Abdominoplasty – Tummy Tuck
A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that removes excess fat and skin,
and in most cases, repairs weakened or separated muscles creating an abdominal
profile that is smoother and firmer.
The best candidates for this procedure are men and women who have loose,
sagging skin in the upper and/or lower abdomen or a mid-section that is
protruding or hanging over the panty line and is unresponsive to exercise
and diet. If your weight has been stable and you are within 30 pounds
of your ideal body weight, you are a great candidate for abdominoplasty.
This loose, sagging skin or protruding tummy can be caused by a variety
of factors: weight fluctuations, pregnancy, heredity and prior surgery.
If you are looking to achieve a slimmer body contour and firm balanced
skin around the abdomen, a tummy tuck procedure may be the answer.
Prior to Surgery
The most important process in the beginning is to have an open, honest
conversation with your surgeon about your expectations and what is involved
before, during and after the procedure. The initial consultation will
happen before your surgery is scheduled. Your doctor will give you specific
instructions on what medications and vitamins to take or avoid prior to
surgery as well as a guideline for an appropriate diet. If you are a smoker,
you will be advised to quit smoking two weeks prior and a month post-surgery.
Crash dieting is not recommended. If you intend on losing a significant
amount of weight, you may need to postpone surgery until you get closer
to your weight goal.
A full abdominoplasty usually takes two to three hours depending on the
amount of work required. A partial abdominoplasty, often referred to as
a mini tuck may take an hour or two. General anesthesia is commonly used
so you will sleep through the procedure.
If you are having a full tummy-tuck, a horizontal incision will be made
in the skin crease just above the pubic area. Don’t worry though
because the incision can be easily covered with the skimpiest swimsuit.
Excess skin will be pulled tight and the extra skin is removed. In most
cases a small incision is made around the belly button to free the navel
from surrounding tissue. Muscles are then pulled together and stitched
into a tighter position. The result of this is a firmer, narrower waistline.
If it is determined by you and your surgeon that a mini tuck will achieve
your goals, the incision is much shorter. Usually a smaller horizontal
incision is made close to the pubic bone. The excess skin is removed,
and the lower abdomen is tighter and firmer.
The benefits from this procedure are probably obvious. You will have a
smoother, tighter, more youthful abdomen. Depending on the amount of excess
skin that is removed, you could go home without stretch marks or at least
less of them. Some patients have even experienced a reduction in lower
back pain due to the tightening of the abdominal muscles.
Recovery times vary from patient to patient. If you are in good physical
condition with strong abdominal muscles, recovery time will be much faster.
For most, the recovery time is approximately two to four weeks. The drain
tube that is inserted into the incision site will be removed after 1 to
2 weeks and your stitches will dissolve on their own. Expect to wear a
support garment for several weeks after surgery.
It is important to start light exercise soon after your return home. Walking
a little is a great start even if just around the house. This helps minimize
swelling and the possibility of blood clots. Vigorous exercise should
be avoided for 4 to 6 weeks or until your doctor gives you the okay.
You should expect to have swelling, pain, and stiffness after surgery.
You may not be able to stand up straight for several days due to the tightness
of your abdomen, but this will ease up after a few days. Most patients
return to work after 10 to 14 days. Total recovery time and getting back
to the ‘normal you’ could take two to three months. Even though
this procedure is complex and recovery time can be long, it is the best
way to restore your abdomen and start feeling great about the way you
look and feel.
View Tummy Tuck Before & After Photo Gallery