Operation Guide: Sculpt Tummy Tuck Surgery
If you have loose skin on your tummy after weight loss or pregnancy, it can take a toll on your confidence. Perhaps your excess skin is not obvious when you lie down, but it is while standing. Some clothing styles may draw unwanted attention to skin folds, fat bulges or separated muscles on your abdomen. It’s frustrating to get ready for the day when you don’t feel great about your appearance.
A tummy tuck can renew your looks. However, you don’t have to settle for a basic tummy tuck. Modern tummy tucks do more than just tighten skin. New techniques, such as the Sculpt Tummy Tuck, offer incredible benefits.
What is a Sculpt Tummy Tuck?
A Sculpt Tummy Tuck removes excess skin and fat on the abdomen. It also fixes ab muscle separation. It provides nice definition of the ab muscles, a beautiful belly button and a discreet scar that is hidden in the underwear line. In this article, you’ll learn what happens during each step of the Sculpt Tummy Tuck operation.
What does “Sculpt” mean?
Dr. Bernard Beldholm loves helping mums and post-weight loss patients get a better-defined abdomen so they can look great in clothes. Unlike a basic tummy tuck, his Sculpt Tummy Tuck does more than remove loose skin.
Doctor Bernard uses extensive VASER liposculpture to sculpt and define your abdomen. Ab muscle tightening is also included if you need it. Think of it like a tummy tuck, but better.
How is it different than a normal tummy tuck?
The Sculpt Tummy Tuck makes your abdomen look better in four ways. Meanwhile, a standard tummy tuck only does two things: It removes excess tummy skin and tightens ab muscles. The Sculpt procedure has the added benefit of fat removal and abdominal sculpting with VASER liposculpture. Unlike a standard tummy tuck, drains are not needed.
4 Benefits of a Sculpt Tummy Tuck
A Sculpt procedure dramatically improves your abdomen in four ways:
1. It flattens your tummy
Skin tightening is often necessary after pregnancy or major weight loss. If you have excess skin on your abdomen and sides, the Sculpt Tummy Tuck can help. Doctor Bernard neatly trims off the loose skin to help you look better in clothes.
2. It gets rid of fat bulges
When loose skin is cut, fat comes along with it. However, the Sculpt procedure goes a step further with VASER liposculpture. Doctor Bernard melts fat and suctions it away using specialized equipment. The result is a slimmer midsection.
3. It defines your abdomen
Even if you don’t have a lot of belly fat, VASER liposculpture is still beneficial. It improves your tummy tuck results by defining and contouring your abdomen better than a standard tummy tuck can.
4. It fixes abdominal muscle separation
Torn ab muscles are common in patients who were pregnant or overweight in the past. Exercise can help diastasis recti, but surgical repair is needed in some cases. Like most tummy tucks, the Sculpt procedure repairs separated abs.
Do I really need liposuction?
Not everyone has a lot of fat to remove. However, nearly all patients can benefit from VASER liposculpture during the Sculpt Tummy Tuck. This is true, even if you are slim. The VASER System does much more than remove fat.
Benefits of VASER liposculpture
VASER liposculpture is part of all Doctor Bernard’s tummy tucks. Keep reading to discover the reasons why!
It defines your abdominal contours
If you are slim, VASER helps to sculpt your abdomen. Doctor Bernard defines your muscle and curves during the Sculpt Tummy Tuck. He shapes your sides and highlights your existing ab muscles. The result is a more defined tummy and waist.
It eliminates fat on your midsection
If you have fat on your tummy and sides, VASER is perfect for that. This groundbreaking fat removal technology melts fat until it’s soft, like butter. Once the fat is liquified, Doctor Bernard can easily remove it with liposuction. VASER targets fat cells closer to the skin surface than traditional liposuction. That means it removes fat more effectively.
It makes skin removal easier and safer
This is the most important reason to have VASER liposculpture, regardless of how much fat you have. During the operation, the VASER probe enters your skin and create tiny holes in your abdominal tissue. That makes it easier for your surgeon to cut off the loose skin later. Less cutting is required. Therefore, VASER may lower the risk of side effects, such as numbness and hematoma.
It makes your tummy tuck recovery easier
VASER melts fat into a liquid form. That makes it easy to remove with suction. With the fat melted, gentle suction is all that is needed to remove it. Meanwhile, traditional liposuction requires your surgeon to manually break apart solid fat with an aggressive back and forth motion. VASER is gentler, in comparison. There is less tissue trauma. That means you may have less bruising and discomfort in recovery.
It makes your belly button look more natural
If you have a lot of loose skin, your belly button must be moved. Otherwise, it would sit too low on your abdomen. Moving the belly button is hard work. Your navel must be repositioned and shaped so that it looks natural.
VASER helps Doctor Bernard create a natural-looking belly button for you. He removes a small cylinder of fat below your navel with liposuction. This gives the skin around your belly button a natural dip or depression. Your belly button sits inside this concavity.
If you look at pictures of models, the belly button always dips in a little bit. Small detail like this ensure you have an attractive navel after your tummy tuck surgery.
You can avoid tummy tuck drains
With the Sculpt Tummy Tuck, you can enjoy a more comfortable recovery. You don’t have to worry about cleaning drains, measuring fluid output, or having your surgeon remove the drains after surgery.
Drains are small plastic tubes that pass through your skin. They help remove fluid buildup at the wound site, also known as seroma. In a standard tummy tuck, the patient has to wear drains for up to two weeks.
The Sculpt Tummy Tuck does not use drains. During VASER liposculpture, Doctor Bernard injects a special liquid into your fat tissue. This liquid solution prepares the fat for removal. It also keeps your blood vessels in tact. That means there is less blood and fluid in your abdominal tissues during your recovery. Because there is less fluid buildup, you won’t have to wear drains.
What happens during the operation?
Let’s talk about each step of the Sculpt Tummy Tuck operation:
- Pre-surgical appointment
- Local anaesthesia
- VASER fat melting
- Fat removal
- Tissue dissection
- Epigastric tunnel
- Abdominal muscle repair
- Skin tightening
- Belly button shaping
- Closing the incision
- Wound dressing
- Compression garments
How to perform Doctor Bernard’s Sculpt Tummy Tuck
Each step dramatically improves the appearance of your abdomen.
Step 1: Pre-surgical appointment
During your pre-op appointment, Doctor Bernard draws on your skin with a special maker. This helps him plan the incisions.
Skin markings are important for a great result. The goal is to ensure you have an even result on both sides once your loose tummy skin is tightened.
Your favorite swimwear and underwear styles are considered as Doctor Bernard plans your tummy tuck incision. When the scar heals, it is hidden so no one can see it.
Step 2: Sterilization
Before your operation begins, everything must be sterilized. A nurse applies Betadine prep to clean your skin before surgery. On the operating table, sterile drapes are placed above and below you to prevent contamination.
Step 3: Anaesthesia
To ensure total comfort during your operation, general anaesthesia is used. Anaesthesia is a cocktail of sedatives that make you feel sleepy. A nurse places a mask over your mouth to provide oxygen while you are asleep. A tube is inserted to help you breathe during the operation. This is known as intubation. Once you are fully sedated, the operation can begin.
Step 4: Abdominal sculpting with VASER liposculpture
VASER liposculpture is the secret behind Doctor Bernard’s incredible tummy tuck results. Doctor Bernard loves VASER liposculpture. It shapes and sculpts your abdomen with less tissue trauma than standard liposuction.
This VASER machine targets fat close to your skin surface. This allows for better fat removal the ordinary liposuction, in Doctor Bernard’s medical opinion.
There are three steps to perform VASER liposculpture.
First, a wetting solution is applied. Doctor Bernard mixes lignocaine (lidocaine) with adrenaline. The liquid is infused into areas that you wish to reduce fat with a cannula and pump. The cannula is passed into your skin through tiny incisions. The pump disperses the fluid. The fluid must be applied evenly. This ensures a smooth, even liposuction result.
Next, he melts the fat with VASER technology. The VASER probe is passed through your skin. It vibrates at a high frequency to liquify the fat. This makes it easier to remove the fat. Liquid fat is easily removed with suction. It is much easier to remove than solid fat.
The VASER probe gets hot. Small ports are placed at the insertion points to protect your skin from heat damage. Doctor Bernard places the ports on areas of your abdomen where he will later remove excess skin. That way, there won’t be any scarring in the rare event of heat damage from the VASER probe.
Now that your fat is melted, Doctor Bernard focuses on defining your abdomen. He uses machine-assisted suction (also known as liposuction) to suck away the fat. After you recover from surgery, your abdomen will look toned and nicely defined.
Step 5: Tissue dissection
Once the fat is removed, it’s time to get rid of loose skin. To accomplish this, Doctor Bernard dissects makes a horizontal cut on your lower abdomen. Your abdominal tissue is lifted to reveal a white membrane known as the scarpa’s fascia. The VASER liposculpture he did earlier makes it easy to locate the fascia.
At this stage, Doctor Bernard lifts your skin up. He can see where the VASER probe has created lots of small tunnels in your tissue. Thanks to these small holes, he doesn’t have to do as much cutting with a scalpel to separate your loose skin from the underlying tissue.
Step 6: Create the epigastric tunnel
If you have torn ab muscles due to past weight gain or pregnancy, Doctor Bernard can fix it with a Sculpt Tummy Tuck. Older tummy tuck methods require a surgeon to cut the tissue all the way up to your ribs. With the tissue out of the way, they can see your ab muscles and repair them.
A Sculpt Tummy Tuck works a little different.
Instead of dissecting the tissue all the way up to the ribs, Doctor Bernard dissects up to your belly button. Then, he creates a tunnel the rest of the way up to your ribs. This is known as the epigastric tunnel.
The tunnel allows him to see your rectus abdominal muscles without having to make lots of cuts. Ab muscles often become separated due to past weight gain or pregnancy. Now that Doctor Bernard can see the muscles, he can fix them.
A Sculpt procedure has less cuts than a standard tummy tuck. Because of this, fewer blood vessels are damaged. That means less tissue trauma and an easier recovery.
Step 7: Abdominal muscle repair
Next, Doctor Bernard repairs your ab muscle separation. He carefully stitches the muscles together. Tissue glue is also used. This makes your ab muscles tighter. It reduces the gap or bulge you might have experienced due to past weight gain or pregnancy.
Step 8: Skin tightening and mons lift
Doctor Bernard turns his attention to removing and tightening your loose abdominal skin. He carefully measures how much skin to remove. To do this, he places the operating table on a slight tilt (approximately 15 degrees). To close the incision, he pulls your upper tummy skin down toward the lower tummy skin so they meet at the incision line. The excess skin is marked and cut off.
There are special tools to measure and mark excess skin. However, Doctor Bernard finds more success with an old-school method. He attaches an allis forceps (surgical clamp) to your lower tummy skin. Next, he pulls your upper tummy skin down so it meets the lower tummy skin. He can feel the allis forceps beneath the upper tummy skin. This shows him how much loose skin to trim off.
Doctor Bernard draws markings on your skin. This ensures that the cut is a nice, straight line. Any excess skin that hangs past the incision line is removed. Finally, your loose skin is gone!
Step 9: Belly button repositioning
Since your skin is pulled down nice and tight, your belly button may need to be moved. Otherwise, it may sit too low on your abdomen. That would not be a good result. Moving it puts the belly button in a natural position so it’s not obvious that you had a tummy tuck.
Cutting the belly button
Doctor Bernard cuts around your belly button to free it. Your belly button is not cut off. It is simply freed from the upper layer of skin. Your umbilical stalk remains in tact.
Attaching a plastic piece to the belly button
He attaches a small piece of plastic to your navel with a 2/0 silk stitch. This is temporary. The plastic bit allows him to feel where your navel is located underneath the skin when he moves it later.
Moving the belly button
Doctor Bernard moves your belly button upward, to the new position. The goal is to move your belly button so it looks natural. Your navel is placed similar to where it was before you had surgery.
Create a new hole for the belly button
Doctor Bernard creates a new hole for your belly button. The hole is not round, because this can cause bunching and tension. Instead, Doctor Bernard cuts a small oval, about 1.5 cm. This looks more natural.
Moving the umbilical stalk
Your umbilical stalk is pulled through the hole. The plastic bit is removed. Now your belly button is in place.
Closing the belly button
He stitches your belly button in place using 2-0 PDS sutures. ARTISS tissue glue is sprayed into the epigastric tunnel to close it. Doctor Bernard applies pressure for two minutes as the glue dries. Your belly button is held in place while the glue dries. That way, the belly button scar is hidden in the umbilical stalk so you can’t see it.
He makes sure your new belly button looks good
Closing the belly button correctly is key to a great tummy tuck result. His goal is to create an oval belly button that has a small hood. This looks very natural.
Your belly button is an important structure. It makes all the difference cosmetically. It takes time to design and sculpt your belly button. Doctor Bernard spends a significant amount of time shaping your belly button. He has perfected his techniques over the last 10 years as a tummy tuck surgeon.
Every belly button is unique. He shapes it to suit your body. Doctor Bernard has several techniques for different kinds of bodies. Usually, he makes a small triangular cut above the navel. This creates an oval belly button, not a circle. That flap of skin is inset into the belly button so the scar is hidden.
A belly button that is too round does not look natural. Round belly buttons can constrict the skin and cause bunching. That is not a good cosmetic result.
Doctor Bernard has another trick to make your belly button look good. He removes a small cylinder of fat below your new belly button. That allows your belly button to naturally dip inward, much like you see in photos of swimwear models. The navel looks very natural this way.
Step 10: Closing the layers
With the excess skin gone, it’s time to close the incision. Doctor Bernard neatly stitches the incision closed in layers. This ensures a tight seal that holds up well over time.
It starts in the deepest layer of your abdomen. Permanent sutures are used to keep consistent tension on the wound as it heals.
Once that layer is done, Doctor Bernard uses V-Loc sutures to close the layers above. V-Loc is a type of absorbable suture. It lasts about three to six months before your body breaks it down. For the first few months of recovery, your skin really needs that extra support for proper healing.
Remember the scarpa’s fascia from earlier? This strong, tough membrane is ideal for stitches. It can withstand a lot of tension. Docor Bernard sews it together nice and tight with plication sutures. He prefers to use a barbed suture, V-Loc 180. He also uses tissue glue.
Keeping the layers closed tightly with glue and stitches lowers the risk of seroma after a tummy tuck. With your abdominal cavity closed tightly, there is no room for fluid to buildup.
A Sculpt Tummy Tuck does more than tighten abdominal skin. When the incision is closed, it helps to lift a saggy mons area, too. The mons pubis is a common trouble spot that is located above the pubic bone. It tends to get saggy due to age, a past pregnancy, or history of obesity. The Sculpt procedure makes your mons look more taut and youthful.
With the incision closed, you now have a flat, tight tummy and mons. The Sculpt Tummy Tuck results speak for themselves.
Step 11: Drains are not necessary
Standard tummy tucks require a patient to wear drains for up to two weeks. A Sculpt Tummy Tuck does not use drains.
Step 12: Wound dressings with the PICO System
It’s important to keep the wound clean. Wound dressings protect your incision from contamination. Some surgeons use sterile bandages. Bandages stop germs from getting in and causing infection. They also provide a soft, cushioned layer to prevent abrasion from clothes as the wound heals.
However, Doctor Bernard finds that using PICO wound dressings are superior to ordinary bandages.
The PICO System is an advanced wound dressing. It does not just protect the wound from germs and irritation. It is battery-operated and creates gentle negative pressure on the wound as it heals. According to the manufacturer, it may also promote blood circulation to speed healing.
PICO’s advanced inner layer is made of super absorbent material with AIRLOCKTM technology. This helps to ward off bacteria and keep the wound dry. It is said to keep up to 99.9% of bacteria from reaching the wound.
The PICO negative pressure dressing is more complex than a basic bandage. It takes skill to apply correctly. It can be a little finicky to get it just right.
Doctor Bernard does not leave it to the nurses to apply the PICO bandage. Instead, he does it himself. It takes some time to get it right, but he feels the results are well worth it. After your surgery, you’ll wear the soft, comfortable PICO bandage for seven days.
Step 13: Compression garments
The final step of surgery is placing a compression garment on your tummy. Compression garments apply constant, gentle pressure to your skin in the first few weeks of recovery.
Wearing a garment helps keep the abdominal layers closed. It prevents gaps from forming between the tissue that was separated during your surgery. Reducing space between the layers helps to minimise swelling. It also lowers the risk of seroma, or fluid buildup, after surgery.
Doctor Bernard includes a soft, high-quality tummy tuck compression garment for free as part of your Sculpt Tummy Tuck. It is placed on your skin while you are asleep on the operating table. After surgery, you’ll wake up in the recovery room wearing the garment.
Your Sculpt Tummy Tuck is now complete.