A tummy tuck, also called abdominoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure performed to remove excess skin, fat and abdominal tissue. It can also repair the underlying abdominal muscles which have separated and weakened. A tummy tuck will return the abdomen to a smoother, firmer appearance.
Who Needs Abdominoplasty?
Tummy tucks are most often performed on women who have had children. During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles, stomach skin and other tissues are severely stretched and may not return to the pre pregnancy appearance leaving a sagging pouch of loose skin and fat and a belly button that is lower than normal. Other people, including men may benefit if they have had large changes in weight or have had prior abdominal surgery. Tummy tuck will not treat stretch marks unless they are on the skin to be removed. A tummy tuck is also not recommended for those who still have large amounts of weight to lose.
How is a stomach tuck performed?
The cosmetic surgeon will need to place an incision above the pubic hair and below the navel. The incision may stretch horizontally along the panty line on both sides. The length of the incision will depend upon how much skin and tissue needs to be removed from the lower abdomen. A second incision may be required around the navel or belly button to remove skin on the upper abdomen and raise the navel, returning it to a more natural appearance and position. The plastic surgeon will determine the length and location of the incision but will take care that the incision will be hidden by clothing if at all possible.
Recovery from a Tummy Tuck
Tummy tucks are considered to be major surgery and there are significant risks involved. The surgeon and medical staff should be able to explain all of the risks and expectations for recovery. After the surgery, the abdomen will be wrapped in a bandage designed to support the abdomen and minimize scarring. There may also be a small drainage tube placed under the skin to drain fluid and blood that may collect. It is common for patients to require several days of bed rest after a stomach tuck. Stitches will usually be removed after a week and walking should begin as soon as possible after the recommended bed rest. Following the post surgery instructions exactly will minimize the scarring and allow for a better post surgical result.