Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
A Tummy Tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure designed to tighten loose abdominal skin and muscles, or bring a bulging midsection into proportion with the rest of the body. This is a procedure that gives patients a trim waistline by removing excess abdominal fat and tightening the underlying abdominal muscles. For patients who have experienced profound weight loss or multiple pregnancies, a tummy tuck can smooth the abdominal area from the upper tummy near the rib cage, all the way down to the bikini line.
Patients can see noticeable changes from a tummy tuck immediately after surgery with results becoming more pronounced over a period of several months. Though scarring is inevitable, many patients regard the thin white line that runs from hipbone to hipbone as a worthy trade-off for having tight abs. The results from this surgery are long-lasting so long as the patient engages in positive lifestyle habits and maintains a healthy weight.
Who Is an ideal candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
The best candidate for a tummy tuck is someone who is in good general health with loose abdominal skin and muscles or excess abdominal fat that’s unresponsive to diet and exercise. Extreme weight loss can sometimes leave sagging skin behind that doesn’t tighten up no matter how much you diet and exercise. A tummy tuck removes the excess skin to create a tight, slim appearance. Multiple pregnancies can also leave abdominal muscles and skin sagging that’s out of proportion with the rest of your body. Plastic surgeons at the Lift Body Center can tighten the muscles and remove the extra skin to create a pre-pregnancy profile.
Tummy Tuck Procedure
There are several different types of tummy tuck procedures. Your doctor will help you decide which one is right for you. The type of procedure will depend on the location of excess fat and skin on your abdomen.
During the Tummy Tuck procedure your surgeon will make a long, curvilinear incision that goes from hipbone to hipbone, just above the pubis symphysis. A second incision frees up the navel from surrounding connective tissues. Once these incisions are made, the skin is cut free from the abdominal muscles, leaving a large flap that can be repositioned once the excess skin is removed.
Before repositioning the skin, the surgeon pulls the loose abdominal muscles together and stitches them into position to give the patient a more toned appearance and a slimmer waistline.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
Everyone heals at a different rate, but the recovery process for a tummy tuck is still relatively predictable. During the initial stages of recovery, you’ll need to wear a compression garment that will encourage proper tissue healing. After the surgery, you’ll have drainage tubes that will help keep swelling to a minimum. Within the first week after the procedure these tubes will be removed. Seven to ten days after the procedure, your stitches will be removed.
After two to three weeks following a tummy tuck, you’ll begin to be able to resume your normal daily activities, including exercise. The compression garment will no longer be needed and you’ll be able to return to work as long as your job isn’t strenuous. Your body may still be bruised and swollen, but by this time, you’ll be noticing that the inflammation is slowly subsiding.
Within two to six months after your tummy tuck, you’ll begin to see the final results of the procedure. Bruising and swelling will go away completely. Feelings of numbness and tightness will lessen and the incision line may begin to fade.
Tummy Tuck Scars
Your tummy tuck will leave a scar that runs from one hipbone to the other, but your surgeon will make the scar low enough on the body that it will not be visible even when you’re wearing a bikini. Your tummy tuck scar will fade considerably over time, but it will always be visible.
Alternatives to the Tummy Tuck
The tummy tuck isn’t for everyone. Some patients may be better candidates for abdominal liposuction. Female patients who plan to become pregnant in the future may choose abdominal liposuction over a tummy tuck procedure. Talk with your surgeon to decide which procedure is right for you.