Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
What Is a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)?
Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty) is the best surgical procedure for removal of excess abdominal skin and tissue that diet and exercise alone can’t address. As an added benefit, an abdominoplasty may also include surgical tightening of the abdominal muscles that are commonly separated as result of pregnancy or fluctuations in weight.
Common reasons for the procedure:
- Sagging or excess skin
- Previous surgeries
- Excessive weight-loss
Tummy Tuck Procedure
Surgery is done as an outpatient, under general anesthesia and generally takes 2 to 3 hours. Most of the time these can be performed in our in-office AAAASF accredited surgical center. While all tummy tuck surgeries require an incision, the length of the incision is variable. This depends on the amount of skin that we will need to remove. In general, the incisions from the procedure hide well within swimsuit lines. An additional incision made around the navel will allow your surgeon to reposition the navel to achieve a more youthful, aesthetically optimal result while removing more skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
A tummy tuck is a great procedure if you have excess skin that has stretched due to weight gain and loss, especially due to pregnancy. During pregnancy, the muscles of the lower abdomen can actually separate, and they cannot return to their former position. This creates a noticeable sagging and permanent pooch in the lower abdomen. Tummy tuck surgery removes excess skin and tightens the underlying muscles. Many times, we combine some liposuction with the tummy tuck. Patients must not be smoking and should be nicotine free at the time of surgery.
It’s important to note that a tummy tuck is not a weight-loss procedure. This procedure is meant for patients who are near their ideal body weight, but who are bothered by excess skin and sagging in their abdomen.
Abdominoplasty can be combined with other body contouring procedures. You may have heard the term Mommy Makeover before–it is a combination of a tummy tuck with liposuction and a breast lift. During your consultation our doctors will discuss the different possibilities with you.
This is not a weight-loss procedure. In fact, we require our patients to usually be near their ideal body weight before considering a tummy tuck. This is not to be confused with weight-loss procedures such as gastric bypass surgery.
Because a tummy tuck involves removing excess skin and tightening loose underlying muscles, you should wait if you plan on losing more than 10 percent of your current weight. This is because losing weight (in addition to the weight you’ve already lost that created the sagging skin) will create more looseness. It’s a good idea to be at a long-term weight goal before having this surgery.
There is a recovery period after this procedure, and there will be some discomfort. This is due to the length of the incision and the tightening of the abdominal muscles. While the surgery, of course, is not painful thanks to anesthetic, your recovery will take some time. We offer a long- acting anesthetic (Exparel™) which can be injected at the time of surgery and usually lasts 2-3 days. Patients can usually return to work between 3-6 weeks but may need longer if a lot of weight lifting is required.
You need to expect a recovery period with a tummy tuck, due to the incisions and repairing the abdominal muscles. We use a long acting local anesthetic (Exparel™) in the tissue at the time of surgery to help with discomfort. There will be some pain, but the amount varies by the individual. You’ll be encouraged to walk after your surgery and should take a short walk three or four times a day for just a few minutes each time. You’ll have to walk a little hunched over and the skin of your abdomen may feel tight.
If you have drains, they will be removed anywhere from 1-2 weeks after your surgery. You’ll wear a compression garment to help your skin adapt to its new slimmer contour and to help with swelling. Most patients can return to work 3-6 weeks after their surgery, but this is an individual thing — it may take longer. If your job involves any lifting or being on your feet all day long, you may need more time. Any strenuous exercise or lifting will have to wait for at least six weeks.
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