Tummy tuck (medical term: Abdominoplasty) is an operation designed to contour and reshape the abdomen to a more pleasing and youthful look. A prerequisite for a tummy tuck is excess skin. There are also frequently excess fat and abdominal wall laxity that will need to be addressed. During the journey of life, many things may cause stretching of the skin or the abdominal wall beyond its elastic ability to return to normal shapes such as weight gain and weight loss, pregnancies, and aging. The abdominal wall muscles may get stretched out of normal position. The surgical planning of placement of incisions, the extent of liposuction, and abdominal muscle tightening vary based upon a number of patient factors including the extent and location of excess skin, the condition of the skin, the extent and location of excess fat, and the status of the abdominal muscle laxity. Almost all abdominoplasties can be done as an outpatient depending upon patient factors.
Traditional abdominoplasty usually involves removing excess fat via liposuction and excess skin via excision and tighten the underlying muscles. This generally requires general anesthesia in an outpatient surgical facility.
Mini-abdominoplasty is a less extensive surgery that removes excess skin and fat limited mostly to the lower abdomen. This procedure can frequently be done with tumescent anesthesia in a physician’s office specialized procedure room. The abdominal wall muscle laxity, if present, will not be addressed. This procedure allows for more rapid recovery with less risk and costs. The incision is shorter than in a standard abdominoplasty.
Mini-abdominoplasty combined with BodyTite is also a less extensive surgery that removes excess skin and fat limited mostly to the lower abdomen but allows for more skin tightening. Consequently, this allows more patients that may otherwise require a traditional abdominoplasty to now have a combination mini-abdominoplasty. BodyTite gives an enhanced contraction of skin and underlying subcutaneous tissue to reduce the appearance of excess skin. The effect can be dramatic or subtle depending upon the settings used and various patient factors. This procedure can also frequently be done with tumescent anesthesia in a physician’s office specialized procedure room. The abdominal wall muscle laxity, if present, will not be addressed. This procedure also allows a more rapid recovery with less risk and costs than a traditional abdominoplasty.
Who is a good candidate for abdominoplasty?
- Patients who are in reasonably good health
- Patients that have reasonable and realistic expectations
- Patients that have excess saggy skin of the abdominal wall (and excess fat or abdominal wall laxity) not eliminated with diet and exercise alone
- Patients looking for a more youthful or contoured body shape (flatter abdomen)
Who is not a good candidate for liposuction?
- Patients who are not in reasonably good health with serious or poorly controlled health problems
- Patients who do not have reasonable and realistic expectations
- Patients who are excessively obese
- Patients who want absolute perfection
Does abdominoplasty produce permanent results?
A tummy tuck permanently removes excess skin and a variable amount of fat cells depending on patient factors and procedures performed. After a tummy tuck, the body’s new shape is more or less permanent. If a person gains a significant amount of weight or becomes pregnant after the tummy tuck then the abdominal wall and abdominal skin will stretch again with an even less probably of returning to its normal position. A revision may be required to restore the same appearance.
What Alternatives Are There to Abdominoplasty?
- Nonsurgical skin tightening – For more information Click Here
- A tummy tuck is never absolutely necessary
- Weight loss – For more information Click Here
- Non-surgical Body Contouring – For more information Click Here
How long will it be before I see results?
Most patients will see 80-90% of their ultimate tummy tuck results within 4-6 weeks after surgery. For the first few weeks after surgery, there is postoperative swelling that may take up to 6 months to resolve. The rate at which this swelling subsides depends on the surgeon’s surgical technique and method for postoperative care. The final results will take six months or longer.
Will I be in pain?
Traditional abdominoplasty is performed with general anesthesia in a certified outpatient surgical facility. A mini-abdominoplasty can be performed in the surgeon’s specialized procedure room in his office depending upon various patient factors. Your post-operative pain will be the same with either anesthesia technique. With general anesthesia, you will experience no operative pain or discomfort. With awake tumescent anesthesia, patients will receive pre-operative medication to help them relax so that they can more easily tolerate the initial discomfort with administering the tumescent anesthesia into the treatment area. The tumescent technique produces profound and long-lasting local anesthesia of the skin and subcutaneous fat. Since the patient is awake and relaxed, they can notify the surgeon immediately of any discomfort. The tumescent anesthesia technique in many cases eliminates the need for general anesthesia which has additional risks and costs.
How long does a tummy tuck take?
From the time that you arrive at the facility until the time that you are discharged home will require several hours. Usually, it takes 2 to 3 hours to complete the abdominoplasty procedure depending upon the extent of the procedure and if tumescent anesthesia is administered.
How much does a tummy tuck cost?
The fee for a tummy tuck usually depends on a number of patient factors such as health issues, the extent of excess skin, the extent of associated fat that may require liposuction, and the extent of abdominal wall laxity. For an accurate estimate, it is necessary to have a consultation with the surgeon.
Description of Procedure
- Anesthetic options generally depend upon the type of procedure selected based upon individual findings.
- Standard abdominoplasty usually requires general anesthesia and less likely the other two options.
- Mini-tummy tuck frequently can be done with tumescent anesthesia with relaxation or tumescent anesthesia with conscious sedation.
- Standard full abdominoplasty will tighten all of the abdominal wall skin and abdominal wall muscles through a standard flank to the flank incision. This requires the creation of a new belly button.
- Mini-abdominoplasty tightens the lower abdominal wall skin only leaving a shorter scar where possible without the need for the creation of a new belly button. This can be combined with the BodyTite to tighten the upper abdominal skin.
- Small suction drains are usually required with either procedure.
What is the recovery like?
- PAIN: Discomfort is usually controlled with NSAIDs and oral analgesics.
- HOME CARE: You will be discharged home to the care of a responsible adult in most cases.
- ACTIVITIES: Plan to rest in bed immediately after treatment. Later in the day, short walks such as to the bathroom are good. Resume light daily activities within a few days after your procedure depending upon the extent of the procedure and your tolerance for discomfort. You may be required to miss work from 2-8 weeks depending upon the type of procedure performed. Resume exercise gradually as recommended by your surgeon.
- ELASTIC COMPRESSION GARMENT: Wear your compression garment for the first few weeks.
- WOUND CARE AND DRAINAGE: Some blood-tinged drainage is expected for usually the first several days.
- BATHING: It is preferable to bed bath the first few days and then showers rather than bathe. Discuss with your surgeon for his recommendation.
- DIET: Generous fluids are recommended for the first 24 hours and resume light foods as tolerated.
- FOLLOW-UP APPOINTMENT: Usually 1-3 days after your procedure.
As with all surgical procedures, there are inherent risks. The specific risks and suitability of this procedure for a given individual can only be fully determined at the time of consultation with your cosmetic surgeon. All surgical procedures have some degree of complications. Most are minor and rarely affect the overall cosmetic results, occur occasionally such as swelling, bruising, minor lumps and bumps, and skin numbness. Major complications are uncommon but include significant cosmetic irregularities such as extensive lumps and bumps, poor contouring or body shape, indentations, scarring, skin necrosis, discoloration of the skin, infections, bleeding or hematomas, or seromas. Some major complications can take months to resolve or improve, or maybe permanent and should be discussed with your surgeon prior to the proposed procedure.