Abdominoplasty, known more commonly as a “tummy tuck,” is a major surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdominal wall and to tighten the abdominal muscle. The procedure can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen.
What is the difference between tummy tuck and liposuction? Dr. Rajagopal answers on KRON 4’s Body Beautiful:
The Best Candidates For Abdominoplasty Tummy Tuck
The best candidates for abdominoplasty are men or women who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by a large fat deposit in the lower abdomen or loose abdominal skin that won’t respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through multiple pregnancies, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal. Loss of skin elasticity in older patients, which frequently occurs with slight obesity, can also be improved.
The Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) Procedure
Full abdominoplasty usually take four to five hours, depending on the extent of work required. Mini abdominoplasty may take an hour or two. Most commonly, Dr. Rajagopal will make a long incision from hipbone to hipbone, just above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue. With mini abdominoplasty, the incision is much shorter and the navel may not be moved.
Next, Dr. Rajagopal separates the skin from the abdominal wall all the way up to the ribs and lifts a large skin flap to reveal the vertical muscles in the abdomen. These muscles are tightened by pulling them close together and stitching them into their new position, providing a firmer abdominal wall and narrower waistline.
The skin flap is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for the navel, which is then stitched in place. Finally, the incisions will be stitched, dressings will be applied, and a temporary tube may be inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site.
In mini-tummy tuck, the skin is separated only between the incision line and the navel. The skin flap is stretched down, the excess is removed, and the flap is stitched back into place.
After Your Abdominoplasty-Tummy Tuck
For the first few days, your abdomen will probably be swollen and you’re likely to feel some pain and discomfort which can be controlled by medication. Dr. Rajagopal will give you instructions for showering and changing your dressings. And though you may not be able to stand straight at first, you should start walking as soon as possible.
Surface stitches will be removed in two or three weeks. The dressing on your incision may be replaced by a support garment.
Getting Back to Normal After Your Abdominoplasty – Tummy Tuck
It may take you weeks or months to feel like your old self again. If you start out in top physical condition with strong abdominal muscles, recovery from an abdominoplasty Tommy Tuck will be much faster. Some people return to work after two weeks, while others take three or four weeks to rest and recuperate.
Exercise will help you heal better. Even people who have never exercised before should begin an exercise program to reduce swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and tone muscles. Vigorous exercise, however, should be avoided until you can do it comfortably.
Your scars may actually appear to worsen during the first three to six months as they heal, but this is normal. Expect it to take nine months to a year before your scars flatten out and lighten in color. While they’ll never disappear completely, abdominal tummy tuck scars will not show under most clothing, even under bathing suits.
Dr. Rajagopal offers the Vbeam laser to treat tummy tuck scars.
If you have any questions regarding abdominoplasty – tummy tuck surgery, or wish to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rajagopal in the San Francisco Bay Area, please call the San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center at 415-392-3333.
Cost of tummy tuck plastic surgery
So maybe you’ve been counting those Weight Watchers points, and have trimmed down substantially, but still have hanging skin and fat around your belly. Or you’ve realized that even eating veggie Subway sandwiches for three of your three meals isn’t going to get rid of your post-pregnancy bulge. Maybe you just don’t want to put off looking great in a bathing suit one summer longer!
If this sounds like you, you may want to consider getting a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty. Abdominoplasty tightens the abdominal muscles and gets rid of excess skin and fat. The surgery is typically performed on individuals who have had major weight loss but still have excess hanging skin and fat around their belly. Women whose abdomens have never returned to their normal state after a pregnancy also benefit greatly from a tummy tuck.
A tummy tuck will generally take place in a surgeon’s facility or in a hospital. It will take between two and five hours depending on the procedure. General anesthesia may be administered. You and your surgeon may also decide to use a local anesthesia combined with a sedative.
There are two primary types of tummy tucks. You and your surgeon will decide which is the right option for you.
Complete abdominoplasty Tummy Tucks. Your abdomen will be cut from hipbone to hipbone in this procedure, the option for those patients who require the most correction. The incision will be made low, at about the same level as your pubic hair.
Partial or mini abdominoplasty tummy tucks. Mini-abdominoplasties are often performed on patients whose fat deposits an loose skin are located below the navel and require shorter incisions.
Is a tummy tuck right for me?
A tummy tuck cannot take the place of exercise and a weight loss program. Results of a tummy tuck are permanent, but can be diminished by large fluctuations in your weight. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to have a tummy tuck if you are planning substantial weight loss or future pregnancies. A tummy tuck will not always remove all your stretch marks, although if stretch marks are located on the areas of excess skin to be excised, they may be removed or improved.
In sum, abdominoplasty could be a good option for you if:
- You are in good physical condition and are at a stable weight
- You are a non-smoker (smoking and anesthesia are a dangerous combination)
- You are bothered by the feeling that your tummy is too large
As always, you’ll want to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon before making your decision. Please call us for more tummy tuck details and a free consultation.