About Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty):
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that removes excess fat and skin from the stomach area. It will also tighten weakened and loose abdominal muscles to give the stomach a flatter, firmer appearance. During the procedure, an incision is made in the lower abdominal region, allowing the surgeon to access and repair the muscles that comprise the abdominal wall and remove excess fat, tissue, and skin. Depending on the individual patient, a second, higher incision may be made near the navel to excise fat and skin in the upper portion of the stomach. Liposuction may be utilized to remove excess fat during a tummy tuck.
Tummy Tuck Considerations:
During the consultation, you will be asked about the desired results you are looking to achieve. If you plan to get pregnant or lose weight, discuss this with your surgeon. Abdominoplasty is designed primarily for patients who are mostly satisfied with their weight, but who have excess skin and loose muscle around their midsections. The following conditions could indicate that a tummy tuck is right for you:
• Tightening excess skin to eliminate loose and sagging skin.
• Tightening the underlying abdominal muscles to create a firmer abdominal wall.
• Removing excess fat to eliminate a protruding tummy.
• Maintaining a stable weight, with no plans for future pregnancies. You should not undergo a tummy tuck as a substitute for weight loss or as a method for removing stretch marks.
Tummy Tuck Options:
There are many variations both to the design of the incisions and the technique itself. In some instances, it may be possible to avoid an incision around the navel. When the amount of loose skin is minimal and the excess fat deposits are located below the navel, a short horizontal incision is all that is necessary. This procedure is called a partial, or “mini,” tummy tuck. Sometimes liposuction may be used in conjunction with tummy tuck to remove abdominal fat. An endoscopic tummy tuck is another technique for minimizing scars and may be useful when patients have only a mild degree of excess fat and muscle laxity. Your surgeon will discuss with you the particular method that he or she recommends for achieving the best result in your particular case.
What to expect:
A Tummy tuck may be performed on an outpatient basis. If this is the case, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you for at least the next day or two. When tummy tuck surgery is performed in conjunction with medically necessary procedures such as hysterectomy or hernia repair, a short hospitalization may be required. You may be permitted to go home after a few hours, unless you and your surgeon have determined that you will stay in the hospital or surgical facility overnight. Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. Often, a general anesthetic is administered so that you will be asleep throughout the procedure. A tummy tuck may be performed using local anesthesia and intravenous sedation. When surgery is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. In many instances, small drain tubes will have been placed within the abdominal tissues to help avoid accumulation of fluids. Gauze or other dressings may be applied to your abdomen and covered with tape or an elastic bandage. You will be encouraged to go for short walks to promote blood circulation the day after surgery. Try not to sit for long periods of time during the first several days and avoid straining, bending and lifting. Your surgeon will instruct you to sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees. Within a week of surgery, any surgical drains will probably be removed. You may be instructed to wear a support garment depending on what tummy tuck technique was used. Stitches will be removed in stages over a period of one to two weeks. Bruising and some of the swelling will occur and disappear over a period of weeks. The swelling may take months to subside before you will see the final results of your tummy tuck. Even though the incisions from the procedure will heal and fade over time, it’s important to know that the incision lines will be permanently visible. Fortunately, most bathing suits and undergarments usually conceal the incisions for your tummy tuck. You may be able to resume most of your normal activities anywhere from one to three weeks after surgery. Some mild, periodic discomfort may occur, however, if you experience any severe pains you, they should be reported to your doctor.
Tummy Tuck Risks:
Each year thousands of women and men undergo successful tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) procedures, experience no major problems and are happy with the results. Significant complications from a tummy tuck are infrequent. However, make sure you understand what surgery involves, including possible risks, complications and follow-up care. A tummy tuck poses various risks, including:
• Pain, swelling, and bruising during the first few weeks after surgery
• Visible scarring at the points of incision
• Excess scarring
• Uneven contours may occur in spite of efforts to balance skin and fat removal
• Rippling of the skin • Fluid accumulation beneath the skin (seroma).
• Skin loss (tissue necrosis)
• Changes skin sensation
• Nerve damage
Like any major surgery, a tummy tuck poses a risk of bleeding, infection and an adverse reaction to anesthesia. It’s also possible to have an allergic reaction to the surgical tape or other materials used during or after the procedure. You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your surgeon, both before and after your tummy tuck surgery. If you have any concerns about the risks involved with tummy tuck surgery, please consult your surgeon.