A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is a popular procedure for patients who have excessive abdominal skin and tissue with or without abdominal muscle laxity. Over the years, surgeons have made significant advancements to the original tummy tuck procedure in order to meet the aesthetic needs of their patients. Today, there are several types of tummy tucks to serve mild to severe cases of abdominal tissue laxity. The typical tummy tuck is the process of surgically removing the extra abdominal tissue and skin between the navel and the pubic area while tightening the abdominal muscles to restore the feminine hour-glass figure.
Typical candidates for this procedure are patients that have excess tummy skin, are unable to tighten their abdominal wall with diet or exercise, or has lost their skin quality due to aging. In most cases, these changes result after pregnancy or weight loss. Although the effects of childbearing differ from patient to patient, the majority of patients will experience some degree of laxity of their abdominal skin and muscle post-pregnancy. During pregnancy, the abdominal skin and muscles are stretched out significantly, with breakage of skin collagen layer, which presents as stretch marks. This stretched out skin does not always retract back to its original form. Also, the divergence between the separated abdominal muscles often remains despite abdominal crunches and exercise. A tummy tuck is the only way to remove the stretched out abdominal skin and to tighten the abdominal muscles at the present time.
A tummy tuck procedure includes several components. These include: removal of excess skin of lower abdomen, removal of waist fat by liposuction if necessary, muscle tightening to repair the separated abdominal muscles, and reshaping and repositioning of the belly button.
There are several types of tummy tuck variant available to suit different patients and their abdominal tissue excess. These variant include:
Although there are several different tummy tuck types, most patients benefit from the full tummy tuck surgery. During a full tummy tuck, your plastic surgeon will make an incision from hip to hip in the lowest part of the abdomen. The incision is then extended through a layer of fat under the skin as far as the abdominal muscles. Next, an incision is made around the belly button to release it from the abdominal skin. The location for the upper incision is then checked and modified if needed. The excess skin and underlying fat in between the lower incision and the upper incision is then excised, revealing the abdominal muscles. The upper abdominal skin and fat are then elevated over the abdominal muscles. The muscle laxity is then gauged at this point and marked for correction. Stitches are then placed in the two main abdominal muscles (rectus abdominus) to approximate the left and right muscle bundles. The upper abdominal skin and fatty layer are then pulled down as far as the lower incision. A new opening of the navel is then marked on the abdominal skin. Some surgeons prefer to create a new opening in the shape of a "shield". At our practice we create a vertically oriented elliptical navel according to studies that have shown this shape as the most aesthetically pleasing belly button form. The opening is then cut and the navel brought through. If the flanks are full, the love-handle fat is then liposuctioned at this stage. Your plastic surgeon will place a drain on each side before reattaching the belly button, and this drain will typically stay in place for about 5 days post-operatively. The incision is then closed with 3-layers of suturing at our practice. This includes approximation of the fatty layer first, followed by the layer below the skin, and finally the skin itself. The patient will then have surgical tape placed on their incision and be wrapped in an abdominal binder to help reduce swelling.
For most patients, a tummy tuck is performed under general anesthesia in an ambulatory surgical care facility or in the hospital. Patients can typically go home or to a recovery care on the same day as their surgery. We can recommend Newport Beach recovery facilities or home care if you would like additional private post-operative care in the days following surgery.
As with other plastic surgery procedures, a tummy tuck is highly individualized for the patient's needs or desires. However, The procedure may take anywhere from 2-5 hours, depending on the severity of the case and the type of tummy tuck planned.
The incisions are covered with light dressings. After the tummy tuck, patients may feel like they are so tightly sutured that their incisions may pop. The sutures are tightly placed to ensure that the patient gets the best results once the skin starts to relax weeks following their procedure. The first two weeks patients will not be able to fully stand straight up, but this is normal and will only be temporary. Initial discomfort subsides daily and can be controlled with oral medication.
Some bruising and swelling may be present within the first two weeks after tummy tuck surgery. Patients typically return to work when all discomfort has subsided.
It is important that the patient refrains from any vigorous or strenuous activity as this could lead to breakage of the internal or external sutures. Walking for 100 yards is recommended several times a day to prevent development of blood clots. Patients should refrain from any strenuous activity for 4-6 weeks after surgery.
Tummy tuck procedure can also be combined with any other plastic surgery procedure to reduce the amount of time a patient will have to undergo surgery. Some patients opt to have an extended tummy tuck procedure while others combine their tummy tuck with a Brazilian butt lift or breast enhancement surgery.
A mommy makeover is a procedure designed to repair and recontour a woman's body after pregnancy. The physical effects that come with childbearing can seem impossible to correct without plastic surgery. Some of the anatomical changes that occur are deflated breasts, increase in flank size, excess skin in the abdominal area, deflated buttocks, and separated abdominal muscles, which in turn leaves a weakened abdominal wall. A mommy makeover can be customized to meet all of these effects or only some of them, as all bodies differ post-pregnancy. The procedures that are typically included in a mommy makeover are a tummy tuck, breast lift, breast augmentation, breast reduction, liposuction, and Brazilian butt lift.
The pubic mons often becomes loose and sags after weight loss, normal ageing, and/or pregnancy. Monsplasty is a surgical procedure that reduces and lifts the mons pubis to its original position. In our plastic surgery body contouring practice, a monsplasty is performed in combination with our tummy tuck surgeries to enhance the overall outcome and improve appearance of both the tummy and the pubic mons.
The tummy tuck procedure is unlikely to be covered by insurance. However, a panniculectomy may be covered by certain insurance policies when medical necessity is met.
The most common complaints following surgery include swelling, bruising, numbness in the abdominal region, and some discomfort. However, potential complications after a tummy tuck surgery include infection, bleeding, blood clot formation, fluid collection, partial loss of abdominal skin, wound separation, poor healing, poor scarring, loss of umbilicus, temporary or permanent loss of skin sensation, as well as unforeseen risks.
Every patient's post-operative journey is different as people heal at different rates. However, after your surgery, you should walk about 200 yards or so every 3 hours throughout the day. This improves blood circulations and prevents blood clot formation in your legs.
Every surgeon differs in what type of medications they want their patients on after undergoing any type of procedure. In the Plastic Surgery Body Contouring Center, we recommend the pain pump for the first 2-3 days of your tummy tuck recovery. Most patients have been very happy with the additional help, as these initial days are the most painful and difficult period following surgery.