As we age, our mid-section can be a challenge. Most of us know that as we get older, our abdomen is where we tend to gain weight. In addition, pregnancy and weight changes can have irreversible effects on the abdominal skin and muscles, making it nearly impossible to achieve that tight, athletic look. For many patients, despite a vigilant diet and exercise regimen, the ideal abdominal contour is difficult to achieve.
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is an excellent option for these patients. This procedure typically involves:
• Surgical removal of excess abdominal skin and fat
• Tightening or plication of the abdominal muscles in patients with diastasis recti (separation/weakness of abdominal muscles commonly seen with pregnancy)
• Creation of a new hole for the belly button (i.e. umbilicus)
• Liposuction of the abdomen, hips and other necessary areas to create a more flat abdomen with an ideal silhouette
The typical tummy tuck incision is horizontal in nature and hidden below the bikini or underwear line. The extent of this incision can vary depending on the amount of excess skin/fat present. In patients with minimal skin laxity and fat present, a “mini” or “limited-incision” abdominoplasty can be performed. In patients with significant amounts of skin and fat excess (typically seen in massive-weight loss patients), an “extended” abdominoplasty may be considered. Additionally, if the excess skin/fat extends circumferentially towards your back side, a lower body lift might be an option.
In some cases, liposuction alone may be a good option for patients seeking improvements in their abdominal contour. These candidates are usually patients with good skin quality and no history of pregnancy. Your candidacy for either liposuction alone or tummy tuck with liposuction will be decided after your examination during your consultation.
Tummy tuck patients are typically able to go home the same day after surgery, unless other procedures are performed in conjunction. A waterproof dressing will be placed over your incisions, allowing you to shower 24-48 hours after surgery. Drains are typically not placed, as special suture techniques (i.e. progression tension sutures), are used to prevent fluid collections.
Patients typically return to normal activities by the 1-2 week mark. However, no strenuous activity or heavy lifting is recommended for 4 weeks after surgery. A compression garment or abdominal binder is recommended for up to 6 weeks after surgery to help minimize swelling.
Explore what a tummy tuck can do for you.
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