Abdominoplasty, known more commonly as a "tummy tuck," is a major surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. The procedure can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen. But bear in mind, it does produce a permanent scar, which, depending on the extent of the original problem and the surgery required to correct it, can extend from hip to hip.
Who is a good candidate for tummy tuck?
The best candidates for tummy tuck surgery are men or women who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by loose abdominal skin that won't respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through multiple pregnancies, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal. Loss of skin elasticity in older patients, especially that which occurs after weight loss, can also be greatly improved.
A complete abdominoplasty usually takes three to four hours, depending on the extent of work required. Lower abdominoplasty (or "Mini Abdominoplasty") to treat only the lower abdomen may take about two hours.
Tummy Tuck Pictures
About Abdominoplasty Surgery
In a complete or full abdominoplasty, Dr. Grenley will make a long incision just above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue. With lower abdominoplasty, the incision may be shorter and the navel will not be moved (so there is no scar around the navel), but there will be little or no improvement above the navel.
Next, he elevates the loose skin from the abdominal wall all the way up to the lower ribcage to reveal the vertical muscles in your abdomen. These muscles are tightened by pulling them close together and stitching them into their new position. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline.
The skin flap is then stretched down and the excess skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then stitched in place. Finally, the incisions will be sutured, dressings will be applied, and two temporary tubes or drains will be inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site.
In partial abdominoplasty, the skin is separated only between the incision line and the navel. This skin flap is stretched down, the excess is removed, and the flap is sutured back into place.
Recovery following abdominoplasty
For the first few days, your abdomen will probably be somewhat swollen and you're likely to feel some pain and discomfort which can be controlled by medication. Depending on the extent of the surgery, this may be performed as an outpatient surgery or you may choose to stay overnight in the hospital.
The sutures are absorbable beneath the skin so they will not require removal except for four sutures in the naval.
It may take you several weeks to feel like your old self again. If you start out in top physical condition with strong abdominal muscles, recovery from tummy tuck surgery will be much faster. Some people return to work after two weeks, while others take three or four weeks to rest and recuperate.
Expect it to take several months or longer before your scars flatten out and lighten in color. While they'll never disappear completely, abdominal scars will not show under most clothing, even under bathing suits.
Abdominoplasty, whether partial or complete, produces excellent results for patients with weakened abdominal muscles and/or excess skin. And in most cases, the results are very long lasting.
For more information about tummy tuck at Seattle Plastic Surgery, call 206-324-1120.