If you have excess fat and lax skin in the abdominal area that refuses to budge no matter how much you diet or exercise, you may be a good candidate for a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty). This surgery is popular because it provides a flatter stomach and tightens the abdominal muscles below the belly button. Women sometimes experience stretched abdominal muscles after pregnancy that can be corrected during this procedure.
At The Maryland Institute of Plastic Surgery, our surgeon will customize your tummy tuck based on your body and how you wish to look. Liposuction is used, if necessary, to remove any excess fatty deposits. Note that a tummy tuck is best performed on patients who are close to their ideal weight. If you plan to lose weight or become pregnant, you should postpone your surgery, as weight loss and pregnancy can both cause the development of more lax skin in this area.
Abdominoplasty is a typical procedure in a mommy makeover, as well as after post-bariatric surgery. If you only have deposits of fat in the abdominal region with no lax skin or stretched muscles, liposuction alone may be enough for you. Your skin must have sufficient elasticity, however. We can determine what you need during your consultation.
At that time, we will also discuss your concerns about your appearance and your goals for your tummy tuck, as well as your medical history, medications you take, and previous procedures you have had. We will answer all of your questions, explain what to expect from surgery, and tell you how to prepare for your surgery.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
A tummy tuck usually takes 2-4 hours. It can sometimes be combined with other procedures, such as a thigh lift, breast augmentation, or breast lift, as long as the total time of your surgery does not exceed 7-8 hours.
The incision is usually made from one hip to the other under the bikini line. If necessary, liposuction is performed to remove excess fat. A cannula (tube) is inserted through the incision and attached to a suction device that extracts the fatty tissue. The muscles are then tightened, excess skin is excised, and the skin is pulled tighter for a smoother, slimmer contour. The belly button is usually re-positioned so that it is in the appropriate place for your flatter stomach.
A mini-tummy tuck may be possible for some patients who have excess skin and muscle laxity only below the belly button. This procedure is much the same except it can be done with a smaller incision, and the belly button does not have to be re-positioned. If you have excess skin or loss of muscle tone above the belly button, however, you are recommended to get a full tummy tuck.
Preparing for Your Tummy Tuck
Please avoid taking Advil, Aleve, aspirin, ibuprofen, Motrin, and Naprosyn for two weeks prior to your surgery. High dose vitamins and herbal medications should also be avoided. Most other medications that you take regularly can be taken before your procedure. It is especially important to take blood pressure medication so that your blood pressure remains normal during surgery.
Your tummy tuck will be performed in the hospital using general anesthesia. Most patients can go home the same day, but be sure to have someone available to drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours, as you will be drowsy from the anesthesia.
Recovering from a Tummy Tuck
You will wear a compression garment for 4-6 weeks after your surgery to minimize swelling. Drains will also be placed in the incisions. These collect fluids as you heal and will be removed within 1-2 weeks.
Some bruising, swelling, soreness, tightness, and itching are normal after abdominoplasty. You can take medication, if necessary, to ease discomfort. These symptoms will gradually subside during the first month.
As a result, most patients take about 2 weeks off from work to recover. Please avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for 4-6 weeks, however. Full results from your surgery can take 4-6 months to be visible.
Your tummy tuck is permanent, but fatty deposits and lax skin can develop again in this area. Maintaining a steady weight can help to sustain the outcome.