Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
What is a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)?
Abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” is a cosmetic surgery that helps tighten and flatten the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat. The abdominal muscles get tightened down the middle, this helps to give the abdomen a flatter, leaner appearance. This procedure has one of the highest satisfaction rates of all plastic surgeries.
Tummy Tuck Procedure
Abdominoplasty takes approximately 2 to 5 hours for Dr. Fisher to perform. The patient will be placed under general anesthesia for this procedure.
First, two incisions are made: one from hipbone to hipbone close to the pubic area, and another around the navel. Skin is separated from the abdominal muscles, which are then pulled together and stitched into place for a firmer abdomen and narrower waist as discussed in your consultation. The skin is then stretched down over the newly tightened muscles and the navel is reattached where it looks natural. Excess skin in removed from the body and the incisions are then closed and wrapped with sterile surgical dressings over the sutured areas.
Tummy Tuck Candidates
If you are considering abdominoplasty surgery first ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you lost a lot of weight and now struggle with excess skin that just won’t shrink?
- Have you had children and are unhappy with your sagging tummy and stretch marks?
- Are you unsatisfied with the results you’ve achieved through exercise and a healthy diet even though you’ve lost pounds?
- Are you in good general health and at a stable weight for at least 6 months?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then you may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck. If you also have excess fat deposits in specific areas of your belly or a “muffin top”, you may be a good candidate for lipoabdominoplasty, where liposuction is done at the same time as the tummy tuck. This enhances the contouring for those who are appropriate candidates.
Tummy Tuck Before and After
Who Should Not have an Abdominoplasty?
Not everyone is a good candidate for a tummy tuck. If you are planning for children in the near future, a tummy tuck probably isn’t ideal. Throughout pregnancy, the abdominal wall and its muscles that have been tightened will be forced to expand. This can lead to tearing and increased stretch marks. Once you’ve already had the tummy tuck, usually there isn’t enough extra skin anymore to deal with your new stretch marks.
If you are in the process of losing a significant amount of weight, then you should wait until you are as close as possible to your weight loss goals. Doing a tummy tuck when you are still really overweight followed by losing a lot of weight post surgery can lead to a suboptimal result since you may once again be left with excess skin.
Smoking and Surgery
If you are an active smoker, you are not an ideal candidate for a tummy tuck. Smoking leads to poor wound healing, and in turn, can set you up for more serious complications. You must quit smoking completely and avoid all nicotine products (including patches) for at least 4 weeks prior to surgery.
Full Tummy Tuck vs Mini Tummy Tuck
With any tummy tuck procedure, you will be trading poor quality over-stretched skin for a scar and improved contour.
During a full abdominoplasty, an incision is made on the lower abdomen and runs approximately from one hip to the other. The fat and excess skin are cut, and the muscle is tightened with sutures. The belly button has to be detached and, after rearranging the skin and soft tissue, the belly button is repositioned on the abdominal wall. Drainage tubes are placed below the skin to improve proper healing and are removed within a few days post operation.
There are various procedures referred to as “mini tummy tuck” or “partial abdominoplasty”. These procedures are done through a smaller incision and they may not need navel relocation. They also generally do not address the upper abdomen. The fact is that very few people are ideal candidates for these procedures and, as a result, satisfaction rates are not as high as for full abdominoplasty. Although everyone wants as short of a scar as possible, this is just not feasible most of the time.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
You will need to arrange for someone to stay with you and help you for the first week after surgery. For the first few days, you will be walking bent over and you will need help going to the bathroom, showering, taking your medications on time, walking, and emptying your drain tubes.
An overnight hospital stay may be necessary. Recovery time ranges from 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the patient. Abdominoplasty leaves a scar spanning the lower abdomen, but Dr. Fisher makes it low enough to be concealed by a bikini.
To see maximum results, maintain a balanced diet and exercise regularly.