Abdominoplasty, or better known as "tummy tuck", is a surgical procedure
designed to remove sagging, excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen
and to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. It is important to understand
that a tummy tuck is not a weight loss procedure, or a substitute for exercise
or a healthy diet.
considering a tummy tuck should be in relatively good shape before
undergoing this procedure. After pregnancy, abdominal muscles
may become weakened and pulled apart in the midline area. Men
may similarly be affected by weight loss. Men commonly acquire
stretch marks after extreme stretching of the skin.
tummy tuck can excise stretch marks and those remaining are tightened,
making them less noticeable. This procedure creates an abdomen
that is smoother, firmer and flatter. This in turn generates
smaller appearing hips.
is abdominoplasty performed?
are several different abdominoplasty techniques.
most common procedure is a full abdominoplasty in which an incision
is made across the lower abdomen, just above the pubic area.
Another incision is made around the belly button to free the
surrounding skin, and is separated from the abdominal wall. The
surgeon pulls the loose muscles from the left and the right sides
and sutures them together. This tightens the muscles to create
a stronger abdominal wall and a smaller waist. Excess skin is
removed and a new opening is made for the belly button. The incisions
are then closed with sutures (stitches) or staples, and gauze
is placed over the incision area.
less complex procedure, called a partial abdominoplasty is performed
if your problem area is below the belly button. This procedure
can often be performed on an outpatient basis, under local anesthetic,
or in conjunction with liposuction to remove fat deposits from
the hips, for a better body contour. Sometimes liposuction by
itself is sufficient.
long does abdominoplasty take?
time is generally two to three hours depending on the scope of
your specific situation.
type of anesthesia is used?
procedure is performed using general anesthesia causing you to
be asleep during the whole procedure.
is the procedure performed?
procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, in the surgeon's
office-based surgical suite, an outpatient surgical facility,
can I return home and resume normal activities?
full abdominoplasty requires an overnight stay. However, a partial
abdominoplasty can be done on an outpatient basis. It is necessary
that you have someone take you home after the procedure and stay
with you for at least 24 hours.
may take you several weeks to feel completely back to normal.
Depending on your physical status, some people may return to
work after two weeks, while others may take four weeks to six
weeks to recuperate. Strenuous activities should be avoided for
at least six to eight weeks.
do I prepare for abdominoplasty?
your initial consultation, your surgeon will discuss the changes
that you would like to make to your appearance. Since the appearance
of your abdomen is a matter of personal perception and preference,
you will need to discuss your concerns in detail so your surgeon
can determine the appropriate alternatives. You also should make
arrangements ahead of time for someone to drive you to and from
your procedure and to assist you with your daily activities during
your recovery period.
to your surgical procedure, the surgeon will perform a complete
health history and physical examination to evaluate your overall
weight, your skin and muscle tone and the overall distribution
of fat deposits. In particular your surgeon will ask you about
any problems you have had with high blood pressure, blood clotting
or a tendency to develop large scars.
of your allergies, medications and previous surgeries should
be brought to your surgeon's attention at this time. Specific
instructions to assist you in preparing for this procedure will
be given to you after the health history and physical is complete.
Depending on your individual health status, the instructions
may include guidelines regarding your diet, alcohol intake, smoking
and which medications to take or avoid. Your experience will
be much smoother if you remain compliant with your surgeon's
precautions are necessary during recovery?
will receive specific instructions from your surgeon, which will
include guidelines about your diet, drinking, smoking and what
vitamins and medications to either take or avoid. You will also
need to arrange for someone to help you with your daily activities
are the possible complications after abdominoplasty?
most common complication is a collection of blood or serum (seromas)
under the skin of the abdomen (hematoma). A suction drain is
placed under the skin during your procedure and left for about
three days. Its removal is painless. Rare complications include
infection and incision healing problems, including loss of skin
and excessive scarring. As with most surgical procedures, small
nerves to the skin are interrupted during a tummy tuck. Portions
of your abdomen will feel numb or have less feeling.
returns over several months but some diminished feeling may last
a complete abdominoplasty, you can expect a horizontal scar low
on the abdomen and a circular scar within the belly button. Partial
abdominoplasty does not leave a scar around the belly button.
Your scars will be red or pink for six months and will gradually
fade. You should be aware that all scars are permanent and their
height, width, and final color are never completely predictable.
It is always important to be informed about the possible complications
before any surgery. Be sure to discuss any concerns you may have
with your surgeon.
results can I expect after abdominoplasty?
will experience some abdominal discomfort when the anesthesia
wears off. You can also expect some pain in the incision, but
this is alleviated with medication and gradually subsides with
time. Bed rest for two to three days is recommended. You will
be provided with a firm abdominal binder to offer support to
the tightened areas. Your doctor will give you instructions for
showering and for applying your dressings. Surface stitches will
be removed in five to seven days, and deeper stitches will be
removed in two to three weeks.
about three days, you may begin light activities. You should
begin a light exercise program to reduce swelling, lower the
chance of blood clots, and improve muscle tone. However, vigorous
exercise, especially weight lifting, should be delayed until
you make a full recovery.
scars may appear to worsen during the first few months, but this
is normal. It may take up to a year before your scars flatten
out and lighten in color. As long as you keep your weight relatively
constant, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and follow
your surgeon's instructions, the long-term results from this
procedure are typically excellent.