Tummy Tuck

Sometimes simply dieting and exercising are not enough to take care of waistline problems.  In such cases, a patient may wish to consider a tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty).  A tummy tuck is the surgical removal of excess skin or fatty deposits from the abdomen, along with the repositioning of abdominal muscles into a tighter formation.  This body enhancement procedure is designed for those who wish to have a flatter and tighter stomach with firmer skin.  It is also helpful in remedying the vertical separation of abdominal muscles known as diastasis, which can occur following pregnancy.

Reasons for Considering an Abdominoplasty:

  • Inability of dieting and exercise to improve the abdomen area.
  • Excessive accumulation of skin following weight loss.
  • Loss of skin elasticity or diastases (loose abdominal muscles) due to pregnancy.
  • The removal of unsightly skin and fat deposits as well as the proper alignment of the abdomen muscles to produce a more flattering look.

General Procedure

Abdominoplasty surgery lasts anywhere from one to five hours, depending on the desired look and the patient’s unique physiology.  To begin the procedure, an incision is made just above the pubic bone area.  This incision goes horizontally across the lower abdomen to the hip area.  The skin is then elevated away from the underlying muscle tissue.  The abdominal muscle tissue is tightened to provide a firmly contoured stomach and well-defined waistline.  Often the umbilicus  (belly button) is placed through a new opening in this tightened abdominal skin. The incision is then closed with sutures, a dressing is applied and a compression garment is applied. Drains are often placed and will need to be cared for until removed in the postoperative period. This procedure, along with most all surgical procedures, requires the patient to not have any nicotine in the system for sixty days before and after the surgery to help alleviate severe wound healing complications that can be caused due to nicotine.


Recovery Process

Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in the initial postoperative period in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time.  As the body recuperates, the patient can expect some swelling, pain, and discomfort.  Medication can be prescribed to help relieve the pain caused by the procedure.  A responsible adult care-person is necessary in the first week following abdominoplasty surgery.  The patient needs to understand that this procedure is fairly restrictive and will necessitate not being able to return to work for a minimum of two weeks after surgery, and possibly even longer.  The drains may be removed after minimal output is achieved, possibly by the second or third week after surgery and the sutures will be removed approximately three weeks  after the surgery depending on the procedure(s) involved.  Normal activities can generally be resumed within four to six weeks.  It may take up to a year for the body to completely adapt to the new abdominal configuration.  With proper diet and exercise the striking results of the surgery will be long lasting.