Abdominoplasty also known as Tummy Tuck removes excess fat and skin and restores weakened or separated muscles, creating an abdominal profile that is smoother, flatter, and firmer.
Depending on the degree of excess skin and its location, the surgeon will either perform a full or mini tummy tuck.
In a full tummy tuck, the surgeon makes a horizontal incision across the lower abdomen. The “classic” abdominoplasty incision extends across the abdomen. Through the incision, he corrects loose, separated or weakened abdominal muscles and stitches them together, making an internal “corset” to narrow the waistline. The surgeon also removes loose skin and tightens the remaining skin. For some patients, this improves or eliminates bothersome stretch marks on the lower abdomen. The navel or belly button is then released from the skin and repositioned in the correct location after the skin is stretched and tightened. If necessary, he may also use liposuction to remove surplus fat deposits around the abdomen, flanks, and other areas.
Two small surgical drain tubes will be temporarily placed under the skin to help remove any excess blood or fluid before the surgeon closes the incisions with absorbable sutures and dresses the area with sterile gauze. A compression garment over the lower abdomen can help support the tissues as they heal.
A “mini tummy tuck ” is similar to the regular tummy tuck procedure, except it involves a shorter incision and the skin is only lifted to the umbilicus, which does not have to be moved. This procedure is ideal for patients who need minimal improvement limited to the lower abdomen.
Variations of procedure
With an “extended” abdominoplasty, the incision continues to the flanks and enables additional removal of skin and fat. A ‘fleur de lis’ abdominoplasty includes a vertical scar in addition to the horizontal abdominal scar allowing for removal of skin in a side-to-side fashion. Both of the lat two procedures are more extensive than the typical abdominoplasty but are occasionally needed for more severe cases.
Recovering from Tummy Tuck
After surgery, the patient rests in the recovery area before being released to the care of a surgical ward nurse for overnight observations and discharged the following day with instructions and follow up appointments.
Recovery is normally between two to three weeks, however 1-2 days after surgery you should be on your feet. It is important not to carry out vigorous activities for the first five days after the surgery. You can return to work and resume most normal activities after three weeks and begin exercise after six weeks.
My tummy tuck surgery was a fantastic success. My badly damaged stomach muscles have been repaired to a level I could not have dreamed possible, meaning tasks I found difficult before are now possible with no ill effects. As an additional bonus I have regained the figure I missed so much, and I don’t have to worry about clothes not fitting a large bulge in my stomach anymore.