What is a Tummy Tuck and Why Have It?
Abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, is a procedure that addresses the loose skin, excess fat, and lax muscles that affect many individuals. Often diet and exercise alone will not restore your abdomen to its optimal appearance. The failure to achieve your desired goal is often the result of pregnancy, aging, prior surgery, ones particular genetic makeup and weight gain/loss. In fact, those people who are fortunate enough to have lost a considerable amount of weight may experience the unintended consequence of extra skin. If you have achieved your best possible weight, do not smoke, do not plan any further pregnancies, are otherwise in good health and STILL have a loose or bulging abdomen, you are a great candidate for a tummy tuck.
What can a Tummy Tuck Offer?
The benefits of an abdominoplasty are evident almost immediately. Most people generally look and feel better as well as more youthful after this operation. Their clothing fits well again, is more comfortable and, of course, looks better. Many of my patients tell me they are able to exercise more comfortably and are more motivated to stay in shape. Although the procedure will not completely resolve your stretch marks, many of the lower abdominal (below the belly button) stretch marks are removed with this operation. Most often the scars can be hidden under clothing, even when wearing more revealing outfits like shorts, bathing suits, and bikinis.
The procedure can often be performed on an outpatient basis and we have developed techniques to markedly lessen the discomfort associated with this surgery. Finally, another aspect to consider is having your abdominoplasty at the time of another surgery, most often hysterectomy. This is a safe option that will decrease operative time, cost, recovery time and discomfort. I often operate in conjunction with Dr. Rebecca James in these situations and highly recommend her for your gynecologic or Pelvic Floor needs. You can find information about Dr. James at www.rebeccajamesmd.com
What Will a Tummy Tuck NOT Do?
A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program. Although the results of a tummy tuck are lasting the results will be greatly diminished with significant fluctuations in your weight. For this reason individuals who are planning substantial weight loss or considering future pregnancies would be advised to post-pone a tummy tuck. A tummy tuck also does not eliminate stretch marks. Many stretch marks are removed with the skin excision and often improved, but some can still be present.
During your Consult
At the time of your consultation we will review your goals. Dr. Brown will evaluate your medical conditions, drug allergies, current medications/herbal supplements and prior surgical history. He will ask about your general health and stability of your weight.
He will examine your abdomen, exam for hernias sometimes take measurements, and finally take photographs. From that information Dr. Brown will recommend a course of treatment, likely outcomes, and discuss potential complications as well as the type of anesthesia.
Prior to Surgery
To get ready for surgery there are a number important steps. We will obtain recent blood work and sometimes obtain medical clearance from your primary doctor.
You must stop smoking. In most cases Dr. Brown will not perform an abdominoplasty on anyone who is actively smoking. You must avoid taking Aspirin, anti-inflammatories and herbal supplements for 3 weeks prior to surgery as this increase the risk of bleeding. Certain hormones must also be stop as these increase the risk of Deep vein thrombosis.
Medications are administered for your comfort and most cases these surgeries are performed with deep sedation or general anesthesia.
The surgery involves a horizontal oriented incises between the pubic hairline and the belly button. The abdominal skin is then lifted the belly button is released. The weakened or separated muscles are then repaired. A second incision is made near the naval area and excess skin is removed. The upper abdominal skin is pulled down like a window shade and a new opening is made for the belly button. The abdominal skin is then closed in layers with absorbable sutures.
After surgery you will be in a soft dressing that will support your abdomen. There are typically 2 drains (small round tubes) to help remove fluid that are in 7 to 10 days. After 1 week you will be fitted into a compression dressing to help further reduce swelling and support the abdomen. Strenuous exercise is avoid for the first 3 weeks. Most people feel ready to return to work by 2 to 3 weeks.
- Anesthesia Risks
- Fluid Accumulation (seroma)
- Poor Wound Healing
- Skin Loss
- Numbness or changes in skin sensation
- Skin discoloration
- Unfavorable scarring
- Recurrent looseness of skin
- Fatty tissue
- Deep Vein thrombosis
- Cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Suboptimal Aesthetic result
- Possibility of revision surgery
- Persistent pain