Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
To improve the shape of the abdomen by removing excess fat and skin and tightening the abdominal wall muscles.
Who can want it?
Women or men with an abdomen out of proportion with the rest of their body due to either an excess of skin and fat in this area. Or due to abdominal muscles that have been separated and weakened, specifically seen in some women after pregnancy.
A horizontal incision is made just above the pubic area, and extends laterally toward the pelvic bones. The length of the scar depends on the amount of skin that needs to be removed and usually the incision can be placed within the lines of the bathing suit. When there is a small amount of loose skin and the fat deposits are concentrated below the navel, a much shorter horizontal incision will be sufficient. This is called a mini-abdominoplasty. When there is loose skin above the umbilicus a second incision is made around the navel freeing it from the abdominal skin, the excess skin is then pulled down and the navel re positioned, thus the final position of the navel remains the same.
2 to 4 hours.
General anesthesia is needed when the muscle wall needs tightening otherwise local anesthesia with sedation is administered.
A minimum 24-hour stay is advised with a full abdominoplasty (especially if combined with another procedure). A mini abdominoplasty can be performed on an outpatient basis although an overnight stay is advised.
Temporary pain is treated with analgesics. Swelling, tenderness, numbness of abdominal skin, bruising, and tiredness, some, or all of these can last up to several weeks. Small drains, removed after a few days, are used to help avoid the accumulation of fluids in the abdominal wall. Dressings are applied and will be changed every other day for the first two weeks. You may be required to wear a girdle for 20 to 30 days. Stitches will be removed in stages over a period of one or two weeks.
Collection of liquid under the flap. Blood clots. Infection. Bleeding under the skin flap. Reactions to anesthesia. Delayed healing. Poor healing resulting in visible scarring or skin loss. Need for a second operation. Possibility of wide scars (keloids) in patients with a tendency. Any one of these complications could occur and every precaution is taken to minimize the possibility. Recovery Time : Back to work : in 2 to 3 weeks. Strenuous exercising and sunbathing in 4 to 6 weeks or more. Fading and flattening of the scar : occurs after 3 months and sometimes up to 2 years.
Any plan to become pregnant or lose weight in the future, should be discussed before the operation. The scar placement and quality from previous abdominal surgery may limit the results of your abdominoplasty. There may be an improvement in the number of stretch marks, especially those located below the navel, as the skin of the lower abdomen that contains the stretch marks will be removed. Sometimes liposuction may be used alone to remove abdominal fat, or in conjunction with an abdominoplasty procedure.
The abdomen should remain firm and flat for many years, unless you gain a lot of weight or become pregnant. However, over the years, with the pull of gravity and natural aging process, a second abdominoplasty may be needed to improve the body contour.