This surgery flattens the abdomen by removing extra fat and skin, and tightening muscles in your abdominal wall.
It’s not the same as liposuction, although you may choose to get liposuction along with a tummy tuck.
This is a major surgery, so if you’re considering it, you should know the facts before you decide whether to go forward.
Who candidate for Abdominoplasty?
Women who have had several pregnancies may find the procedure useful for tightening their abdominal muscles and reducing skin.
A tummy tuck is also an option for men or women who were once obese and still have excess fat deposits or loose skin around the belly.
Pre-OP for Abdominoplasty?
- If you smoke or consume more than just an occasional alcoholic drink, this is the perfect time to quit for good. Smoking can dry out the skin, and alcohol works as a blood thinner, so can increase the risk of bleeding before and after surgery.
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery. Any prescription medications can be taken with a small sip of water.
- Do not take any products containing aspirin, ibuprofe (Advil,Motrin), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory Medication or Vitamin E from two weeks before surgery.
Abdominoplasty operations vary in scope and are frequently subdivided into categories. Depending on the extent of the surgery, a complete abdominoplasty can take from 1 to 5 hours. A partial abdominoplasty (mini-tuck abdominoplasty) can be completed between 1 and 2 hours.
In general, a complete (or full) abdominoplasty follows these steps:
- An incision is made from hip to hip just above the pubic area.
- Another incision is made to free the navel from the surrounding skin.
- The skin is detached from the abdominal wall to reveal the muscles and fascia to be tightened. The muscle fascia wall is tightened with sutures.
- Liposuction is often used to refine the transition zones of the abdominal sculpture.
- A dressing and sometimes a compression garment are applied and any excess fluid from the site is drained.
Partial or mini-abdominoplasty Mini-abdominoplasties are done with shorter incisions and are often performed on patients whose fat deposits are located below the navel. During this procedure, your belly button most likely will not be moved. Your skin will be separated between the line of incision and your belly button. This type of surgery may also be performed with an endoscope (a long tube with a small camera on the end). This procedure may take up to two hours, again, depending on your situation and needs. As with the complete abdominoplasty, you may have drainage tubes after surgery.
Circumferential abdominoplasty this surgery includes the back area. When there is a lot of excess fat in the back as well as the abdomen, you may have either liposuction of the back or circumferential abdominoplasty. The latter procedure allows for the removal of both skin and fat from the hip and back areas, which improves the shape of your body three-dimensionally.
Post-OP for Abdominoplasty
After your partial or complete tummy tuck, your incision site will be stitched and bandaged. Your surgeon may have you wear an elastic bandage or compression garment after surgery. If so, it’s very important that you follow all of your surgeon’s instructions on wearing this garment and caring for the bandage. Your surgeon will also instruct you on how to best position yourself while sitting or lying down to help ease pain.
If you are exceptionally physically active, you will have to severely limit strenuous exercise for four to six weeks. Your doctor will advise you on this as you go through the healing process. You may need to take up to one month off work after the surgery to make sure that you recover properly.
Possible risks of abdominoplasty include:
- Fluid accumulation
- Poor wound healing
- Skin loss
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Anesthesia complications
- Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
- Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
- Major wound separation
- Recurrent looseness of skin
- Pain, which may persist
- Persistent Swellingin the legs
- Possibility of revisional surgery
- Hematoma (may occur in 3 to 4% of cases)
- Keloid (heavy scar)
- Suture rupture