Abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as a “tummy tuck,” is performed on patients who wish to have a flatter abdomen and a better body contour through the removal of extra fat and skin and the tightening of abdominal muscles.
Who are good candidates for an abdominoplasty?
Tummy tucks are for patients who have loose skin and fat pockets in their abdomen that don’t respond to exercise. Women who have been pregnant often opt for tummy tuck surgery because the elasticity in their stomach skin has been compromised by the extended period of stretched skin during pregnancy. Also, older patients whose skin isn’t as elastic as it was in younger days can benefit from abdominoplasty.
But abdominoplasty is not a weight loss procedure. Patients should be near their ideal weight because future weight loss will again loosen the skin in the stomach area. Also, women anticipating becoming pregnant in the future should not have the procedure, as their pregnancy will negate the effects of the surgery.
How is an abdominoplasty performed?
Abdominoplasty takes from two to five hours to complete with the patient under general anesthesia. The duration will depend upon the extent of the surgery.
A traditional tummy tuck begins by creating two incisions. One stretches from hipbone to hipbone near the pubic area. The second is created around the navel. The skin is separated from the muscles of the abdomen, which will then be pulled together and positioned to achieve a firmer abdomen. This also narrows the waist. Then, the skin flap is stretched down to adjust to the tightened muscles. Any excess skin in the area is removed while the navel is repositioned to its natural place.
Recovery from abdominoplasty
After the procedure, Dr. Trovato recommends compression garments to help the skin and muscles adapt to their new contours. A drainage tube may also be placed in the wound to prevent fluid build-up in the area. Recovery can take from a couple weeks to a couple months. Patients need to limit strenuous activities for six weeks. Most patients take approximately a month off from work with a standard tummy tuck.
After a tummy tuck, patients are left with a more toned, contoured abdomen that naturally fits the rest of their body. Not only does this improve their appearance, but it also restores their confidence as they look and feel fitter and more comfortable in their own skin. Outcomes will continue to improve over time, as the body adapts to the changes. Scars will be present, but Dr. Trovato makes sure the incision is made low enough so that it can be concealed by a bikini.
What is a partial abdominoplasty?
Also known as a “mini tummy tuck,” a partial abdominoplasty differs from a traditional tummy tuck in that it only requires a shorter incision in a single location, the bikini line. This is often recommended to patients who only need improvement in the lower abdomen.