Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
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This surgical procedure removes the excess wrinkled skin and fatty tissue from the abdomen and tightens abdominal muscles.
The best candidate for this surgery has relatively normal weight, weak muscles and excess skin. Patients who are considerably overweight are less ideal candidates for the operation and may be advised to lose weight prior to surgery or to have liposuction performed before a tummy tuck. Age and skin tone have a lot to do with the level of improvement you may expect. The surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through multiple pregnancies, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal. Bear in mind, it does produce a permanent scar, which, depending on the extent of the original problem and the surgery required to correct it, can extend from hip to hip.
During the consultation, Dr. Vincent will evaluate your particular condition and advise you as to whether you are a good candidate for this procedure.
The operation is carried out under general anesthesia and may be performed in a hospital or out-patient facility.
The skin is separated from the abdominal wall all the way up to your ribs. This lifts a large skin flap to reveal the vertical muscles in your abdomen. These muscles are tightened by pulling them close together and stitching them into their new position. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline. The skin flap is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then stitched in place.
In a partial abdominoplasty, or “mini tummy tuck” , the skin is separated only between the incision line and the navel. This skin flap is stretched down, the excess skin is removed, and the flap is stitched back into place.
A complete abdominoplasty usually takes two to three hours, depending on the extent of work required. A partial abdominoplasty may take an hour or two.
Although there will be some soreness and discomfort, Dr. Vincent will prescribe medications to make you more comfortable. You should avoid strenuous activity for three to four weeks; and though you may not be able to stand straight at first, you should start walking as soon as possible. You may have drains and a dressing in place. Dr. Vincent will instruct you on how to care for your incisions and inform you when you may shower after surgery.
Some people return to work after two weeks, while others take three or four weeks to rest and recuperate.
Exercise will help you heal better. Even people who have never exercised before should begin an exercise program to reduce swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and tone muscles. Vigorous exercise, however, should be avoided until you can do it comfortably.
Your scars may actually appear to worsen during the first three to six months as they heal, but this is normal. Expect it to take nine months to a year before your scars flatten out and lighten in color. While they'll never disappear completely, abdominal scars will not show under most clothing, even under bathing suits.
Resuming activities will be discussed with you on an individual basis.
There are risks in any surgical procedure. Post-operative complications such as infection and blood clots are rare, but can occur. Infection can be treated with drainage and antibiotics, but will prolong your hospital stay. You can minimize the risk of blood clots by moving around as soon after the surgery as possible.
Poor healing, which results in conspicuous scars, may necessitate a second operation. Smokers should be advised to stop smoking, as smoking may increase the risk of complications and delay healing.
You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following your instructions before and after the surgery, especially with regard to when and how you should resume physical activity. An abdominoplasty, though a major operation, is generally very satisfying. The scar across the lower abdomen is placed so that it is easily camouflaged. Dr. Vincent will discuss the benefits and risks with you as the degree of improvement varies from patient to patient.