Most of the people strive hard to have a flat and well-toned abdomen, sometimes dieting and exercise is not enough to achieve your goal. Factors such as serious heredity, weight loss, and multiple pregnancies can be a cause of fat deposits, loose skin and stretch marks in the abdominal area. When this loose skin is surgically removed from the belly, it is called abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck or body contouring. The procedure can improve the appearance of excess abdominal fat; tighten the muscles that have been separated and weakened by pregnancy. The procedure may somewhat improve the appearance of stretch marks, especially those located below the navel.
Abdominoplasty is not a substitute for weight loss or even for treating obesity. The results are permanent; however a less than positive outcome can arise from this surgery if you are not at your optimal weight when having this procedure. Changes in weight will diminish the outcome. Be sure you are done with having children, as any subsequent pregnancies as well can wreck havoc on your results. Most plastic surgeons will recommend that you should postpone a tummy tuck if you are considering future pregnancies
Ideal for you if:
- You are physically healthy
- Excess fatty tissue that is concentrated in your abdomen
- The patient should be close to their ideal body weight (within 30 percent)
- Has specific areas of loose skin or fat that is completely incapable of responding to diet and exercise
- An abdomen that protrudes and is disproportion to the rest of your body
- Has realistic expectations with surgical outcome
The results of abdominoplasty are technically permanent. If you plan to become pregnant or planning substantial loses weight in the future, you should discuss this with your plastic surgeon.
Potential risks include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Seroma (fluid accumulation)
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Fluid accumulation
- Poor wound healing
- Skin loss
- Blood clots
- Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
- Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
- Major wound separation
- Recurrent looseness of skin
- Pain, which may persist
- Persistent swelling in the legs
- Nerve damage
- Possibility of revisional surgery
- Delays wound healing more common in patients who smoke or having medical conditions such as diabetes.
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Substandard aesthetic result
Before the surgeon will make incision the treatment area is cleansed with betadine. General anesthesia is used to make you feel more comfortable due to the length of time of the procedure. For less invasive procedures, some plastic surgeons will prefer local anesthetic with sedation.
Various types of Abdominoplasty/Tummy Tuck
Endoscopic Tummy Tuck
It involves the tightening of the abdominal muscles and the removal of small amounts of fat. No skin is removed. This procedure is minimally invasive and has a fewer side effects, including less scarring, swelling and bruising. Also, it has the less recovery time. The endoscopic tummy tuck requires the use of an endoscope (a lighted tube with a camera on the end of it) and recovery is shorter compared to regular abdominoplasty.
Traditional or Full Tummy Tuck
The main concerned with the imperfection in the entire abdominal area both above and below the navel. This procedure is performed under general or twilight anesthesia, and takes from two to five hours. Traditional tummy tucks are most commonly combined with abdominal liposuction.
The procedures typically require two incisions. The surgeon will make an incision just above the pubic area that spans from one hip bone to the other. The length of the incision and its shape will depend on the extent of treatment as well as the contours of your body. This is usually done in such a way to make the future scar to conceal with underwear. We will require you to put your cut underwear to hide the scar behind the border. A second incision is usually made around the navel. Hospital stays can depend on the extent of the surgery.
Mini Tummy Tuck
Patients who are within 10 percent of their ideal body weight are the ideal candidate for this procedure. The plastic surgeon concentrates on the area below the navel. A smaller amount of skin is removed with a mini tummy tuck, and the navel is left intact. A mini tummy tuck is definitely less invasive than a full abdominoplasty.
The length of the incision involved will depend on the amount of skin to be removed. This procedure can be performed under both general anesthesia and or a local with sedation. However because this procedure is less invasive, normally most patients will receive twilight or a local with sedation.
Extended Tummy Tuck
The plastic surgeon removes excess skin from the patient’s sides and improves muscle laxity at the flank (or love handles) and hip region. This procedure is offered to those patients who have substantial weight loss and are trying to restore the tone back into these areas. Patients who have a significant amount of fat and skin in the flank, upper hip, and lower back regions are ideal candidates for this procedure. The incision goes from the entire length of the abdominal area to the hips.
The plastic surgeon tightens the exposed muscles and makes a new navel to match the patient’s new body shape. Because of the extent of the surgery and the amount of tissue that was cut away, surgeons usually require that patients remain in the hospital to recover for at least one day or depend on the extent of treatment. There will be a drainage tubes to keep fluid from accumulating.
In this procedure, the surgeon will make an incision that will extend all around the entire waist line, in which they will remove excess skin and fat, and tighten the muscles. The outer thighs and buttocks are lifted. Liposuction is commonly used to re-contour the figure from the ribs to the knees.
The procedure can take as long as three to five hours to complete, and requires a much longer recovery period. This procedure can require a hospital stay of two to four nights following the procedure, and there will be drainage tubes to keep fluid from accumulating.
Your abdominoplasty procedure will result in a flatter, firmer abdominal contour that is more proportionate with your body type and weight.
The incisions from the procedure will heal and fade over time, though the incision lines will be permanently visible. In some cases, they will eventually be only faint lines. Some patient also may have more visible lines. So, to make it invisible our surgeons create incisions that are usually in locations concealed by underwear.
There will be some bruising, swelling, soreness and numbness after your abdominoplasty procedure, but these symptoms will dissipate over the next few weeks and months. Special compressive garment must be worn on the treated area two to three weeks. This garment should be tight fitting and helps in the reduction of swelling by preventing fluid build up, as well as provide comfort and support as you heal.
Straining, lifting, bending, or strenuous activity that would involve the lower body should be avoided for six weeks but some may take longer. Each individual is unique with their pain tolerance and healing time. Most patients return to some light activity within several weeks after surgery, but some might take longer.
Most surgeons use drains to help with the excess fluid that occurs from this procedure will be removed usually the first day after procedure.
How long the result will last?
Gaining or losing a significant amount of weight or pregnancy can affect your results of your abdominoplasty. Most patients if they stick to their diet and exercise programs can maintain their new shape for many years. If a period of years and you become dissatisfied with the appearance of your abdomen, you may choose to undergo a second abdominoplasty to restore again the body contour that you desire.