Board Certified
Plastic Surgeon
Since 1989

Patient Education is the Key to Better Understanding Breast Cancer & Plastic Surgery

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month calls our attention to the fact that In the United States, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women after skin disease. Some 252,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 63,000 non-invasive breast cancer events were diagnosed in U.S. women this past year. Aside from lung disease, death rates associated with breast cancer are higher than any other type of cancer.

Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis is overwhelming. Therefore, it is essential for a woman, and her family, to become better educated about breast cancer in order to make informed decisions about your care.


Again, I wish to emphasize that gaining more “Patient Education” is imperative for adult women of all ages. One resource which I recommend women visit is where there is a wealth of information about this life-threatening disease, advances in treatment and resources you can utilize. Other helpful sites include:

which provides a breast cancer assessment tool;, offering online support for young women considering genetic testing; and, which has a substantial amount of information about this disease and finding support.

How Do I Find the Best Plastic Surgeon Near Me?

You’ve been considering plastic surgery and have made the choice to go through with it, but you’ve been searching “best plastic surgeon near me” with no luck.

Choosing a doctor for your cosmetic surgery is an extremely important choice. It’s vital you choose someone who knows what they’re doing, can make you feel comfortable, and will give you the results you’re looking for. So how do you find the “best plastic surgeon near me” when you have no idea where to start?

Read on below to learn the steps to finding your perfect plastic surgeon.

best plastic surgeon near me

How to Choose the Best Plastic Surgeon for You

Starting the search for your plastic surgeon can feel a bit intimidating, but don’t worry. You’re not alone. Millions of women get cosmetic procedures done every year in the U.S. Simply follow these tips to help you choose a doctor that will give you the results you want – stress-free.

1 – Ensure They’re Board-Certified

American Board of Plastic Surgery

While googling “best plastic surgeon near me” you may have felt overwhelmed by all the names that popped up. But here’s the first step towards paring down your list: finding out who is Board-certified and who isn’t.

If the doctors you’re reading about are not Board-certified don’t waste your time; cross them off your list.

“But won’t the state medical board be enough to determine a doctor’s skill level?”

Not necessarily.

“The government does not require a surgeon to be specifically trained in the procedures they offer.”

Don’t fall for general surgeons dipping their toe into the cosmetic surgery pool to increase their profits. Ask every single surgeon you interview this question:

“Are you Board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?”

If they say no, choose someone else. Being certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is absolutely essential. The ABPS is dedicated to training, educating, and certifying cosmetic surgeons. Having an ABPS certification means that they were properly trained and have experience specifically with cosmetic surgery procedures.

Click here to learn more about why choosing an ABPS surgeon is so vital.

You should also ensure your surgeon is a state member of ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons) and ASAPS (American Society of Aesthetic Surgery).

Ensure your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

best plastic surgeon near me

2 – Confirm They Have Experience with the Procedure You Want Done

Maybe your surgeon is highly experienced with tummy tucks and nose jobs, but has only ever done one breast augmentation.

If you’re looking for breast augmentation, you should not choose this doctor. Think about this: operating on a nose is a lot different than operating on a breast.

It’s always best to go with someone who has extensive experience in the cosmetic procedure you’re looking to have done.

Here’s what to ask your surgeon to learn more about their experience:

  • How many years have you been performing this procedure?
  • How did you train to perform this procedure?
  • How many times have you done this specific procedure?
  • May I see some before and after photos?

3 – Get Proof of Their Results

Whenever you interview a plastic surgeon, you should always ask for multiple examples of before and after photos. These photos should be based on the procedure you want done.

Remember: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What’s beautiful to one person may not be beautiful to another. Your personal preferences are valid and should be part of the consideration process.

Don’t choose a surgeon solely based on a friend’s recommendation; do your research to ensure they’re right for YOU.

This is also why you shouldn’t simply trust a surgeon solely based on a friend’s recommendation. Look carefully at each surgeon individually and consider if they’re right for you.

Here’s how to determine if they’re right for you:

  • Compare and contrast before-and-after photos from different surgeons to decide which results you find the most appealing.
  • Pay attention to patients who have similarities with you. This will give you a better idea of how this surgeon will tailor a procedure to your body type, concerns, and desires. For example:
    • Patients around your age
    • Patients with the same concerns you have (i.e. sagging skin, different sized breasts, or another issue)
    • Facial Surgery: Look for patients with a similar facial structure to your own.
    • Breast Surgery: Look for patients with a similar breast shape and torso (i.e. narrow shoulders and petite, widely spaced breasts).
    • Body Surgery: Look for patients with a similar body shape.
  • Look for consistency in a surgeon’s before-and-after photos. If they’re all wildly different, this is a red flag. If some are great, but others are terrible or only so-so, don’t choose that surgeon.

best plastic surgeon near me

4 – Trust Yourself

As women, we’re often quite used to feeling like we aren’t being heard by medical professionals. If that’s the case with your plastic surgeon, find someone else immediately.

Your cosmetic surgery is all about you, and your needs and desires should always come first with your plastic surgeon.

The “best plastic surgeon near me” will NOT make you feel small, ignored, or disrespected. Instead, they should make you feel confident, heard, and safe.

If you’re feeling unheard or disrespected, find a different surgeon. Trust yourself and your instincts. If you feel something is off within the first meeting, that usually means it is.

If you’re unsure, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I like talking and spending time with this surgeon?
  • Do I trust that this surgeon will do what’s safe and right for my health and my body?
  • Is the staff polite, friendly, and kind to me?
  • Does the surgeon react positively and answer fully when I ask questions?
  • Would I feel comfortable asking them any question I may have about the procedure or process?
  • Would I feel comfortable discussing my full medical history and habits to them?

If the answer to any of the above is no, that’s a red flag. Find someone else.

A good plastic surgeon will make you feel confident, heard, and safe.

best plastic surgeon near me

5 – Check out the Operating Facilities

Another important factor to consider when selecting the “best plastic surgeon near me” is where operations take place.

This facility, along with your anesthesia provider, are key to your safety during the procedure. Make sure you will be at an accredited operating room, as these facilities are designed with your safety in mind and life support systems in case anything goes wrong. Accredited facilities ensure you’ll receive:

  • High quality care for trained, experienced surgeons and staff
  • A clean, fully stocked operating room
  • A trained and highly qualified anesthesia provider
  • Trained staff and the right equipment to respond efficiently in case of emergency

Here’s how to find out if your surgeon does surgery in an accredited facility:

  • Ask your surgeon where they do surgery.
  • Then, discover the facility’s accreditation level. Try to seek out AAAASF, AAAHC, or JCAHO certifications.
  1. AAAASF – American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities
  2. AAAHC – Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care
  3. JCAHO – The Joint Commission
  • Finally, do some research on your anesthesia provider and their qualifications. Either a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) or a Board-Certified Anesthesia provider should be giving you your anesthesia.

You’ve Found the “Best Plastic Surgeon Near Me.” Now Schedule an Appointment!

Dr. Shlomo Widder is a Board-certified plastic surgeon with 31 years of experience giving patients the results they want and deserve.

Dr. Widder and his remarkable staff put individualized attention into every patient. We want you to feel confident during every step of your cosmetic journey.

Dr. Widder’s personal approach has earned him the title of one of Northern Virginia’s Top Plastic Surgeons. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Widder today by clicking the button below or calling us at 703-506-0300.

best plastic surgeon near me

How Do I Find the Best Plastic Surgeon Near Me? | Widder Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center – Vienna, VA

Is Breast Augmentation Right for You?

Considering breast augmentation? Before diving in, it’s important to know the facts and what to expect.

Read on below to hear from plastic surgeon Dr. Shlomo Widder on everything you need to know about breast augmentation.

breast augmentation

Q&A with Dr. Shlomo Widder

breast augmentation

Read the Q&A with plastic surgeon Shlomo Widder as he answers questions about breast augmentation and how to decide if it’s right for you.

Q: What is breast augmentation?

A: Breast augmentation is a cosmetic surgery for women who want to increase the size of their breasts. Also known as “augmentation mammaplasty,” breast augmentation enhances both the size and shape of the breasts.

Q: What are the top reasons for breast augmentation?

A: Breast augmentation is one of the best investments a woman can make for herself. It increases self-esteem, confidence, their sense of femininity, and more.

It’s a symbol that is being being portrayed in the media all over, so women without sizeable breasts often feel deficient. At the end of the day, you deserve to feel good about yourself and your body – not for others, but for you.

You deserve to feel good about yourself and your body – not for others; for you.

I had one patient who was in high school. She didn’t participate in gym, never took off her shirt, and never went to the beach – because she was, in her words, “almost flat” and felt self-conscious.

She was very young – only 15 years old – but the negative psychological impact on her was so significant that her pediatrician and parents supported her without any hesitation.

So I did the surgery for her. I didn’t make them too big, just a full B, which is a moderate size. She was extremely happy after that. In fact, a few years later when she finished college, she came to my office out of the blue and thanked me for the positive change in her life. It was a wonderful feeling to know I had helped her.

Q: How often do you do breast augmentation?

A: I do it on a weekly basis. Breast augmentation is actually the most popular procedure in the United States. Millions of women have it done – millions.

I do maybe 2 or 3 breast augmentation surgeries per week for patients.

breast augmentation

Q: Who is your typical patient?

A: While typically our average patients are young women in good health, all sorts of people get breast augmentation done. We’ve helped breast cancer patients, women with different size breasts, transgender and transitioning patients, and women of all ages.

We absolutely do breast augmentation on transgender patients. It’s not a huge percentage of our surgeries, but I’ve done quite a few of them.

I had one patient – she had a very small breast on the right side, and the left side was large and droopy. So I did breast augmentation on the right side and a lift on the left side. So again, you have to deal with whatever comes to you, whatever the patient requires.

In plastic surgery, we say that breasts are sisters, not twins. That means they’re not identical. And most of the time, it’s a small discrepancy (25-50 CCs), but sometimes it’s larger and that’s when you have to use different implant sizes.

In plastic surgery, we say that breasts are sisters, not twins.

A few weeks ago, I worked on a patient who didn’t want to be too big on one side – she just wanted to be a full B size. I was surprised, as she was American, and typically my American patients have asked for C cups or larger.

She was a nurse and she told me she would feel uncomfortable going any bigger than a B. She was asymmetrical, so one one side I used 200 CCs. On the other breast, I used 275 CCs, so there was a 75CC difference. Now she’s almost perfectly symmetrical!

Again, it all depends on the clinical judgment of the surgeon, your chest size, and your desires.

breast augmentation

Q: What are the different types of breast implants?

A: There are three main types of breast implants:

  1. Saline – My preferred implant.
  2. Silicone Gel
  3. Gummy Bear – A base of silicone. It’s not gel, but it’s very soft.

There is also a new type of saline implant out there, which is highly sophisticated and has all kinds of compartments in it. As it is quite recent, I have not yet used it, but I know the technology is out there.

Q: Why do you prefer to use saline implants?

A: The reason I use the saline implant is that it costs less. Plus, you can use the subareolar incision instead of making an incision in the crease of the breast.

An incision in the crease is not the best in my opinion because the skin is thick and it can produce a thick scar, whereas most of the time, skin under the areola is very thin and heals very nicely. It’s barely visible because it’s along the line of the areola, which is also dark – darker than the skin.

The technique of using the subareaola is much better than the technique of using the crease because it allows for easier and better exposure of the cleavage area. If you look at results of doctors who use the crease incision, you can see that many of their patients end up with wide cleavage. The reason for it is that there are big blood vessels in the cleavage area that are going to the pectoral muscle, and it’s very difficult to control bleeding from the crease incision if you hit the blood vessel. When you use the subareolar incision, it’s very easy to control it because you see it. From the crease, it’s very difficult, it’s very far away, and overall technically difficult.

breast augmentation

Women’s main concern with breast augmentation is the cleavage area. They want volume and shape, but they also want nice cleavage. If you can’t deliver them nice cleavage, they’re disappointed. So the saline gives you a huge advantage by being able to use the subareolar incision as opposed to the crease incision to create better cleavage for the patient.

Another advantage with saline implants is that you have less capsular contracture with saline implants than with silicone implants.

Also, if you have a saline implant leak, you can exchange the implant with local anesthesia. You don’t need to go to sleep. With silicone implants, the patient must go to sleep because these leaks are difficult to clean under local anesthesia. It’s very uncomfortable for the patient as you scrape the silicone from the tissue.

So in my opinion, there are more advantages to the saline implant, and it costs less!

Did you know?

It is a myth that silicone implants are more natural. I have replaced lots of silicone implants with saline implants, to the delight of my patients.

Saline implants cost less than silicone implants.

Finally, silicone implants are still under investigation; the study wasn’t finished, so you don’t know what the final outcome is. With saline, we know it’s salt water and it doesn’t impose any risk to patients, whereas with the silicone you never know.

In addition, they just discovered that textured breast implants are associated with breast lymphoma (ALCL), which is a kind of cancer, though not breast cancer. This cancer is not associated with smooth implants such as saline. I use only smooth, so I don’t worry about that issue, but it just tells you to be careful – sometimes risks are discovered later on.

In my opinion, why use the silicone gel, which can theoretically cause a serious problem in the future instead of saline, which we know has no risks?

I don’t want to take any risks with my patients, and I want to give them great results, so the gel implant makes no sense to me. Saline is much better.

Q: How do you choose your new breast size?

A: Size preferences vary upon different people and even different cultures. In my experience, my Asian patients typically prefer small to medium-sized breasts. My American patients have typically requested larger breasts, especially those from Texas.

And there’s nothing wrong with either choice! It’s all up to the patient.

As plastic surgeons, we’re in the business of pleasing people. That’s what we’re supposed to do: please people. We’re not doing these surgeries for ourselves; we’re doing them for the patient.

Plastic surgeons are in the business of pleasing people.

You know, somebody recently defined plastic surgeons as psychiatrists with a knife. Because that’s what we do, right? We help build our patients’ confidence and self esteem.

So we try to deliver to the patient whatever they want, within reason, obviously. The way I select the size depends on the chest size, anatomy, and the desires of the patient.

The anatomy dictates the size of the implant as well, because the bigger the chest, the more volume you need to increase the breast size by cup size. For example, if you are a 32A, you need 125 CCs per cup increase. If you’re a 34A, you need 150 CCs per cup size. If you are a 36A, you need 175, and so on. So the chest determines the amount of volume you need to put in the implant to reach the goal.

A patient who’s an A cup and wants to be a D cup – that’s a 3 size increase- so you multiply it by the volume and the chest size. If you’re a 34, each cup size is 150 CCs, so the implants will be 450 CC.

150 * 3 = 450

That’s how I determine the size of the implant that the patient needs.

Not all doctors use that formula. Many of them use sizes, which means that during surgery they take different sizes, put them in, and then figure out which one looks the best and which one piques the patient’s desire. But that’s not as precise as my technique. My technique is more precise and more predictable.

It’s very rare that I have to replace implants because of not delivering the size the patient requested. It’s extremely rare that I’m incorrect.

Q: Who is a good candidate for breast augmentation?

A: In order to qualify for augmentation, you must have small breasts and be healthy. Most women are young, healthy women and there are no issues.

You cannot be on blood thinners. Some patients may have heart disease that requires treatment with blood thinners. Obviously, you cannot operate on those people as they can bleed.

Every patient with any medical problems, like diabetes, must be cleared by their physician for breast augmentation.

After the age of 45, all my patients have to get a physical and get approval from their family doctor on whether it’s safe for them or if they are low risk for the surgery.

Finally, the patient must have reasonable expectations and no serious psychological issues. If any of my patients takes anti-psychotic medication, I always send them to the psychiatrist to get clearance. Their psychiatrist will make sure they can get through the surgery safely.

Every surgery is stressful, so if they cannot tolerate the stress of surgery due to psychological reasons, they’re not a good candidate for breast augmentation surgery.

That’s why I send them to the psychiatrist to make sure they understand that if the result is not perfect, they’re not going to have a seriously negative reaction, such as suicide out of frustration. So that’s why it’s very important to get the psychological evaluation and clearance for surgery.

Q: Do most people need breast lift with augmentation?

A: Now, when you’re young you typically only get breast augmentation. However, sometimes you can have some droopiness when you’re young. That droopiness needs some kind of breast lift.

Typically you’ll need either a mini lift or a donut lift, with an incision around the areola. There’s no incision below the areola or under the breast, in the crease. But that’s usually for what we call level 1 or level 2 droopiness.

If you’re at level 2 or 3, for example, you’ll need to have a full lift, also called a keyhole lift. This usually only happens later in life, though I have seen this on young people if they’ve lost a lot of weight. After losing a tremendous amount of weight, the breasts may droop and hang, so they need the full lift.

Usually patients with significant weight loss also need the implants because the breast is not only droopy, but also volume was lost. The breast implants will add that necessary volume to their breasts.

Q: Do you have patients come in asking for you to fix breast implants other doctors did badly?

A: Many, many people come in asking for this. I have done hundreds of re-dos after another doctor botched the breast implants, or patients had complications.

Schedule a Breast Augmentation Consultation with Dr. Widder

Interested in breast augmentation? Then call the best plastic surgeon practice in Vienna, VA: Widder Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center. Simply call us at 703-506-0300 or click the button below to schedule your initial consultation.

breast augmentation

Is Breast Augmentation Right for You? | Widder Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery Center – Vienna, VA

What is a tummy tuck?

Thinking about getting a tummy tuck? If you’ve been wondering “what is a tummy tuck,” you’ve come to the right place. We sat down with Plastic Surgeon Dr. Shlomo Widder to get the full scoop on tummy tucks.

tummy tuck

Q&A with Dr. Shlomo Widder

Read the Q&A with Dr. Shlomo Widder as he answers questions like “what is a tummy tuck” and beyond.

Q: What is a tummy tuck?

A: A tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgery procedure that helps to create a slim abdomen appearance.

There are several factors that cause the tummy to appear pudgy or saggy. Sometimes, it’s due to weight fluctuation, pregnancy, or even genetics. Although core exercises can greatly improve the abdomen, it may not be enough to achieve the chiseled form you want. During tummy tuck surgery, sophisticated tightening techniques will be used to remove excess skin and unwanted fat, as well as muscle tightening for a slender figure. However, prior to your procedure, Dr. Widder will sit with you to discuss all your cosmetic concerns and desires to create a treatment plan that will yield the best results possible.

Click here to view some incredible before and after photos, like the one below.

tummy tuck, what is a tummy tuck

Q: What happens during a tummy tuck? What can patients expect?

A: There are two approaches to a full tummy tuck. They are:

  1. Skin Tightening Only
  2. Skin and Muscle Tightening

I do literally only the skin and muscle tightening variety. After having children, during pregnancy, both the muscle and the skin are getting stretched, so you need to remove the excess skin and bring the muscles back together. You have to do what we call “plication” to tighten them back up. And there are also different techniques in that regard.

I use permanent sutures and I run them continuously from north to south. Then, if necessary, I also stitch them horizontally, in the lower and upper abdomen. Why? Because a baby is 3-dimensional. During pregnancy, the stretching of the muscle is sometimes in three dimensions. That’s why you need to tighten it sideways, from north to south, horizontally, and up and down. Not many doctors do the horizontal stitching; I’m one of the few who do horizontal. I use it quite frequently.

tummy tuck, what is a tummy tuck

Here’s how it works: After completing tightening the muscles, I pull the skin all the way up to the ribs, to the costal margin. And then I bend it, flex it, and pull the skin down as much as possible. The goal is to bring the hole of the bellybutton all the way down to the pubic area so the patient doesn’t have a scar in the middle of their lower abdomen. And then I do quilting sutures, meaning I put multiple dissolving sutures all the way from the ribs to the groin area and the pubic area. The purpose of this is to combat fluid buildup.

An important part of the muscles tightening, I stitch it to the pubic bone to prevent unwanted tissue bulge. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of tummy tucks where this technique is not used, and it results in the patient’s pubic area bulging out, almost like a man’s crotch. Women do not want this and find it very unattractive.

Once I stitch the skin to the pre pubic fascia, I find out the location of the bellybutton and mark it, cut a hole, and remove the fat as well. Then I stitch the bellybutton to the new location, to the new hole in the skin. That’s the new bellybutton – the way it’s being seen when the patients stand up!

Once I’m done with the bellybutton, I then completely stitch the skin to the groin and pubic area. I use very strong dissolving sutures between the fascia of the skin and the fascia of the groin and pubic area. Then I stitch the skin with dissolvable sutures under the skin – little subcutaneous stitching – so no sutures need to be removed. It’s very nice. The patients love it.

Q: What is a drainless tummy tuck?

A: My tummy tucks are what we call “drainless” tummy tucks. There is no drain, and that’s very attractive because not many doctors are doing it. A lot of patients love the idea of a no-drain tummy tuck.

If you don’t drain or quilt stitch the skin during a tummy tuck, there’s fluid buildup. As the fluid is building up, it separates the skin from the muscle underneath and can actually compromise the patient’s circulation. It’s also very uncomfortable! Imagine walking with jiggling fluid in your belly. It’s very uncomfortable and it’s painful.

So the old technique was the drained tummy tuck with a catheter, to deal with that fluid buildup. The new technique – which more and more people are doing – is the drainless tummy tuck, often referred to as the stiches quilting tummy tuck.

tummy tuck, what is a tummy tuck

Q: Is there anything a patient can do to ensure they get the best results from this procedure?

A: Well, losing weight is important, because then I can tighten the abdomen optimally. If the patient is overweight and there is a lot of fat inside the belly, then I cannot tighten them as much as I would like to.

Here’s what happens if you tighten too much: the fat gets pushed up into the diaphragm and into the lungs, and the patient can’t breathe.

The way I determine how much to tighten is with the anesthesia machine. I take a look at the anesthesia machine and look at the pressure the machine has to exert to push air into the lungs. When it reaches a certain level, I don’t tighten anymore. Usually the way I do it is 25 centimeters of water pressure. When that pressure is reached, I don’t tighten the patient anymore and that’s the endpoint.

Q: How do you know if you’re a good candidate for a tummy tuck?

A: The best candidates for tummy tuck surgery are people in good health, who are at or at least near their desired weight. Keep in mind that tummy tucks are not meant as major weight loss surgeries like bypass. Tummy tucks are meant to help tone and shape the midsection. Here are a few signs you may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck:

  • Excessive skin around the bellybutton
  • Weakened abdominal wall muscles
  • Sagging or loose skin on the abdomen
  • BMI below 35

The most common reasons I see people coming in for tummy tucks are wanting to tone the tummy after significant weight loss or childbearing. Those are the most common reasons people do it.

Q: So tummy tucks are more for toning than weight loss?

A: Exactly. A tummy tuck is not really a weight reduction surgery. A weight reduction surgery is more things like bypass surgery, lap band, things of that nature. Tummy tucks are mainly to improve the patient’s appearance, self-esteem, confidence, and attractiveness. As a side benefit, they can also lose weight. Now, obviously, they have to pay attention to what they eat. I always tell them, “Pay attention to your body.” So if the patient feel there is too much in their stomach, they should stop eating. If they continue to eat, they will gain weight. So if they pay attention to the pressure in the stomach and they stop eating when they feel full, they will lose weight.

Obviously,  there are some people who are obsessed with eating, and they will gain weight. However, even though they gain weight, their results are still phenomenal.

There was a patient I’d done surgery on about 3-4 years ago. I removed about 20 pounds of skin and fat from her body – can you imagine? Twenty pounds! And she looks fantastic. If you see the pictures, you won’t believe your eyes. She’s still flat. But she gained weight and so she came to me and we are now planning to do liposuction. But the stomach is still phenomenal – flat, totally flat.

tummy tuck, what is a tummy tuck

Q: How do your patients tend to feel after a tummy tuck?

It’s amazing. I’m telling you, it’s just like a miracle what happens to these people. They look fantastic and their confidence soars. In French, we call it “joie de vivre.” You know what this means? A joy of living. Yes, they definitely know how to enjoy life; they have the joie de vivre.

tummy tuck, what is a tummy tuck


Q: Do men get tummy tucks?

A: Absolutely! While most of my tummy tuck patients are women, we do have men come in from time to time. Because, you know, men want to look good, too! So it’s just as helpful to them.

I’ve seen a lot of men who do excessive heavy lifting come in for tummy tucks. Sometimes when men do a lot of heavy lifting without protective gear – like a protective leather belt – there is separation of the muscle, like in pregnancy. I recently had a male patient come in for a tummy tuck for that exact reason. Obviously, he didn’t have children or a history of significant weight loss. When I asked him if he did heavy lifting in his youth, he said yes. And that was the reason he had a need for the surgery.

Q: Other than improved appearance, what are the benefits of a tummy tuck?

A: There are quite a few benefits. For example, the posture improves. They stand up straight. Plus, it takes off pressure from the lower back. So think about your lower back; by standing up straight, that reduces the strain on your lower back. Also, by tightening the abdominal muscles, it helps to stabilize the back. So it’s very helpful for the back overall.

I had one patient who spent thousands and thousands of dollars on a chiropractor and CAT scans because of her lower back pain. Once she had the tummy tuck, she didn’t need to see the chiropractor anymore; the pain disappeared. It was incredible.

Another benefit is weight loss. When you tighten those muscles, you can’t eat too much food, because it fills you up excessively. Eat too much and you’ll feel sluggish and uncomfortable. That’s what happens after a tummy tuck: patients don’t eat as much and they don’t feel as hungry.

We get hungry in two ways: one is chemical, the sugar level. Your sugar levels drop in the bloodstream, making you feel hungry. The other way we get hungry is mechanical, meaning the pressure in the stomach. In the stomach we have special nerve cells called baroreceptors. These baroreceptors measure pressure. When the pressure is high, they tell the brain, “Stop filling me up! I’m full.” When the pressure is low, they tell the brain, “Fill me up. I’m hungry!” The brain is not sophisticated enough to tell the difference between pressure from food or pressure from muscle tightening. So we basically fool the brain when we tighten the muscle; the brain simply thinks we get full faster. Then the patient doesn’t eat as much anymore and they lose weight.

I had one patient who lost 55 pounds after her tummy tuck procedure. She came in and we didn’t recognize her! We thought she had come in for another surgery, but she had just come in for a follow-up. The results were truly amazing.

Q: How long does tummy tuck surgery take?

A: Tummy tucks are outpatient procedures. The surgery itself varies from patient to patient, according to the amount of skin and fat, and the amount of muscle laxity. It typically ranges from 3.5 hours to 4 hours, although the longest one I’ve ever done took about 6 hours. It’s not a very long surgery, and it’s very safe. But again, it does vary from one patient to another.

Q: What is recovery like after a tummy tuck?

A: Tummy tuck recovery differs from person to person and really depends on what that specific patient is doing. If you have a desk job, you can usually return to work after one week. If it’s something more taxing, it takes 6-8 weeks to return to work.

For example, let’s say you’re a cook. At work, you have to lift up bowls, boxes, and containers of food and supplies. I would simply tell you, “Have someone else do it for you during your recovery.” Because that’s the most important thing: recovering well. It’s a big investment in yourself and you don’t want to mess it up by stretching the muscle and then losing the flatness.

Q: What are the typical restrictions during tummy tuck recovery?

A: Restrictions tend to all relate to movement. For example, typical restrictions include no sex for 6 weeks and no working out at the gym for 6-8 weeks. However, you can go to work, but going to work also varies according to your personal threshold for pain tolerance. I had patients who went back to work after 3 to 4 days, and I also had patients who went back to work after 2-3 weeks. However, the majority – the average – is about a week.

I have also noticed that patients who own their own business tend to return to work sooner than patients who do not.

tummy tuck, what is a tummy tuck

Q: Is this a procedure that requires maintenance?

A: No, once the tummy tuck is done, you don’t need maintenance or any other surgeries to keep it looking good. The only exception is if you get pregnant again – then you might have to redo a tummy tuck.

I had a patient who got a tummy tuck and looked so good, and she didn’t opt for tubal ligation and got pregnant, so I had to redo her tummy tuck. Obviously it was a while later, but that’s one of the possibilities of maintenance.

The other one is a need for liposuction. Now, only 10 percent of my patients who have tummy tucks request liposuction, because many of them lose weight and they’re very happy with the way they look. If they want additional help and thinning of the skin, then you can do the liposuction. I usually wait 2-3 months for their weight to stabilize and then I will do liposuction and a redo tummy tuck for them.

Q: Are there any medical conditions that might disqualify someone for a tummy tuck?

A: Well, one of the criteria for doing the surgery or accepting the patient for surgery is their BMI, which is Body Mass Index. My limit is 35, so if the patient’s BMI is over 35, I recommend to them to lose weight. BMI is just a recommendation because if most of the fat is in the stomach, then I don’t recommend the surgery.

I always check the patient’s stomach before making a final recommendation. If the stomach is flat, they’re an excellent candidate for the surgery. If the stomach is bulging, that means they have too much fat inside the stomach, and I won’t be able to tighten them optimally.

If you have any medical issues, you must be cleared by your family doctor or your specialist, whether that’s a cardiologist, neurologist, endocrinologist, or whatever you may need. Safety is our No. 1 priority here, so we take this very seriously.

The home page of our website says “Quality is our niche, beauty is our forte, and safety is our priority.” Safety really is our #1 consideration. We have to make sure that the patient will be safe.

If they have any risk – diabetes, asthma – they must be cleared for surgery by their doctors.

Also, every patient over the age of 45 must be cleared by their internist. As you get older, the risk of complications does increase, and you don’t want to take the risk of having any complications.

Cosmetic surgery, you want to have it; you don’t need to have it. It’s not like you have appendicitis and need surgery immediately. Surgeries like that, you have to have. On the other hand, cosmetic surgery is something you want to have, so you want to reduce the risk and complication rate to a minimum.

That’s why, for example, I won’t do a tummy tuck with breast augmentation. Some doctors do it, but I will not do it. Why? Because they are painful operations and the patient lies in bed and doesn’t wanna move. They don’t drink because they’re afraid to go to the bathroom – and then they get blood clots.

There were also studies showing that if you do tummy tuck with other procedures, especially liposuction – it can be dangerous. There are some doctors that do tummy tuck and liposuction at the same time. I don’t, because there was a recent study in the Plastic Surgery Journal about this exact thing. The data was obtained from insurance companies that only cover cosmetic surgery cases. They revealed that combining tummy tuck and liposuction increased the severe complication rate 10 times higher than tummy tuck alone.

In Florida it’s illegal to do tummy tuck and liposuction over 1000 CCs. Under 1000 CCs, it’s okay, but beyond 1000 CCs it’s forbidden by law. The reason is that there were too many complications and deaths from that combination.

If you do tummy tuck with another procedure, the risk increases as well, though not as much – about 2-3 times higher. So that’s the reason I won’t do tummy tuck with breast augmentation.

Now, if you do tummy tuck and breast lift, that’s okay, because breast lift is not painful. If you do tummy tuck and eyelid surgery, that’s okay because that’s not painful.

The additional limiting factor in my practice is the surgery time, so I don’t do anything over 6 hours. Why? Because by the anesthesia society recommendation, surgery over 6 hours increases the complication rate significantly. Again, safety is our #1 priority and I’m committed to keeping all of our patients safe.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Shlomo Widder for Your Tummy Tuck

Are you ready to get your confidence back and look amazing? Schedule a consultation for a tummy tuck with Dr. Shlomo Widder today by calling 703-506-0300 or contacting him online.

tummy tuck, what is a tummy tuck

What is a tummy tuck? | Widder Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center – Vienna, VA

*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.