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Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen, while also tightening the abdominal muscles. The procedure can dramatically reduce a protruding abdomen and help your clothes fit better.
Pregnancy, obesity, and age can loosen the skin of the abdomen and cause the muscles to lose tone. The best candidates for abdominoplasty are men and women who are in relatively good shape but have loose skin or excess stomach fat that cannot be corrected with weight loss or exercise.
If you plan to lose a significant amount of weight, you should postpone a tummy tuck until you have achieved a normal, healthy weight for your height. If you plan on becoming pregnant, you also should postpone a tummy tuck because the vertical muscles that are tightened during the procedure can separate again during pregnancy.
A consultation for a tummy tuck starts with a thorough discussion of your desires, expectations, and concerns as well as limits and risks of the surgery. Your surgeon will review your medical history and explain the procedure to you. He or she will carefully examine your abdomen and overall body contour and take pictures. You will then be advised about whether you need a full tummy tuck or whether a mini or partial tummy tuck will work for you.
A full tummy tuck is usually performed at the hospital under general anesthesia. You will probably need to spend 1 night in the hospital after the procedure. A mini tummy tuck can be done in our ambulatory surgery center because the incision is smaller and it requires less anesthesia.
The incisions are generally made across the abdomen and around the navel. Muscles are tightened and excess skin is removed. The overlying skin is then smoothed and stitched back into place over the flattened stomach area. Your belly button also might be repositioned.
Recovery and Results
You will be given thorough written instructions to prepare for and recover from your tummy tuck so that you know exactly what to do and expect.
Dressings will be applied to your incisions, and you will have to wear an elastic bandage for a short time. Drain tubes also might be placed under the skin to catch fluids for a few days. Your stitches will probably be dissolvable so that they do not need to be removed.
You can expect some swelling, bruising, and mild pain for a week or 2 after your procedure. You can take prescription or over-the-counter medications to manage any discomfort. Because of the swelling, however, you may not be able to see immediate results from your surgery. It may take a few months before you see the final outcome.
You may be asked to sleep sitting up for the first few nights to avoid stretching the incisions. Most people return to work and normal activities 2 to 3 weeks after a tummy tuck.
The abdominal scar from a tummy tuck is long and will be visible. In fact, it may get worse before it becomes less obvious over the first few months. The incision is usually made low on the abdomen and within the bikini line. For this reason, most clothing, including swimwear, can hide it. Results from a tummy tuck are typically long lasting, but you can best maintain the outcome if you keep your weight steady.
Peter Hyans, MD, FACS, is Director of the Plastic Surgery Center and Chief in the Department of Surgery and Surgical Specialties at Summit Medical Group. Dr. Hyans has 15 years’ experience in plastic surgery. He is board certified. Dr. Hyans is listed in Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors in America.
In addition to his position at Summit Medical Group, Reza Momeni, MD, is Chairman of Plastic Surgery at Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey. He has been listed in New Jersey Monthly’s “Top Doctors.” The Consumer Research Council lists him in “Top Plastic Surgeons in America.”
Call Summit Medical Group today at 908-277-8759 to make an appointment or for more information about how a tummy tuck can offer you a flatter, smoother stomach.