Abdominoplasty ("Tummy Tuck")
Abdominoplasty, often called a "tummy tuck," is a very popular operation in America. Tummy tucks help to flatten and shape the abdomen and waist by removing excess fat and skin and tightening muscles. Performed as an isolated procedure, or in combination with other procedures, such as liposuction, thigh or buttock lifts, our doctors have been performing abdominoplasties with excellent cosmetic results for many years. Patients love the look of their new flat stomachs and proportionate bodies following these types of truncal rejuvenating procedures.
Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
The best candidates for abdominoplasty are in overall good health and physical condition with pockets of fat or loose skin that haven't responded well to diet and exercise. This operation is also designed to be modified and help older, slight to moderately obese people whose skin has lost some of its elasticity. Newer applications include remodeling of the torso to improve symmetry, which can become lost with different degrees of skin sagging or weight distribution as we age.
Abdominoplasty can also be useful for women with stretched skin and muscles that often result from pregnancy. Results from the tummy tuck procedure can change with significant weight changes or repeated pregnancies. Stretch marks will typically diminish, but may not be able to be completely removed in patients with certain body types with widely distributed stretch marks. Timing of undergoing a tummy tuck should be coordinated with family planning. Choosing to restore bodily contouring between pregnancies does not affect a woman's ability to subsequently become pregnant. Additional revision procedures may be necessary, however, following each subsequent pregnancy.
Our doctors specialize in abdominal revisions following obesity surgery followed by significant weight loss. Muscle tightening techniques are designed to preserve port access through the revised abdominal wall for patients treated with gastric banding procedures. We encourage patients who intend to lose a lot of weight, either through diet, exercising or surgery, to wait until they have lost the weight they choose to lose before undergoing abdominal re-contouring procedures, since skin in the abdominal area loosens to varying degrees following substantial weight loss.
Customized Treatment for Optimal Cosmetic Results
We take the time during every initial tummy tuck consultation to learn what each patient wants to achieve through closely listening to each patient's interests and performing a thorough, comprehensive examination. There is no 'one-size-fits-all' procedure for every person. We provide patients with completely customized treatment that takes into account their specific body type and goals.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Abdominoplasty takes approximately three and one half to five hours under general anesthesia. Our doctors will work with you to specifically design which type of lower abdominal incision you prefer. Whether you wear high French cut bikini bottoms or choose to wear low waisted hip hugger jeans, size, shape and placement of our incisions is customized as much as possible to meet your personal preference. The traditional abdominoplasty includes making a separate incision around the umbilicus, navel or belly button, to allow the entire abdominal skin to be separated from the underlying muscles, which are then pulled together and stitched into place for a firmer abdomen and narrower waist. Our doctors will then stretch the skin flap down and over the newly tightened muscles, remove excess skin, and reattach the navel in a natural position. Finally, he will close the incisions and apply sterile surgical dressings over the sutured areas. We typically use a conforming body compression garment to prevent abnormal fluid collections from forming beneath the skin flap and reduce overall swelling. Surgical drains are temporarily inserted to assist with abnormal fluid drainage and are easily removed in the office a few days later.
Recovery after Abdominoplasty
Our doctors pride themselves on educating and informing patients, including their loved ones, about the level of discomfort to be expected following truncal reshaping procedures such as an abdominoplasty. We emphasize both pre-operative and post-operative teaching to ease each patient's concerns following an abdominoplasty and help guide post-operative recovery by taking each patient's individual lifestyle and personal needs into consideration. Most patients require assistance at home for the first few days, but become independent thereafter. Returning to routine daily activities or the work place can range between 2 4 weeks, sometimes longer, based upon the extent of each patient's operation and ability to heal. Garment usage is recommended for 6 to 12 weeks post-operatively. Some patients prefer to continue wearing their supportive garment for a longer periods of time. Returning to completely unrestricted sports or exercise activities typically takes between 3 6 months following abdominoplasty.
Tummy Tuck Results
Most women, and even men, who have undergone abdominoplasty operations are gratified and pleased with the improvements in both their appearances and lifestyles. Significant improvement in self-esteem is quite common. Older patients with reduced skin elasticity or patients who have lost significant weight may infrequently benefit from minor revision surgery that is often able to be performed under local anesthesia. Overall results following abdominoplasty are excellent and provide patients with the 'new look' they desire. With a balanced diet and regular exercise, results are long-lasting.
Partial Abdominoplasty ("Mini Tummy Tuck")
Partial or 'mini-abdominoplasty' is similar to an abdominoplasty in that the goal is to remove excess skin, restore and improve contouring of the lower abdomen and waist. Not all patients require a 'full' abdominoplasty, but have too much excess skin with insufficient tone to allow for liposuction to be performed without removing any skin. The benefit of the mini-abdominoplasty is that there is a shorter incision and the navel does not need to be relocated. The mini-abdominoplasty typically takes less time than a complete abdominoplasty and is often performed in conjunction with liposuction to maximize results.
The initial consultation will help determine whether you are in need of a 'full' abdominoplasty or are a candidate for the less extensive, 'mini' abdominoplasty procedure. Ask you doctor which procedure best suited for you. Patients who have lost significant amounts of weight are typically not candidates for the 'mini' procedure.