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Liposuction Resources

Tummy Tuck Alternatives

Christopher Chung, M.D.
American Board of Plastic Surgery
Chief Medical Officer
Sono Bello

There are several surgical options to improve the truncal (abdomen and flanks) region of the body.  Most people are familiar with the “tummy tuck” procedure.  To this end, there are several other surgical options to include liposuction, mini-tuck, and even customized unique offerings, such as AbEX by Sono Bello.  With each option, it is important to understand its goals and limitations so that the best option can be chosen to fulfill the desired outcome.

In order to better understand the various procedures, it is imperative that pertinent anatomy is discussed.  Simply speaking, there are three tissue components to consider: skin, fat, and muscle.  For the most part, skin and fat are obvious, as these elements – we can see and feel (pinch).  The muscle component can be more elusive as it is underneath the skin and fat, and therefore, at times can be confused to be fat (and skin).  Often due to pregnancy, the abdominal wall muscle can be weakened, thereby, leading to the protrusion of the belly – which is then mistaken to be fat.  As part of the informed consent, a qualified healthcare professional can help delineate which of the tissue components requires the most attention, thereby, determining which surgical option is best to correct the anatomical element most responsible for the undesired appearance.

Let’s consider the various surgical options and their impact on tissue components.

Mindful of the chart above, it is easy to see that there is no one perfect surgical option that can fully address all three tissue components.  As to which procedure is best, it depends on the patient’s desired outcome and proper identification of the tissue component(s) that is responsible for the undesired appearance.  In most instances, a combination of several tissue components will need to be addressed.

Please consult an experienced team of health professionals that specialize in body contouring and tummy tuck alternatives to best determine the best surgical option.


Video Transcript

Dr. Anire Okpaku:

Hi, I’m Dr. Anire Okpaku. I work for Sono Bello here in Austin, Texas. I’m here to talk to you about AbEX versus abdominoplasty.

So Dr. Okpaku, what is AbEX?

Dr. Anire Okpaku:

AbEX is a procedure, where basically it’s a mini tummy tuck, which we do under local anesthesia so you’re awake and we also use a lot of liposuction and a laser to help tighten the skin, and we remove the lower abdominal skin and we tighten everything up.

And how is it different than a traditional tummy tuck?

Dr. Anire Okpaku:

Traditional tummy tuck, what we do is we remove the skin from the belly button down to where a c-section incision would be, over to the hip over the other hip. We remove all that fat and skin, we then dissect up to the xiphoid over the costal margin so basically, we lift up this whole abdomen above the belly button and then we tighten up your rectus muscles, which is your six-pack muscles, and then we pull everything down. And then we make a new belly button. Okay, the advantage, the difference of an AbEX is that basically, what we do, is we go from somewhere between halfway from the belly button to where a c-section incision would be, we remove an ellipse of skin and we liposuction the sides and also the abdomen. So with a traditional tummy tuck you don’t, most people don’t liposuction the middle of the abdomen, some people do, but most people don’t. Also we do this under local anesthesia so you’re awake the entire time and it’s relatively pain-free. And you don’t have all the side effects of general anesthesia as well.

What is the recovery process like?

Dr. Anire Okpaku:

So, the recovery process is a very quick recovery process. Since you don’t have general anesthesia, you go home the same day, you’re up and walking that day, most people are back to work anywhere between two to four days, and most people have resumed most normal activities within the first week or so give or take. Now, a full tummy tuck most people can’t work out for at least three months because we tighten the abdominal muscles with that procedure. Here we don’t mess with the muscles so therefore, you don’t have the downtime, and you don’t in the pain that you have with a tummy tuck.

Who would be a good candidate for AbEX?

Dr. Anire Okpaku:

Good candidates for AbEX, are generally the same good candidates for a tummy tuck. People with loose skin, people with extra fat which they want removed from the liposuction and what the skin removed. Most of those people are candidates for both procedures. As I said before the advantage is you don’t have the downtime from the tummy tuck. The people who are not a good candidate are people obviously with a lot of bad medical issues okay, and people who need a more aggressive procedure.

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