Are you considering a tummy tuck? If so, make sure that you are fully informed by asking your plastic surgeon the following questions. See below to learn a more about Dr. Hayes and his approach to abdominoplasty surgeries.
To schedule a consultation, call our office or see our contact page.
Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
Yes, I am certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Certification means that I have undergone the rigorous process of oral and written examinations that cover all plastic surgery procedures. I am also a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Were you trained specifically in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery?
Yes, I was trained specifically in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery. I was trained at the integrated plastic surgery residency at the University of Washington in Seattle. My training encompassed all aspects of plastic surgery including reconstruction (trauma, cancer reconstruction), cosmetic surgery, pediatric surgery (cleft lip, cleft palate), burns and hand surgery.
How many years of plastic surgery training have you had?
An integrated plastic surgery residency is typically 6-7 years long. The University of Washington program is six years. After my residency I went on to complete an additional year of hand surgery training at The Curtis National Hand Center, followed by several months dedicated specifically to cosmetic surgery training.
Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure? If so, at which hospitals?
I have surgical privileges at multiple locations throughout Portland, Seattle, and Hood River. I have credentials at The Surgery Center at Tanasbourne (where I perform most of my cosmetic procedures), Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Legacy Good Samaritan, Legacy Meridian Park, Swedish Medical Center (Seattle), The Seattle Facial Plastic Surgery Center, The Columbia Gorge Surgery Center, and Providence Hood River.
Is the office-based surgical facility accredited by a nationally-or state-recognized accrediting agency, or is it state-licensed or Medicare-certified?
All of the operating facilities that I use for my surgical procedures are fully accredited.
Am I a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
Good candidates for a tummy surgery are healthy men and women who want to rejuvenate their abdomen. A tummy tuck helps flatten the tummy, narrows the waistline, and removes excess skin. To achieve the most predictable and long-lasting results you should have surgery when you are at your goal weight and, if you're a woman, when you are done having children.
What will be expected of me to get the best results?
Best results are obtained when you are at your goal weight, and done having children, before having surgery. Losing weight or a pregnancy after a tummy tuck procedure, can stretch your abdominal wall and cause you to develop excess skin. This may leave you wanting a revision surgery to re-tighten the muscle repair and remove more skin.
Make sure you get the right procedure! Some people have heard of the "mini" tummy tuck, which uses a shorter incision, but does NOT rejuvenate the abdomen above the belly button. A mini tummy tuck usually only works for a small number of people who only have excess skin or an abdominal bulge below their belly button. Most people need a full tummy tuck. There's no shortcut to great results, so if a full tummy tuck is needed then it's best to follow the advice of your surgeon and avoid a mini tummy tuck procedure. I spend a full hour each patient during the initial consultation. This gives plenty of time to talk about the procedure and choose the type of tummy tuck that's right for you!
Where and how will you perform my tummy tuck surgery?
I perform tummy tuck surgeries in a fully accredited operating room. A board-certified anesthesiologist puts my patients completely to sleep (general anesthesia). I find that general anesthesia gives the most comfortable experience for my patients. I first perform liposuction of the waist, and love handles. This creates a beautiful S-curve that travels from your back through your waist, love handles, buttocks and thighs. This creates in hourglass shape that is further enhanced by the muscle repair.
A muscle repair (rectus diastasis repair) refers to tightening an abdominal wall that has been stretched by pregnancy. Two layers of strong sutures are used to tighten the abdominal wall which restores a flat appearance to the tummy. A muscle repair also narrows the waistline by acting as an internal corset. Excess skin is removed using in incision that is placed very low on the abdomen. This incision typically stretch from hip to hip and are hidden by clothing.
Which type of tummy tuck would you recommend for me? Is liposuction included at the same time?
There are three common types of tummy tucks.
1. Mini tummy tuck:
2. Full tummy tuck:
3. Extended tummy tuck:
Liposuction is included with all tummy tucks that I perform. I find that most women have some excess fat in the love handle area that they want to remove. Liposuction creates in hourglass shape and helps rejuvenate the tummy 360°.
Will I need drains after surgery?
I do use drains after a tummy tuck procedure. I use progressive tension sutures to close the space where fluid tends to accumulate, so this allows my drains to be removed after one week.
How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
The recovery period lasts about six weeks. Pain medicine is used for the first 1-2 weeks to control discomfort after the surgery. It's important that you have help at home for the first 2-3 weeks after surgery. You'll need help lifting objects that are heavier than 10 pounds for the first six weeks. Caution with lifting is needed to allow the abdominal wall sutures to heal fully. After six weeks, there are no restrictions and you are free to work out, lift, or run.
What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
Complications after a tummy tuck surgery can include developing a collection of blood, or fluid, under the skin, a superficial or deep infection, a wide or thickened scar, loss of the belly button, poor cosmetic outcome, being unhappy with the scar location. Each complication is dealt with in a different way. During the initial consultation I discuss the risks and possible complications so you are fully informed.
How are complications handled?
I try to avoid complications whenever possible. This starts with choosing the right type of tummy tuck for each patient. In the operating room I use meticulous surgical technique. I purchase CosmetAssure (cosmetic surgery insurance) for all of my patients. This extra insurance helps defray the costs of possible complications, if they do occur.
How can I expect my stomach to look over time? After pregnancy?
Tummy tuck is meant to be a long-lasting procedure. Most women people will only need one tummy tuck procedure. If there are no additional pregnancies, four large changes in weight, in your abdomen should continue to look flat and youthful for years. A pregnancy can restretch the abdomen and cause excess skin to develop. After pregnancy a revision tummy tuck may be desired. Although it's safe to become pregnant after a tummy tuck, I recommend that most of my patients wait to finish having children before having their tummy tuck procedure.
Do you have abdominoplasty before-and-after photos I can look at for this procedure and what results are reasonable for me?
When evaluating any surgeon, it's a good idea to look at before-and-after photos. This will give you a chance to evaluate the work that they have performed. When looking at before-and-after photos, it's important to find women with similar anatomy (height, weight, frame size, abdominal appearance). This gives you the best sense of how you may look after the surgical procedure.
To schedule a consultation, call our office or see our contact page.
Dr. Austin Hayes is a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon with offices in Portland, Seattle, and Hood River.