October 2019

Different Methods for Contouring that Tummy

Abdominoplasty Calgary ABAs we age, we all deal with more and more sagging. This is especially true if you’ve had children or if you’ve gained and then lost a good deal of weight. As we discussed in last month’s second blog, the localized weight gain in your lower abdomen can stretch the skin to a degree that it stays loose even when you’ve lost the weight. But even without weight gain, most of us will still develop some slight pooch in our stomach area.

That’s why Dr. Frank uses different methods for his tummy tuck procedures. He matches the type of tuck to the patient’s unique needs.

What are the different kinds of tummy tucks?

Here’s a description of three methods used for these surgeries:

Standard abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)

Also known as a full tummy tuck, in a standard tummy tuck Dr. Frank makes two incisions. The first incision runs from hipbone to hipbone, usually descending down along the pubic hairline. The goal is to be able to cover the scar with a bathing suit. The second incision is made at the belly button. Once the skin is separated from the underlying muscle, the abdominal muscles are pulled together and stitched into place to make the abdomen firmer and to narrow the waist. This is to repair stomach muscles that have actually become separated. Next, the skin is pulled downward, excess skin is trimmed away, and the navel is reattached in a natural position.

These full tummy tucks are usually the best option for women who have had children, as the localized weight gain stretches the stomach skin and separates the support muscles.

Partial abdominoplasty (mini tummy tuck)

Also known as a mini tummy tuck, in this procedure Dr. Frank makes just a single incision along the pubic line. The length of this incision may vary depending on the degree of the patient’s sagging. Mini tummy tucks can be good for patients who don’t have a lot of excess sagging skin, but simply want to remove their stomach pooch. This would probably be more typical if a woman hasn’t had children, but has noticed a slight pooch with age.

Circumferential abdominoplasty (extended tummy tuck)

This method involves the upper and lower incisions as with a standard tummy tuck, but the bottom incision is extended. Where it usually stops at the hipbone in a standard procedure, here it extends around the flanks and onto the back. This allows Dr. Frank to also address sagging, excess skin and fat on the outer thighs and buttocks. Fat and skin that are hanging over the belt line will be removed to create a slimmer, smoother contour. Dr. Frank will tighten applicable muscle and will likely use some liposuction to remove unwanted pockets of fat. If you’re familiar with an outer thigh lift or buttock lift, it is as if these procedures were added to a standard tummy tuck in these circumferential tucks.

Do you have loose skin on your abdomen and long for the slimmer contour of your younger days? Call Dr. Frank at (403) 245-1228 and set up a consultation for a tummy tuck.

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Textured Implants and Cancer

On March 21, 2017, the U.S. FDA made a safety announcement about a link between textured breast implants and a very rare form of cancer: anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. In the announcement, the FDA called the cancer “breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

Since then, the ante has been upped. On May 28 of this year, Health Canada suspended the sale of Allergan Biocell breast implants. In July, the U.S. FDA followed suit with a ban.

Dr. Frank does not use textured implants, but wants his patients to know about this move from Health Canada.

What Health Canada said

Health Canada issued its May suspension citing research that, compared to other implants, found patients with textured implants had a higher risk of breast implant-associated large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a rare cancer that affects the immune system.

Health Canada had previously issued an announcement of textured implants and BIA-ALCL, but not a ban. The group then received reports of new cases of BIA-ALCL. When a safety review was conducted in 2017, Health Canada knew of only five confirmed Canadian cases. Since that time, that number of confirmed cases has risen to 26.

The suspension means that Allergan is no longer allowed to sell its Biocell macro-textured implants in Canada, and all unused implants are to be sent back to the manufacturer.

There is no recommendation to remove textured implants, as the number of cases is exceedingly low. Still, women who have received Allergan Biocell macro-textured implants should be on the lookout for any signs such as swelling, lumps, and pain in the breast.

What is ALCL?

ALCL is an uncommon cancer that can develop in any part of the body, most commonly the lymph nodes and skin. Research suggests that BIA-ALCL is usually found near the breast implant within the surrounding scar tissue, not in the breast itself. The lifetime risk for developing BIA-ALCL from a textured implant is estimated to be from one in 4,000 to one in 30,000. At this point, the type of implant (silicone or saline) doesn’t seem make a difference. It is the implant texture.

How is BIA-ALCL treated?

This is still a very rare risk. Plus, when BIA-ALCL is caught early it is usually curable. Treatment involved surgical removal of the implants and the scar tissue capsule, as the lymphoma appears almost always to be only in the scar tissue capsule.

Do you have questions about your implants? Please call Dr. Frank at (403) 245-1228 for more information.

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