OVERVIEW OF ABDOMINOPLASTY (TUMMY TUCK):
Abdominoplasty surgery is a body contouring procedure that focuses on the abdomen. This procedure removes excess skin that remains in the lower abdomen after pregnancy and childbirth, that simply will not go away. This is also common in men and women after significant weight loss. It is important to understand that abdominoplasty is not a weight loss surgery, but a skin reduction surgery.
The goals of abdominoplasty surgery are to remove the extra skin, tighten the underlying muscles, flatten the abdomen and leave a fine line lower abdominal scar that can easily be hidden in the underwear or swim wear.
WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR ABDOMINOPLASTY SURGERY:
The ideal candidate is a person with a healthy body weight who has extra skin of his or her lower abdomen following pregnancy or weight loss. I often advise heavier patients to reach a healthy weight before undergoing the surgery, as the results are always better once you have reached your target weight.
DESCRIPTION OF SURGERY:
Under general anesthetic, an incision is made just above the pubic region. The umbilicus (belly button), usually needs to be separated from the abdominal skin, allowing for more tightening of the skin and access to the underlying muscles. The muscles are then tightened to flatten the abdomen. The skin is then stretched and the extra skin removed. A drain is placed beneath the skin to avoid a collection of fluid beneath the skin. It will be removed shortly after surgery. The umbilicus is then brought back out of the skin in its new position. A dressing including an abdominal binder is then applied.
You will spend a couple of hours in the recovery room at the surgery center or hospital before you go home. Some patients may choose to spend the night in the hospital. You will need someone to pick you up from the center, and stay with you in your home overnight. You will have a drain in the lower abdomen that will be removed once there is a reasonable amount of fluid drainage coming out (usually 3-7 days). You will have difficulty standing upright for the first couple of days, due to the tightness of the abdominal skin. Over the first 7-10 days after your surgery, you will improve quickly, and begin to move around with more ease. However, it will be a full 6 weeks before you feel completely recovered from your surgeyr. No lifting or abdominal exercises for six weeks.
POTENTIAL SHORTCOMINGS: It is possible to have an undesireable result even if everything goes smoothly. Abdominoplasty is not a weight loss surgery, and therefore in heavier patients, it is possible to be disappointed by the remaining fat in the flanks, upper abdomen, and upper thighs. Because of this, patient often request liposuction of these areas at the same time. Also, abdominoplasty often can't remove all the stretch marks on the abdomen.
RISKS: As with any surgery there is a possibility that you will experience complications. These include bleeding after the surgery (hematoma), undesirably thick scars, fluid collections beneath the skin (seroma), numbness in the abdomen or thighs, infection, blood clots, and delayed healing. This surgery requires general anesthetic, which carries some risk as well.