Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a surgical procedure designed to improve the shape or appearance of the abdomen. Several changes occur during aging and especially after pregnancy. Excess fat builds up under the skin. This can be addressed by abdominoplasty or liposuction. Excess skin and separation of the main muscle bulk of the abdominal wall can only be addressed by abdominoplasty. Variations in the abdominoplasty procedure differ in the length of incision at the lower border of the abdomen as well as whether or not an incision is made around the umbilicus (belly button). During your consultation with Dr. Bass a careful examination will be performed and the most appropriate option selected. Lastly, fat within the abdominal cavity is not addressed by aesthetic plastic surgical procedures. Diet and exercise or other weight loss options are appropriate for addressing this feature.
The abdominoplasty or tummy tuck operation restores a more youthful contour to the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat and tightening muscle layers of the abdominal wall. This is done using an incision of varying length along the lower border of the abdomen. Endoscopic abdominoplasty, mini-abdominoplasty and other more minimal procedures reduce incisions, and may be more suitable for your needs than full abdominoplasty. These procedures are selected when specific limited areas of the abdomen require improvement or in younger individuals with less in the way of aging changes. Careful evaluation is necessary to select the correct procedure . A degree of suction lipectomy (liposuction) is usually performed at the time of abdominoplasty. This can not be done as aggressively as a liposuction procedure alone in order to preserve blood supply to the abdominal skin being redraped.
Extent of Improvement
The goal of aesthetic surgery is to provide the best appearance possible. The extent of improvement is influenced by a number of factors, such as the condition of the skin, previous sun exposure, underlying bone structure, heredity, and others. Abdominoplasty will remove much of the excess skin in the lower abdomen and some of the excess in the upper abdomen. Stretch marks residing in the lower abdomen will be largely removed. Excess fat will be reduced and a flatter abdominal contour obtained. It will not transform you back to the appearance you had in your 20’s or before having children. All surgery necessarily leaves scars. All surgical scars are permanent and cannot be erased. Abdominoplasty scars can usually be concealed by most, though not all bathing suits.
Day of Surgery
The procedure will be performed in the office operating room, or hospital if you prefer. The procedure is performed utilizing local anesthesia with sedation. The operation takes about 3 hours, although this will be longer if additional procedures are to be added. After a short period of recovery in the office, you will be discharged home but must avoid all unnecessary activity during the first few days. A local anesthesia pump is used to minimize discomfort during early recovery.
You will need someone to accompany you home and provide care for you at home during the first few days after surgery. You will rest in bed in a jack-knife position with pillows under the knees and to prop up your back. Some walking will be performed daily at home. A drain will be in place which must be emptied 2-3 times a day. A small local anesthesia pump is worn in a pouch on a belt for the first few days to help minimize discomfort.
After surgery you should expect 1-2 weeks to return to desk work. Strenuous activities as sports may be resumed in 4-6 weeks. Final settling of the abdomen will take at least 3 months.