A tummy tuck, also known as an an abdominoplasty, is a procedure where excess skin and fat is surgically removed from one’s middle to lower abdomen. Elongated or stretched abdominal muscles are often repaired with this procedure. For anyone who seeks a more flat and better-defined abdominal area, an abdominoplasty is the right procedure for you. Ideal for patients who have concerns about large fat deposits, loose or saggy skin, or have bodies that don’t respond to healthy diet and exercise habits should strongly consider this procedure.
What Makes Dr. BYUN’s Approach Different From Other Surgeons?
In addition to being a one-of-a-kind surgeon, Dr. BYUN is also an amazing coach. He works with patients prior to surgery to firm up abdominal tissues and muscles to achieve even more outstanding results.
As for the procedure, Dr. BYUN uses precise incisions so that the resulting scars are minimized. He utilizes an incision along the bikini line so that the scar is hidden easily by undergarments. Dr. BYUN performs something called a high lateral tension abdominoplasty where the sides of the abdomen are secured down to highlight natural curves. Abdominal muscles are repaired and excess skin is tightened and sutured, leaving behind a more narrow waistline with a firm abdominal wall.
Debunking Common Tummy Tuck MYTHS
A Tummy Tuck is a Great Weight Loss Strategy (MYTH)
A tummy tuck is not designed to help you lose weight. Actually, you will see the best results from a tummy tuck if you are at, or close to, your target weight range. Tummy tucks are about refining the shape and contour of your abdomen, not removing pounds and ounces. When it comes to weight loss, there is no substitute for a healthy diet and exercise routine.
Tummy Tucks Improve the Look of Stretch Marks (semi-MYTH)
Tummy tucks only improve stretch marks located on the skin that’s removed during surgery. In most cases, the skin is removed from between the navel and the pubic hairline.
I Can’t Have More Children After a Tummy Tuck (MYTH)
Tummy tucks do not interfere with future family planning. If you have a tummy tuck and then get pregnant, you do not have to worry about any detrimental effects on your health. With that being said, some of the aesthetic benefits of surgery may be lost as skin and muscles re-stretch. But chances are, even with some of the improvements regressing, your abdomen will look better post pregnancy than it would have if you did not have a tummy tuck.
Only Women can Benefit from a Tummy Tuck (MYTH)
Although it is true that many women seek out tummy tucks after having children, the procedure can greatly benefit both men and women. Dr. BYUN works with men who are left with folds of saggy abdominal skin after massive weight loss. Though the surgical techniques are vastly similar whether the patient is male or female, a truly talented tummy tuck surgeon like Dr. BYUN understands how to create gender differentiation amongst his patients. Flat and firm for our masculine men, and curvy yet well defined for our feminine women.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
Patients will go home the same day. Movements that require abdominal use such as sitting or getting in and out of bed will be uncomfortable. Avoid stretching, twisting or trying to force a straight posture. Patients who do well are able to limit activity and take appropriate pain medications. Dr. BYUN and his Post-Op Care Team will evaluate your healing and let you now when it’s safe to resume normal routines and exercise. (rule of thumb; increase activity by 10% every week as tolerated)
For sleep, back or side sleeping positions are allowed. While on your back, use a pillow under your knees.
After surgery, you will have an abdominal binder on. The binder has velcro and can be adjusted as necessary. It’s important to maintain binder compression to the operative site. Binder use can last from 1 week to 5 months post surgery. Three days following surgery you may remove the binder briefly to shower. Please try to keep on any tape or steri-strips that are directly on you skin for your first shower – they will be removed at your post-op appointment. Baths are not a an option as the tape and steri-strips should not be soaked. After you shower, place the binder back on snugly.
Sometimes drains are necessary to help control bruising and swelling. Drains are secured and will not easily fall out. At first, the fluids may be bloody but will get paler in color as time passes. Keep track of the amount of fluid you empty (right separate from left) and the time you empty them. Bring this information to your follow-up appointment. The drains will not work if the bulbs are not compressed. After emptying, compress the drain before re-inserting the tab. Some clotting may appear in the tubes by the 2nd or the 3rd day. In this case, pinch the tube above the clot, and with the other hand “milk” the clot down into the bulb. When showering, make sure to place the drains up on something, as not to let them hang or be pulled down. These drains will be removed at your follow-up appointment.
Tummy Tuck FAQs
Why is the BYUN Tummy Tuck so Expensive?
- Anesthesia: Dr. BYUN does all his surgeries with board certified anesthesiologists– not nurses– to completely ensure your health and safety
- Surgery Center: Just like all hospitals, surgery centers are monitored by state health departments, federal government, and non-governmental agencies like the Joint Commission. In fact, our surgery center is one of the most highly-regulated healthcare facilities in the United States and is required to meet strict standards
- Dr. BYUN does a completely different repair than most doctors. He performs something called a high lateral tension abdominoplasty. This procedure pulls the side of the abdomen to highlight natural curves. Also, his tummy tuck method saves peripheral blood vessels instead of cutting them out
- He removes all scars from previous C-section, gallbladder, gyne or other abdominal related procedures
- Additionally, scar care and follow up visits are all included
- He includes liposuction of the both flanks of the abdominal which typically bulge after most standard tummy tucks
- Dr. BYUN also addresses the mons-pubis/private area to match the improved abdomen area; most surgeons avoid this area which results in extra bulging after surgery
What is a Mommy Makeover?
The term ‘Mommy Makeover’ describes a combination of plastic surgery procedures intended to reverse the physical changes brought about by pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you wish you could reclaim your pre-baby body, a mommy makeover with Dr. Michael BYUN may be a very gratifying experience for you.
What Procedures are Typically Included in a Mommy Makeover?
Nearly every Mommy Makeover includes procedures to target the breasts and abdomen, which are the areas that are typically most changed by pregnancy and nursing.
A tummy tuck tightens the abdominal muscles that have stretched or separated during pregnancy; it also removes excess skin and fat from the front and sides of the waist.
In terms of the breasts, some women are disappointed to find that nursing robs them of their natural volume. Implants can be placed as part of a Mommy Makeover to add volume and shape to flat or “deflated”-looking breasts. Other women find that their breasts enlarge during pregnancy and remain disproportionately large after they finish breastfeeding. A breast reduction may be incorporated into mommy makeover to remove excess skin and tissue and improve the proportion of the breasts to the rest of the body. It is also incredibly common to experience breast sagging (i.e., “ptosis”) after pregnancy and nursing. For this reason, a breast lift, which repositions the breast tissue higher on the chest in a perkier arrangement, is a mainstay of the Mommy Makeover. Areola repositioning and size can both be addressed.
Your Mommy Makeover Procedure Details
Your mommy makeover will be specifically tailored to your unique circumstances, taking into consideration what you hope to look like after surgery. Dr. BYUN might recommend combining your desired procedures into one operation, or staging them out into separate surgeries depending on your personal preferences and any health or medical constraints.
Dr. BYUN begins the procedure by creating an incision on the lower abdomen, just above the pubic hairline. Through the incision he tightens the abdominal muscles, stitching them together in a corset-like fashion. He selectively removes unwanted fat and trims excess skin that may hang or sag off of the torso. Dr. BYUN can also improve the appearance of a stretched-out belly button. Once he is happy with the shape of the abdomen, he re-drapes the skin more smoothly over the tissues. Liposuction may be added to a Mommy Makeover to target the flanks, hips, buttocks, and other areas of the body that have accumulated fat during pregnancy and not responded to diet or exercise efforts.
Can A Tummy Tuck Be Performed In Conjunction With Other Procedures?
Yes, a Tummy Tuck is often a key part of a “Mommy Makeover” (see above) – a group of procedures that may also include:
- LIPOSUCTION – to shrink specific areas of stubborn fat
- BREAST AUGMENTATION – to add volume to the breasts
- BREAST LIFT – (with or without implants) to restore shape, perkiness and volume
This suite of surgeries targets the changes the body often undergoes as a result of one or more pregnancies, or for a patient interested in the combination of multiple procedures, as listed above. The goal is to restore a youthful, firmer profile, while fortifying self-confidence.
Is It Okay To Have Tummy Tuck Surgery Before Having Kids?
While there are typically no major risks associated with becoming pregnant after Tummy Tuck surgery, it is typically recommended that patients wait until they are done having children before undergoing the procedure. Doing so can help ensure the results achieved are not compromised by the bodily changes that often occur during pregnancy.
What Does The Healing Process Look Like?
Bruising, Swelling, and Stitches (which can pucker) are all NORMAL. Tissue firmness is NORMAL. Your body may not heal symmetrically, meaning one side may take longer to heal than the other, this is NORMAL. Any previous asymmetry may remain.
Why Are My Results Uneven?
Post-op asymmetry is NORMAL. Pre-existing asymmetry will continue since the human anatomy of left vs. right does not always match. Human tissue is naturally asymmetric. This applies to Breasts, Face, Eyes, and even the Nose.
Why Is My Swelling Lasting Longer On One Side?
This is very common. The function of your Lymphatic System (which acts as a highway of Arteries, Veins, and Lymphatic Channels) is to filter out fluid from particular areas of the body. Lymph Nodes, Bone Structure & Tissue Shape are different from right to left, so when it comes to draining, the “clearance rate” of the swelling is also entirely different on each side. The heart is located on the left side of the body and distributes blood throughout the body using different paths & pressures. The drainage of the heart is not completely linear; thus, another reason why Lymphatic Clearance is different on each side.
How Long Does The Recovery Take? When Can I Go Back To Work & Exercise?
Depending on both the surgery and your own physiology (your body’s healing), most patients have a downtime of two (2) to three (3) weeks before returning to daily activities such as exercising. During the first ten (10) days, we ask that you do not do any activity that increases your heart rate. This is to help the healing process, since the blood clot that has stopped the bleeding from the surgery dissolves in about seven (7) days. After ten (10) days, increase activity by ten percent (10%) each week as tolerated. Stop activity if you see a dramatic increase in swelling when you wake up the following day. At the one (1) week post-op visit you will be provided with healing instructions and what specific activities are allowed. Patients can usually return to work after one (1) week.
How Does Abdominal Liposuction Differ From A Tummy Tuck?
A Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) is a major surgical procedure requiring general anesthesia, and involves making a large cut in order to remove excess fat and skin. Abdominal Liposuction is a more common procedure and can be done both under local and general anesthesia (your surgeon will choose which is right for you). Liposuction involves making various smaller incisions and removing fat using a long skinny surgical instrument.
What Is Recovery Like For A Tummy Tuck?
Following Tummy Tuck surgery, drain tubes will need to be left in place for about one (1) week. Most patients experience some bruising and/or swelling, though these symptoms should subside over the course of a few weeks. The majority of individuals are able to return to non-strenuous jobs or activities after about one (1) to two (2) weeks; however, heavy lifting and/or strenuous physical labor should be avoided for at least six (6) to eight (8) weeks. To help facilitate healing, patients are often encouraged to walk around as soon as they feel comfortable enough to do so. Seven to ten days after surgery, you’ll return to Dr. BYUN’s office for follow-up. Returning to work and healing vary, but most patients feel comfortable returning to work after two or three weeks. Dr. BYUN and his Post-Op Care Team will evaluate your healing and let you now when it’s safe to resume normal routines and exercise. (rule of thumb; increase activity by 10% every week as tolerated).
Will I Be In Pain?
You will not feel anything during the procedure, since anesthesia will be used. However, after the anesthesia wears off, you will feel some pain and discomfort. It is highly recommended that you start off taking Extra Strength Tylenol, every six (6) to eight (8) hours, alternating with Motrin. Please DO NOT MIX pain relief medications together at the same time. If you are experiencing a higher level of pain, please take the prescribed pain medication (Norco, or other prescribed pain medication).
How Often Can I Apply Heat And Cold Packs?
Hot packs are NOT recommended due to a side effect of increased inflammation which can further delay the healing process. However, cold packs are recommended with frequent usage in fifteen (15) minute intervals.
How Soon Can I Take A Shower?
We recommend waiting forty-eight (48) hours to shower. Make sure you are steady on your feet. Do not soak the incisions and pat them dry when done.
Can I Get My Sutures Wet?
After forty-eight (48) hours, stitches can get wet. It is highly recommended, however, that only normal saline (over-the-counter medical cleaning solution) is used to clean the stitches. DO NOT use any cleansers or alcohol products on the suture site. Picking or pulling at the sutures is not approved and can cause damage. Pat the sutures dry if need be.
What To Do If I Become Constipated?
Reduce Norco usage, walk around, and take an over-the-counter medication like Colace or MiraLAX. It is recommended that you start using an over-the-counter stool softening medication one (1) day before surgery and continue taking it until you no longer need to be taking Norco for pain.
How Soon Can I Get On A Plane?
Every case is unique. Typically, short distances (short domestic flights) are okay. However, we recommend that you wait until you see Dr. BYUN’s team at the one (1) week follow-up appointment for final approval. Please keep in mind that extra swelling can occur due to pressure changes in the plane.
Post Operative Information and Care
MEDICATIONS TO HELP WITH NAUSEA
ZOFRAN (or OTHER ANTI-NAUSEA MEDICATION): Take one (1) Zofran tablet (or other anti-nausea medication) as prescribed on your way home from surgery.
MEDICATIONS TO HELP WITH INFECTION
KEFLEX (or OTHER ANTIBIOTIC MEDICATION): Start the antibiotics as prescribed (make sure to consume food when taking any antibiotics as it can cause nausea). It is crucial to complete the ENTIRE course of antibiotics.
MEDICATIONS TO HELP WITH PAIN
TYLENOL & MOTRIN: Start with two (2) extra strength Tylenol (take every 6-8 hours). You may take Motrin instead of Tylenol if preferred. Do not take Tylenol and Norco within the same 6-8 hour window. Taper off medication as tolerated.
NORCO (or OTHER PRESCRIBED PAIN MEDICATION: If pain is not controlled with extra strength Tylenol or Motrin, take one-two (1-2) tablets of Norco instead (take every 6-8 hours). DO NOT DRIVE if you’re taking Norco as it can cause drowsiness and other side effects. Norco has Tylenol in its composition – AVOID TAKING NORCO WITH TYLENOL and/or MOTRIN in the same 6-8 hour window.
METHODS & MEDICATIONS TO MINIMIZE BRUISING AND SWELLING
ARNICA TABLETS & BROMELAIN (over the counter): Take one (1) week before and continue for one (1) week after surgery.
ICE THERAPY: Fifteen (15) minutes on, fifteen (15) minutes off. Icing is most important in the first forty-eight (48) hours post-surgery. Icing will still be effective after that forty-eight (48) hour period and is still recommended.
COMPRESSION: Firm but gentle wrapping with ace bandages.
METHODS TO ENHANCE RECOVERY
PROTEIN INTAKE: Protein can be ingested in any form; powder, shakes, bars or foods high in protein.
HYDRATION: Increase water intake (i.e., Pedialyte hydration packets to put in water) & Electrolyte drinks (i.e., Vitamin Water).
CLEANING WOUNDS TWO (2) to THREE (3) TIMES A DAY: Not cleaning enough can cause infection while cleaning too much can take away good, healing tissue and prolong recovery.
MINIMIZE STRESS: Stress leads to inflammation and can delay healing.
METHODS TO DECREASE NAUSEA
HYDRATION: Hydrate the day before with clear fluids. NO FOOD or WATER 8 hours prior to surgery, but you may hydrate before the 8 hours.
MEDICATIONS, CHEWS & FOODS
Take anti-nausea medications (Zofran, or other prescribed anti-nausea medication).
Try ginger candy or a flat ginger ale drink.
Avoid strong scents and smells, or food odors.
Eat slowly and in small portions.
Do not lie down flat after your meal for two (2) hours.
Return to normal foods slowly (please refer to the steps below):
- Start with CLEAR LIQUIDS (water)
- Move into a SOFT DIET (applesauce, pudding, etc.)
- Return to a REGULAR DIET
IMPORTANT: A full diet can be introduced ONLY when the others are successfully tolerated.
IMPORTANT: Start with room temp food – the hot temperature of the food may cause nausea.
ACTIONS TO AVOID AFTER SURGERY
AVOID HEAT THERAPY: Heat expands the tissue and can ruin the surgical work.
AVOID TOO MUCH ACTIVITY: Increasing heart rate and blood pressure can worsen swelling and fluid build-up.
AVOID MASSAGING THE SURGICAL SITE unless told to do so by our medical team.
AVOID TAKING BANDAGES / ACE WRAP(S) OFF – DO NOT remove bandages until after forty-eight (48) hours, or as instructed by our medical team. If ACE wraps are not worn correctly, original surgical results may not be maintained.
AVOID LAYING ON ONE SIDE: Laying on one particular side can cause an increase in swelling on one side of the body, can worsen asymmetrical appearances, and delay the healing process.
WHAT TO AVOID AFTER SURGERY
AVOID Twisting or Bending at the Waist
AVOID Heavy Exercises
AVOID Strenuous Activity for at least two (2) weeks
DO NOT Lift Objects over 10lbs
Be Kind to Yourself and Trust the Healing Process
BE PATIENT – swelling can take a few weeks to months to decrease.
SORE THROAT feeling from the Endotracheal Tube placed by the Anesthesiologist, resolves within in one (1) to two (2) days, using ice chips or hot tea will help to soothe sore throat.
PLEASE NOTE – If surgery is more than five (5) hours, the anesthesia team may insert a catheter to monitor your body fluid during surgery, the catheter is removed at the end of surgery, discomfort is normal and present for twenty-four (24) hours.
SENSATION, NUMBNESS and TINGLING is NORMAL – new nerves awaken and grow after muscle repair, it may take up to six (6) months to one (1) full year for normal sensation to return.
BLEEDING within the first twenty-four (24) to forty-eight (48) hours is NORMAL.
BRUISING can appear away from the incision, this is NORMAL – bruising will change colors as it heals.
PUCKERING after surgery is NORMAL and a great sign – this shows that your muscles are adhering to the tissues, do NOT massage the puckered areas.
ON THE WAY HOME: Take anti-nausea medication.
UNTIL ONE (1) WEEK FOLLOW UP: Start antibiotics (take with food like yogurt, applesauce, or crackers) and start pain management.
PAIN MANAGEMENT OPTIONS:
Tylenol Extra-Strength & Motrin: one (1) to two (2) tablets / capsules, alternating every six (6) to eight (8) hours.
For Intolerable Pain: Norco, or other prescribed pain medication (take with food and as directed).
DO NOT drive and DO NOT mix Norco with Tylenol and Motrin
If taking Norco, take with stool softener, as Norco can slow down digestion.
AFTER SURGERY: Start stool softener as directed: Colace, Miralax, or fiber supplements. Apply Ice to and around the surgical area.
MONITOR SWELLING: The first three (3) days are the worst, the majority of swelling subsides in three (3) weeks.
Elevate legs above heart level.
Start foot exercises – ten (10) times every hour (60 min), this helps to prevent clots.
Start breathing exercises – ten (10) times every hour (60 min), take a deep breath in, hold for ten (10) seconds and exhale.
Perform these exercises at your own pace, helps prevent lung collapse and pneumonia from general anesthesia.
WOUND CARE: To be done two (2) days after surgery – at your forty-eight (48) hour postoperative visit.
BANDAGES & DRESSING:
- Remove gauze and ACE band – DO NOT remove anything directly on the skin.
- Apply Bacitracin / Neosporin to incisions three (3) to (4) times daily to prevent infection and scar depression.
- Once bleeding or oozing has stopped, stop application of ointment.
- Keep the incision clean and dry – use saline and gauze to clean, NO RUBBING
It is OK to touch the dressing and adjust if it causes any discomfort
If the dressing is soiled before the two (2) day mark, replace it with a new, clean gauze / ACE bandage.
IMPORTANT: If you have the urge to vomit, sneeze, or cough let it out.
IMPORTANT: If you’re continuously vomiting, call the office.
In The Media
Six things to be aware of before going under the knife.
Dr. Michael BYUN is a serious doctor with seriously comprehensive experience unlike many of his peers setting him heads and shoulders above all the rest.
Chicago magazine profile of Dr. BYUN.