Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
If you have excess skin and fat (usually a result from multiple pregnancies or weight loss) that you’d like removed for a flatter abdomen, you may want to consider a plastic surgery procedure called a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty. A tummy tuck restores a fit and youthful appearance to your stomach, love handles, and abdomen.
The Best Candidates for Abdominoplasty
The best candidates for abdominoplasty are men or women who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by a large fat deposit or loose abdominal skin that won’t respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through multiple pregnancies, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal.
Planning Your Surgery
Dr. Allen Strasberger will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins, and medications. If you smoke, plan to quit at least one to two weeks before your surgery and not to resume for at least two weeks after your surgery. Avoid overexposure to the sun before surgery, especially to your abdomen, and do not go on a stringent diet, as both can inhibit your ability to heal. You should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, and to help you out for a day or two after you leave the Surgery Center, if needed.
Where Your Surgery Will Be Performed
Your Tummy Tuck will be performed in our surgeon’s office-based outpatient surgical facility. An Anesthesiologist will be present to monitor you throughout surgery with all the state-of-the-art equipment necessary for your procedure.
Types of Anesthesia
Tummy tucks are performed under general anesthesia, which means you’ll sleep through the operation.
Complete abdominoplasty usually takes two to five hours, depending on the extent of work required. Partial abdominoplasty may take an hour or two. Most commonly, the surgeon will make a long incision from hipbone to hipbone, just above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue. Next, the surgeon separates the skin from the abdominal wall all the way up to your ribs and lifts a large skin flap to reveal the vertical muscles in your abdomen. These muscles are tightened by pulling them close together and stitching them into their new position. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline. The skin flap is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then stitched in place. Finally, the incisions will be stitched, dressings will be applied, and a temporary tube may be inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site. In partial abdominoplasty, the skin is separated only between the incision line and the navel. This skin flap is stretched down, the excess is removed, and the flap is stitched back into place.
After Your Surgery
Your doctor will give you instructions for showering and changing your dressings. And though you may not be able to stand straight at first, you should start walking as soon as possible. Surface stitches will be removed in five to seven days, and deeper sutures, with ends that protrude through the skin, will come out in two to three weeks. The dressing on your incision may be replaced by a support garment.
Getting Back to Normal
Some people return to work after two weeks, while others take three or four weeks to rest and recuperate. Exercise will help you heal better. Even people who have never exercised before should begin an exercise program to reduce swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and tone muscles. Expect it to take nine months to a year before your scars flatten out and lighten in color.
Your New Look
Abdominoplasty, whether partial or complete, produces excellent results for patients with weakened abdominal muscles or excess skin. And in most cases, the results are long lasting, if you follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly. If you’re realistic in your expectations and prepared for the consequences of a permanent scar and a lengthy recovery period, abdominoplasty may be just the answer for you.