Abdominoplasty, more commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, is a major cosmetic procedure that helps significantly reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen, loose skin, and stretch marks. Tummy tucks have become one of the most sought-after body contouring plastic surgeries in the United States and were ranked as one of the top five most popular procedures in 2004.
The ideal candidates for a tummy tuck surgery are men and women who are in good shape and excellent health, but have a hard time getting rid of the extra fat and skin in the mid-to-lower abdomen area that won’t go away with diet or exercise. A tummy tuck may be right for patients who have lost skin elasticity as a result of age, pregnancy, or obesity.
In the event that loose skin and fat pockets are minimal, patients can opt to receive a partial or “mini” tummy tuck. Partial tummy tuck surgery involves a small horizontal incision made below the naval, which makes scarring less noticeable. Endoscopic abdominoplasty can also be used in patients with minimal abdomen fat and muscle laxity.
Patients who need a complete tummy tuck procedure must undergo a major, invasive surgical procedure. Tummy tuck surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis with general anesthesia and can take anywhere from two to five hours. A qualified plastic surgeon will make a large horizontal incision across the abdomen and separate the skin from the abdominal wall. The surgeon will remove excess skin and fat from the stomach area and tighten up the abdominal wall underneath by stitching the muscles close together in a new position. The end result gives the appearance of a firmer midsection and narrower waistline.
While thousands of tummy tuck surgeries are performed each year, there are a number of risks that should be considered before deciding to go forth with the procedure. Some risks may include infection, blood clots, poor healing, anesthesia complications, and difficulties in future pregnancies. These risks are very rare when a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon performs the tummy tuck procedure. In addition, it is important to be aware that a permanent scar running from hipbone to hipbone will remain after the surgery.
The recovery time after a tummy tuck surgery can last several months. There may be considerable swelling, pain, discomfort, bruising, numbness, and soreness that can last for weeks or months. The symptoms can be improved with the proper care, medication, rest, and time. You can reduce the chances of blood clots by moving around after the surgery and increase your chances of a quick recovery by quitting smoking one to two weeks prior to and following the operation.
If you think a tummy tuck is right for you, it is important to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), who has experience in body contouring procedures. Our board certified plastic surgeons are happy to answer all your questions and ease your concerns to ensure that you make an informed decision about your tummy tuck surgery.
Please contact us today to learn more about tummy tuck procedures or to speak to a qualified and experienced board certified plastic surgeon in your area.