What is an abdominoplasty?
Have you ever looked at your abdomen and wondered how to get rid of excess skin or bulging? It is possible that you work out regularly and eat a healthy diet, but you still can’t seem to get a flat tummy. An abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, may be what you need.
What is a tummy tuck?
A cosmetic surgical procedure to improve the shape and appearance of the abdomen. During a tummy tuck, excess skin and fat are removed from the abdomen. Connective tissue in the abdomen, fascia is tightened with sutures.
Who are the best candidates for a tummy tuck?
Women who have muscles and skin stretched after several pregnancies may find the procedure useful to tighten those muscles and reduce that skin. Also, people with a history of obesity and who’ve had significant weight loss, but still have excessive fat or loose skin in the abdominal area.
When should you avoid a tummy tuck?
If you’re a woman who is still planning to have children, you may want to postpone a tummy tuck until you’re through bearing children. During surgery, your vertical muscles are tightened. Future pregnancies can separate these muscles once again.
If you’re still planning to lose a significant amount of weight, don’t have a tummy tuck right away. Wait until you are 10 to 20 pounds away from your goal weight.
It’s important to note that a tummy tuck causes scarring on the abdomen. The length of the scar, which is along the bikini line, depends on the amount of extra skin. With minimal extra skin, the mini abdominoplasty results in a short scar.
During your consultation, your plastic surgeon will discuss all these options with you when you go for the consultation. You and your surgeon will discuss the results you want, and the surgeon will determine the appropriate procedure during your consultation.
How is a tummy tuck done?
Depending on the results you want, this surgery takes about 3 and a half hours, but could be longer depending on the amount of liposuction that needs to be done. Surgery is done as an outpatient procedure.
You will receive general anesthesia, which will put you to sleep during the operation. It’s important to have someone with you who can drive you home. If you live alone you will need someone to stay with you at least the first night after the surgery.
- Complete abdominoplasty: This option is for patients who need the most correction. The incision is made at the bikini line, at about the same level as your pubic hair. The length of the scar depends on the amount of extra skin. Your surgeon will then manipulate and shape the skin and muscle as needed. You will also have an incision around your navel (belly button) with this procedure, because it’s necessary to free your navel from surrounding tissue. Drainage tubes will be placed under your skin. These will be removed about a week after surgery, as your surgeon sees fit.
- Partial or mini-abdominoplasty: Mini-abdominoplasties are done with shorter incisions and are often performed on people who have less excess skin. Your belly button won’t be moved during this type of procedure. Your skin will be separated between the line of incision and your belly button.
- Circumferential abdominoplasty: This surgery includes the back area. When there is a lot of excess fat in the back as well as the abdomen, you may have either liposuction of the back or circumferential abdominoplasty. The latter procedure allows for the removal of both skin and fat from the hip and back areas, which improves the shape of your body from all sides.
After your partial or complete tummy tuck, your incision site will be stitched and bandaged. Your surgeon will have you wear an abdominal binder after surgery. If so, it’s very important that you follow all of your surgeon’s instructions on wearing this garment and caring for the bandage. Your surgeon will also tell you about the best way to sit or lie down so you’ll be in the least amount of pain.
If you’re exceptionally physically active, you’ll have to limit strenuous exercise for four to six weeks. Your doctor will advise you on this as you go through the healing process. Generally, an absolute minimum of two weeks off work after the surgery is recommended.
How should I prepare for a tummy tuck?
Smoking can increase the risk of complications and delay healing. If you smoke, you will have to stop for at least six weeks before and after surgery. It is not enough to just cut down on smoking. You must completely stop using all forms of nicotine — gum, patches, and e-cigarettes. The longer, the better, in terms of the time between when you stop smoking and when you have surgery.
Make sure you eat well-balanced, complete meals. Don’t try to diet excessively before the surgery. Proper nutrition is important to proper healing.
As part of your pre-operative consultation, your surgeon may instruct you to stop taking some of your medications that thin your blood and dietary supplements for a certain period before and after the surgery. This includes aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). You must let your surgeon know if you’re taking any blood thinners.
Make sure you set up the safest, most comfortable recovery area to meet your needs before you undergo the surgery. Your home recovery area should include:
- A supply of loose, comfortable clothing that can be put on and taken off very easily.
- A telephone within easy reach.
- A hand-held shower head and bathroom chair.
What are the complications and side effects of a tummy tuck?
As expected, you will have pain and swelling after surgery. Your doctor will prescribe pain medications as needed.
Soreness may last for several weeks. You may also have numbness, bruising and overall tiredness for that same time period.
As with any surgery, there are risks. You may have an increased risk of complications if you have poor circulation, diabetes, heart, lung, or liver disease, or if you smoke. Complications can include:
- Hematoma (bleeding).
- Seroma (accumulation of fluid).
- Poor wound healing.
- Blood clots.
- Numbness or other changes in sensation
Other complications include:
- Fat necrosis (death of fatty tissue located deep in the skin).
- Wound separation.
- Asymmetry (unevenness or lopsidedness).
What is the outlook for someone who has had a tummy tuck?
Generally, most people love the new look after they’ve undergone this procedure. However, you may not feel like your normal self for months after the surgery. You’ve gone through a tremendous amount to make this happen. It is a big commitment — emotionally, physically, and financially. It’s very important that you follow a proper diet and exercise to maintain your new look.
Ready to Get Started? Reach Out to Us Today!
You’re invited to schedule a consultation with our team to discuss tummy tuck surgery in more detail, learn if the procedure is right for you, and answer any questions you may have. Our practice is located in Lowell, AR and proudly serves patients from all over Northwest Arkansas, including Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville.