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Tummy Tuck Surgery
A tummy tuck removes excess skin from the stomach, tightens abdominal muscles and eliminates or improves the appearance of scars on the abdomen. You may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck if you:
- Are in overall good health
- Have excess stomach skin due to weight changes
- Have excess stomach skin due to pregnancy
- Have stretched-out abdominal skin due to aging or heredity
- Have bad posture and back problems caused by weak stomach muscles and excess stomach fat
- Are NOT planning on getting pregnant in the future
- Are NOT planning to lose a significant amount of weight in the future
- Are NOT using the tummy tuck surgery alone as weight-loss surgery
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
A tummy tuck is an outpatient procedure that lasts two to three hours, depending on the version of the procedure and other factors individual to you as a patient. The doctor will place you under general anesthesia and then make an incision between the pubic hairline and the belly button, lifting the abdominal skin to repair weakened abdominal muscles and remove any excess skin. In the case of a complete tummy tuck, a second incision is often made in the navel in order to remove excess skin from the upper abdomen. Once the excess skin has been trimmed and the muscles repaired, the abdominal skin is put back into position and trimmed, and then the skin is stitched together. For a complete tummy tuck, a new opening for the belly button will be created at this point, with the belly button then sutured into its new position.
To further enhance the appearance of your stomach, or for other, health-related reasons, you may wish to have other procedures performed in conjunction with your tummy tuck. You may want liposuction performed along with your tummy tuck in order to remove stomach fat and further contour the stomach. You may also opt to have hernia repair surgery performed along with your tummy tuck, since both surgeries work on the abdominal area. Consult with your doctor during your consultation to discuss your surgery options.
What to Expect in Recovery
The tummy tuck is an outpatient procedure, so you will return home after surgery, where it is recommended that you remain in bed until the following morning. Plan to have someone drive you to and from surgery, and have someone stay with you for the first 24 hours following surgery. The doctor will also give you instructions on bathing and sleeping techniques as well as exercises to use during the entire recovery process. To prevent the buildup of excess fluids in the abdomen, a suction drain is put in place during the surgery and remains in place until three days afterwards (when you can remove it painlessly). In the case of a complete tummy tuck, your doctor will have also placed a urinary catheter during the procedure, and you will use the catheter through the first day and night after your surgery. Immediately after surgery, you may experience some abdominal discomfort, which your surgeon will give you medication to relieve. You may also experience some abdominal swelling which usually subsides after the first week, though swelling of the lower abdomen may subsist for a little while longer. After one week, you will visit your doctor to have your stitches removed. You will be able to return to normal activities within two weeks of the procedure, though no strenuous physical activity or exercise is recommended for the six to eight weeks following surgery. It is also recommended that you abstain from smoking for at least the first two weeks after surgery, in order to not interfere with the healing process. Expect to have regular doctor visits in the first few weeks, and then months, following the surgery so that your doctor can check that you are healing properly and with no complications. Though the full aesthetic effects of the tummy tuck procedure won’t be seen for up to six months afterwards, you will begin to see a marked improvement in your stomach contour within only two weeks after surgery.
The most common complication following tummy tuck is collection of blood or serum (seromas) under the skin of the abdomen (hematoma). A suction drain is placed inside during your procedure and left for three days postoperative. Its removal is painless.
Infection and incision healing problems, including loss of skin and excessive scarring, occurs less frequently. As with any surgical procedure, small nerves to the skin are interrupted during a tummy tuck. Our cosmetic surgery patients are informed that portions of the abdomen will feel numb or have less feeling. Sensation returns over several months but some diminished feeling may last indefinitely.
Following complete Abdominoplasty, you can expect a horizontal scar low on the abdomen and a circular scar within the belly button (umbilicus). In some individuals, a different type or location of scar may be necessary because of particular body variations. If this is so in your case, your surgeon will inform you at the time of your consultation. Your scars will be red or pink for six months and gradually fade thereafter. The scars are rarely troublesome. Nevertheless, you should know that all scars are permanent and their height, width, and final color are not totally predictable.
Like any surgical procedure, other serious or even life-threatening complications are possible after your abdominoplasty. It is important to enter into your procedure aware not only of the benefits, but also of the possible complications. Talk to your surgeon about every question and concern you may have.
Meet The Tummy Tuck Doctors
Frequently Asked Questions
- How is this procedure performed?
- How do I prepare for this procedure?
- How long does the procedure take?
- What form of anesthesia is used?
- Can I return home the same day?
- How long before I can return to normal activity?
How is this procedure performed?
Complete abdominoplasty is performed for those requiring maximum correction. During a complete tummy tuck, our plastic surgeon makes a horizontal incision low on the abdomen at the level of the pubic hair.
How do I prepare for this procedure?
During your initial visit to discuss Abdominoplasty with your plastic surgeon, be prepared to give a complete medical history including all your medications, allergies and previous surgeries. You will undergo a thorough physical examination and blood tests. If you are at or over age 40, an electrocardiogram will be required. Photographs are important aids in planning and performing your Tummy Tuck. They become a permanent part of your patient record and are taken before and several months after your procedure.
During your consultation, you will be given specific directions to help you prepare for your procedure. Instructions generally include cautions about taking certain medication and drinking alcohol, the shaving process and use of antibacterial soap. You must not eat or drink anything eight hours before your procedure. If you take daily medication, ask your surgeon if it is safe to take before your procedure. If you have any sores on your body, if you have a cold, sore throat or allergic condition, inform your surgeon so you may be examined prior to your procedure.
If you smoke, the likelihood of healing problems and other complications increases. Smokers must stop smoking completely at least two weeks prior to and two weeks after surgery. “Cutting down” is not enough. Complete cessation of smoking is mandatory. You must also stop taking aspirin or diet pills at least 2 weeks prior to surgery.
How long does an Abdominoplasty take?
Operating time is generally two to three hours depending on the scope of your specific situation.
What form of anesthesia is used?
General anesthesia is used for all surgical procedures and is performed by a Professional M.D. Anesthesiologist.
Can I return home the same day?
All procedures are performed on an outpatient basis so you may return home the same day. However, it is necessary that you have someone to pick you up after the procedure, take you home, and stay with you for at least 24 hours.
All Patients must schedule check-up appointments for the following times:
- 1 day
- 1 week
- 2 weeks
- 1 month
- 3 months
- 6 months
- 1 year
How long before I can return to normal activity?
Most people return to their usual activities within two weeks after the procedure. Strenuous sports and high levels of intense physical activity, however, are prohibited for six to eight weeks. Be sure to check with your surgeon.
Schedule Your Consultation
Are you ready to flaunt a smoother, sleeker stomach? Request a free tummy tuck consultation with one of our experienced surgeons at the South Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery. Contact us today at (954) 565-7575 or toll-free at (800) 274-LIPO.