Abdominoplasty Tummy Tucks

Abdominoplasty, also known as a "tummy tuck," makes the abdomen appear flatter by removing excess fat and skin and by tightening the abdominal muscles. Some common uses of this procedure are to:

  • Remove excess skin or fatty deposits that will not go away with diet and exercise
  • Tighten skin that has stretched out due to pregnancy and childbirth and has not returned to its normal shape
  • Remove or tighten excess hanging skin that results from major weight loss
  • Tighten loose or baggy skin that has lost its elasticity due to aging

Abdominoplasty is not designed for weight loss. The ideal candidate has already achieved his or her desired weight and is committed to continue healthy eating and exercise for a lifetime. Nonsmokers and people with healthy, elastic skin will get the best results.

About the Procedure

This procedure involves making an incision, typically in an area of the abdomen where it can later be concealed by clothing. Excess skin is removed and the vertical abdominal muscles may be pulled closer together and sewn in place to create a flatter profile. Often, the belly button is also relocated or reshaped to fit the new profile of the abdomen. Finally the remaining skin is stretched into place and stitched up. A drain may also be inserted to remove excess fluid during healing.

Some patients may benefit from a partial abdominoplasty or "mini tummy tuck." This procedure usually involves tightening skin without  reshaping the underlying muscles or belly button.

Surgery and Recovery Times

  • The procedure may take 2 to 5 hours, depending on the extent of reshaping. You may be asked to stay overnight, so that our staff can offer a full range of techniques to keep you as comfortable as possible during immediate recovery and to promote proper healing.
  • Patients generally may return to work and light activity within 1 to 2 weeks.
  • More strenuous activity may be limited for up to 6 weeks after surgery.

Risks and Side Effects

All surgery poses certain risks. Your surgeon will fully disclose to you the specific risks associated with your procedure and your current state of health.

Abdominoplasty is a more extensive procedure than many other cosmetic surgeries, so it is normal to experience some pain, bruising, swelling or a feeling of tightness in the abdomen after this surgery. Your physician will prescribe methods to help you remain as comfortable as possible during your recovery.

Although they are rare, more serious complications such as blood clots or infection can occur. To minimize the chances of complications, it is important to carefully follow your doctor's instructions both before and after the surgery.

Special Considerations

  • People planning or undergoing major weight loss - You will get a better result if you reach your ideal weight before considering this surgery.
  • Women who are planning to have children in the future - The muscles that are tightened during abdominoplasty may stretch or tear during future pregnancies. If possible, it is best to wait until after you are done having children before having abdominoplasty.
  • Smokers - Smoking interferes with the healing process and may result in more noticeable scars. It is best to quit smoking before considering this procedure.

Please be sure to discuss these issues fully with your plastic surgeon, so that he or she can help you to make the right decision for your health and safety.

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