Tummy Tuck in Atlanta, GA, and Alpharetta, GA, with Dr. Alderman
We all want a flat stomach, but diet and exercise alone often cannot accomplish this goal. Dr. Amy Alderman has performed many successful tummy tucks in Buckhead Atlanta and Alpharetta, finally helping her patients achieve a flatter, tighter abdomen.
If you have worked hard to reduce your stomach but still find that you have excess skin and fat in the abdominal area, an abdominoplasty may be the answer for you. The result is better fitting clothes, a smooth contour, and improved self-confidence.
What Can Abdominoplasty Do for Me?
- Flatten a round stomach
- Reduce love handles
- Remove lax skin in the abdominal area
- Correct stretched, separated, or weakened abdominal muscles (a condition that often occurs post-pregnancy)
- Improve lower back pain
- Help you feel better about your body
Request a Consultation
If you’re in the Atlanta or Alpharetta areas and have any questions about a Tummy Tuck or wish to schedule a consultation for a Tummy Tuck with Dr. Alderman, please contact our office.Request a Consultation
Am I a Good Candidate for Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty is best for people who have both excess fat and skin in the abdominal area. If you have no lax skin, but only excess fat, liposuction alone may be sufficient to give you the flatter stomach you want.
Abdominoplasty is often part of a mommy makeover for women who have excess skin and fat as a result of pregnancy. However, it is best to postpone this procedure until after you are finished having children as a subsequent pregnancy could create the need for an additional tummy tuck.
Your Options for Abdominoplasty
For some patients, a mini-abdominoplasty is appropriate to correct the excess skin below the belly button. Tummy tuck surgery has a minimal downtime of about four days and can be combined with liposuction of the abdominal area. A mini-abdominoplasty is often perfect for the mom of young kids or the working professional who needs a short recovery.
Most patients who have had children require repair of the muscle separation (muscle diastasis). This can be performed through a full abdominoplasty where the lower abdominal skin is removed and the belly button is repositioned to a new location. A small proportion of patients do not have excess skin, and the muscle repair can be performed through a mini-abdominoplasty incision with no scar around the belly button. When the muscles are repaired, the patient generally requires a two-week recovery with a gradual return to exercise.
For some patients, muscle repair is not required, but excess skin above and below the belly button is present. The abdominal skin can be tightened with scars similar to a full abdominoplasty, but muscle repair is not necessary. This procedure is perfect for the working professional who has not had children. The downtime is minimal and similar to a mini-abdominoplasty. Most patients can return to work in four to five days.
What Is A ‘Drainless’ Tummy Tuck?
In some cases, Dr. Alderman can perform your surgery without the need for a drain. A drain is a very small tube that sits under your skin and allows fluid from swelling to collect in a small drainage bulb. The drains are typically removed one week after surgery. For some patients, particularly those who do not need a lot of liposuction, Dr. Alderman can perform your procedure without drains. She uses progressive tension or quilting sutures to secure the skin back down to your muscles and alleviate any areas where fluid or swelling can accumulate.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Aftercare: Post-Treatment Comfort
Dr. Alderman makes every effort possible to decrease patients’ discomfort after tummy tuck surgery. Many patients have concerns about the overuse of narcotics, which has become a national epidemic. For any plastic surgery procedures that are associated with more discomfort, such as the tummy tuck, Dr. Alderman offers Exparel, which is a long-acting anesthetic that offers pain relief for two to three days. In addition, she uses an ERAS pain protocol to enhance post-operative recovery. ERAS stands for Enhanced Recovery After Surgery and is a protocol for surgical pain management that utilizes a combination of several non-narcotic medications to alleviate your discomfort. Many of these medications are started prior to your surgery so that the medications are at an optimal level in your system for pain control when surgery begins. Frequently, Dr. Alderman’s tummy tuck patients tell her how surprised they are by the lack of discomfort after surgery, and many patients avoid narcotics completely. Using the ERAS pain protocol, patients are less nauseated, less constipated, have better pain relief, and avoid the risk of narcotic addiction.
Meet Dr. Alderman
Dr. Amy Alderman is a nationally known, board-certified plastic surgeon located in Buckhead near Atlanta. As a female surgeon and mother of two children, she provides a unique perspective to patient care. Each surgical plan is individually tailored to each patient’s needs and lifestyles and is aimed at enhancing her patient’s natural beauty and restoring confidence. She is known for her personal approach to patient care and has unparalleled commitment to patient safety, which can be attributed to years of education, professional experience and involvement in national patient safety initiatives.Meet Dr. Alderman
Preventing Risks of Tummy Tucks – Providing the Safest Care Possible
Dr. Alderman is nationally known for her efforts to reduce surgical risk. She is a frequent lecturer at national meetings on measures that lower patients’ risks of complications with body contouring surgery. One area of particular interest to her is the prevention of blood clots. In her practice, all patients undergo a risk assessment scale for blood clots. Patients at increased risk are treated with Lovenox, a type of blood thinner, for one to two weeks.
This approach has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of blood clots for surgical patients. Additional measures such as sequential compression devices (boots that squeeze your legs) are placed on all patients during surgery. With aggressive pain management such as the use of Exparel, and the ERAS pain protocol, patients are able to ambulate (move around) sooner, which also reduces the risk of blood clots.
In addition, we abide by current national standards to reduce the risk of infection. All patients receive a dose of antibiotics on the day of tummy tuck surgery, prior to the creation of incisions. The surgical site is irrigated with antibiotic solution, and patients are often placed on oral antibiotics after surgery, depending on the procedure.
What Happens During the Tummy Tuck Procedure?
Abdominoplasty usually requires general anesthesia (administered by Dr. Aida Joiner, board-certified anesthesiologist), and the surgery takes 2-4 hours depending on the individual. Incisions depend on the extent of your surgery. A full tummy tuck procedure involves an incision under the bikini line across the abdomen from hip to hip. Since it is low in the pubic area, the scar will remain hidden under clothing – even bathing suits.
For those who require less extensive surgery, Dr. Alderman can sometimes use a shorter incision. This is best suited for people who have a small amount of loose skin and do not need the abdominal muscles tightened.
During the tummy tuck surgery, Dr. Alderman removes excess skin and uses liposuction to remove excess fat. This involves inserting a cannula (tube) that is attached to a device that suctions the fat from the body. She also tightens stretched muscles, if necessary, and repositions the belly button. Her goal is to contour the area so that it is tighter and flatter.
After surgery, your incisions are sutured and dressed. In some cases, drains may be placed within the incisions to capture fluids. These will be removed within a week. Dr. Alderman uses advanced techniques that make it possible to perform drain-free surgeries in many cases.
What Will the Scar Look Like?
Dr. Alderman will try to keep your scar as low as possible so that ideally it can be hidden in a bathing suit. The length of the scar depends on how much excess skin you have. The more skin, the longer the scar. After surgery, you will be placed in a scar treatment regimen managed by Dr. Alderman. This regimen generally lasts 6 months to optimize your results. The regimen consists of a particular type of surgical tape and followed by silicone products. Sunscreen for a year is important. In addition, lasers in her medical spa can assist for scars that are taking longer to fade.
What Can I Expect During Recovery from a Tummy Tuck?
For a few weeks, you will wear a compression garment that will aid in the healing process. After 24 hours, we will ask you to walk several times throughout the day to encourage circulation and prevent blood clotting. As long as your work is not strenuous, you should be able to return to work within 4-5 days or 1-2 weeks, depending on the type of abdominoplasty you received. You can resume exercise and lifting in 4-6 weeks.
Your abdomen will be flatter right away, but the swelling will resolve slowly over a period of about 6 months. You will then see your final results. Dr. Alderman does everything she can to keep scarring to a minimum. The scar is low in the groin area, and it will improve over time, becoming smoother and less prominent.
Most importantly, Dr. Alderman will monitor your progress in follow-up examinations and will be available to answer your questions as you heal.
Contact Dr. Alderman for a Tummy Tuck in Alpharetta, GA
It is a true honor for Dr. Alderman to be a part of a patient’s body contouring journey, and she doesn’t take this responsibility lightly. She has devoted much of her professional time working with other plastic surgeons on a national level to promote patient safety initiatives with body contouring surgery. In particular, Dr. Alderman has a special interest in patient safety as it is related to blood clots, and she performs the most up-to-date and the most aggressive initiatives aimed at keeping patients safe during these procedures.
Are you ready for a flatter tummy and more attractive body contour? Call us today to schedule a consultation to find out more about abdominoplasty with Dr. Alderman.
Any surgical procedure has some associated swelling, and abdominoplasty or tummy tucks are no exception. Most patients have a drain placed under the abdominal skin that helps reduce the initial surgical swelling. Those drains are removed about 1-2 weeks after surgery when the swelling starts to diminish. At 6 weeks, about 50% of the swelling as resolved, and the remainder of the swelling will be gone at 6 months. The upper abdomen is the first area to have improvement in swelling, and the lower abdomen above the scar is the last spot for the swelling to subside.
Most patients can return to a desk-type job about 2 weeks after surgery. Patients with more physically demanding jobs will need some physical limitations upon returning to work. At 3 weeks, patients are allowed to start some light cardiovascular physical activity. Patients are allowed to return to full physical activity with no restrictions at 6 weeks.
The abdominoplasty procedure is aimed at repairing any abdominal muscle separation (also known as diastasis) and tightening the abdominal skin. To accomplish this, the skin of the abdomen must be lifted off of the abdominal wall or muscle layer, which cuts off some of the blood supply to the overlying skin. Dr. Alderman wants to make sure that your skin is handled very carefully in order to preserve the remaining blood supply to the skin so that your incision will heal. Liposuction to the skin that has been lifted off of the abdominal wall is very traumatic to the skin, will damage its blood supply and will significantly increase the risk of a wound healing issue. Therefore, liposuction to the front part of your abdomen is not recommended during a traditional tummy tuck so that your risk of a complication with healing is reduced.
An abdominoplasty is not weight-reduction procedure. Yes, tissue is removed with the procedure, but the amount removed is usually only a pound or two. The procedure is best performed when patients are at their ideal body weight. However, most patients are so excited about the changes in their appearance that it motivates them to continue living a healthy lifestyle with clean eating and regular exercise.
Dr. Alderman will discuss with you whether or not drains are used. The need for drains varies with the type of abdominoplasty procedure she performs. Dr. Alderman does use progressive tension sutures which helps either alleviate the need for drains or reduces the amount of time drains are needed.
All of the sutures Dr. Alderman places for your abdominoplasty procedure are dissolvable. Therefore, sutures will not require removal.
Most patients require 2 weeks before returning to work. However, many patients are able to start working from home after the first week from surgery. Patients with more physically demanding work may require physical limitations upon returning to work.
In general, patients with an abdominoplasty procedure can start light cardiovascular exercise 3 weeks after surgery and return to full, unrestricted activity at 6 weeks from surgery.
It is normal for your abdomen to feel tight after surgery. The tightness is from both the muscle repair and the skin resection. For the first week, you will want to take tension off of your scar and stay a bit hunched over when walking. After the first week, most patients start to stand and sit more upright as the swelling diminishes and the skin stretches, both of which make you feel less tight. You will not hurt anything by moving. In fact, you will have a quicker recovery and feel better if you get out of bed and walk around a limited amount.
Absolutely! A tummy tuck will not impair or limit your ability to carry a child full-term. Your skin will have no problem stretching to the size needed to give room for your new baby. However, there is a chance that you may need Dr. Alderman again to retighten your abdomen after childbirth.
During the first few days and weeks after surgery, how you sleep is more important than ever.
It’s critical to maintain an elevated and slightly bent sleep position after tummy tuck surgery. This both provides increased comfort and helps to ensure beautiful results. Lying down flat too early can increase your risk of both aesthetic and medical complications.
During your follow-up appointments, Dr. Alderman will work with you to determine when it’s safe to start sleeping normally.
Be sure to view our Before and After Photo Gallery of Tummy Tuck procedures to see real patient results at North Atlanta Plastic Surgery.
Dr. Alderman’s National Efforts on this Topic
Director, American Board of Plastic Surgery
Chair, Plastic Surgery Spring Meeting
Co-Chair, Annual Atlanta Breast Surgery Meeting
Chairperson of the Body Contouring Section for Aesthetica, a national cosmetic surgery meeting sponsored by the American Society of Plastic Surgery
American Society of Plastic Surgery Patient Safety Committee
ASPS Aesthetic Surgery Advisory Committee
Vice Chairperson, ASPS Education Aesthetic Council
Advances in Post-Bariatric Body Contouring, December 20, 2007, University of Michigan Bariatric Program.
Managing the Unfavorable Scar: When to Perform Surgical Revision. Challenging Complications in Plastic Surgery Symposium: Successful Management Strategies. Washington, DC, July 2012.
VTE Prevention in Cosmetic Surgery. Georgia Society of Plastic Surgery Annual Meeting, Aug 2013, Brasstown Resort, GA.
Patient Safety: Prevention of VTE in Cosmetic Surgery. QMP Aesthetic Surgery Symposium, Nov 2013, Chicago, IL
VTE Prophylaxis and Body Contouring: What is the Evidence? Aesthetica 2015, Las Vegas April 30-May 2, 2015.
Combining Multiple Abdominal Procedures and Related Complications. Aesthetica 2015, Las Vegas April 30-May 2, 2015.
Thunderdome: Risk/Reward of Combined Surgical Procedures: What’s Too Much? American Society of Plastic Surgery, Oct 20, 2015.
The Complex Scar: New Strategies to Improve Appearance. Aesthetica, June 2016, Washington, DC.
How Long of Surgery is Too Long? Length of Surgery and VTE. Aesthetica, June 2016, Washington, DC.
The Complex Scar: New Strategies to Improve Appearance. Aesthetica, June 2016, Washington, DC.
VTE Prophylaxis: What are our options? Aesthetica, March 2017, New Orleans, LA.
Alderman, AK. Body contouring. In The Michigan Manual of Plastic Surgery. Ed Brown & Borschel, Lippincott, Philadelphia, 2004.
Pannucci, C, Alderman, AK. Venous Thromboembolism and the Aesthetic Surgery Patient. Essentials of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Alderman, AK, Kerrigan, CL, Lemaine, V, Pusic, AL, Vidal, DC. Evidence-Based Medicine &Health Services Research in Plastic Surgery. In Plastic Surgery 1st Edition
Alderman, AK, Chung, KC. Outcomes for Surgical Guidance in Plastic Surgery: Measuring Outcomes in Aesthetic Surgery. Clinics in of Plastic Surgery, 2013:297-304.
Alderman, AK, Kerrigan, CL, Lemaine, V, Pusic, AL, Vidal, DC. Evidence-Based Medicine &Health Services Research in Plastic Surgery. In Plastic Surgery 4th Edition
Kassen, AF, Cano, SJ, Alderman, AK, et al. The BODY-Q: A Patient-Reported Outcome Instrument for Weight Loss and Body Contouring Treatments. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Glob Open 2016;4:e679, April 13, 2016.
Murphy, RX,Jr, Alderman, AK, Gutowski, K, Kerrigan, C, Rosolowski, K, Schechter, L, Schmitz, D, Wilkins, E. Evidence-Based Practices for Thromboembolism Prevention: Summary of the ASPS Venous Thromboembolism Task Force Report. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: 130: 168e-175e, 2012.
Pannucci CJ, Alderman AK, Brown SL, Wakefield TW, Wilkins EG. The effect of abdominal wall plication on intra-abdominal pressure and lower extremity venous flow: a case report. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery: 65(3):392-4, 2012.
Alderman, AK, Collins, ED, Streu, R, Grotting, JC, Sulkin, AL, Neligan, P, Haeck, PC, Gutowski, KA. Benchmarking outcomes in plastic surgery: national complication rates for abdominoplasty and breast augmentation. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2009;124:2127-33.