Tummy-tuck surgery or abdominoplasty, can flatten your abdomen by removing loose, excess fat and skin and tightening muscles in the abdominal wall. It can also remove some if not all of the stretch marks in your lower abdomen. It is popular following pregnancy, massive weight loss or whenever a flabby abdomen with weak muscles impairs body contour. Most patients report improved self-esteem as a result of this procedure.
WHEN TO CONSIDER A TUMMY TUCK
If you've got flab, stretch marks or excess skin in your abdomen that does not improve with diet or exercise.
If the shape of your abdomen has been affected by pregnancy or massive weight loss.
If you feel that your protruding abdomen is unattractive.
If your self-confidence is marred by your stomach contour.
Tummy-tuck surgery will restore a flat tummy.
You will look better in clothes and swimwear.
You will have a more youthful-looking body.
You will have a scar (located in the bikini area).
Another pregnancy may influence surgery results, so it is best to wait until you’ve finished having children before undergoing this procedure or a full mommy makeover.
Weight gain following abdominoplasty may negatively affect your surgery results.
These are the top three pros and cons to weigh when considering a tummy tuck. If you want to focus on what is unique to you, please consult with your aesthetic plastic surgeon.
ARE YOU A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR A TUMMY TUCK?
There comes a time when you realize that efforts at dieting and exercise are yielding lower numbers on your bathroom scale but not changing the appearance of your sagging and protruding abdomen. The following are some common reasons why you may want to consider a tummy tuck:
Aging, heredity, pregnancy, prior surgery or weight fluctuations have left you with extra skin on your abdomen, abdominal muscle weakness, or both.
You do not smoke. Smoking slows down the healing process and increases the risk of serious complications during and after surgery. If you smoke, you must quit at least six weeks before surgery.
Your weight is stable. Slender individuals with extra fat and loose skin in the lower tummy are the best candidates; if you are generally obese, this procedure is not appropriate for you.
If you have a significant amount of intra-abdominal fat surrounding your internal organs, you may need to slim down before considering a tummy tuck.
You are physically healthy. You must be in relatively good physical shape to tolerate this procedure.
You are finished having children. The muscles that are repaired during an abdominoplasty can separate again during future pregnancy.
Internal or external scars from any previous abdominal surgery may also affect your candidacy.
If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
A. Tummy tuck treats stretched out abdominal skin.
B. After surgery, you will have a firmer, flatter abdomen.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
A personal consultation with your board-certified aesthetic plastic surgeon will determine the best option for you. Here are some different approaches:
In addition to the incision across the lower abdomen, a traditional tummy tuck involves an incision around the navel. Excess skin is removed, muscles are tightened and liposuction may be used to contour the abdomen. This surgery removes skin from above the navel down to the pubic area that has been compromised by pregnancies, genetic laxity or obesity.
A single incision is made in the pubic area, which will be placed as low as possible and can range from a few inches to the entire span of your abdomen. Through this incision, your surgeon will remove excess skin, tighten slack muscles and possibly use liposuction to further refine the area. The ideal candidate for a mini-tummy tuck has laxity and protrusion below the navel. A mini-tummy tuck is usually recommended for those who have always been in fairly good shape but cannot achieve their aesthetic goals with diet and exercise.
EXTENDED OR HIGH LATERAL TENSION ABDOMINOPLASTY
If you have excess skin in the love handles or hips, your incision can be made longer to address this problem. The high lateral tension tummy tuck was one of the first procedures developed to address skin excess after significant weight loss or pregnancy. The technique uses a layer in the deeper tissue to support and maintain the repair. This procedure includes a tummy tuck in the front of the abdomen and transfers the lift over the hip to the side of the thigh to improve contour in this area, suspending and improving the hip and thigh. You can simulate the effect by grabbing the skin on the sides of your waist and pulling up as if you’re putting on a pair of pants.
WHAT WILL MY TUMMY TUCK INCISIONS AND SCARS BE LIKE?
The incision for a full abdominoplasty usually runs from hipbone to hipbone, and may be in a V-cut or U-cut shape, so that the scar can be hidden in a bikini. Your surgeon will determine the shape and length of the incision based on your preferences and the amount of correction you need. You may also have an incision around the navel.
With a mini-tummy tuck, the surgeon can place the incision as low as possible; it can be hidden in the pubic bone area. The abdominal skin that is removed is below the navel, and there are no incisions around the navel. The length of the mini-tummy tuck incision will vary based on how much skin your surgeon removes.
With a high lateral tension abdominoplasty, scars are longer and often higher than scars in more traditional abdominoplasties and mini-tummy tucks. It is common not to excise the umbilical (navel) site, because not as much skin is removed centrally.
A. An incision is usually made on the navel and around the belly button.
C. Skin is drawn downward, excess is removed and a new opening is made for your belly button.
B. Loose underlying tissue and muscle is tightened and sutured together.
D. After surgery, there will be a scar easily hidden in underwear or a swimsuit.
LIMITATIONS AND RISKS
Fortunately, significant complications associated with tummy tucks are infrequent and the satisfaction rate is high. The overall complication rate is small if the operation is done by an experienced plastic surgeon operating in an accredited facility.
All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Some of the potential complications of all surgeries are:
Adverse reaction to anesthesia
Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin that may require removal)
Infection and bleeding
Changes in skin sensation
Damage to underlying structures
Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures
You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your board-certified plastic surgeon, both before and after your tummy-tuck surgery.
Reference: The Aesthetic Society Website