With a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), Meridian Plastic Surgery helps patients get a firmer, flatter belly. Leveraging more than 20 years of experience, Dr. Kelly Tjelmeland is an expert in the procedure and tailors each surgery to the patient’s needs and goals.
While traditional tummy tuck surgery can require extensive downtime, our Austin practice utilizes the latest technologies and techniques to improve healing times and outcomes. Our resources include the HARMONIC® scalpel, which Dr. Tjelmeland uses for greater precision and to limit the effect on surrounding tissue. Incisions heal more naturally with much less noticeable scarring. Patients also benefit from EXPAREL®, a long-lasting nerve block that significantly improves their comfort after surgery.
What Does a Tummy Tuck Do? Abdominoplasty Explained.
After pregnancy or extensive weight loss, you may have developed stretch marks, excess loose skin, or skin folds around your stomach. Your abdominal muscles may also have spread apart, which can cause fullness in the midsection and often a loss of core strength.
With tummy tuck surgery, Dr. Tjelmeland helps patients in Austin, around the state, and throughout the country get a more aesthetically pleasing abdominal contour — even when diet and exercise have been unsuccessful. As part of the surgery, he uses stitches to pull together and repair the abdominal muscle separation, and he removes excess skin from the stomach.
Dr. Tjelmeland will usually incorporate body contouring procedures as part of the tummy tuck, reshaping the upper abdomen and tapering to the hips for a more attractive shape. A lot of his patients have a tummy tuck in combination with a breast augmentation, breast lift, or a combination of these as part of a mommy makeover.
What Are the Key Benefits of Getting a Tummy Tuck?
For many women, a tummy tuck is one of the few options for restoring their body to its pre-pregnancy state. If you have been missing your old figure and if diet and exercise have not been effective, surgery can provide you with the change you have been wanting. With this procedure, you can:
- Get rid of loose skin and tighten your abdominal muscles. Dr. Tjelmeland will typically contour the upper abdomen and hips as well so that you can have a natural-looking and flattering figure.
- Feel more at ease and comfortable about showing off your body. A tummy tuck can give you the confidence to wear the form-fitting clothing you have been avoiding.
- Enjoy the aesthetic benefits without visible signs of surgery. Dr. Tjelmeland places incisions where they are well-hidden below the waistline. Also, by using the HARMONIC scalpel, he is able to reduce scarring and post-surgical discomfort significantly.
Am I a Candidate to Receive a Tummy Tuck?
During your visit to our Austin practice, we will talk with you about your goals and how treatment can help you reach your aesthetic ideal. If tummy tuck surgery is a good option, we will help you understand how the procedure works and what you can expect in our care.
A Tummy Tuck Is Perfect For:
Consider tummy tuck surgery if:
- You want increased core strength and stability, a flatter stomach, and a more shapely waistline.
- You would like to get rid of the extra skin that has developed following pregnancy or major weight loss.
- You are at least 18 years or older. Most of the tummy tuck patients that we see at Meridian Plastic Surgery are 20 and older.
As part of your consultation and pre-surgical treatment, we will collect your medical history, make sure that you are in good health, and talk with you about your expectations. Our team will take the time to discuss what a tummy tuck can and cannot accomplish and answer any questions you may have.
It Is Not So Perfect For:
Patients should be healthy enough to have surgery and should ideally be finished with having children. Also, note that a tummy tuck is not a weight-loss procedure — it is a surgery to remove excess skin and tighten the abdomen. Dr. Tjelmeland will usually perform liposuction to create more natural and attractive transitions between your hips and central/upper abdomen, but this will not get rid of large areas of fat. You may want to explore alternative treatments if weight loss is your primary goal.
Getting a Tummy Tuck After Pregnancy
One of the most common reasons women in and around Austin come to our practice is to restore their figure after having children. A tummy tuck can be a perfect way to flatten your stomach after having kids. Many of our patients have struggled to get rid of unwanted abdominal skin with diet and exercise, and this surgical option allows them to get the results they want within a short amount of time.
Tummy Tuck After Having a C-Section
It is quite safe to have a tummy tuck if you previously had a C-section or a hysterectomy. Typically, Dr. Tjelmeland completely removes the existing C-section and/or hysterectomy scar when making an abdominoplasty incision.
Scar tissue often causes a C-section scar to adhere directly to your abdominal wall. This can cause even more loose and unwanted skin to develop around your stomach. As part of the abdominoplasty procedure, Dr. Tjelmeland removes this portion of the old C-section scar tissue. The result is a smoother, flatter, and more attractive appearance. During your consultation, Dr. Tjelmeland can talk with you about the surgical approach he plans to use and where your incisions will be.
What Happens If I Get Pregnant After a Tummy Tuck?
It is safe to become pregnant after having a tummy tuck. This does happen from time to time. Having had a previous tummy tuck will not affect your pregnancy or harm your child. The pregnancy can, however, again result in stretching of the abdominal wall and skin.
The reason that most patients wait to have a tummy tuck until after they are done having children is that pregnancy tends to negate the benefits of their procedure. Pregnancy causes weight gain, which may cause excess skin to develop around your stomach and can make your abdominal muscles separate again even after an abdominoplasty.
Dr. Tjelmeland can counsel you about the potential cosmetic effects of pregnancy following a tummy tuck and help you decide if now is the right time for a procedure.
How Old Do I Have to Be to Get a Tummy Tuck?
Meridian Plastic Surgery performs tummy tuck surgery for patients who are 18 years of age and older. Most of the patients who decide to have the procedure are 20 years and older. Dr. Tjelmeland and our team can discuss your specific circumstances and your options as part of your patient consultation.
Before and After – Real Results
Meridian Plastic Surgery has helped hundreds of patients get the flatter, firmer belly they want. Explore some of our results in the tummy tuck “before and after” photo gallery.
What Factors Play Into the Cost of Getting a Tummy Tuck in the Austin, TX Area?
When you are evaluating the price of a procedure, be sure to include all of the likely costs. Providers may only quote the cost of surgeon fees, but these fees are usually less than the total you would pay.
The typical total price for a tummy tuck with Meridian Plastic Surgery ranges from $10,500 to $12,750. This range includes:
Fees for the Surgeon and the Facility
These fees reflect our extensive experience, our capabilities, and the type of results that we have provided to patients for years. Our pricing also gives patients access to resources that make surgeries more precise and less invasive, such as the HARMONIC scalpel.
A procedure that takes less time may require less anesthesia, while the opposite is also true. In addition, our practice factors in the cost of EXPAREL, which is a long-acting anesthetic injected into your abdominal wall muscle at the time of surgery, which we use to reduce patient discomfort significantly in the days following surgery.
Meridian Plastic Surgery is dedicated to providing the most attractive and natural-looking results to our patients. For this reason, Dr. Tjelmeland combines nearly every tummy tuck procedure with liposuction. This allows him to create aesthetically pleasing transitions between the mid and upper abdomen and the hips.
A Tummy Tuck Procedure Explained
Your consultation, pre-surgical visits, procedure, and follow-up appointments will all take place under one roof. Our Austin practice offers a fully accredited and licensed ambulatory surgery center.
Like hospitals, our facility adheres to the highest medical and surgical standards to provide exceptional patient care and safety. Having everything in-house means that you can receive treatment in a comfortable and familiar environment at every step.
Start with a visit to our practice to discuss your aesthetic goals. Dr. Tjelmeland is supported by a licensed and board-certified physician assistant and a full surgical and administrative staff.
During your appointment, you will get to know our team members and learn about your treatment options. If you are a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery, Dr. Tjelmeland will perform an examination, talk with you about the procedure, and answer any questions that may help you in your decision.
What Should I Do in Preparation for a Tummy Tuck?
Once you decide to have a tummy tuck, you will return to Meridian Plastic Surgery for a pre-surgical appointment. Most of our Austin patients make this visit about a week or so before their procedure.
During the appointment, you will share some additional medical information and sign consent forms and give you all of your instructions so that you are completely prepared for surgery. We will also provide you with guidelines for how to prepare for your procedure.
For most patients, these instructions are pretty simple. We will ask that you not eat or drink after midnight before your tummy tuck. We will also advise you to get certain prescriptions filled in advance to help in your recovery. Our office will offer a complete set of guidelines for you to take home.
How Long Does a Tummy Tuck Procedure Take?
In general, a tummy tuck usually takes between 2.5 and 4 hours. However, Dr. Tjelmeland plans each surgery based on the needs and goals of the patient, so times for procedures vary.
One factor that can affect the timing is the amount of tissue that you need to have removed. A longer incision may require more suturing, which takes more time. The same is true if a patient needs extensive liposuction to create natural-looking transitions between her belly, upper abdomen, and lower hips.
What Is a Tummy Tuck Like During Surgery? Is It Painful?
Dr. Tjelmeland performs tummy tuck procedures using light general anesthesia. You will be asleep throughout the entire process.
During a standard tummy tuck:
- Dr. Tjelmeland will make a curved horizontal incision down by the pubic area. Placing the incision here helps hide the resulting scar below underwear or a bikini bottom.
- He will then tighten loose abdominal muscles with sutures, reconstruct the navel, and remove excess skin and fat.
One of the most significant advances that Meridian Plastic Surgery offers is our use of EXPAREL. This long-lasting nerve block allows patients to wake up from their procedure significantly more comfortable than with traditional tummy tuck procedures. It is also a non-opioid, non-habit-forming medication.
In addition, Dr. Tjelmeland employs HARMONIC scalpel technology. This well-established and effective tool uses high-frequency ultrasonic energy to elevate skin. Because it operates at a low temperature, you should have less postoperative pain and swelling.
What Should I Expect in Terms of Recovery After a Tummy Tuck?
Your tummy tuck will be performed on an outpatient basis in our fully accredited and licensed surgery center. After 1-2 hours in recovery, patients will then go home.
Because the procedure focuses on sculpting a flatter midsection and because you use your abdomen frequently in daily life, a tummy tuck requires a more prolonged recovery than some other cosmetic procedures:
- You will receive medication to manage discomfort as well as a support garment to reduce swelling.
- Expect to be away from work for about two weeks (longer if your job is physically demanding). You will likely need 4-6 weeks before resuming exercise.
- Your tummy tuck scar should fade over the next 12 months.
During your immediate post-operative recovery, you will not be able to perform any heavy lifting, including lifting or carrying small children. If you are a mother to little ones, consider enlisting the support of friends or family members for the first week or so.
Other Things to Consider Before Getting a Tummy Tuck
As you explore treatment, Meridian Plastic Surgery encourages you to consider all of your options for achieving your goals. We will spend time during your consultation learning about your concerns, talking with you about how procedures work, and answering your questions. Transparency and quality of care are hallmarks of our practice, and we will help you determine whether or not a tummy tuck is right for your needs.
Are There Any Risks Involved in Getting a Tummy Tuck?
Meridian Plastic Surgery is available to discuss the specifics of surgery with you, including the risks associated with having a tummy tuck procedure. We are committed to your comfort and safety.
Together, our board-certified surgeon and experienced medical team promote a high level of care. Our practice is state-licensed and nationally accredited, and we meet the most rigorous medical standards of the state and the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities (AAAASF).
Should I Get a Tummy Tuck? Is It Really Worth It?
If your goal is to get a flatter stomach more in line with your pre-baby body, tummy tuck surgery can be an excellent solution.
Austin patients who have treatment with our practice describe the procedure as a major improvement in their quality of life, particularly after years of failed attempts with diet and exercise. Surgery can change your body’s contour in a noticeable and flattering way, and Dr. Tjelmeland’s technique can hide most or all of the visible signs of a procedure.
Tummy Tuck vs. Mini-Tummy Tuck
A standard tummy tuck is for patients who have a significant amount of excess skin around their abdomen. In the procedure, Dr. Tjelmeland brings together the abdominal muscles, removes unwanted skin between the pubic bone and belly button, and liposuctions the hips, flanks, and upper abdomen.
An extended mini-abdominoplasty or a variation of a mini-tummy tuck is for people who do not have much excess skin. Similar to a standard procedure, Dr. Tjelmeland will tighten the abdominal muscles and use liposuction in the transition areas. However, he will generally remove less excess skin. This procedure is ideal for patients with generally good skin who have a stretched out abdominal wall and/or diastasis (separation) of the rectus muscles. The benefit of this procedure is that the incision is limited to approximately the length of a C-section incision, and there is NO incision around the umbilicus.
How Long Will My Results Last After Having a Tummy Tuck Procedure?
The benefits of your tummy tuck surgery should last you a lifetime. However, there are a few factors that can affect your results, including:
- Becoming pregnant. Having a baby can stretch out your abdominal muscles and cause excess skin to develop again.
- Substantial weight loss/gain. Major weight change can reverse the effects of your tummy tuck for the same reasons as becoming pregnant.
If you anticipate becoming pregnant again or if your weight is not stable, we encourage you to discuss this in your consultation.
Does My Insurance Cover a Tummy Tuck Procedure?
Insurance providers generally consider tummy tuck surgery to be an aesthetic procedure. As a result, it is rarely covered. Our team is also available to support you in your exploration and in discussing available financing options for treatment.
Consider Getting the Mommy Makeover
Many of the women who come to our Austin practice for treatment want to get back their pre-baby bodies. While a tummy tuck can be a great way to flatten your belly, being pregnant can cause other physical changes.
If your breasts are not as full, high, and youthful as before — or if you have areas of fat that never seem to respond to diet and exercise — explore a mommy makeover with Meridian Plastic Surgery. By combining abdominoplasty with breast augmentation, breast lift, or body contouring procedures, you can get complete aesthetic improvement, and you should spend less overall time healing from treatment.
Some Other Resources We Have Put Together on Tummy Tucks
Get a Tummy Tuck at Meridian Plastic Surgery
The effects of pregnancy and weight change are not just physical. Beyond the way that you look is the way that you feel: how your appearance keeps you from wearing what you want, doing what you want, and enjoying life on your terms.
Meridian Plastic Surgery offers tummy tuck procedures to all of the mothers who are ready to get back their physical self and to patients who want the aesthetic benefits of their weight loss. Visit our practice, and we will explore your options together.
Learn more about a tummy tuck procedure with Meridian Plastic Surgery. Schedule a consultation by calling our Austin offices at (512) 617-7500 or by contacting us online.