October 26, 2015
Tummy tuck or Abdominoplasty is the perfect solution for you if you are looking for a flat and taut abdomen, or if you are trying to get rid of excessive fat that does not respond to diet or exercise. This type of cosmetic surgery typically entails removing the extra fat and skin from your abdominal area. Consequently, your abdomen has a more flattened appearance. Additionally, the surgery resolves sagging muscles in your abdominal region, as well as tightening the abdominal walls. This results in a more rejuvenated and supple appearance.
Many men and women consider the tummy tuck procedure for personal reasons. Men who are prone to excessive weight gain, whether due to sedentary lifestyle or habitual alcohol consumption, may struggle with that last bit of extra fat that won’t budge at the gym. Women who have children often experience significant fluctuations in their weight and muscle tone. A tummy tuck procedure is a viable option for both men and women who want a toned, rejuvenated figure.
Although the tummy tuck procedure is completely distinct from liposuction, it is possible to get liposuction along with a tummy tuck depending upon your individual condition and personal goals/requirements.
What to Do Before the Tummy Tuck Surgery?
Before making any decisions regarding the tummy tuck procedure, it is absolutely vital that you have a detailed consultation with your surgeon. Make sure that you fully and honestly convey your personal goals and expectations to the surgeon so that you can manage realistic expectations. Moreover, you also need to inform the surgeon about any allergies which you might have or any medications/supplements that you are or have been taking. Your own medical history in addition to your family medical history should be frankly discussed with your doctor in order to avoid any complications during or after the surgery.
This detailed consultation will help you make an informed and conscious decision about whether you want to get a tummy tuck or not, as well as whether you should only get a tummy tuck or combine it with other cosmetic procedures such as liposuction. You will discuss with the surgeon whether or not you are an ideal or valid candidate for the surgery or surgeries. Be sure to address any questions you may have before the surgery, so that you are fully informed and prepared for the recovery period.
Once you decide to get the tummy tuck surgery, your surgeon will give you pre-operative instructions, including dietary guidelines as well as food or activities you ought to abstain from before the surgery. To have the most successful surgery, please be sure to follow all of your surgeon’s pre-operative and post-operative instructions.
What Happens During the Surgery?
The abdominoplasty procedure varies according to the type and extent of surgery. The different surgery types and their respective procedures are elaborated upon below.
In a complete abdominoplasty, the surgeon makes an incision in the patient’s pubic area, which runs from hip to hip. Another incision is made near the navel so that this skin is separated from the surrounding skin. The skin becomes consequently detached from the abdominal wall, and the patient’s droopy muscles might be exposed. The abdominal muscles are then tightened for a resulting tighter and rejuvenated appearance.
A complete abdominoplasty may be conjugated with liposuction so that the abdominal sculpture becomes more refined. In this type of surgery, the patient’s belly button may move position slightly.
The recovery period for a complete abdominoplasty requires special care and attention. For the first week after the procedure, the patient is advised to stay in bed with their legs and head slightly elevated, with minimal activity. It is typical for patients to wear a compression garment to hold everything in place after the procedure. The patient is advised to engage in minimal activity during the next few weeks following the procedure, with normal activity resuming after about five weeks.
A partial abdominoplasty is typically referred to as a “mini tummy tuck.” In a partial abdominoplasty, a much smaller incision is made as compared to a complete abdominoplasty. The skin and fat of the lower abdomen is also separated in this procedure, but this detachment is much more limited. Excessive fat and skin is then removed while the abdominal muscles are made taut by stretching them in a downwards direction. The recovery time for a partial abdominoplasty is typical to that of the liposuction procedure, with minimal scarring. Post-operative pain or discomfort is typically addressed with over-the-counter medications, and the patient can resume normal activity after just a few weeks. There is no overnight hospital stay after this procedure.
The extended abdominoplasty procedure involves a complete abdominoplasty, which is conjugated with a thigh lift procedure. The procedure is similar to that of a complete abdominoplasty, with the exception that there is an enhanced contouring of the patient’s waist and thighs. The procedure was developed to address residual excess skin and fat that remained after a regular abdominoplasty in the flank (i.e. “love handles”), lower back, and hip area. Because the extended abdominoplasty is considered a viable option for people who have lost excessive weight and want to address their excess skin and fat, patients may choose to combine this procedure with several others, including an arm lift, thigh lift, and/or butt lift.
A circumferential abdominoplasty is another type of extended abdominoplasty which also includes a buttock uplift. The ensuing scar from this surgery is a particularly long one, running across the length of the patient’s body. This type of abdominoplasty is also referred to as a body lift. The procedure takes several hours to perform and results in a longer recovery period than the other abdominoplasty procedures. It is common for patients who endure this procedure to stay in the hospital for several nights following the procedure for supervision. The patient will have drainage tubes attached to the procedure site in order to prevent fluid accumulation and infection. Minor activity can resume within a month of the procedure though more rigorous activity should be considered on the basis of the surgeon’s advice.
The circumferential abdominoplasty is typically performed on patients who has lost excessive weight and are left with loose, overhanging skin around their abdomen and other parts of the body. This is typical for patients of gastric bypass surgery or other types of bariatric surgery. This type of tummy tuck is designed to remove excessive skin and fat, as well as adding muscle tone to accentuate the flattened abdomen.
The floating abdominoplasty is also known as the ‘FAB’ technique. It is, essentially, a smaller version of the tummy tuck surgery. In this procedure, a smaller incision is made instead of one which runs around the patient’s bellybutton. The patient’s skin and abdominal muscles are stretched and tightened through this smaller incision. While this process occurs, the bellybutton is temporarily detached. It actually floats on the surface of the skin throughout the surgery; this is where the surgery gets its name from. The bellybutton is then re-attached after the skin is properly tightened. Complete recovery from this procedure is expected within several weeks or months, and results can be maintained with regular exercise and proper diet.
A tummy tuck is basically a body lift of the lower part of the patient’s body. This abdominoplasty can be combined with a number of other procedures, including contouring, liposuction, breast reduction, breast lift, and many others. It is important to discuss the implications of combination procedures with your surgeon and to consider the extended recovery time that comes along with subjecting your body to multiple procedures at one time.
What Happens After the Surgery?
Proper diet and exercise is crucial after the surgery if you want to maintain your new look. However, you need to avoid subjecting yourself to extensive activity for some time following the surgery. The patient might experience a certain level of discomfort and bruising; however, it gradually subsides with time. A compression garment can be used during this period in order to suppress swelling and to provide support to the tissues which have been damaged during the surgery. Smoking or intake of nicotine in any form is prohibited during this time period. The scars are somewhat prominent in the beginning phases of recovery, with a dark red appearance. However, these scars gradually fade with time and proper care. Eventually, once the scars have healed, they are reduced to a thin, silvery appearance.
One of the most important things to remember during the post-operative recovery period is to schedule and attend regular consultations with your doctor so that you can discuss your recovery progress and seek any needed advice. It’s crucial to follow the surgeon’s instructions in order to ensure the procedure and recovery is successful. The recovery period differs from patient to patient, depending upon the type and extent of the surgery, along with individual biological makeup. The results of this cosmetic procedure are intended to be permanent. However, if your body weight is subjected to sudden fluctuations, the surgery’s positive outcomes may be severely affected. For this reason, pregnant women, as well as people who are planning to lose significant body weight should postpone their surgery until their weight returns to a normal and healthy status.
Dr. Amjadi MD, DDS, FACS
Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons
915 Gessner Rd #870
Houston, TX 77024
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