Abdominoplasty or "tummy tuck" is a cosmetic surgery procedure used to make the abdomen more firm. The surgery involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen in order to tighten the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall. This type of surgery is usually sought by patients with loose tissues after pregnancy or individuals with sagging after major weight loss.
Abdominoplasty operations vary in scope and are frequently subdivided into categories. Depending on the extent of the surgery, a complete abdominoplasty can take 1 to 5 hours. A partial abdominoplasty (Mini-Tuck Abdominoplasty) can be completed between 1 to 2 hours
In general, a complete (or full) abdominoplasty follows these steps:
An incision is made from hip to hip just above the pubic area.
Another incision is made to free the navel from the surrounding skin.
The skin is detached from the abdominal wall to reveal the muscles and fascia to be tightened. The muscle fascia wall is tightened with sutures.
Liposuction is often used to refine the transition zones of the abdominal sculpture.
A dressing and sometimes a compression garment are applied and any excess fluid from the site is drained.
A partial (or mini) abdominoplasty proceeds as follows:
A smaller incision is made.
The skin and fat of the lower abdomen are detached in a more limited fashion from the muscle fascia. The skin is stretched down and excess skin removed.
Sometimes the belly button stalk is divided from the muscle below and the belly button slid down lower on the abdominal wall.
Sometimes a portion of the abdominal muscle fascia wall is tightened.
Liposuction is often used to contour the transition zone.
The flap is stitched back into place.
An extended abdominoplasty is a complete abdominoplasty plus a lateral thigh lift. The resulting scar runs from the posterior axillary line (when placing you open hands on your hips, the thumbs lie along the posterior axillary line.) The operation does all of the abdominal contouring of a complete abdominoplasty plus allows further improvement of the flank (waist), as well as smoothing the contour of the upper lateral thigh.
Depends on the problem to be treated, surgical technique(s), and other factors. Can take one to four weeks and patients are advised to take at least a portion of this recovery time off from work.
Heavy activity especially is best avoided during this time.
Initially there may be bruising and discomfort.
A supportive abdominal binder or compression garment can minimize swelling / bruising, and support the repaired tissues.
Patients are advised to avoid all forms of nicotine for a month or longer prior to surgery and also during the recovery period.
Possible risks of abdominoplasty include:
Poor wound healing
Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)