Lewis Plastic Surgery: Gordon Lewis, MD
2331-A Robious Station Circle
Midlothian, VA 23113
Monday–Friday: 8:30 a.m.–4:45 p.m.
Having a flat, toned abdominal area is something that both women and men desire. Tummy tuck surgery at our Richmond, Virginia, practice removes excess skin and fat that is often the result of significant weight loss. It can also address the weakened abdominal muscles many women have after pregnancy.
Good Tummy Tuck Candidates
Tummy tuck surgery is appropriate for a wide range of people interested in improving the contour of their abdomens. As one of the best tummy tuck surgeons in Richmond, Dr. Lewis customizes the surgery to help restore a cosmetically pleasing contour to the abdominal wall.
There are 3 common reasons people are good candidates for abdominoplasty surgery:
Pregnancy stretches the skin and the muscular layers of the abdominal wall. Often, after pregnancy, these do not return to their pre-pregnancy state. These changes involve loss of skin elasticity, stretch marks, more prominent fat in the abdominal wall, weakness in the muscular layers, and separation of the muscular layers (rectus diastasis).
After significant weight loss, whether through diet and exercise, or undergoing weight loss surgery such as a gastric bypass, people are left with a large amount of excess skin and loose fat. Tummy tucks can often be used to restore a normal contour to the anterior abdominal wall. This can often be done in conjunction with other procedures (lower body lift, breast lift , or circumferential body lift) to assist in the contour of other areas as well.
Over time, nearly everyone’s skin loses its elasticity and excess fat accumulates. This can be very problematic to some people and can be addressed with a tummy tuck. This operation allows a careful sculpting of the abdominal wall and can greatly improve the contour and shape.
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What Does a Tummy Tuck Do?
A tummy tuck procedure simultaneously accomplishes multiple outcomes, including:
- Tightening the abdominal wall
- Eliminating excess fat deposits in the upper and lower belly
- Removing excess skin and pulling the remaining skin tighter
How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost in the Richmond, VA, Area?
Tummy tuck surgery starts at $6,950 at our Midlothian practice located near Richmond, VA. The final price for your procedure will be based on your unique situation. A consultation with Dr. Lewis will be needed to evaluate your case and determine what technique is needed to meet your specific goals. Your detailed estimate will include the breakdown of all costs related to your procedure, which include:
- Dr. Lewis’ fee
- Operation room fee
- Anesthesia fee
- Additional fee for an overnight stay, if desired
We ensure there are no hidden costs or surprise fees.
Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction
Patients who want to improve the appearance of their midsection are often unsure of whether they need a tummy tuck or liposuction. Here are some differences:
- Tummy tuck surgery tightens lax skin, reshapes the belly button, repairs bulging abdominal muscles, and removes stretch marks below the belly button. A C-section scar can also be revised during the surgery.
- Liposuction is purely a fat removal procedure. If you have good skin elasticity and are bothered by excess abdominal fat–but not excess skin–you might need liposuction on its own.
Many patients attain firm abdominal contours by combining a tummy tuck with liposuction.
Your Tummy Tuck Procedure
A tummy tuck is an outpatient procedure that lasts about 3 hours. There are several steps and goals associated with the procedure, which allows Dr. Lewis to address the excess skin, excess fat, and weakness in the abdominal wall. This operation is usually done using general anesthesia, providing the most comfort and safety for the procedure.
Dr. Lewis begins the operation by making a curved horizontal incision on the lower abdomen. The skin and fat are lifted off the abdominal wall. This allows the removal of the excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen. He removes most of the skin and fat from below the belly button down to the lower abdomen. The upper abdominal skin is then elevated and brought down over the belly button and sewed to the remaining lower skin on the lower abdomen. The belly button is then brought to the front and carefully sewed in place.
This standard incision used for a tummy tuck is placed in a way so that it is hidden in the contours of the lower abdomen.
After lifting the skin off the abdominal wall, the underlying muscles and fascia are visible. The weakness of the abdominal wall (rectus diastasis) involves a separation of the muscles of the abdominal wall. This is repaired with a very strong, 2-layer closure that dramatically improves the shape of the underlying muscles.
The final incision heals well and is well-hidden underneath clothes. The length and amount of curve can vary depending on the amount of skin that needs to be removed and each patient’s individual anatomy.
A seemingly minor, but critical, part of the operation is how the belly button is sewed in place. The lower abdominal incision is usually hidden underneath clothes and even under some bikinis. The incision around the belly button is usually the most visible incision after this operation. Dr. Lewis uses an inverted chevron (upside-down V) to inset the belly button. This is a more complicated way to close the belly button, but Dr. Lewis believes it gives the most natural-appearing results.
What’s a Mini Tummy Tuck?
A mini tummy tuck is a less extensive version of a traditional full tummy tuck that:
- Involves a shorter incision above the pubic area.
- Tightens abdominal skin from the belly button to the pubic area.
- Does not repair abdominal muscles or reshape the belly button.
- Requires a shorter recovery period than a full tummy tuck.
Most patients need the comprehensive benefits of the full tummy tuck. During your consultation, Dr. Lewis will evaluate whether you are a good candidate for a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck and which technique will best provide your desired improvements.
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Will I Have a Scar From My Tummy Tuck Surgery?
You will have a scar after your surgery, but since the incision is made on your lower abdomen, it’s covered by most undergarments or bathing suits. Over time, your scar will fade. Most women are extremely happy with this procedure and feel that the scar is well worth the cost of a flatter, more contoured midsection.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Tummy Tuck?
Most tummy tuck patients return home the same day as the procedure. You do have the option to spend the first night at the medical facility closely monitored by the medical team for a nominal additional cost. You will have dressings that we recommend leaving in place until the first visit after surgery (usually 2 to 3 days). You will also have 2 drains in place that remove the extra fluid that will otherwise accumulate underneath the skin. These drains decrease the chance of bleeding or fluid collections underneath the skin. They are usually removed about a week after surgery. Although annoying, they are easy to care for and do not stop you from showering after surgery. You may shower after your first postoperative visit. You should not take a bath for a couple of weeks.
We will be available during recovery to answer any questions or concerns and provide medical care when necessary.
Days after surgery
The first few days at home are very important; patients will be asked to follow post-operative instructions very closely in order to reduce discomfort and prevent any complications. Our abdominoplasty patients are required to walk around the house on the first post-operative day, and activity is increased over time.
You should plan to have someone bring you to your first couple of postoperative appointments. You may drive once you are no longer consistently taking narcotic pain medications, which is usually 4 to 7 days after surgery.
Weeks after surgery
It does take a few weeks to a few months to feel completely normal after tummy tuck surgery. If you are in good physical strength prior to the surgery, you likely will have a faster recovery. Surgical garments are worn for up to 3 weeks. Many women with jobs that are not terribly physical can return to work in a week, but more physical jobs may require a bit more time. Vigorous exercise may be resumed 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
Months after surgery
Final tummy tuck results take about 6 months to achieve as swelling gradually fades. The incisions may darken and widen over the first few months. Over the 9 to 12 months following the operation, the incisions will flatten and fade. While the incisions will never completely be invisible, they are usually easily covered with clothing and bathing suits.
Reducing Risks & Complications
With any surgical procedure, there are risks that you must be aware of. To minimize the risks, ensure your surgery is conducted in a safe and secure environment using the latest surgical techniques by checking the certifications and accreditation of your surgeon. Accreditation boards and bodies are there to protect you. Dr. Gordon Lewis has 9 years of surgical experience and is affiliated with several important professional organizations.
Tummy tuck risks and a patient’s tummy tuck scar are discussed in this plastic surgery video from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS):
Frequently in cosmetic surgery procedures are combined. This can not only help you save money by decreasing associated costs, but also can often create a more balanced result over a larger area.
Liposuction is frequently performed as an adjunct procedure. This allows the removal of fatty deposits outside the effective area from a tummy tuck. Liposuction is commonly performed on the flanks (love handles), hips, back, or thighs to help create a smooth contour to the torso.
A mommy makeover is a combination of procedures that are frequently performed on women after they are done having children. Many women would like to complement their belly procedure with an improvement to their breasts. This can be a breast lift (mastopexy), breast augmentation , or a combination of the two. With these combinations of procedures, many women can restore their bodies to a near pre-pregnancy state.
Combining a tummy tuck with a Brazilian butt lift (BBL), which includes liposuction, can create attractive, shapely curves and an hourglass shape. The concern about combining these procedures in the same operation, however, is that the recovery following a BBL requires patients to avoid sleeping on their backs—which is usually how tummy tuck patients sleep following their procedures. It’s best to schedule a Brazilian butt lift as a separate procedure.
Dr. Lewis performs surgical procedures at an accredited outpatient surgical center or a local hospital. He is affiliated with several local medical centers where his patients undergo surgery. He primarily operates at these locations:
Stony Point Surgery Center
Initial consultations, follow up appointments and all non-surgical treatments and minor surgical procedures are performed at Lewis Plastic Surgery in Midlothian, VA.
What to Expect During Your Tummy Tuck Consultation
Tummy tuck surgery is a complex procedure and there is a lot to learn. Dr. Lewis is a tummy tuck specialist and examines you, especially your abdominal wall. After this exam, he formulates a plan to help you achieve the optimal results. He will discuss your options for the care of your abdomen. We believe that education is paramount in helping you make the right decision. During your initial consultation with us, you will be thoroughly informed about all aspects of tummy tuck surgery, including:
- The surgical technique that Dr. Lewis will use, including information about incisions and scarring
- What to expect before, during, and after the procedure
- Where the operation will be performed and the type of anesthesia used
- Aftercare instructions and guidelines to help reduce the risk of complications
- Cost of surgery and financing options
Tummy Tuck FAQ
Is tummy tuck surgery painful?
Most patients experience discomfort for the first week or so after surgery. Dr. Lewis prescribes pain medication that will help you feel more comfortable in the early stages of recovery.
Is a full or mini tummy tuck better?
A full tummy tuck is appropriate for most patients because it addresses the entire abdominal area, which is usually affected by pregnancy and significant weight changes. A select few patients–whose concerns lie between the belly button and pubic area–benefit from a mini tummy tuck.
How long will I need to wear a compression garment after surgery?
Expect to wear a compression garment for about 3 weeks to minimize swelling and support the surgical area during the healing process.
Is there anything I should avoid after surgery?
Abdominoplasty is major surgery, so it’s important to take it easy during recovery and give yourself time to heal. Some important post-op instructions include:
- Don’t sleep on your side or stomach for the first few weeks. Sleeping on your back or propped up in bed or a recliner is best initially.
- No heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for about 4 to 6 weeks.
- Don’t drive until you stop taking prescription pain medication.
- Avoid submerging your incisions in a bathtub, swimming pool, or the ocean for a couple of weeks while they heal. Showering is allowed after your first post-op appointment.
How many dress sizes do you lose after tummy tuck surgery?
Even though a tummy tuck is not a weight loss procedure, it typically results in changes to the clothing size a patient wears. How many sizes you might lose depends on the amount of excess skin and fat that was removed during the procedure. Typically, you can expect to lose 2 to 3 clothing sizes after a tummy tuck.
Should I lose weight before my procedure?
Patients with a body mass index of 30 or higher should reduce their weight before scheduling a tummy tuck to minimize the risk of complications. If your BMI is already lower than 30 and you’re within about 15 pounds of the weight that you want to maintain, there is no reason to lose weight before your tummy tuck.
Meet Dr. Gordon Lewis
Dr. Lewis, a native of Richmond, prioritizes building honest, trusting relationships and providing personalized care for his patients.
Meet Dr. Lewis