Dr. Jaime Perez performs abdominoplasty surgery, also called a tummy tuck. He has helped thousands of patients to tone their midsections. The surgery can remove excess skin and tighten the remaining tissue for an aesthetically pleasing result.
Dr. Perez: Abdominoplasty is a medical term for a tummy tuck, which basically is an incision of the lower abdomen, elevating the flap of tissue all way up to the xiphoid area of the sternum, and then basically plicating the rectus abdominis muscle to the position that they were originally, to the anatomical position and then basically removing the excess tissue, creating a new umbilical, belly button. That is the typical tummy tuck.
Jenn: Are some people better candidates than others? How do you choose a candidate?
Dr. Perez: Usually, candidates are women that had children and they have a weakness on the abdominal wall, diastasis recti, separation of the muscle because of child birth and carrying a baby for nine months. So an excess of abdominal skin, excess of lower abdomen skin, stretch marks, those are typically the candidates for tummy tucks. You could have somebody who has never had a child but because of rapid weight loss may have flaccidity or excess lower abdominal fat and skin. They would be candidates for this procedure.
Kathy: One of the great things about having a tummy tuck done with Dr. Perez is my self-esteem. Everything in my life is better and brighter and happier. Every single day that I wake up is never the same ever since he's touched me. Not only do I look better in clothes, I feel better, my sex life is better, everything that you could possibly imagine.
Also, it was a cost-savings for me. Prior to coming and having my tummy tuck done with Dr. Perez, I spent thousands of dollars with chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapy, and once I got rid of all my belly fat, that has completely gone away. I have not gone to anymore chiropractors, no more massage therapists, so in my mind not only did I save money by having the tummy tuck done, I've also prolonged my life. And that's important.
Dr. Perez: Male patients who have lost significant amounts of weight and then they have excess of skin and fat in the lower abdomen that might even interfere with activities of daily living or simply they are not very happy with the appearance of their abdomen are good candidates.
Jenn: What's the procedure like? Describe the process.
Dr. Perez: What I usually do is lipoabdominoplasty which basically includes liposuction with the tummy tuck. The reason I do that is because if you simply do a tummy tuck, what it does is it makes patients look more square or cylindrical. Their body shape is more cylindrical. That's where liposuction will change the shape of these patients. Instead of being cylindrical after an abdominoplasty, if you add liposuction you will get more curvy looking result.
Jenn: Is it possible to do a tummy tuck right after a C-section?
Dr. Perez: Yes, it does remove the stretch marks that are at the level of the belly button or below, but not above. Those stretch marks above the belly button will still be there but they will be lower in the abdomen.
Jenn: And what about a hysterectomy?
Dr. Perez: Some surgeons do that. I don't do that and the reason is that the uterus is large so when you close this, you do a plastic surgery closure and probably the incision looks okay. But you still have a uterus that is enlarged so you won't be able to remove that much tissue. But if you wait nine months or a year, then you'll be able to remove a lot of tissue. The results are going to be better.
Jenn: How long is the recovery process?
Dr. Perez: Typically, it's about two weeks.
Jenn: And would a patient have visible scars?
Dr. Perez: Every time you have surgery you have visible scars. This is a good point. The scars in the lipoabdominoplasty, when you look at pictures of people who have had tummy tucks years ago, 10 or 15 years ago, we do much better with the scars. Actually, when you look at the scars right now for a full abdominoplasty, they look almost just as good as a small mini-tummy tuck, or simply just a little bigger than a C-section.
Kathy: I had a very huge large fatty mass in my belly. Also one of the great things about him is he made sure I was at an accurate body weight to make sure that I could have this procedure done and be safe about. Ever since I've had it done, which is about three years ago, I've been able to maintain a great body weight, understanding that now I have more muscle than I do fat, which is a huge thing. Belly fat is one of the most deadly forms of fat within your body and that is so important to me.
When I look at the procedure that I had done, having the tummy tuck done with him, I look at it as it has actually given longevity to my life because of the body fat being removed from that particular area. Also, he's just so incredible with his procedure. Literally, the very next day I walked in here by myself. Also, I think there is a very big mind/body connection. It has made me be a completely different person with my self-esteem. Before, I was very ashamed of myself and I held my head down. I walk with my head high now. I feel confident. I feel beautiful. I feel sexy. I look better now at 46 than I've ever looked in my entire life.
Dr. Perez: Lipoabdominoplasty, essentially what it has done for women nowadays is the incision is very low. It's about five to seven centimeters from the labia commissure which is very low. Essentially, women can go and wear a bikini and still not be able to see the scar of the lipoabdominoplasty.
Jenn: Health Matters will be right back.