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Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) in Houston, TX with Dr. Courtney El-Zokm

The tummy tuck is more than a vanity move.

While it contours your stomach, re-establishing a flat plane between your hip bones, the tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) also tightens muscles that may have separated or become distended after pregnancy and childbirth, weight loss or age. The medical term for this condition is “diastasis recti,” and it can be rectified by a few stitches that bring the muscles back together at the midline.

Tightening the muscles in the abdominal area, in turn, can ease urinary incontinence, improve posture and relieve back pain resulting from poor posture. Throw in the fact that the average tummy tuck removes 10 pounds of skin and fat, and it’s no wonder requests for tummy tucks have doubled since 2000. 

A healthy diet and exercise go a long way in creating a toned body. Still, sagging, separated muscles in the midsection along with the propensity of the body to store fat in the area mean that getting to your ideal shape could require some professional, surgical intervention.

If you are close to or at your ideal weight and still not satisfied with the shape of your stomach, a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), may be right for you. Houston’s Dr. Courtney can reshape your silhouette, flattening your stomach and restoring a youthful, smoother body profile.

With years of training in reconstructive and plastic surgery at one of the most advanced and largest plastic surgery centers in the nation, Dr. Courtney has performed countless tummy tucks. He is thoroughly gratified when his patients feel fantastic about their bodies. Call 713-522-4411 to get your specific questions answered.

Is a Tummy Tuck Right for Me?

Whether you are genetically predisposed to storing excess fat in your abdomen or have sagging skin from a prior pregnancy, you likely feel as though you don’t look your best. Your clothing choices have diminished, and you hesitate to undress when others are present.

While some patients think liposuction can remedy these issues, they miss the significant advantages a tummy tuck affords. The tummy tuck not only removes fat, it repairs damage to the abdominal muscles and removes excess, sagging tissue. We’ve found that getting that 10 pounds removed in one surgery kickstarts a patient’s drive to exercise and adopt a healthy diet.

Tummy tucks work best for those who are through their childbearing years and are at or near their ideal weight. Candidates should also be practicing habits that will keep their weight steady in years to come. This said, weight gain or another pregnancy after tummy tuck certainly won’t harm the patient in any way. Another pregnancy or weight gain reverses the advances gained with the initial tummy tuck procedure.

What Can I Expect During My Abdominoplasty Consultation?

Before your consultation, our practice manager will ask you to gather photos depicting people flaunting figures you’d like to achieve. Images of your younger self also illuminate your vision for your figure. Filtered selfies do not help as much as photos of people as they are.  If you have complex medical issues, we may ask you to bring some records as well.

In your consultation, Dr. Courtney focuses on your goals and desires. There is no single, ideal figure and our practice is not a factory, delivering one result to all patients.

During your consultation, Dr. Courtney reviews your medical history and conducts a thorough physical exam. These steps help him understand your body’s natural architecture so he can develop a surgical plan that renders the most stunning, natural-looking results.

Keep in mind that if your goals do not mesh with your physical limitations or conflict with your optimal health, Dr. Courtney will let you know. We will not undertake any procedure that has the potential to become a Botched episode or a frightening, social media meme. Dr. Courtney’s approach ensures you will have a natural rather than exaggerated outcome. 

woman with slim waist and flat abs in denim shorts and bikini top

How Will My Tummy Tuck Be Performed?

Dr. Courtney’s advanced reconstructive and plastic surgery training gives him a wide variety of techniques for your body and goals. Surgical techniques for the tummy tuck vary, depending on how much fat and skin need to be removed and whether you have accompanying procedures scheduled, such as liposuction or breast augmentation as part of a mommy makeover.

All surgical procedures are performed in our AAAHC-certified ambulatory surgery center (ASC.) A surgery center provides outstanding outpatient surgical care while ensuring patients avoid “surgical site infections.” In fact, studies show that the infection rate in a certified surgery center is half that of hospitals and patients spend 26% less time in an ASC than in a hospital.[1] Our surgery center exceeds the standards hospitals are held to.

If you have a small belly “pooch” located at the navel or below and not much excess skin, a mini tummy tuck could be your remedy. During the mini tummy tuck, Dr. Courtney makes a small incision—usually only a few inches long—that is easily hidden by most bathing suits and underwear. Dr. Courtney can re-contour your lower abdomen through the mini-tummy-tuck, repairing damage to the abdominal wall and removing fat and excess skin. This approach is highly effective and requires less downtime than the classic tummy tuck.

The best candidates for the mini-tummy tuck are those with minimal excess skin and fat in the abdomen. If a patient’s “pooch” involves the upper abdomen, however, only a full tummy tuck will re-establish flat, youthful contours.

The classic tummy tuck surgery addresses both the lower and upper abdomen.  The incision is made in a U-shape in the lower abdomen, from hip to hip, and placed low enough to be hidden by bathing suits and underwear. Another small incision will be made in the navel. The navel can also be repositioned during the classic tummy tuck, if necessary.

Patients with excess fat and skin in the flanks and back as well as the abdomen often opt for the extended tummy tuck. This extended tummy tuck requires a longer incision, but the fat and skin removed significantly slim a patient’s midsection. The scar can be hidden by most clothing, and many patients feel that the radical change to their silhouette is worth the more complex surgery. 

Combining Liposuction with Your Tummy Tuck

Most of our patients add liposuction to their tummy tuck, completing two procedures during one surgery. The combination of procedures allows for additional shaping, transforming the silhouette and delivering a more dramatic result.

Take the Next Step

If you’re ready to take the next step or want to learn more about a certain procedure, schedule your consultation today. Dr. Courtney and his team are excited to meet you!

Learn More

Dr. Courtney CTA image

Take the Next Step

If you’re ready to take the next step or want to learn more about a certain procedure, schedule your consultation today. Dr. Courtney and his team are excited to meet you!

Learn More

What Can I Expect During Recovery After My Tummy Tuck?

Your stomach will be bandaged after surgery to protect the area and minimize post-surgical swelling. Depending on the extent of your surgery, you may have some surgical drains in place as well. Patients who have had a more extensive abdominoplasty and liposuction often remain overnight, while a minimal procedure will allow you to go home on the same day as your surgery.

The first day after surgery, we send a homecare nurse to you to check your sutures, bandaging, and overall wellness. If you are one of our out-of-town patients, the nurse comes to your hotel or recovery center.

During the first couple of days after surgery, you may get up and walk around a bit, but you should not plan on doing much during this time. Most patients rest in bed for a few days. You will need someone at home with you for at least two days to help you during your recovery. Dr. Courtney will prescribe (non-opioidal) pain medication to treat any pain and swelling. Bruising, redness, and swelling are common effects of the surgery, and these will subside over the following weeks.

Your overall healing time will depend on the extent of your surgery. If you have surgical drains in place, these will be removed within a week when you have your first follow-up appointment. Dr. Courtney will take time with you before your procedure to explain how to take care of your incisions and any drains; it is important to follow all your post-operative care instructions to maximize healing and minimize swelling. Doing your part to care for yourself while you heal will ensure that you get the best possible outcome.

While you will notice changes to your body immediately after your surgery, it takes some time for ultimate results to manifest. Swelling may not fully subside for two or more months. Scars take two months or more to fade.   You should be able to return to work and normal, gentle daily activities within a couple of weeks when you no longer need prescription pain medication. After a couple of months when all swelling has subsided, and your tummy has fully healed, you will be able to see your results. Your scars will continue to fade over the coming months.

Tummy Tuck Surgery Concierge Services in Houston, TX

Elective surgery is a big decision, and you want to select the most qualified surgeon to modify your one, precious body. Dr. Courtney’s extensive training and experience in the most current techniques ensures you’ll not only stay safe but enjoy stunning results. Many of our patients travel from outside of Houston and even outside of the state and country to ensure they get the highest quality care.

We are happy to assit you with planning your stay in Houston. In addition to providing detailed directions to our offices, we often help plan not only hotel accommmodations and ground tranportation, but the elements patients may not readily think of ilke nursing services or post-operative support. You may also need food and beverage delivery or recommendations for local dining and recreation. Rest assured that Dr. Courtney and his team want your procedures to go smoothly from the moment you first arrive in Houston to your departure. 

If you have specific questions about what’s involved in tummy tuck surgery, please don’t hesitate to call us at 713.522.4411 today. Well look forward to your call or visit!

[1] “ASCs: A Positive Trend in Health Care.”  Ambulatory Surgery Center Association.