Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
You’ve lost weight, toned your ab muscles, and no matter what you do, that same roll of skin is still perched on your lower stomach. Unfortunately, the excess skin left over from pregnancy, weight loss¸or the passage of time won’t go away.
Abdominoplasty, or “tummy tuck”, is the removal of excess skin and the reshaping of the abdominal wall. Abdominal muscles, stretched over time, are stitched to create a more “cut” waist Excess skin is removed to flatten the contour of the abdomen, allowing clothes to fit better.
Am I a candidate for Abdominoplasty?
The best candidates have a lot of extra skin, have lost most of their extra weight, and may have a degree of bulging of their abdominal wall from the stretching of pregnancy or previous obesity. The doctor can advise you at the consultation about your specific situation, but if you have a lot of extra skin that won’t go away with exercise and diet, you are probably a candidate. Patients must have quit smoking at least two months before surgery.
Where are the incisions and how is it done?
The incision usually goes from hip to hip across the lower abdomen like a bikini line. The extra skin is lifted up off the muscles up to the rib cage and just below the breast bone. The loose muscles are sewn together, and then the extra skin is trimmed off. A new opening is created for the belly button.
Some people only need the skin from below the belly button removed, this is called a “mini-abdominoplasty.” Some patients require skin removed from all around their body, called a “Belt lipectomy”, or “body lift.” Doctors Grosso and Muskett will advise you regarding the best procedure for you.
Where is the surgery performed?
We use only fully accredited surgical facilities, whether it is our own new state-of-the-art operating room or the local surgery center. An overnight stay is available, although most procedures are outpatient same day visits. We use only board-certified MD anesthesiologists for your safety and comfort.
What about after the surgery?
We use a medication called Experel for pain control. With the addition of oral pain medications, pain control should be good. The first week, honestly, can be sore and tight. It is important to keep moving, and soon the benefit of your vastly improved tummy soothes the postoperative discomforts. You will have a drain under the incision for a few days, the output of which we ask you to record. Once the output is less than 20 cc per day we can remove it. We feel that wearing a girdle-like compression garment afterward provides support for the incision and reduces swelling. Return to work depends on lifting. If you have a desk job, 7-10 days may be enough. We ask you not to lift anything over 10 pounds for month, or twenty pounds for two months. We will work with you and your employer on activity restrictions.
What are the risks?
Problems are unusual with abdominoplasty, and if they occur, tend to be easily treated. Occasionally bleeding will occur that will require a second operation to fix. Infections can result in redness or drainage that require antibiotics or minor surgery. Areas of slow healing might need to be treated with dressings. Major complications such as blood clots, pneumonia, severe infections, or death are exceedingly rare.
Scars are unpredictable. Typically they fade and patients don’t notice them. Usually they are concealed, even under a bikini. Some people get thick scars. Usually, after a year, they are thin and white. Most people find the tradeoff between a tummy roll and a scar to be a good one.