Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty
Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty
A flat abdomen is important to a physically fit appearance. If you are concerned by the appearance of your tummy, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) may be a good choice for you. Abdominoplasty is designed to give you a firm and smooth abdomen. The cosmetic procedure removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen and may also tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. The result is a flatter, tighter abdominal profile.You may be a good candidate for abdominoplasty if you have:
- Excess or loose, sagging abdominal skin
- An abdomen that protrudes and is out of proportion to the rest of your body
- Abdominal muscles that have weakened by pregnancy or aging
- Excess fat that is concentrated beneath the abdominal skin
- Abdominal wall defect or hernia
A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program.
Although the results of a tummy tuck are technically permanent, the positive outcome can be greatly diminished by significant fluctuations in your weight or subsequent pregnancy. For this reason, individuals who are planning substantial weight loss or women who may be considering future pregnancies would be advised to postpone a tummy tuck.
A tummy tuck cannot remove all stretch marks, although these may be removed or somewhat improved if they are located on the areas of excess skin that will be excised.
How is tummy-tuck performed?
There are various types of tummy-tuck depending on the extent and severity of lax skin on the abdomen:
- Mini-abdominoplasty – deals with lax skin below the navel only.
- Abdominoplasty (Tummy-tuck) – moderately large tummy with lax abdomen
- Extended abdominoplasty – Very large tummy with laxity extending to the flanks
- Circumferential abdominoplasty – for patients with massive weight loss (MWL)
The procedure is performed in an operation theatre under suitable anaesthesia. The choices include regional (spinal + epidural) or general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you. Your surgeon will mark the areas and identify the planned incisions for you pre-operatively in the upright position.
We at Make a Change believe in 3 dimensional contouring of the torso so as to achieve the best contouring results and therefore a conventional tummy-tuck includes the following steps:
- Liposuction of the mid and lower back region. If there is significant laxity in the lower back skin, then the excess skin is also excised at this stage.
- Liposuction of upper abdomen and flanks. This enables optimal tightening and contouring of the front of the abdomen.
- Next a tummy tuck requires a horizontally-oriented incision in the area along the pubic hairline. The shape and length of the incision will be determined by the amount of excess skin. A second incision around the navel may be necessary to tackle the skin in the upper abdomen. The abdominal skin is lifted off the underlying muscle.
- Once the abdominal skin is lifted, the underlying weakened abdominal muscles are repaired. Any associated hernia is also repaired.
- The upper abdominal skin is pulled down like a window shade. The excess skin is trimmed and the remaining skin is sutured together. A new opening for the belly button is created. The belly button (old one) is popped through to the surface and sutured into position.
When the surgery is complete, you will be given a dressing over your abdomen along with an abdominal support garment. Small drain tubes may be temporarily placed under your skin to prevent fluid and blood accumulation. Any discomfort will be controlled by medication.
Traditional abdominoplasty may not be the best choice for everyone. You will be advised if other options will work better to meet your goals.
During your recovery, a compression garment is mandatory as it helps to control swelling and compresses the skin to your new body contours. You will notice swelling and bruising which is expected. Both will subside after a few weeks. Stitches (if any) will generally be removed by the tenth day after surgery. You will be advised to sleep with your knees and hips flexed (with the use of pillows under your knees) for the first month after surgery.
The pressure garment must be worn as instructed for at least 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
You may return to work in a few days and resume most of your normal activities within a week.
Tummy-tuck is a surgical procedure and has some potential problems associated with it. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.
Tummy tuck risks include:
- Anesthesia risks
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Poor wound healing or wound dehiscence
- Skin loss
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
- Unfavorable scarring
- Recurrent looseness of skin
- Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Suboptimal aesthetic result
- Possibility of revision surgery
During consultation be prepared to discuss:
- Your surgical goals
- Medical conditions, drug allergies, and medical treatments
- Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
- Previous surgeries\
Your surgeon will also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Take photographs
- Discuss your tummy-tuck options
- Recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes and any risks or potential complications
It’s very important to understand all aspects of your procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your cosmetic surgeon.
Preparing for Tummy-tuck
In preparing for surgery, you may be instructed as follows:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Be sure to arrange for someone to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.