Abdominoplasty, popularly known as a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic procedure that removes excess fat and skin from the abdominal area, restoring separated and/or weakened muscles in the process and creating a flatter and better toned abdominal profile. The procedure is often performed on individuals who have lost excess weight, or on women who have undergone multiple pregnancies. Aging, prior surgery, heredity, and a host of other factors may also result in an abdomen that is perceived as too large, even in individuals who are of normal weight.
Facts About Abdominoplasty Tummy Tuck Surgery
The tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss and exercise. Instead, tummy tuck surgery is designed to correct skin laxity and remove stubborn pockets of abdominal fat that is not responsive to diet and exercise. Individuals who are overweight or obese may first be advised to lose a certain percentage of body weight before the procedure can commence, due to the inherent dangers of removing too much body mass (such as excessive bleeding).
Prior to the procedure being performed, the tummy tuck candidate will be assessed by a surgeon. Medical history will be noted, patient expectations will be addressed, and several photographs will be taken for medical records. If the person is deemed a good fit, a corrective surgical procedure will be scheduled.
Standard tummy tuck
The standard tummy tuck involves three basic steps: anesthesia, incision, and incision closure. First, either intravenous sedation or general anesthesia is administered. Then, a horizontally-oriented incision is made between the pubic and navel area. A smaller or larger incision may be made for optimal correction. Excess skin, tissue, and fat are cut out, and bordering muscle groups are repaired and sutured. This is followed by suture of the remaining tissue and skin. If needed, a second similar incision may be made above the navel in order to remove excess fat and skin in that area. This is concluded with application of skin adhesives, clips, and smaller sutures.
Once the surgery is complete, recovery will take several weeks. Due to tissue and muscle swelling and/or bruising, it will be difficult to see the immediate results of the tummy tuck. During this time, the patient may be instructed to wear an elastic bandage around the entire torso. A flexible plastic tube may be inserted under the skin in order to drain remaining blood or fluids. The patient will probably not be able to stand fully upright until all internal tissues have healed.
Once recovery is complete, the abdomen should appear significantly flatter, smoother, and smaller. Pre-existing scars and/or stretch marks may still remain on the skin; however, many of these marks will be gone or incorporated into the tummy tuck scar. Overall, the post-tummy tuck abdomen should show significant improvement in appearance compared with its pre-tummy tuck status.