Archived Q&A and Reviews


Tummy Tuck and Liposuction

Aug 2012

Hi I am seriously considering a tummy tuck with some liposuction. Would love to hear about your experience. Good, Bad and Ugly. Thanks, Sharon

I had my tummy tuck done in Oct last year. I would do it over again in a heart beat. I did not have lipo. I wish I did because I have more love handles then I would like to have. I also still muffin top over my pants. It is mainly because of my height and where most pants hit my hips. I am still puffy in my upper belly because I am lazy about exercise. I can tell when I do my crunches I am much tighter and defined. There are drawbacks in scaring and healing. The drains bugged me for a bit. Every few hours you have to empty the bulbs and clear out clots. My scar is healing nicely now.

I have to warn that you need to keep your pain management in check. After the initial weaning off pain meds I had trouble getting out of bed. I was not taking my OTC every 4 to 6 hours. Once I started that I was so much better. I have some before and after photos I would be willing to share. They are from the Dr so a warning they do show a bit of nudity.

I would also recommend my Dr with no hesitation. Dr Place in Danville. She was wonderful. Thinking back lipo and a breast lift would have been something I would have liked to add. The cost was about 7500. for my tummy tuck. I used CareCredit for the financing. She does not charge for consultation. I didn't like the fact that a few of the Drs charged and I shied away from seeing them.

I had a tummy tuck and breast augmentation mid 2011 (no lipo) due to major muscle separation and tons of extra skin post pregnancy.

I was really anxious leading up to it. The surgery went really well. I choose a doctor that requires an overnight in a hospital which I was grateful for, I couldn't imagine going home afterward! I also suggest a pain pump which releases pain killer directly to the incision, which in my case, I was off of oral pain killers in a few days. I think it helps with a quicker recovery time.

The first few days of recovery were tough but then each day was better and better. The drains were a pain but you only have them about a week. After a week I was out and about and back at work after two weeks. I had to force myself not to overdue it.

One year later the results are fantastic. The scar is not as bad as I thought it would be and will get even better with time. I can rock a bikini! I highly suggest Dr. Carolyn Chang,

Good luck
Mom with a awesome bod

my experience has been good and bad. the actual procedure and results were/are fantastic. however, i developed disordered eating/body image after the surgery. i noticed the closer i got to my ''ideal'' body, the more distorted my body image became. whereas before, i focused on my flabby belly, now i was focusing on my lovehandles. one thing i was never told (and at the time it probably wouldn't have changed my mind) is that when fat is lipo'd out of one area, the fat will return in another area. your genetic predisposition doesn't change just because you had surgery or lipo.

what i've noticed is that my lovehandles are bigger than they were before, because now the fat isn't going into my tummy. i have now gotten a grip on my issues, but i am wary. would i do it all over again? the vain part of me says yes, because i do like the flat tummy, but the more realistic/compassionate side of me says no. also, now when i think about having had surgery to alter my body's appearance for purely cosmetic reasons, i admit i feel ashamed and embarrassed that i took it so far. i guess all in all, my advice would be, don't do it. wish i had accepted my body

Liposuction or tummy tuck?

Jan 2009

I am a very fit 40ish mom. I work out, run regularly, eat well, and overall, look pretty good. My body fat is in the lean range. But I have been unable to really get rid of the flab around my middle. I don't need advice about working out or eating. I'm wondering about plastic surgery.

There is a lot of information on the BPN about about tummy tucks but nothing about liposuction. Has anyone had liposuction for their tummy and if so, are you happy with it? How long ago did you have it? Is it true that liposuction doesn't last? How much can I expect to pay?

I would rather not have surgery but know I would be happier if my stomach looked like the rest of my body. If you have had a tummy tuck, how long were you recovering? How long until you could work out again?

Finally, can I trust a plastic surgeon to guide me towards the right procedure? I am sure the surgery is more expensive than the lipo and wouldn't want to go under the knife just so someone can make their payroll.

Thanks! tired of my constant companion

Hi I was in the same position a few years ago you are in but several years older. On my wonderful internist's (Dr. Michi Kawachi) recommendation, I went to see Dr. Michael Cedars on Pill Hill in Oakland. Dr. Cedars has been spectacular. I had him perform liposuction on the areas that I couldn't get to go away after my three children. Since then I've had him perform a facelift, a forehead lift and a chemical peel. He's NEVER tried to talk me into anything. He'll tell you just what is the best thing for YOU and if he can't do any thing to help you, he'll tell you that too. He'll look out for your pocketbook, his staff is really friendly and all in all, Dr. Cedars and his office staff are great. I really urge you to check them out. Good luck what ever you decide to do! Happy in Piedmont

Whether you need liposuction or tummy tuck depends on your goals and on your anatomy. Basically, liposuction removes fat deposits from under the skin. Liposuction does not tighten or remove loose skin. If you have stretch marks, the deep layer of the skin has been torn by overstretching (as during pregnancy) and simply removing fat from under that skin will make you smaller, but is likely to leave you with loose skin. Some women want to fit better in clothes and so the loose skin is not of concern as long as the fat bulge is gone. Liposuction also does not address the midline muscle separation that can occur with pregnancy. In short, if your skin and muscles are in good shape, you may be a perfect candidate for for a good result with liposuction. If your skin and muscle layer need some tightening, a tummy tuck might be a better choice. However, the choice is yours. The purpose of a consultation with a plastic surgeon is to help you understand what your options are and what the surgeon's educated recommendations are and why he or she makes those recommendations. The decisions on how to proceed are ultimately yours. Local Plastic Surgeon

Have you had liposuction?

Nov 2008

Has anyone out there had liposuction and, if so, how was it? How does one find a good, reputable Dr to do this type of procedure? Please, no lectures from those who are against plastic surgery... loose tummy

Hi there...It really doesn't matter what anyone thinks about your choice to have lipo (or any other 'enhancements). I am a slender woman and I'm sure no one noticed my saddlebags....except me! I always hated them, but had never considered lipo until I lamented my thighs to a friend and she candidly told me she had had the procedure. Within 6 weeks I was on the table! Dr. Andrew Barnett of Walnut Creek and SF has an outstanding reputation and is very honest about realistic results. For example, I don't have great skin tone, so there was never a promise that I would lose the saddlebags AND the cellulite! But here I am a year later wearing thigh hugging jeans and knit dresses and feel like a million bucks! I bet no one really even can tell that I had the procedure, but I am SOO happy. GO FOR IT! A gal with the legs I always wanted!

Liposuction with conscious sedation?

Dec 2006

I am considering getting liposuction and a tummy tuck at a well known teaching hospital in the midwest with a resident's plastic surgery program (Northwestern in Chicago). The cost is much cheaper than paying a private surgeon, which is why I'm going there, and this clinic has an excellent reputation. They do most procedures, including tumescent liposuction, with conscious sedation. They also tell me they do tummy tucks with conscious sedation. If you want to pay for an anesthesiologist, you can pay quite a bit extra for this service and have a general.

Has anyone on this list had such procedures done with conscious sedation? What was your experience like? Was it painful? Could you feel tissue manipulation? Did you remember anything that happened? I'm very skeptical about the tummy tuck part without a general, as this includes deep fascia tissue manipulation and cutting out of skin! If I can do this without a general, I'll do it, as I am sick for days after having general anesthetic, and I would like to save a couple thousand dollars. turning 50 and fighting it

I had an emergency C-Section with a spinal/epidural combination and was very conscious. Since this cuts through basically the same areas, and it definitely involved some manipulations of things inside, I think I can give a fair opinion. Yes, you can feel that there is some pulling, but I think that was when the doctor reached in and pulled out my baby. For the most part, you don't feel much and definitely not any pain. You can tell someone is working on your abdomen, but it didn't really feel that different from just when a doctor checks you out from the outside. If you don't focus on what they are doing, it's not too bad. If you are squeemish or think it might make you sick thinking about what's going on, it might make it hard. With the C-Section, they put up a big screen so I couldn't see anything. It made it not too bad because even if I did forget to look a different way, I didn't see anything I didn't want to

I respond to this post, not as a patient, but as a physician who does these procedures. I went to medical school at Northwestern and agree that it is an excellent plastic surgery department, no qualms there. Conscious sedation means that the surgeon, who is doing your liposuction, is also giving you medications to make you relaxed. All of those medications will also affect your breathing and your heart rate and your blood pressure. My belief as a surgeon is that I need all of my attention focused on the operation I am doing, not on whether or not my patient is breathing adequately or has an adequate blood pressure to sustain life. I cannot do both the job of the anesthesiologist and my best surgery at the same time. This may be a personal limitation, but remember, you are choosing to go to an institution where the surgeons in training will be operating on you; while less expensive, these surgeons are also less experienced than surgeons who have been in practice for a period of time.

I do surgeries on awake patients, but I have the anesthesiologist administering the medications. Patients do feel pulling and pushing as the anesthetics block pain but not pressure fibers. The advantage of sedation is that many of the sedative agents used also cause amnesia, so while you may be aware of the surgical procedure while in the operating room, you will likely not have memory of it.

I have done tummy tucks on awake patients but with epidural anesthesia, not local anesthesia. This is done in patients who have immediate tummy tucks after elective c-sections. It is safer to have the patient awake with all the physiologic changes that occur immediatly after delivery. These patients are awake and comfortable, but epidural anesthesia is much more dense of an anesthetic than just local anesthesia and requires the presence of an anesthesiologist.

General anesthesia has improved. The current agents used are short acting and often are anti nausea agents also. You wake up more quickly and have a much lower chance of nausea and vomiting.

I would also have concerns about traveling to have surgery, particularly where a plane flight is required to get back and forth to the doctor. I have inquiries all the time from patients outside of the San Francisco area. My requirement is that patients plan to stay here for 2 weeks after tummy tuck before going home. Two weeks is the period of time during which most surgical complications will occur and I want to be able to take care of those patients, not have them trying to obtain care in an emergency room somewhere else. I don't know what arrangements you have made to stay in Chicago postoperatively, but in my professional opinion, that should be a consideration too.

In general, plastic surgery is strictly elective. I feel strongly that all the risks of surgery should be minimized and no safety shortcuts taken in order to decrease cost. A surgical complication is never worth the money saved. Local Plastic surgeon

i think i am hearing some confusion on this one. conscious sedation doesn't mean you are awake (like an epidural when having a baby), it means they sedate you, and can put you to sleep, with sedating medications, but not so deeply asleep that they have to take over your autonimic responses like breathing. with general anesthesia they paralize you and stick a tube down your throat to do your breathing for you.

there is risk with both kinds of sedation. general anesthesia requires an anesthiologist, conscious sedation not necessarily - depends of the hospital, state, and medications involved. but often a nurse can manage the patient after the doc knocks you out.

about ten years ago i was given an electrophysiology study of my heart - they stuck like four 'wires' into veins and wiggled them into my heart and then did an electric mapping of my heart. i was so out i don't remember most of it, but i did 'wake up' at one point and it took everything for me to mutter ''chest pain.'' i remember the nurse pushing more drugs into the IV, and i was out again. they told me afterwards i was pretty combative and was trying to take the catheters (wires) out, so they strapped me down. so i was conscious enough to breath on my own, and when the pain meds were wearing off, respond to pain.

hope that helps good luck

Three opinions from the perspective of an operating room nurse with plastic surgery experience:

1. Both Liposuction and abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) procedures are major surgery. The risks for complications are high in both procedures and the benefits are purely cosmetic, neither will make you healthier or prolong life. Exercise, a healthy diet, and activities promoting mental health such as meditation, therapy, tai chi, whatever, will promote self esteem, make you healthier, will prolong life and are very low in risk compared to major surgery.

2. Should you decide to go ahead with the surgery, I would advise you to pay the extra money and have somebody with experience, and a good reputation, board certified, do the procedure. This is your life were dealing with here, not something you want to skimp on. Complications from these procedures run from death on the far end of the spectrum to unfavorable cosmetic outcomes such as ugly scarring, lumps where they shouldn't be etc. Good, experienced surgeons perform the procedure faster, minimizing your risks for infection, and lessens the time you are under sedation or anesthesia. Experienced surgeons know how to recognize and resolve problems that may arise because they are likely to have seen the problems before.

3. Pay for an anesthesiologist. Both procedures are long and painful, better to be asleep, with somebody experienced controlling your airway. Again, this is your life we are talking about here! - nurse's wife

Liposuction for fat middle?

Oct 2006

I know this sounds vain and disgusting but I really think liposuction may be the answer to my fat problem. I eat pretty healthy, lots of salads, vegies, chicken, not no carb though, (most of the time but I do drink wine daily) and work out 5 times a week. I have always had a fat mid section. I am only 5'2' and wear a size 11 in jeans because my middle is so big. I have short legs so all pants need to be altered. My weight is OK, am working to lose 8-10 lbs but I know from experience that even with the weight loss I will have a spare tire. My daughter is 2'' shorter than me, weighs 15 lbs less and is a size 2. I am at a loss as to what to do. Has anyone had lipo and if so w/ who and are you happy? Any other suggestions for losing the mid section would be appreciated as well. I am 50 something by the way potato.pancake

Fullness in the middle of the body may have several different causes. Some people are just shaped with full middles. Some women get stretched out by pregnancy beyond the body's elastic limit. Most of us are changed by pregnancy and hold extra weight in the middle even when we never held fat there before.

Liposuction removes some of the fat between the skin and the muscle. It is a great procedure for areas that are just out of proportion with the rest of the body. I think of liposuction in this setting as body sculpting. However, when the fat is removed, the skin is initially loose. The best result is achieved when that loose skin can tighten up naturally over several months after the procedure so that everything is smoother and smaller and tighter.

If the fullness in the middle is caused by an overstretched abdominal muscle layer and not by fat just under the skin, liposuction may not be your best choice. Also, if your skin is not elastic, liposuction will make you smaller in clothes, but hanging skin might not be satisfying for you.

An evaluation with a plastic surgeon should help you decide what the pros and cons are of each option so you can make an educated decision about how to proceed. Please also make sure that you are seeing someone certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and that they have privileges to do the surgery in a hospital, even if they have an office operating room. This will protect you from those not trained in plastic surgery who perform cosmetic operations.

Most of us have something we would rather not have to look at every day in the mirror. Some of us want to have something done about it, some of us don't. It is a personal decision. Any emotional energy spent on a daily basis pushing the discomfort about your belly to the back of your mind, is emotional energy wasted. If you can fix the problem, it can be liberating. Local Plastic Surgeon

I had a similar reaction to yours, then found out I had fibroids, which were pushing out my abdomen. Go see your gynecologist and ask for ultrasound and hysterosalpingogram (HSG) tests to take - (the 1st kind of test shows fibroids on top of and around the uterus while the latter shows fibroids within the uterine cavity).

Do seek another opinion if a doctor suggests that you should have a hysterectomy as there are other options that would allow you to preserve your uterus and not go through hormone replacement therapy. Options include surgery (myomectomy or hysterectomy), uterine artery embolization (UAE/UFE), and thermal ablation. Some women try dietary changes or supplements, but it's doubtful that they work.

If you do have uterine fibroids - 1st take those tests to see - you may want to join the uterine fibroids group on Yahoo! Groups (uterinefibroids [at], where you'll be able to get recommendations from others with the same condition Marinela marinela

Considering liposuction for abdomen, hips and back

March 2002

I am considering having liposuction of my abdomen, hips and back areas. After reviewing the previous recommendations for plastic surgeons, none address aesthetic plastic surgery. Does anyone know (personally or through family/friends) of an excellent,well known, well regarded, board certified surgeon that specializes in liposuction? I am willing to travel anywhere in the greater Bay Area for the best doctor. Please feel free to post anonymously.

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