Commonly called a “tummy tuck,” an abdominoplasty removes excess fat and skin from your lower abdomen and tightens your abdominal muscles for a thinner, fitter, more youthful appearance across your midsection.
While the moniker “tummy tuck” sounds simple and even possibly adorable, it’s actually a major surgery that is intended for healthy patients who can maintain an appropriate weight after surgery.
During an abdominoplasty, an incision is made across the lower abdomen from hipbone to hipbone. A second incision is made around the belly button. The skin and fat are separated from the abdominal wall. Excess skin and fat are then removed, and the abdominal muscles are tightened by shortening and suturing them together. A small incision creates a new opening for the belly button. It is brought out through the opening sutured to the new skin. Stretch marks and scars may be removed during surgery.
Drains may be placed in the skin and removed a few days later. The drains reduce swelling by collecting excess blood and fluid. All incisions are closed. The procedure is usually performed in a hospital or surgical center with an overnight stay.
Mini Tummy Tuck vs. Full Tummy Tuck
A mini tummy tuck, or partial abdominoplasty, may be recommended for patients that are within 10% of their ideal body weight. This procedure is less invasive and can be done on an outpatient basis. While a full tummy tuck involves an incision around the navel and across the lower abdomen, a mini tummy tuck leaves the navel intact and requires a smaller incision. Liposuction is sometimes employed and the fat is removed from below the navel, tightening muscles from the navel to the pubis.
If your abdominal muscles require more extensive tightening and your body weight is more than 20% above your ideal weight, your plastic surgeon is more likely to recommend a full abdominoplasty. This frequently is performed with liposuction to obtain the best results.
What can you expect at your consultation?
At your initial consultation, your plastic surgeon will evaluate your health, determine the extent of fat deposits in your abdomen, and assess your skin tone. Be specific about what you would like done. If your plastic surgeon fully understands your expectations, he’ll be able to determine whether your goals are realistic.
For the first few days after surgery, your abdomen will probably be swollen and some pain and discomfort may occur, which can be controlled by medication. Depending on the extent of the surgery, you may be released within a few hours or remain hospitalized for two to three days. The incisions will be covered with surgical tape for two weeks to insure proper healing.
If you would like to learn more about any of our procedures, give us a call. We can help you discover how cosmetic surgery can change your life. Call today to schedule an appointment. Your initial consultation is always free.