Considered major surgery and performed under general anesthesia, a Tummy Tuck is an outpatient procedure that’s designed to remove excess skin and fat of the abdominal area, and tighten the abdominal wall.
While Tummy Tuck surgery can be performed in conjunction with liposuction, they should not be confused. Both are independent procedures. Liposuction may be performed in addition to a Tummy Tuck to assist in the removal of fat deposits.
Abdominoplasty is not a substitute for regular diet and exercise, and should only be performed after weight has been stabilized and all other methods exhausted.
A Tummy Tuck or Complete Tummy Tuck, is an outpatient procedure in which general anesthesia is administered. Abdominoplasty requires a horizontal incision above the pubic hairline generally extending from hipbone to hipbone. The volume of skin to be removed will determine the nature of the incision. The abdominal skin is then separated from the abdominal muscles and drainage tubes are placed under the skin to remove excess fluid after reattachment. Once the abdominal skin is lifted, the abdominal wall is tightened with sutures to repair the weakened muscles. The tightening of the abdominal muscles serves to snatch the waist, similarl to the effects of a compression garment. Then, the skin is pulled down so that the excess skin can be extracted and the incision can be sutured together to close it. Afterwards, an incision is made to reposition the belly button, which is pulled through and sutured in place. Finally, tape and adhesives are placed on the closed incision to facilitate the healing process, along with a dressing and/or compression garment. A few days after surgery, your surgeon will remove the drains.
In addition to the standard Tummy Tuck procedure, there are other variations of the procedure that address specific cosmetic goals. It all depends on your particular situation and needs. Depending on the complexity of the procedure, abdominoplasty can take between two and five hours.
Mini Tummy Tuck, or Partial Tummy Tuck, is used to treat a smaller area of fat deposits and excess skin of the abdomen. This procedure requires a shorter incision below the naval and usually there is no need to reposition the belly button. As with a full Tummy Tuck, excess skin is removed and the two remaining skin areas are reattached forming a flatter abdomen. The smaller incision allows for a quicker recovery than with a full Tummy Tuck. A Mini Tummy Tuck is most effective for patients who suffer from excess skin and fat in the lower abdomen.
Circumferential Tummy Tuck, also called a Body Lift or Belt Lipectomy, is performed when in addition to excess abdominal skin and fat, there is excess back fat. The procedure provides full 360 degree contouring, targeting the stomach, hips, waistline and back. Thus, the incision for this procedure is all around the waistline. The excess skin and fat is removed and then the upper and lower skin tissue is reattached creating smoother tighter surfaces all around. As with a standard Tummy Tuck, the abdominal wall is also tightened.
Extended Tummy Tuck is when a standard Tummy Tuck expands to include the region of the hips and flanks. The procedure was developed to tackle problematic love handles in addition to a protruding abdomen.
Various plastic surgery procedures can be combined. The Tummy Tuck is a procedure that can be combined with any other procedure that together do not exceed the estimated blood loss and general anesthesia of six hours, since complication rates increase with multiple surgical procedures.
Many plastic surgeons like to combine the Tummy Tuck with a Breast procedure and/or Liposuction. The combination of a breast procedure, liposuction and a Tummy Tuck is called a Mommy Makeover.
Often performed together to improve abdominal contour results are a Tummy Tuck and Liposuction. Liposuction is performed first to extract the fat deposits followed by a traditional Tummy Tuck, Mini Tummy Tuck or Circumferential Tummy Tuck.
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While Tummy Tuck surgery is a frequently performed procedure due to its high satisfaction rate, there are still risks, complications and side effects to be considered as with any surgery. In the first couple of days after surgery, you may experience bruising, tiredness, swelling and/or pain, for which your doctor can prescribe pain medication if needed. Bad reactions or side effects including bleeding and infection are also a possibility due to anesthesia and poor healing. Other common occurrences include soreness which can last weeks or months in some cases, and numbness which can last well up to a year. The possibility of tissue loss along the incision can occur on the more extensive Tummy Tuck procedures. Hematomas may result in patients who have diabetes or smoke. Hematomas is the build-up of fluid underneath the skin once the drains have been removed. The fluid must then be removed with a needle and within a month the drainage should stop.
For patients who smoke or suffer from heart problems, lung or liver disease, poor circulation or diabetes, the associated risks and complications are greater. These include: scarring, skin color changes or skin loss, bleeding, accumulation of fluid, long-term swelling, infection, numbness, an adverse reaction to the anesthesia, wound separation, fat necrosis, and blood clots.
In order to minimize the possibility of complications and risks during your Tummy Tuck surgery, you must follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully.
A Tummy Tuck is suitable for patients looking to improve the appearance of their abdomen, specifically individuals:
In addition, good candidates for Abdominoplasty should be within 25 lbs. of their ideal weight, hold realistic expectations concerning their results, and be non-smokers.
Both women and men can benefit from a Tummy Tuck since both can suffer from loose skin and excess fat in the abdominal area.
There are certain instructions you will need to follow to prepare for a Tummy Tuck. If you’re a smoker, you should not smoke for 6 weeks prior to the operation. Smoking increases your chances of complications. Take only the medications your doctor has instructed you to take and avoid Motrin or Aspirin. Maintain a balanced diet to assist the healing process. Eat fiber to avoid constipation and sufficient protein. Avoid crash diets as rapid weight loss can lead to a lower immune system, increasing the risk of infection.
Recovery varies with each patient, depending on health, age and elasticity of skin among other factors. Remember to prepare with the appropriate care and time off work.
It is crucial to follow your doctor’s orders for a safe recovery. During the first days of surgery, it is recommend to take short walks to stimulate circulation although you might not be able to stand upright, and avoid sitting for lengthy periods of time. Certain activities should be avoided altogether to reduce the chances of bleeding and swelling, such as lifting, bending and straining. For the first six weeks, avoid any strenuous activity. In addition, you should have specific instructions from your surgeon on how you should lay down. Medication will be prescribed by your surgeon to help alleviate any pain and discomfort.
You may experience a tugging sensation in your abdominal region, as well as bruising and numbness. Your compression garments will help to reduce the swelling, tighten the muscle and prevent scarring. Swelling should subside within 3 to 6 months. Your drains will help prevent the build-up of fluid.
As time passes, your scars should heal and fade, sometimes darkening or turning pink before lightening. Scars should mature within a year; however, some incision scars may be permanent.
Occasionally, patients may experience mood swings after being operated including depression and hyperactivity.
The road to recovery is not an easy one. It can take time to feel normal again. However, listening to your doctor will facilitate your recovery.
While there are risks associated with a Tummy Tuck, the end result can be amazing. Generally, patients feel extremely happy with their new appearance. And to maintain their look, patients should follow a healthy diet and exercise.
Men also suffer from excess fat and skin, and weak abdominal muscles. This can be a result of excessive weight loss where skin has lost its elasticity and cannot be toned with diet and exercise. A Tummy Tuck can help men regain their confidence by eliminating the sagging skin and tightening their midsection.
The cost of a Tummy Tuck varies by the type of Tummy Tuck procedure that is required. The national average price can range from $4,000.00 – $8,000.00. Make sure to research your physician and select one that is Board Certified.
A: While this depends on the location of the stretch marks, generally the procedure does improve them. In particular, if the stretch marks are located in the area that is to be removed.
A: As long as patients remain at a stable weight, results will last. Results are only affected by pregnancy, excessive weight loss or natural aging, of which the latter generally does not affect the skin so much where it reverts to its pre-surgery condition.
A: Tummy Tuck incisions vary by technique, which should be discussed with your surgeon prior to surgery. A typical scar would be located above the public hairline and easily covered by a bikini.
A: Since this operation includes the reparation of muscles, it can be painful. Pain management options should be discussed with your surgeon and a plan set in place.
A: Your doctor will make the appropriate recommendation for either procedure. A Tummy Tuck is favored when there is an excess of loose abdominal skin in addition to fat deposits.
A: While there is no age requirement, this procedure is typically performed on individuals suffering from excess skin and fat who have reached their ideal weight after excessive weight loss and women who have given birth and plan on not having any more kids.
A: You should avoid intensive activities for at least 6 to 8 weeks. Apart from that, most patients return to their regular routine two weeks after their surgery.