Tummy Tuck: “Abdominoplasty”
Pregnancy, aging, and major weight fluctuations can often leave individuals with stretched-out abdominal muscles and loose, sagging skin in the midsection. At the practice of David E. Morales, M.D., tummy tuck surgery can help a person achieve a flatter, better-contoured abdomen.
An abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” is a surgical removal of excess skin and fat deposits from the abdomen, along with the repositioning of abdominal muscles into a tighter alignment. This body enhancement procedure is designed for both men and women who wish to have a dramatically flatter and tighter stomach. It is also helpful in repairing the vertical separation of abdominal muscles which can occur following pregnancy, abdominal surgery, or after weight loss.
A tummy tuck is helpful…
- To improve the contour of the abdomen when it is exercise and diet resistant.
- To tighten excessively loose skin after pregnancy or weight loss.
- To restore tight alignment of abdominal muscles after pregnancy or weight loss.
- To remove damaged scarred skin or stretch marks of the lower abdomen.
Why Would I Need a Tummy Tuck?
Abdominal laxity and bulging is related not only the skin and fatty tissue, but also the muscles underneath. The abdominal muscles that help you do your sit-ups, also help hold your belly in and support your back. Fluctuations in weight, pregnancy, and previous surgeries can cause your abdominal muscles to become weak, damaged and stretched apart. When the muscles separate from each other, it causes the bulging belly you see on the outside. It is not a hernia, or a hole in your belly wall, just an overstretching and looseness that needs be repaired. Sit-ups make your abdominal muscles stronger, but doesn’t get them back together.
This is where abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery comes in. Tummy tucks not only remove the excess loose skin and fat on your belly, they also allow us to tighten and bring your abdominal muscles back together, so you look flat again. This is why tummy tucks are so powerful.
An abdominoplasty procedure will vary considerably depending on the amount of skin laxity and fat deposits present. Techniques involve a low curved incision across the lower abdomen. The length of this incision will vary depending on each patient’s needs. A short incision is used in a “mini tummy-tuck” and typically hides behind a bathing suit. A standard abdominoplasty incision runs from hip to hip. Other variations include bilateral extensions or a circumferential “body-lift,” most commonly used after massive weight loss. Once you have been properly assessed by your physician, your specific surgical goals can then be discussed to maximize your result, while minimizing your incisions when possible. Once the incision is made, the muscles exposed beneath are tightened and the excess skin and fat is removed.
Sometimes liposuction is used to further contour the result. Finally the incision is closed and the navel is repositioned in an anatomically correct, elevated and more youthful position.
Types of Tummy Tuck Surgery
Tummy tucks come in different variations, depending on your need. If you have but a small amount of loose skin, and minimal to no muscle separation, then a mini-tummy tuck, with a shorter scar and a faster recovery may be all you need.
If you’re in good shape with minimal excess skin laxity but your muscles are stretched out, often a short scar abdominoplasty, not much longer than a C-section scar can be used to correct your belly issue.
Standard Tummy Tuck:
If you have the typical moderate excess weight and laxity of your muscle wall, then a standard tummy tuck is your solution.
Extended Tummy Tuck or Circumferential Tummy Tuck:
If you have lost a tremendous amount of weight then tummy tucks can be extended further around the waistline to address laxity on the sides and backside as well. For example, many successful dieters, lap band and gastric bypass surgery patients have so much deflated loose skin all the way around, that a circumferential tummy tuck or body lift is the best option.
Recovering From Surgery
Generally, the procedure length is 2 to 3 hours, and performed either as an outpatient basis if a “mini,” otherwise an overnight stay is recommended. The post-operative instructions call for rest and waist flexion for 2-3 days to avoid excessive pulling. Most patients are fully upright by day 3-4. Commonly, people are back to work within 14 days for younger patients with smaller incisions, otherwise a 3-4 week recovery is common; strenuous activity and exercise, usually after 6 weeks. Pain is treated with oral medication as well as an optional ambulatory “pain medication pump” that can be worn discretely beneath clothing for the first 3-5 days. An abdominal binder is also worn for approximately 2-4 weeks for added support and compression to minimize swelling. The striking results obtained with an abdominoplasty will be further enhanced with proper exercise and diet after your surgery.
Scheduling a Consultation
To schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. Morales to discuss your body contouring options, you may contact us at (214) 827-8407