Tummy-tuck surgery or abdominoplasty, can flatten your abdomen by removing loose, excess fat and skin and tightening muscles in the abdominal wall. It can also remove some if not all of the stretch marks in your lower abdomen. It is popular following pregnancy, massive weight loss or whenever a flabby abdomen with weak muscles impairs body contour. Most patients report improved self-esteem as a result of this procedure.
When to Consider a Tummy Tuck
If you’ve got flab, stretch marks or excess skin in your abdomen that does not improve with diet or exercise.
If the shape of your abdomen has been affected by pregnancy or massive weight loss.
If you feel that your protruding abdomen is unattractive.
If your self-confidence is marred by your stomach contour.
These are the top three pros and cons to weigh when considering a tummy tuck. If you want to focus on what is unique to you, please consult with your aesthetic plastic surgeon.
Are you a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
There comes a time when you realize that efforts at dieting and exercise are yielding lower numbers on your bathroom scale but not changing the appearance of your sagging and protruding abdomen. The following are some common reasons why you may want to consider a tummy tuck:
- Aging, heredity, pregnancy, prior surgery or weight fluctuations have left you with extra skin on your abdomen, abdominal muscle weakness, or both.
- You do not smoke. Smoking slows down the healing process and increases the risk of serious complications during and after surgery. If you smoke, you must quit at least six weeks before surgery.
- Your weight is stable. Slender individuals with extra fat and loose skin in the lower tummy are the best candidates; if you are generally obese, this procedure is not appropriate for you.
- If you have a significant amount of intra-abdominal fat surrounding your internal organs, you may need to slim down before considering a tummy tuck.
- You are physically healthy. You must be in relatively good physical shape to tolerate this procedure.
- You are finished having children. The muscles that are repaired during an abdominoplasty can separate again during future pregnancy.
- Internal or external scars from any previous abdominal surgery may also affect your candidacy.
If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
Detailed Procedural Info
How is a tummy tuck procedure performed?
In this surgical procedure, your surgeon will remove your loose abdominal skin and tighten up your abdominal muscles with sutures.
- Your surgeon will mark your abdomen to indicate the location of the incisions, the center of your torso and the location of the repositioned navel.
- A solution of lidocaine (a local anesthetic) and epinephrine (a vasoconstrictor that controls bleeding by constricting blood vessels) will be injected.
- The primary tummy tuck incision will be above the pubic mound, from one hipbone to the other. In a full abdominoplasty, another incision is made around your navel. In a mini-tummy tuck, your surgeon will use a shorter incision.
- The surgeon will loosen the skin from your abdominal wall to your ribcage and then place sutures in the fascia of your abdominal muscles to pull them into a tighter position. This is the muscle repair portion of the surgery.
- After your abdominal muscles have been sutured, your surgeon will remove excess fat by liposuction or other methods. Your abdominal skin is then stretched down over your incision line and the excess skin is removed.
- Next, your surgeon will mark the placement of your navel. Although the skin around your navel has been moved, the navel almost always stays in the same place. Your surgeon cuts a hole through the redraped skin and sutures it around your navel.
- Your surgeon will use tissue glue, sutures, staples or Steri-Strips to close the incisions.
- In a full abdominoplasty, the surgeon will often insert one or more drains to prevent fluid buildup, which can cause pressure on the incision. The drain is a clear plastic tube placed through a very short incision below the main incision, which leads out of the body to a small oval-shaped bulb. Each time you empty a bulb and before you close it again, you will be asked to squeeze it to help drain the wound.
The goal of your aesthetic plastic surgeon and staff is to help you achieve the best results and to make your surgical experience as easy and comfortable as possible.