Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Many people are unhappy with the lax muscles, loose skin, and isolated fat deposits in their midsection. Some people simply inherit this body type, and others develop these problems after weight loss or pregnancy. Unfortunately, exercise and diet provide only limited improvement for excess skin and stubborn pockets of fat in this area, which is why so many people consider a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty.

What Is Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Abdominoplasty, known more commonly as a “tummy tuck”, is surgical procedure which tightens and slims the abdominal area. Almost everyone who has a sagging stomach can benefit from a tummy tuck surgery, but it is particularly popular among women who have had multiple pregnancies and patients who have experienced significant weight loss, such as post bariatric – patients. By getting rid of the extra fat and skin and tightening the muscles of the abdomen, the tummy is made flat.

A full tummy tuck addresses the entire abdominal area, while a mini-tummy tuck addresses only the area below the navel.

Abdominoplasty is often necessary to remove excess skin, allows tightening of the abdominal muscles and improve the appearance of stretch marks on the belly or lower abdomen in order to re-establish a youthful waistline and achieve an improved profile. It is often combined with breast enhancement surgery; a combination of procedures known as “mommy makeover”.

Many men decide to have a tummy tuck if they feel that their “love handles” have gotten out of hand and they want a flatter, tauter stomach.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?

The best candidates for abdominoplasty are men or women who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by a loose abdominal skin or large fat deposit that won’t respond to exercise or diet. The surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through multiple pregnancies, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal. Loss of skin elasticity in older patients, which frequently occurs with slight obesity, can also be improved.

The best way to find out if you are an appropriate candidate is a consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon. Your surgeon will assess your skin’s elasticity, muscle laxity, degree of stretch marks and type of belly fat to determine whether tummy tuck is right for you.

How Should You Prepare for Tummy Tuck Surgery?

In your initial consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your health, determine the extent of fat deposits in your abdominal region, and carefully assess your skin tone. Be sure to tell your surgeon if you smoke, and if you’re taking any vitamins, medications, or other drugs. You must be completely open and honest with your surgeon. If there is any medical problem, you will be referred to a specialist.

With all of this information, your surgeon can plan the best procedure for your needs and tell you how to adequately prepare for the procedure by giving you guidelines on smoking, what you can eat/drink, as well as what medications and vitamins to take.

How Is Tummy Tuck Surgery Performed?

Complete abdominoplasty usually takes two to five hours, depending on the extent of work required under general anesthesia or local anesthesia combined with a sedative. Partial abdominoplasty may take an hour or two.

During the procedure, all loose excess skin and fatty tissue are removed through an incision which extends across the abdomen, usually from hip to hip (across the bikini area) and the damaged abdominal muscles are repaired. A benefit of this procedure is that the entire abdominal muscle wall can be tightened, usually with permanent sutures, to give you a flatter tummy (even if you didn’t have a flat tummy previously) and firmer result.

For a partial abdominoplasty – or mini tummy tuck – a shorter horizontal incision is made along the pubic area.

What Is Recovery Like After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Following surgery, you will need to rest and wear a light support garment. After at least two weeks, you will be able to start doing light exercises to start toning muscles and help the skin to heal. Most people return to work about 14 days after their operation.

Tummy tuck requires one to three weeks of recovery time. Make sure you are fully informed about what your recovery will entail and that you follow your surgeon’s directions carefully to avoid complications.

Will the Results of Tummy Tuck Surgery Be Permanent?

A tummy tuck offers lasting results. Abdominal muscles may weaken with age but never to the pre-surgery extent. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program will help with long lasting results.

Are There Any Possible Complications from Tummy Tuck Surgery?

When surgery is performed by a qualified surgeon, complications are rare and usually minor. Nevertheless, as with any surgery, there are potential complications and risks. Your consultation is Key. Your physician will spend time discussing these with you during your scheduled consultation. Be sure to bring a list of questions or concerns with you.

Post-operative complications such as infection and blood clots are rare, but can occur. Infection can be treated with drainage and antibiotics, but will prolong your hospital stay. You can minimize the risk of blood clots by moving around as soon after the surgery as possible.

You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following your surgeon’s instructions before and after the surgery, especially with regard to when and how you should resume physical activity.