Tummy tuck surgery can be scary, daunting and exciting all at the same time.  Along the way I have asked myself what questions would I ask a plastic surgeon if I were a tummy tuck patient in Scottsdale.  Although no 10 questions will encompass everything, below are some to consider.  I have taken liberty to assume that patients will research their surgeon to make sure they are a board certified plastic surgeon in good standing and with good before and after photos of tummy tuck procedures and good patient reviews.

1. What complications have you had with the tummy tuck procedure? Plastic surgeons that answer “none” are either not operating enough or have a selective memory.  Complications do happen.  The type and frequency of complications is what is important to know and how they were taken care of.

2. May I speak with any of your prior tummy tuck patients? Yes!  Tummy tuck patients are some of the happiest plastic surgery patients.  They also know how important it is to get good information as well as make the right choice when it comes to plastic surgeons.

3. How low will the incision be? I show my patients exactly where the incision will be.  Some variability is always possible but it should be fairly obvious where it will be and about how long it will be.

4. Is liposuction included with the tummy tuck? Some surgeons include liposuction while others do not.  It will be good to know so that you will know what to expect.  Personally, I perform some amount of liposuction on all of my tummy tuck patients at the time of their tummy tuck.  I feel like the tummy tuck result is better this way.

5. How often do you tighten the abdominal wall (muscle repair)? This may be variable based on the patient population of each plastic surgeon but most women and even the majority of men benefit from abdominal wall tightening of some sort.

6. What is the accreditation of the operating room? Whether the surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure or as an inpatient procedure, having surgery done at a fully accredited surgery center is key.  Look for AAAASF, AAAHC, or similar accreditation.

7. What happens if I have a complication? Complications do happen.  Fortunately complications are often rare and minor when they do.  With regards to addressing these complications each plastic surgeon has his/her own way to dealing with them.  Often, there is no charge from the plastic surgeon for the repair.  If the operating room or anesthesia is needed then patients are often responsible for those fees.

8. How many tummy tuck procedures do you do a month? This is an important question because we tend to be good at what we do more of.  The more tummy tuck a plastic surgeon does the more likely he/she is to be constantly refining their surgical practice.

9. What happens if you find a hernia during a tummy tuck procedure? This is especially important if you suspect a belly button hernia.  A belly button hernia will often be responsible for an “outie” belly button.  Without addressing the belly button hernia the “outie” part will not be corrected.

10. What new technology are you using for a better tummy tuck recovery and result? Specific technology questions are mainly related to suture, numbing medication, and scar therapy treatments.  Currently Exparel is the latest product that I use for abdominal wall numbing (pain reduction) and Embrace is what I use for my post-tummy tuck scar treatment.

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