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Many people experience life-changing milestones they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. But sometimes the way our bodies carry these milestones can affect self confidence on a daily basis. Whether due to pregnancy, significant weight loss, or simply thanks to the effects of aging and time, some people find that they have excess skin in the tummy area, and no matter how hard they work, there is nothing they can do to improve it. These problem areas won’t respond to diet or exercise, and the tummy can’t return to a tighter, flatter shape on its own.
People who find themselves in this situation often come to see Dr. Lista to find out if a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty procedure, is right for them. A tummy tuck is a body contouring procedure that helps eliminate this extra loose skin in the belly to create a firm, flat tummy in its place. While this operation can drastically reduce the look of a protruding belly, it’s important to note that a full tummy tuck requires a fairly substantial incision that will leave a permanent scar, though the incision is placed below the waistline of underwear and bikini bottoms so that it will not be apparent in public.
Around 200 to 300 tummy tucks are performed each and every year at The Plastic Surgery Clinic. Dr. Lista is one of the most experienced tummy tuck surgeons in Mississauga and indeed across Canada. It’s his goal to deliver the most natural looking abdominoplasty results as safely as possible.
Explore Your Options:
• Dr. Lista’s No-Drain Tummy Tuck Philosophy
• The Best Candidates for a Tummy Tuck
• Your Office Visit & Consultation
• How is a Tummy Tuck Performed?
• The Pain Relief Pump
• Tummy Tuck Recovery
• Tummy Tuck Risks & Complications
Dr. Lista’s No-Drain Tummy Tuck Philosophy
When it comes to abdominoplasty, Dr. Lista’s number one goal is to achieve a beautiful, natural look for his patients and to deliver it with the highest level of care possible. He understands that taking all measures possible to improve the recovery process is integral to this goal. He has made it his priority to pioneer a new approach to this procedure to help create a safer and more comfortable recovery for all of his patients, and this technique is known as the No-Drain Tummy Tuck.
In traditional tummy tuck surgeries, after the skin is tightened and repositioned, the space between the skin and muscle is left unattached. When a space like this is present in the body, it can lead to a complication known as a seroma where fluid builds and collects, making the patient very uncomfortable, causing unnecessary pain and swelling, and prolonging overall healing. The way plastic surgeons solve this problem is by inserting small drains into the incision site to help remove the excess fluid, which prevents the complication, but also means that the patient has to live for several days or sometimes even weeks with these drains attached. It’s not comfortable, it’s not convenient, and it’s just not the best way to recover.
Dr. Lista realized that there had to be a better solution. After completing extensive research, analysis, and practice, he now performs what’s known as Progressive Tension Abdominoplasty. This approach closes the space between the skin and muscle so that no fluid pocket can accumulate in the first place, eliminating the need for drains. Dr. Lista is proud to be one of the surgeons who provides this revolutionary technique to his patients so that they can heal faster and experience a safer, more comfortable recovery. Not all surgeons offer this option since it’s an advanced technique that requires a very high level of training, skill, and experience. Some surgeons choose not to employ it because it also takes more time to perform in the operating room. In the end, our philosophy is to always do what’s best for our patients, even if it’s a little less convenient for us.
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The Best Candidates for a Tummy Tuck
People who make good candidates for an abdominoplasty procedure are women or men who are close to their healthy goal weight. They are in generally good shape overall, but find they struggle with loose skin or a fat deposit around the abdomen that does not respond to lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. A tummy tuck can be a particularly good option for a woman who has gone through pregnancy and childbirth any number of times since this experience can stretch both the skin and the abdominal muscles, usually to a point where they are unable to return to their original state.
In a good candidate, a tummy tuck can improve the tightness of abdominal skin and muscle, and it can also improve loss of skin elasticity. Many of our patients find that this enhances their self confidence as well as their appearance, but it’s important for prospective patients to know that it is not necessarily capable of altering your shape to match a perfect ideal. It’s important to take all of your expectations into consideration and to discuss them thoroughly with Dr. Lista before you decide to have surgery to ensure that you won’t be left with unnecessary disappointment.
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Your Office Visit & Consultation
Before any type of surgery, Dr. Lista always meets with every patient personally. In fact, it’s his preference to have 2 consultations whenever possible to make sure that every question has been carefully answered and every concern has been thoroughly addressed. As with any type of surgery, the decision to have a tummy tuck is a serious one where you will be putting your health, well-being, and appearance in our hands. Dr. Lista does not take this responsibility lightly and understands that you need as much information as possible in order to make the right decision for your body and your lifestyle, no matter whether or not you decide to undergo the procedure. That's why consultations are always free. Sometimes a consultation fee can put unnecessary pressure on this process. The most important thing is that you make a decision based on extensive information, the advice of an expert, and your own personal desires, without having to worry about a distracting financial burden.
During your consultation, Dr. Lista will spend a significant amount of time giving you a careful physical examination. He will also need to determine your comprehensive medical history to ensure that you’re a good candidate for a tummy tuck. From there, he will spend a lot of time talking to you about your desires, your goals, and your expectations. Not every expectation can be met with surgery, so it’s really important that you carefully explain what you want your result to look like so that Dr. Lista can best advise you. You can bring in photos that give a good idea of the look you want and we will make available a wide range of before and after tummy tuck photos of our actual patients so that you can have a better understanding of real results.
At The Plastic Surgery Clinic, we also make use of specialized computer imaging software. Dr. Lista will show you digital composite examples of what your result might look like after surgery so that you can better visualize your potential outcome.
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How is a Tummy Tuck Performed?
You will have the final say on where your tummy tuck procedure will take place. Most of our patients opt to have their abdominoplasty at our state-of-the-art Mississauga plastic surgery clinic. Our facility features top of the line equipment and technology every step of the way, which means you’ll enjoy the highest level of care possible from your consultation all the way to your recovery. We want to guarantee that our patients are met with the most impressive safety standards available, and that’s why we’re a fully accredited Independent Health Facility. This license means that we are carefully inspected and reviewed by the Ministry of Health of the Province of Ontario on a very regular basis. The Plastic Surgery Clinic is similarly accredited by the Canadian Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Care Facilities. We’re really proud to be one of the only plastic surgery clinics in Ontario to hold these licenses because it means that we meet or exceed hospital standards.
If your preference is to have your tummy tuck performed at a hospital, we’re pleased to accommodate your request. Dr. Lista is Past Chief of Plastic Surgery at the Trillium Health Centre and he continues to enjoy privileges at the Mississauga hospital. The Trillium Health Centre is located just up the street, about a 3-minute drive from The Plastic Surgery Clinic.
Wherever you decide to have your procedure, it will be personally performed by Dr. Lista—not by an assistant, and never by a student. Additionally, a specialist physician board certified in anesthesia will administer your anesthetic and will stay with you during the entire operation. They will also be with you as you wake up to ensure that you are always safe and comfortable. Depending on the extent of your surgery, you may need to stay overnight to ensure a safe recovery. Many of our patients are released to a friend or relative who can drive them home and stay with them for 24 hours. Your surgeon will always be on call after your operation, 24 hours a day, and other nurses and staff will always be available to answer any questions or concerns that might arise in the hours and days following your surgery.
The Tummy Tuck Operation
Depending on your body, you might be a good candidate for a mini tummy tuck or you might require a complete tummy tuck. This is something that Dr. Lista will determine with you during your consultation period.
Tummy Tuck: this procedure usually takes 2 to 3 hours to complete, depending on the techniques required to achieve your goals. The surgeon makes a long incision that extend from hip to hip, slightly above the pubic area, as well as a small incision near the navel to release it from surrounding tissues. Skin is then separated from the abdominal wall, which allows your surgeon to tighten any abdominal muscles that have become lax, an effect we often see in women who have had one or more pregnancies. The newly tightened muscles help give you a firmer tummy and also help to improve the contour of your waistline. The abdominal skin is then stretched over top, excess skin is removed, and your surgeon will create a new navel.
Mini Tummy Tuck: this procedure usually takes 1 to 2 hours to complete. You might be a good candidate for this procedure if the excess pockets of fat you would like to improve are located in your abdomen below your navel only. This option can’t be used if muscle tightening is necessary. With a mini tummy tuck, the incision is shorter, which leads to less scarring and a shorter recovery period. However, it won’t create the same dramatic result as a full tummy tuck and it should not be considered a comparable substitution for the complete procedure.
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The Pain Relief Pump™
Managing pain after plastic surgery is an important aspect of every procedure. Dr. Lista understands that taking prescription pain medication can sometimes lead to side effects for some patients. This includes nausea, vomiting, and allergic reactions, each of which can impede the healing process and create an unpleasant, uncomfortable recovery period when your body needs as much rest as possible.
That’s why all of Dr. Lista’s patients at The Plastic Surgery Clinic use The Pain Relief Pump. This small device looks a lot like a smartphone and it’s attached to a belt that you wear after surgery. Very thin tubes with openings about the width of a hair extend out from the device and the ends are placed around your incisions. The pump releases a solution of long-lasting local anesthetic directly to your surgical site. As a result, you experience no pain and reduced swelling so that you can relax more comfortably, rest, and heal, without worrying about the side effects of prescription pills. Dr. Lista is so pleased to be able to offer this to his patients as it makes them feel happier and more at ease, and it often helps speed up the recovery process.
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Tummy Tuck Recovery
In the hours following your surgery, unless you are advised that an overnight stay is recommended due to the extent of your operation, you will need to have a friend or family member pick you up and drive you home. It’s also important that someone is able to stay with you for the first 24 hours after your surgery. During this time, you might need help taking care of simple tasks, and it’s important to have someone else with you to ensure your safety and help you have a healthy recovery.
You will likely experience some pain, swelling, and discomfort in the first few days after your surgery. These effects can be controlled by medication, which Dr. Lista will discuss with you prior to your procedure. He will also give you specific instructions to follow in terms of taking care of your incision site, dressings, and guidelines to follow for showering. You should start walking at a gentle pace as soon as possible, and though some patients find this earliest phase of recovery a bit difficult as they are not able to stand straight right away, it’s important to keep your body moving from time to time.
Somewhere between 5 to 7 days after your surgery, surface stitches will be removed. If your operation requires deeper sutures, they can be removed 2 to 3 weeks post-op.
Most of our patients tell us that it takes them around 3 to 6 weeks to start feeling like themselves again. Following your operation and all the way up to the 6 week mark, you will need to wear a support garment around your tummy. It sits easily beneath your clothes and no one else will be able to tell that you’re wearing it.
A lot of tummy tuck patients want to know when they can return to work, but it really depends on what works for you and it can vary from patient to patient. Some people are able to return to work two weeks after their surgery, while others choose to take a longer period of time off so that they can really rest and recuperate as much as their body needs. If you have any concerns about the amount of time you’ll require, it’s important to discuss it with Dr. Lista beforehand. He’ll be able to help advise you on what might be the best choice for your lifestyle and your needs. If you have young children at home, you’ll also need to arrange for alternative childcare as chasing after little ones can impede your recovery.
Incorporating gentle exercise into your healing process can help you in a lot of different ways. It can help to reduce swelling and lower your risk of experiencing blood clots. If you don’t normally exercise, it’s a great idea to start a very low impact program for your post-operative period to improve your healing. However, you shouldn’t undertake any vigorous exercise for 6 weeks following your tummy tuck. If you have questions or concerns about your workout routine, discuss them in detail with Dr. Lista during your consultation.
In the first 3 to 6 months after your operation, you might feel like the colour and appearance of your scars changes, making it look more apparent than what you’d hoped for. Don’t panic! This is a completely normal part of the healing process. It will take as long as a year for your scars to flatten in appearance and lighten in colour. Your incision will be strategically placed so that it will be hidden under most clothing, including underwear and bathing suit bottoms. While your scars will never disappear completely, most people will never see them.
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Tummy Tuck Risks & Complications
As with all surgical procedures, a tummy tuck is associated with a certain amount of risk and uncertainty. Every day abdominoplasties are safely performed all over the world. When performed by a highly skilled plastic surgeon who has a lot of experience and expertise, they’re usually achieved with a high level of success and create positive results. At the same time, it’s important to remember that surgery is a serious decision and that, even though the possibility that a complication could arise is very low, it still nevertheless exists.
Complications like blood clots and infection are rare, but they can occur in some patients. Moving around as soon as you are able to after surgery is one of the best ways you can help minimize your risk of developing a blood clot. Dr. Lista asks his patients to wear anti-embolic or compression stockings for one week after their operation. The Plastic Surgery Clinic will provide you with these garments, and they also help reduce the risk of blood clot by supporting blood flow in the legs. During surgery, we also use a highly specialized tool called a compression pump to gently massage your legs for the same reason. Infections can almost always be treated with drainage and antibiotics, but in some cases, patients might need a hospital stay in order to ensure thorough successful treatment.
If you are a smoker, you should be prepared to quit smoking 2 weeks before your operation and for at least 6 weeks afterward. The best recommendation for your overall health is to quit for good, but it’s essential to at least stop smoking during this time since it will lead to fewer complications and will prevent delays in your healing.
By following your surgeon’s instructions carefully, you’ll be able to reduce your risk of most complications. That’s important not just for your health, but also for your cosmetic result. Poor healing can lead to very conspicuous and visible scars, and sometimes these require a second operation. We’ll give you a list of guidelines so you’ll be able to keep track of all of Dr. Lista’s recommendations. If you ever have any questions about your tummy tuck recovery, we’re happy to answer them! We want you to have the safest, most comfortable recovery, leading to the best looking results possible.
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A wide range of before and after photos of actual patients at The Plastic Surgery Clinic will be made available to you during your complimentary consultation.