Obstetrics and gynaecology
What is a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, removes excess fat, skin, and in most cases, can reestablish weakened or separated muscles – creating an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer.
Am I a candidate for a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?
The ideal candidates for tummy tuck surgery are those who have a combination of loose or excess skin on their abdomen and/or excess abdominal fat. Almost all women who have had children will also have some degree of abdominal muscle laxity. Any of these conditions, or all three, can be corrected by a tummy tuck.
Tummy tuck surgery is a good option for you if:
You are physically healthy and at a stable weight
You have realistic expectations
You have realistic expectations
You are a non-smoker
You are bothered by the feeling that your stomach is too large.
How do I prepare for a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)
Preparing for your tummy tuck will include a discussion with your plastic surgeon about your health, desires and lifestyle. To ensure the best results from your tummy tuck or panniculectomy procedure, be prepared to discuss:
Why you want the surgery, your expectations and desired outcome
Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
Your surgeon may also:
Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
Take photographs for your medical record
Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
Discuss likely outcomes of the tummy tuck and any risks or potential complications
Order bloodwork, an EKG and obtain surgical clearance (for panniculectomy)
Ask you to stop taking aspirin-containing products for two weeks before surgery.
How is a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) performed?
In a traditional tummy tuck, a horizontal incision is made just above the pubic hairline. The length of this lower abdominal incision is determined by the amount of excess skin.
The skin is then dissected up toward the rib cage, the muscle is tightened, the belly button is repositioned and excess skin is removed. Your cosmetic surgeon may also recommend combining liposuction with your tummy tuck procedure for the best results.
In those cases where loose skin extends towards the back, the incision can be lengthened into the back area performing a so-called "circumferential abdominoplasty". The tummy tuck procedure is generally performed under general anesthesia and can often be performed as an outpatient or with a one-night stay at COC. The procedure itself requires anywhere from two to four hours to perform. Drains are most often used and are removed several days following the procedure.
What are the different types of tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) procedures?
There are three different types of tummy tuck procedures offered at COC. The degree of loose skin, excess fat or laxity of the stomach muscle, in addition to a full consultation with your plastic surgeon, will determine whether a traditional or complete abdominoplasty, a partial mini abdominoplasty or circumferential abdominoplasty is right for you.
Learn more about these options:
Complete Abdominoplasty:A complete abdominoplasty requires an incision above the pubic hairline, an incision around the umbilicus, or belly button, and a tightening of the rectus abdominis muscles (the pair of muscles that run vertically on each side of the stomach’s front wall). Muscle tightening, as well as skin removal, is the most important step in improving the stomach’s contour. Liposuction may also be performed at the same time of a complete tummy tuck
Partial or Mini Abdominoplasty: The mini abdominoplasty is performed on those patients with mild to moderate tummy contour changes, relatively little skin excess and little weakness of the abdominal wall. In the mini abdominoplasty, the navel incision is avoided. Liposuction may also be performed at the time of mini abdominoplasty surgery.
Circumferential Abdominoplasty: Skin laxity or skin excess is a three-dimensional issue and involves not only the abdominal area, but also the back region. When there is significant excess fat in the back area as well, abdominoplasty can be performed with liposuction of the back region or circumferential abdominoplasty can be performed. The benefit of the circumferential abdominoplasty is that both skin and fat can be removed in the hip and back region, improving your body contour three dimensionally.
What results can I expect?
Whether you’re having a partial or complete tummy tuck at COC, the overall result will be a flatter, firmer abdominal contour that is more proportionate with your body type and weight. Your final results may be initially hidden by swelling and the inability to stand fully upright until internal healing is complete. Your new slimmer profile should be will begin to be apparent within a week or two following surgery. It might take several weeks or even months to appreciate the final result.
What is involved in recovery?
Following your tummy tuck procedure, the incision site will be stitched and bandaged. Your plastic surgeon may have you wear either an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimize swelling and to support your abdomen as it heals. It’s very important that you follow all of your surgeon’s instructions on wearing this garment (if you are given one) and caring for the bandage in the days following surgery. Your surgeon will also instruct you on how to best position yourself while sitting or lying down to help ease pain.
Tummy tuck procedures are often performed as an outpatient procedure or with a one-night stay at COC. If your tummy tuck is completed as an outpatient procedure, make certain you bring someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
You will have to severely limit strenuous exercise for four to six weeks as you go through the healing process, in addition to possibly needing to take up to one month off work after surgery to ensure the recovery and results. Your cosmetic surgeon will help you determine a recovery based on your personal situation.