Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
The best candidates for abdominoplasty are men or women who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by a large fat deposit or loose abdominal skin that won’t respond to diet or exercise.
Is a tummy tuck right for you?
Women may find themselves with excess skin or fat following multiple childbirths that may have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal. Men often find their bodies’ desire to store excess fat on the abdomen and hips to blame. Also, men and women who have experienced significant weight loss are sometimes left with unattractive loose or overhanging skin. If you have unwanted skin or fat in your midsection, an abdominoplasty, also called a tummy tuck, can help.
During your consultation with Dr. Freed, he will examine your abdomen while you are standing. Your skin tone and the degree of loose skin in the abdominal region will be assessed. He will also evaluate the amount of excess fat in your abdomen and the condition of your abdominal muscles. This helps determine the best technique and incision placement for each individual.
What to expect
During a tummy tuck, Dr. Freed will surgically remove the excess skin and fat and tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall that have been separated and weakened by pregnancy. Liposuction is used on the abdomen and flanks to contour your waistline.
Most commonly during a tummy tuck, a long incision is made from hipbone to hipbone just above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue. (the picture below to the right) Next, the skin is separated from the abdomen to reveal the vertical muscles in your abdomen. These muscles are tightened by pulling them close together and stitching them into their new position using sutures. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline. The skin is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is made for the navel, or bellybutton, which is then stitched into place.
In some instances, it may be possible to avoid an incision around the navel. When the amount of loose skin is minimal and the excess fat deposits are located below the navel, a short horizontal incision is all that is necessary. (The picture above to the left) This procedure is called a partial, or “mini” abdominoplasty.
It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals. Depending on the extent of your abdominoplasty and your general physical condition, you may be able to return to non-strenuous work anywhere from one-to-three weeks after surgery. In many instances, you can resume most of your normal activities, including some form of mild exercise, after a few weeks.
Abdominoplasty, whether partial or complete, produces excellent results for patients with weakened abdominal muscles or excess skin. And in most cases, the results are long lasting if you follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant, your abdomen should remain firmer and flatter for many years to come!