What is Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty, commonly known by many as a tummy tuck procedure, eliminates surplus fat and skin from the body and reinstates weakened or divided abdominal muscles for a smoother, firmer appearance and feel.
When consulting a doctor about the tummy tuck procedure, be truthful in your answers, as your candidness will affect the surgery's success and safety. Be prepared to answer why you want the surgery, your expectations and desired outcome; previous surgeries; current usage of medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; and medical history, drug allergies and treatments. You may be asked about your general health, pre-existing health conditions or risks. Make sure to talk about your procedure options and find a course of treatment. You also want to know the potential outcomes of the procedure and learn about potential complications.
Is a Tummy Tuck right for you?
A tummy tuck is often used in cases of aging, pregnancy, heredity, prior surgery, and noteworthy instability in weight. It is a procedure that varies by the individual. The best candidates for a tummy tuck are people who have tried to get rid of stubborn deposits of fat or excess skin around the belly using a healthy diet and exercise but with no success. Good candidates for this type of surgery should be generally healthy and at a steady weight, you have realistic expectations about the procedure's outcomes, and if you do not smoke. If an overabundance of inelastic skin around your abdomen is the problem, an abdominoplasty might be the answer for you.
Tummy tuck surgery is valuable for women who are finished having children and who wish to have tighter, firmer abs. Pregnancy after tummy tuck surgery is generally not recommended because the procedure tightens the vertical muscles in the abdominal wall. Pregnancy can cause these muscles to separate. Many women opt to have a tummy tuck after C-section, however to reduce flab around the belly and get their body back to a pre-pregnancy state more quickly. Results are typically permanent but they can be diminished by considerable changes in weight, so people that may plan extensive weight loss or consider pregnancy might want to hold off on the procedure.
The tummy tuck is not a replacement for weight loss or engaging in an exercise regimen. If weight loss is your primary goal a tummy tuck probably isn't the right procedure, although your doctor may recommend liposuction along with abdominoplasty surgery to sculpt and trim small amounts of excess fat. Talk with your cosmetic surgeon to learn more about risks and potential benefits of a tummy tuck for your unique situation. The procedure cannot eliminate stretch marks, though they might be mended if they reside in places of substantial skin that will be removed often in areas underneath the navel.
Many men who suffer from excess skin around the waistline are also opting for an abdominoplasty, read more on Male Tummy Tuck.
Preparing for the Tummy Tuck Procedure
Before the procedure, you may be asked to get lab testing or a medical evaluation; take current medications or adjust current ones; and avoid aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, as they increase bleeding. Smokers who are preparing for tummy tuck surgery are typically required by their doctors to stop smoking for approximately two weeks before and two weeks after the procedure to reduce the incidence of certain surgical complications. Patients are encouraged to eat well-balanced meals and stop taking certain medications that could be harmful during or after surgery.
Doctors also recommend that patients prepare to take care of themselves after the tummy tuck procedure by having ice packs and loose, comfortable clothing readily available when they arrive home.
Set up a comfortable abdominoplasty recovery area with a telephone within easy reach, petroleum jelly for use on your incision, and plenty of items like books, magazines, and a television to keep yourself entertained.
You will receive instructions on what to do on the day of surgery, the use of anesthesia during the procedure, and post-operative care and follow-up.
What Occurs During the Tummy Tuck Procedure?
Typically a tummy tuck procedure will take from one to five hours, depending on your particular situation. Medication is given to make you comfortable during the surgery; choices include sedation via IV and anesthesia, and your doctor will suggest the best choice.
A complete tummy tuck uses a horizontally-placed incision bisecting the pubic hairline and belly button. The profile and span of this opening will be determined by the amount of necessary work, the distribution of fat on the abdomen that will be made on your lower abdomen, as well as whether the procedure will be performed on an inpatient or outpatient basis. This cut is done to repair and suture damaged abdominal muscles while unwanted fat, skin and tissue are detached. A second cut near the belly button might be done to remove surplus skin around the higher abdomen. If you have a complete tummy tuck, your belly button will be removed and then reconstructed.
Once the procedure is finished, sutures, skin adhesives, tapes and/or clips will be used to close the incisions.
Advantages and Risks of a Tummy Tuck
As with any surgery, there are risks and complications with having a tummy tuck done. You should decide whether the potential hazards are worth the benefits of a firmer, smoother appearance. Your surgeon and/or staff will explain potential tummy tuck complications. You will be asked to sign consent forms to show that you understand the procedure you are going to have as well as any risks or complications that may happen. If you have an outpatient tummy tuck, you should have someone drive you to and from the surgery and stay with you for the first night following the surgery.
Possible tummy tuck risks include bleeding (hematoma); anesthesia risks; numbness or other changes in skin sensation; skin loss; unfavorable scarring; asymmetry; recurrent looseness of skin; major wound separation; persistent pain; blood clots; skin loss; nerve damage; infection; fluid accumulation; deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications; poor wound healing; skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling; fat necrosis (dead fatty tissue in the skin); possibility of additional, correctional surgery; and suboptimal aesthetic results.