Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Abdominoplasty, or more commonly, tummy tuck, is the surgical removal of excess skin and fats in the tummy area to make the same flatter, and in some cases, smooth out stretch marks across the lower abdomen. Depending on the patient’s needs, it may also involve the tightening of the muscles in the abdominal wall.

Tummy tuck is commonly performed to tighten drooping skin on the abdomen, which normally occurs as a result of pregnancy or drastic weight loss. It can also flatten protruding tummies that cannot be remedied by constant dieting and exercise. The goal of the procedure is to achieve better abdominal contour, which can help individuals achieve not only an improved appearance but also heightened self-image and confidence.

As with liposuction, tummy tuck requires that patients achieve and maintain a relatively stable and healthy weight prior to and after undergoing the procedure, as constant weight fluctuations not only can negatively affect results but can also put patients at risk of acquiring health complications. It is important to remember that this is not a means for instantly losing drastic weight, but is merely a finishing touch to give the abdomen a more toned appearance, which can no longer be achieved by mere dieting and exercise.

If performed to correct sagging that follows pregnancy and childbirth, it is best to delay the same until after the last delivery; otherwise, sagging will simply reoccur and necessitate a repetition of the treatment.

Abdominoplasty can be done using the full or mini approach, the former requiring an incision around the navel other than the primary incision above the pubic area, and the latter requiring a shorter incision. Another approach is through extended or high lateral tension, which requires a longer incision to address excess skin on the hips or love handles. The procedure can involve liposuction or other fat removal techniques to complete it.

What patients need to know about Tummy Tuck

Procedure Incision points are marked and then cut to access and tighten underlying tissue and muscle in the lower and middle sections of the abdomen. Excess skin is removed, while excess fats may be suctioned off using liposuction. The navel may be repositioned as part of the process.
Length 2 to 5 hours
Anesthesia Often, general; in some cases, local with intravenous sedation
In/Outpatient Overnight inpatient stay may be ordered by the doctor depending on the extent of the surgery
Side Effects - Temporary pain, swelling, soreness, bruising, and numbness over the abdominal skin
- Feeling of tiredness for several weeks or months
Risks - Infection
- Bleeding under the skin flap or at the incision site
- Pulmonary embolism
- Permanent or enlarged scars
- Delayed healing
Recovery Patients may get back to work in 1 to 3 weeks, but may only resume more strenuous activities after 4 to 6 weeks or more. Numbness over the area operated on may persist for several months. Fading and flattening of scars may take 3 months to 2 years, depending on the extent of the surgery.
Duration of Results Results may last for good, provided the patient maintains his or her weight and/or does not undergo another pregnancy.

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