Abdominoplasty, known more commonly as a "tummy tuck," is a surgical procedure designed to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen. In addition, the muscles of the abdominal wall may be repaired. The procedure can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen.
The best candidates for abdominoplasty are men or women who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by a large fat deposit or loose abdominal skin that won't respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through multiple pregnancies, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal. Patients who intend to lose a lot of weight should postpone the surgery. Also, women who plan future pregnancies should wait, as vertical muscles in the abdomen that are tightened during surgery can separate again during pregnancy.
All surgery carries some risk and possible complications. Postoperative complications such as infection and blood clots are rare, but can occur. Infection can be treated with drainage and antibiotics, but will prolong your hospital stay. Poor healing, which results in conspicuous scars, may necessitate a second operation. Smokers should be advised to stop, as smoking may increase the risk of complications and delay healing.
At your initial consultation Dr. Bromley will perform a thorough exam, in addition to a complete history. A careful assessment will be made to determine which type of abdominoplasty procedure is most suited to you. Some patient require a traditional (full) abdominoplasty. Other patients may benefit from a more limited procedure combined with liposuction to remove excess fat. In some patients a "mini" abdominoplasty will be appropriate. These surgical options will be discussed in detail during this evaluation.
A full abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia and can be done as an inpatient or outpatient procedure. The surgical procedure usually takes about two to three hours, depending upon the amount of surgery required.
In a standard abdominoplasty an incision will be made extending from hipbone to hipbone, just above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue. With partial abdominoplasty, the incision is much shorter and the navel may not be moved.
Recovery will vary depending upon the extent of surgery. Most patients resume light activities in several days. You should be able to resume all usual daily activities one week after surgery. Many patients return to work one to two weeks following the operation.
Your scars may become more pronounced and red in the first few weeks after surgery. This is a normal occurrence. They should gradually fade with time, although this can take six months to one year. There are a variety of treatments that may be prescribed to help your scars fade more quickly. These treatments will be discussed during your post-operative visits. While they'll never disappear completely, abdominal scars will not show under most clothing.
If you have any questions regarding abdominoplasty, or any other plastic surgical procedure, please contact our office. Photo galleries, in addition to 3D animation of this procedure can be found at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website.
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