Some Background On Tummy Tucks
Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is a procedure to remove excess fat and skin in the from the abdomen and also to tighten the abdominal muscles which may have weakened or spread as a result of pregnancy. It is often done in conjunction with other procedures such as Liposuction of the flanks and thighs, and Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammoplasty) or Breast Lift (Mastopexy).
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Abdominoplasty is done under general anesthesia, and takes about 2.5 hours. It is day surgery and you will usually be discharged within 2 hours after surgery. The area is injected with long acting local anesthetic to minimize discomfort after surgery. The incision is made along the lower abdomen within the bikini line. It is extended to the sides towards the hips to a variable extent depending on the amount of skin that needs to be removed.
The skin and fat are lifted off of the underlying muscle wall. The muscles are then tightened together and held with stitches. The skin and fat layer are reduced and excess skin is removed. The remaining skin is stretched downward and stitched closed, giving a tighter abdomen. The belly button needs to be removed and replaced, since the skin is shifted downwards so far in order to tighten it. The belly button is contoured and sculpted to have a sexy and appealing appearance. More local anesthetic is injected into the muscles, and a small tube is inserted that will slowly inject more anesthetic from a mini-pump over the next 5 days in order to minimize discomfort after surgery. Often small drainage tubes are inserted at surgery which need to be removed about 5 days later. A tight binder garment is placed over the surgical site.
Recovery From The Procedure
You will most likely be able to go home within 2 hours of surgery. You will be seen back within 7 days in order to check the incision, and to remove the anesthetic pump and drainage tubes. Dr. Goldberg prescribes several medications to ensure your comfort. These usually include Celecoxib and Percocet to control inflammation and pain. You will also receive an antibiotic to help prevent infection.
For 1 week you will need to rest and do minimal activity. At this point most people are ready to go back to work. You must wear the compression garment and avoid strenuous activity for 4 weeks after surgery. At that point you will be ready to resume normal activity.
Risks Associated With Tummy Tucks
There are general risks with Tummy Tuck such as bruising, bleeding, infection, and risks associated with general anesthetic. There are also some specific risks. Usually the scar is flat, thin, and blends well with the surrounding skin. Rarely a thickened scar can form. There can be problems with delayed healing and healing of the skin, though this is mostly in patients who are smokers. There can be collection of blood or fluid under the skin, and this may need to be drained using a needle.
Very rarely the fluid continues to collect and surgery is required to remove the pocket. It is a rare complication that the belly button doesn’t survive the operation, and another procedure needs to be done to reconstruct the belly button at a later date. Although care is taken to obtain symmetry and several measurements are taken to help ensure this, it is still possible that there can be some asymmetry after the surgery.
Because the skin is being folded at the corners of the incision there can be some puckering, and a small elevation of skin can be present at the two corners. Usually this subsides and disappears over about 6 months, but it may persist and require a minor procedure under local anesthetic to remove. These and other risks should be discussed with Dr. Goldberg before proceeding with surgery.
Benefits Of Abdominoplasty
Tummy Tuck surgery can restore a youthful and fit abdomen in circumstances when exercise and diet could never be successful. It results in a firmer, flatter abdomen. For women with stretch marks it is often possible to mostly or even completely remove the stretch marks. It can give you the tummy that you will want to flaunt in a bikini. Other procedures such as Liposuction of the flanks and thighs, and Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammoplasty) or Breast Lift (Mastopexy) are commonly combined with Tummy Tuck as these concerns often occur together.