Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
Weight gain and loss, pregnancies and aging causes abdominal skin to stretch beyond its elastic limit and hinders its ability to return to normal shape. An abdominoplasty removes excess skin and fat and tightens the abdominal muscle. For those patients where the sagging skin is mainly in the lower abdomen, the mini-abdominoplasty is an option. This procedure is not as extensive due to a smaller incision that is easily hidden and has a more rapid recovery. Both procedures may be done on an outpatient basis. At times, liposuction is performed simultaneously to achieve optimal results. The risks of this procedure for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Major complications, however, are rare.
Who is a Candidate?
Patients with loose or sagging abdominal skin and those with abnormal relaxation of the abdominal wall muscles due to weight gain or loss, pregnancies, or prior surgery are the usual candidates. Also patients who can not tighten the abdominal wall skin with exercise will benefit from this procedure.
The incisions and design vary depending on the looseness of the skin and tissues, the amount of fat, and the condition of the overlying skin. The procedure is usually performed at an accredited outpatient facility or hospital. Anesthetic is usually a combination of local anesthesia in the tumescent solution and general anesthesia. Standard abdominoplasty tightens the entire abdominal wall, involves a relocation of the umbilicus and leaves a standard scar. Mini-abdominoplasty tightens only the lower abdominal wall, below the umbilicus, leaving a shorter scar. At the end of the procedure, suction drains are inserted to reduce accumulation of blood of fluid. A compression garment is placed as a final step.
Recovery, Recuperation, and Healing
Abdominoplasty is generally an outpatient procedure, and recovery is at home with a responsible adult. Moderate to severe pain should be expected for the first 3-7 days. Discomfort is usually controlled with oral medications. Swelling, bruising and discomfort should be expected. Drains are removed in 5-7 days. Sutures, if any, are removed in 1-2 weeks. A compression garment is used for period of 4 to 6 weeks. Light activity may be resumed in 7-10 days. Full activity including sports will probably not be comfortable for about 4-6 weeks. Although some results are noted immediately, your final shape and form will continue to improve as your swelling resolves. Final results greatly depend on proper nutrition, exercise and decreasing your caloric intake.