Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a surgical procedure on the abdomen for removing excess skin and fat, tightening the muscles, and eliminating or improving the appearance of scars of the lower abdomen. While some patients can be managed with only liposuction, others require a surgical procedure creating a flat tummy with a more youthful appearance. Abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia and most patients return to normal activities in 4 to 6 weeks.
What can abdominoplasty do for me?
Every person, whether woman or man, who considers having an abdominoplasty has their own personal reasons. Most common of these is to simply feel better about themselves and stimulate a renewed sense of personal satisfaction. In some women, pregnancies cause the abdominal skin and muscles to become loose and flabby. Major weight gain and loss in men and women often leave excessive skin and stretched-out, thin muscles. Excess skin and fat in the lower tummy are frequently not improved with even the most vigorous exercise program. Following a tummy tuck procedure, patients immediately notice a more youthful appearance in pants and other clothing. No more bulging when looking in the mirror!
Are there different kinds of abdominoplasty?
The choice of procedure is made only after careful consultation and taking the time to understand the specific needs and concerns of each patient. Generally, one of the following procedures is chosen to achieve the desired result, alone or in combination.
- Mini-abdominoplasty (improvement in the lower abdomen only)
- Complete abdominoplasty without moving the belly button
- Complete abdominoplasty moving the belly button to a new location
- Abdominoplasty following major weight loss (eg. following gastric bypass or banding surgery) which is often combined with lateral thigh (flank) and lower back lipectomy. This is sometimes referred to as the “belt” lipectomy.
How is a tummy tuck performed?
The abdominoplasty or tummy tuck procedure is tailored to suit the needs of each patient. This is a surgical procedure where excess skin and fat are removed from the lower abdominal area. During the procedure, the abdominal muscles are usually tightened as well.
Where is the scar located?
The scar from abdominoplasty is located in the lower abdomen and generally horizontally oriented. It will fade with time and usually is not troublesome. The length of the scar will vary depending upon the amount of tissue removed but is usually well hidden inside pants, underwear or bath suit. There will also be a small scar around the belly button if it has been repositioned during the surgery. The pattern and position of the incisions are custom designed to meet the needs and goals of each patient. This will be carefully reviewed and demonstrated to you before your procedure.
Where is the procedure performed?
Abdominoplasty procedures are performed in one of two local accredited private operating facilities. While some patients can return home the same day of surgery, others will require an overnight stay in the clinic. This will be decided by Dr. Zelt during your preoperative consultation.
How long does the procedure take?
In most cases, this procedure takes 1 1/2 to 3 hours.
What kind of anesthesia will be required?
General anesthesia is the preferred method of anesthesia.
What will my tummy feel like after having surgery?
The lower tummy will feel tight after surgery – this is normal. Once patients are more active in the coming days following surgery, this tightness begins to soften and will eventually disappear.
What will my tummy look like after surgery?
Once healed, the lower abdomen will take on a more youthful appearance. Lower abdominal bulging and excess fat are removed leaving a natural looking, flat abdomen.
When can I resume my normal activities?
Most patients can return to light activity and work within 3-4 weeks following surgery. Return to normal physical activity, including sports, is permitted after 4-6 weeks.
Can I have other procedures done at the same time?
Yes, patients frequently combine abdominoplasty with breast enhancement, breast lifting or liposuction.
Are there any risks to tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?
Generally, a tummy tuck is a very safe and reliable procedure. During your office consultation, Dr. Zelt will discuss with you the associated risks and complications. Fortunately, most are very uncommon and the vast majority of patients enjoy an uneventful surgery and recovery period.
If you have any other questions regarding tummy tuck surgery, please contact our office at any time.