Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
THE ABDOMINOPLASTY PROCEDURE
Abdominoplasty takes approximately 3 to 4 hours to perform. You are placed under general anesthesia. Two incisions are usually made: one from hipbone to hipbone close to the pubic area, and another around the navel. Skin is separated from the abdominal muscles, which are then pulled together and stitched into place for a firmer abdomen and narrower waist. The skin flap is then stretched down over the newly tightened muscles, excess skin is removed, and the navel is reattached where it looks natural. The incisions are then closed, and sterile surgical dressings are applied over the sutured areas. Most patients have 1 to 2 drains under the skin for 1 to 2 weeks. They are annoying but don’t hurt much at all. They do not hurt to remove. The surgery, however, can hurt – especially the first 4-5 days. That is why most patients choose to have a new long-acting pain medication (Exparel) injected at the time of surgery. It does cost extra ($500), but it makes you much more comfortable.
RECOVERY AFTER ABDOMINOPLASTY
The first week you are in bed or a recliner chair (very helpful) and get up to eat and go to the bathroom, The second week, you are up and around the house, but not doing any work. By the third week, you may be able to go back to work. You can go back to the gym at about 4 weeks EXCEPT for no abdominal exercises for 6 weeks. Abdominoplasty leaves a scar spanning the lower abdomen from hip to hip, although it is low enough to be concealed by a bikini. Scar treatment with Embrace ( www.embracescartherapy.com ) is recommended for 6-8 weeks. Maintaining your weight with a balanced diet and regular exercise provides long-lasting results. If you gain weight or get pregnant, you will ruin the result to some degree.
RISKS OF ABDOMINOPLASTY
In addition to the usual risks associated with surgery and anesthesia, risks associated with abdominoplasty include the following:
- Unsightly scarring – This can happen, especially if you have a history of bad scars, however, most people will take the scar as long as their abdomen is flat.
- Wound healing Issues – More common if you smoke. You MUST stop smoking 4 weeks prior to, and after, surgery. Really, just stop smoking for good.
- Numbness in skin sensation – very common in the lower abdomen. May last 3-4 years
- Seroma – A collection of fluid under the skin after the drain is removed. This is usually from too much activity (movement, riding in cars or busses). Rest!!
- Need for revisional surgery
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) – This is a blood clot in the leg which can spread to the lungs. It can be fatal. Make sure you answer our DVT questions honestly. These include such issues as prior stillbirths, prior clots, and birth control or hormone pill use. Also, get out of bed at home at least every other hour when you are awake.
*All pricing includes pre-op/post-op appointments, surgeons fee, and facility/anesthesia fees.
WHAT IS A TUMMY TUCK?
A tummy tuck procedure helps to flatten the abdomen by removing excess fat and tightening the muscles. A tummy tuck is performed by having two incisions done from hip bone to hip bone close to the pubic area, and near the navel. Skin will be separated from the abdominal muscles, and will then be pulled together and stitched to form a firmer abdomen and narrower waist. The skin is then stretched down over the newly tightened muscles, and excess skin will be removed and the navel shall be reattached to appear natural.
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE FOR A TUMMY TUCK?
Ideal candidates for tummy tucks are usually patients that are slightly obese or their skin has lost some of their elasticity for skin that is stretched either from pregnancy or weight loss. For women we advise that patients wait until they decide to no longer have children since pregnancy would stretch the skin. We also ask that patients have an ideal BMI before deciding to undergo a tummy tuck of any kind.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS TO GETTING A TUMMY TUCK?
A tummy tuck like any other surgery has risks involved, the risks involved with a tummy tuck there could be wound healing issues, numbness in teh skin,
HOW LONG IS THE RECOVERY PERIOD?
For a tummy tuck during the recovery process you will be spending the first week in bed or recliner chair, and should only be getting up to eat or to use the bathroom. The second week you should slowly ease into your routine by walking around your house but shouldn’t be doing any sort of vigorous activity. By the third week most patients can return back to work, and fourth week patients can begin doing exercise but again light activity, nothing too strenuous.