Tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty)
A protruding abdomen as a result of weak abdominal muscles, weight gain or pregnancy are conditions that cause distress to thousands of people. This condition does not respond well to diet or exercise because the skin and underlying muscles have been stretched.
Abdominoplasty is not a substitute for weight loss. The objective of the surgery is to improve the contour of the body by flattening and narrowing the abdomen. The best candidate for the surgery is the individual who is of normal weight but who has weak abdominal muscles and excess skin and fat. Age, obesity and smoking habits are some of the factors the physician considers when evaluating a candidate for this procedure.
Before tummy tuck surgery
Prior to surgery, a medical history is taken in order to evaluate the general health of the patient. A careful examination is also conducted. The physician and patient discuss the type of anesthesia, the procedure, and scar size, size location, possible risks and complications. Pre-operative instructions may include the elimination of certain drugs and smoking habits.
The tummy tuck procedure
Abdominoplasty is preformed in a clinic setting under general anesthesia with the patient asleep. Premedication may be administered to relax the patient. Although there are several procedures from which to choose, the one most frequently used by physicians involves an incision in the lower abdomen above the pubic hairline. The size of the incision varies and depends on the amount of skin to be removed. A second incision is made around the navel. The skin is then separated from the loose and weakened underlying abdominal muscle. Once exposed the muscle layer is tightened and pulled in together. The skin is then lowered over the abdomen and excess skin and fat is removed. Before the incisions are closed, the naval is reconstructed and usually drains are inserted to eliminate fluid buildup. This process may slightly change the appearance of the naval.
Tummy tuck procedure time
Between 3-5 hours.
After tummy tuck surgery
If drains are used, they may remain in place for three to five days. Pain or discomfort from the surgery is controlled with oral medication. An abdominal support garment is worn for the first few weeks. After surgery patients must refrain from heavy lifting, smoking and straining or over activity. Although patients are usually up and around the day of surgery, the physician decides when normal activities may be resumed. This decision is based upon the extent of surgery and the patient’s progress.
Each year thousands of abdominoplasties are successfully performed. The amount of improvement is individual and depends upon the extent of surgery, skin tone, body build and healing process.
Tummy tuck risk and complications
Complications connected with the surgical procedure are rare; however, there are inherent risks connected with abdominoplasty surgery. These include scaring, pain, infection, hematoma, bleeding, asymmetry, skin loss, skin sensation loss, naval shape change. Patients can minimize complications by carefully following directions given by the physician, refraining from smoking at least 3 weeks prior and 3 weeks after the surgery. Minor adjustments in the skin incision may be needed after few months.