Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is an operation that is designed to reshape the abdomen. Often, through weight gain and loss, pregnancies and aging, the skin stretches beyond its elastic limit or ability to return to normal shape. An abdominoplasty removes excess skin and fat while the underlying muscles are tightened.
The actual placement of incisions and design of the abdominal incisions vary depending on the looseness of the underlying tissues, the amount of fat to be removed, the condition of the overlying skin and prior scars.
For those women where the sagging skin is mainly in the lower abdomen the mini-abdominoplasty is an additional option. This procedure is not as extensive due to a smaller incision that is easily hidden under a two piece bathing suit. This procedure offers a more rapid recovery and may be done on an outpatient basis.
Who is a Candidate?
- Women with loose or sagging abdominal wall skin.
- Women with abnormal relaxation of the anterior (front) abdominal wall muscles due to weight gain or loss, pregnancies, or prior surgery.
- Those who are unable to tighten the abdominal wall skin with exercise.
- A smoother flatter abdomen.
- The procedure is usually performed at an accredited outpatient facility or hospital.
- Anesthetic options include local anesthesia with oral sedation, conscious sedation and general anesthesia.
- Mini-abdominoplasty can usually be performed under conscious sedation on an outpatient basis.
- Standard abdominoplasty tightens all of the abdominal wall skin leaving a standard scar.
- Mini-abdominoplasty tightens the lower abdominal wall skin only leaving a shorter scar.
- Small suction drains may be inserted with both procedures.
Recuperation and Healing
- Discomfort is usually controlled with oral medications or nasal spray.
- Recovery may be at home with a responsible adult caregiver, at a supervised recovery facility or at the hospital with an overnight stay.
- If placed, drains are removed in 2-7 days.
- Sutures are usually removed in 2-3 weeks.
- A compression garment with dressings over the incision sites is used.
- Light activity may be resumed in 7-21 days. Sports will probably not be comfortable for about 6 weeks.
- An abdominal binder (compression garment) is usually worn for 4-6 weeks.
- Liposuction-liposculpture of the area.
The specific risks and the suitability of this procedure for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are rare.