue, fat, stretch marks, or scars. Sculpting liposuction may or may not be included on an individual basis as needed to create a natural form. The abdomen is closed in a similar fashion as a full tummy tuck; however, the belly button is left in its original position and the abdominal wall muscles are not addressed.
The extended tummy tuck is reserved for patients who require extensive skin tightening and body contouring following major weight loss. The extended tummy tuck requires a longer incision that extends beyond the hips, as well as another one around the navel. Liposuction is used and the excess skin is trimmed away and tightened. The belly button is repositioned during this surgery.
A tummy tuck is performed under general anesthesia in an accredited surgical facility. Dr. Lapuerta has an accredited operating room and surgical facility on-site, making for a safe and hassle-free option for a tummy tuck in Houston. Depending on the approach selected, the surgical procedure typically takes around 2-3 hours to complete and is considered an outpatient procedure. Extended tummy tucks typically take 3-6 hours depending on the patient’s particular condition and sometimes require a hospital setting for surgery with an overnight stay.
After surgery, patients will wear a compression garment to help aid the healing process. During the first 48 hours, the patient will need to rest, but they should make a concerted effort to move around in order to help promote blood circulation. While some movement is needed, patients should only attempt to initially stand at a 45-degree angle to protect the incision. Some bruising and swelling is common following a tummy tuck surgery, and patients may also find the abdominal skin somewhat numb.
Initially, there will be some discomfort following the procedure, and pain medication will be provided to help with post-operative pain. Many patients compare the discomfort to the feeling of having performed intense abdominal exercises. While most patients can return to work in two to three weeks after surgery, clearance to resume exercise and physical activity is usually given around four to six weeks post-surgery.
The level of discomfort and amount of recovery time varies depending on the type of tummy tuck selected. A tummy tuck will result in a scar, but the scar is in an area that is usually covered with clothing, and, if performed by an expert such as Dr. Lapuerta, the scar should fade with time.
For those wondering how much a tummy tuck costs, the price for abdominoplasty will vary depending on the technique used, the patient’s condition and aesthetic goals, as well as other factors relating to the surgical case. However, on average, most patients can expect to pay between $9,000 and $13,000 for their tummy tuck procedure.
The best way to get an accurate estimate of the cost of a tummy tuck in Houston is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lapuerta. Dr. Lapuerta partners with the patient to determine the best treatment so that they can meet their specific goals. After deciding on what type of tummy tuck procedure is best for the patient, patients will receive a complete quote and will know what to expect for the cost of their tummy tuck in Houston with Dr. Lapuerta.