After struggling with weight since childhood, and loosing 50 pounds as an adult, -- Viola, a patient, calls it a life long dream. (Photo: Oran Hardcastle, KTHV)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Americans spent almost $11 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2012, and one that ranks high on the list is the tummy tuck.
Star Jones, Angelina Jolie, Carnie Wilson and Patricia Heaton are just a few of the Hollywood celebrities who have changed their looks with a tummy tuck, and let's not forget about TLC reality star Kate Gosselin, who showed her "before" stomach on national television. After having twins and sextuplets, she calls the surgery the best decision she's ever made.
Dr. Michael Spann with Little Rock Plastic Surgery has performed dozens of tummy tucks. It's one of the most popular procedures in his practice, so his calendar stays pretty busy during early spring.
"What you want to do is to have the procedure, and then be healed by the time the summer comes along," said Spann.
The surgery helps to significantly reduce the appearance of loose skin, stretch marks, or a protruding abdomen. Recovery time is at least two weeks down time.
"We want to make the shortest scar that makes the best results," explained Spann.
Mom of two, Viola, had her tummy tuck three months ago. After struggling with weight since childhood and losing 50 pounds as an adult, she calls it a lifelong dream.
"I have never ever in my whole life been able to wear a bikini or anything, and just the other day I was trying one on, and it's just great," exclaimed Viola.
Besides a little soreness, she's back to normal life. She's taking care of her kids and on her routine work-out schedule.
"My husband loves it. He didn't care if I had it or not. It was more like my decision. He was like you look great either way, but now that he sees it he is like 'Wow! What a difference a little extra skin can make."
It's a boost of confidence that she calls priceless.
With any surgery, risks are real. Infection, bleeding, scaring and soreness are on the list, but in most cases, Dr. Spann said surgery goes smoothly.
If you smoke, plastic surgeons won't perform the procedure. Dr. Spann said smokers aren't able to heal as quickly because of a decreased blood supply.
Keep in mind, a tummy tuck is not meant for weight loss; it's a contour procedure.
• American Society of Plastic Surgeons
o Risks & Safety
o Choosing a surgeon