Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

A flat stomach is important to a physically fit appearance. However, a healthy diet and regular abdominal workouts can sometimes do little to eliminate accumulations of excess fat and loose, sagging skin in the abdominal area. If you are bothered by these appearance problems, Abdominoplasty (also called tummy tuck) may be a good choice for you.

Abdominoplasty is designed to firm and smooth the abdomen. This cosmetic procedure removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen and may also tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. The result is a flatter, tighter abdominal profile. (See Figure A.)

You may be a good candidate for Abdominoplasty if you have one or more of the following conditions:

  • Excess or loose, sagging abdominal skin.
  • An abdomen that protrudes and is out of proportion to the rest of the body.
  • Abdominal muscles that have been weakened by pregnancy or aging.
  • Excess fat that is concentrated beneath the abdominal skin.

If you plan to become pregnant or lose a significant amount of weight, you should discuss these plans with me. Scars from previous abdominal surgeries may limit the results of an Abdominoplasty. However, in some cases, an existing scar can be used for the new incision, as is often the case for women with Cesarean Section scars.

HOW WILL I LOOK AND FEEL RIGHT AFTER SURGERY?

When surgery is complete, you'll be taken to a recovery area. In many cases, small drainage tubes will have been placed beneath the skin to help prevent fluids from accumulating. Any discomfort you may feel can be controlled with medication prescribed. Dressings may be applied to your abdomen and covered with tape. An elastic abdominal binder is worn for 3 to 4 weeks.

Although you may not be able to stand perfectly straight at first, you will be encouraged to get out of bed soon after surgery to promote blood circulation. In this early phase of healing, straining, bending and lifting should be avoided. (See Figure B.)

tummy tuck a

FIGURE A

Generally, a horizontal incision is placed just within or above the pubic area. The length of the incision varies by patient depending on the amount of skin to be removed. In patients with larger amounts of loose skin, a second incision may be made around the navel. Excess skin above the navel is separated from the deeper tissues so it can be pulled downward and removed.

tummy tuck b

FIGURE B

After a few months, your incision will begin to fade and you'll see a truer picture of the final result of the surgery.

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