What is Abdominoplasty or Tummytuck?

Abdominoplasty or a tummy tuck, is a procedure that reshapes the stomach and abdomen area to give a flatter, smoother profile. It removes excess fat and skin and also restores weakened or separated abdominal muscles creating an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer.

The scar for an abdominoplasty is usually placed across the lower abdomen. An incision is generally made from one hip to the other along the bikini line, which could later be camouflaged by underwear.

How is a tummy tuck surgery performed?

A full tummy tuck is usually performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes an incision across the lower abdomen just above your pubic bone and pubic hair. This incision may go from hip to hip, but it is usually placed so that it will be hidden by a bikini bottom. Then, skin and fat is separated from the abdominal muscles up to the bottom of the rib cage. An incision is made around the belly button to loosen the skin and detach it from the belly button. Most frequently, excess skin and fat below the belly button is removed.

In a full abdominoplasty, the fascia and rectus abdominus muscles are tightened by folding the fascia along the centerline of the abdomen. This tightens the muscles and abdominal wall. The skin above the belly button is pulled down toward the pubis and sutured into position as the incision is closed. A new hole is made in the skin to suture around the belly button. Usually, one or two drains are placed under the skin under the incision to allow fluids to drain from the site for a few days. These drains are usually placed through small incisions above your pubic bone.

What type of patients needs abdominoplasty?

Females especially after multiple pregnancies develop loose abdominal skin and weakness. This can also occur in patients who have undergone previous surgery; those with significant weight fluctuations and those with a hereditary tendency. Patients planning future pregnancies and further weight loss may need to postpone the surgery. A tummy tuck is also for men or women who were obese at one point in their lives and still have excess fat deposists or loose skin in the abdominal region.

What are the different types of tummy tuck?

There are several different techniques for abdominoplasty, most of which differ in the amount of tissue that is removed and the shape and placement of the incision. We offer a partial (commonly known as a “mini” tummy tuck) or complete tummy tuck.

Mini tummy tucks are more limited in their degree of correction and typically involve shorter incisions, and therefore, shorter scars. This approach is best for individuals who do not require muscle repair and who have excess skin limited to the lower abdomen. We typically recommend this option for a person whose upper abdomen (the area above the belly button) is fine and needs no improvement.

A complete tummy tuck offers more comprehensive benefits for people who need both skin removal and muscle tightening. It requires a longer incision that runs from between the pelvic bones and can produce more substantial changes.

Can I combine my tummy tuck with another procedure?

While tummy tucks are excellent for tightening the skin and underlying muscles, they do not remove unwanted fat. This is best treated with liposuction, which is often combined with a tummy tuck for optimal results.

Many of our patients combine procedures such as breast augmentation with a tummy tuck to create more comprehensive results. It is also commonly performed with other skin tightening procedures after massive weight loss.

Will I have a scar?

Scars are a tradeoff for nearly all plastic surgery procedures. The size of your scar will depend on the extent of the procedure and the amount of excess skin present prior to surgery. The more skin laxity and overhang, the longer the scar. Usually, abdominoplasty results in a horizontal scar across the lower abdomen well below the belly button. The scar can be easily hidden under a bikini, underwear, or other clothing.

What are the risks of having abdominoplasty?

Thousands of men and women undergo tummy tuck surgery successfully every year and are very satisfied with the outcome. However, any surgical procedure comes with inherent risk, such as the effects of anesthesia, blood clots, swelling, infection, bleeding, and discomfort. These and other complications rarely occur and can usually be avoided. We will discuss the risks with you thoroughly during your consultation and you should carefully follow your doctor’s pre-operative and post-operative instructions.

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