Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic procedure designed to tighten the stomach muscles and reduce excess fat and skin around the midsection. A tummy tuck can make the abdomen flatter, smoother and improve overall appearance.

What is abdominoplasty / a tummy tuck?

Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic procedure designed to tighten the stomach muscles and reduce excess fat and skin around the midsection. The goal of the surgery is to make the abdomen flatter, smoother, and improve overall appearance.

Types of Abdominoplasty

There are two main types of abdominoplasty procedures:

Complete abdominoplasty

A complete abdominoplasty is safely performed as an outpatient procedure for the vast majority of patients. The recovery period is approximately two weeks. Those in good physical condition before surgery usually recover more quickly.

Partial abdominoplasty

The incision is smaller in a partial abdominoplasty because there is more loose skin, rather than fat, to remove. This type of surgery may be done on an outpatient basis, and the recovery period is shorter.

Abdominoplasty requires a horizontal incision across the pubic area and around the navel. Through the incisions, weakened abdominal muscles are repaired and sutured while excess fat, tissue and skin is removed. Sutures, skin adhesives or clips are then used to close all incisions.

Liposuction is commonly performed in conjunction with abdominoplasty to achieve the best results.

Who is a good candidate for abdominoplasty, or a tummy tuck?

Pregnancy, dramatic weight loss, and aging can contribute to loss of elasticity in the abdominal muscles. A good candidate for abdominoplasty may have one or more of the following conditions and characteristics:

  • Excess or sagging abdominal skin
  • Abdominal muscles that have been separated and weakened
  • Excess fatty tissue that is concentrated in the abdomen
  • Currently at an ideal weight
  • Overall good health
  • If you're a woman, no future pregnancies planned

Abdominoplasty, before and after, 1

Abdominoplasty, before and after, 2

What to Expect After Abdominoplasty / Tummy Tuck Surgery

To help prepare for abdominoplasty (tummy tuck surgery) your surgeon may:

  • Require you to maintain a stable weight for at least three months before the procedure
  • If you smoke, advise you to stop smoking before surgery and during the recovery process
  • Discontinue certain drugs and medications such as aspirin and other blood thinners

It's a good idea to make plans for your recovery as part of the preparation process. You will need a ride home from surgery and may need assistance with daily activities for the first few days.

Recovery After Abdominoplasty / Tummy Tuck Surgery

Depending on the extent of the procedure performed, you can expect to spend a day or two in the hospital. Pain and swelling is normal for the first few days after surgery and can be managed with prescribed medications.

Most patients return to their usual activities and exercise after about six weeks. A binder or other post-surgical compression garment is worn for support for two to three months.

The desired surgical results will gradually become visible and continue to improve as swelling decreases. Your scars will become less noticeable after a few months and you will begin to enjoy a more toned, flat stomach. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly can maintain these results.

Abdominoplasty, before and after, 3

Abdominoplasty, before and after, 4

Risks and Outcomes of Abdominoplasty / Tummy Tuck Surgery

Fortunately, significant complications from abdominoplasty are infrequent. The most common postsurgical problems are infections and scarring. Each complication, when identified and treated early, can be managed successfully. You can help prevent complications by carefully following all pre- and post-operative instruction provided by your surgeon.

As with all surgery, there will be scars, but our skilled surgeons make every attempt to minimize them. If the scars are noticeable, scar revision surgery may be considered in the future.

Abdominoplasty, before and after, 5

Abdominoplasty, before and after, 6

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