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A tummy tuck (also known as abdominoplasty) is a procedure that removes excess fat and skin and tightens the muscles in the abdominal wall, creating an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer.

A tummy tuck can also be done in combination with other body contouring procedures, even with liposuction. For example, if you have had fat removed from your abdomen through liposuction surgery, you may also need a tummy tuck since liposuction removes the tissue beneath the skin and fat but not excess skin.

Moreover, if you have had a C-section, your surgeon might be able to incorporate your existing C-section scar into your tummy tuck scar.

Ideal applicants for abdominoplasty may include:

  • People who are conscious about excess skin, fat, scars, or a lack of definition around their tummy
  • Women whose abdominal muscles and skin stretched after several pregnancies
  • People who have lost significant weight but have excessive fat deposits or loose skin in the abdominal area
  • People who are in good general health and are at a stable weight

Abdominoplasty treatment duration:

The surgery usually takes between two to five hours.

Recovery Time for abdominoplasty:

Patients typically require two days in the hospital immediately after the surgery and fully recover within six weeks.

During the tummy tuck recovery, bandages may be applied to incisions, and a compression garment may be required to lessen swelling and support the abdomen.

Potential Risks and Side Effects:

Undergoing tummy tuck surgery is highly personal. Your surgeon will explain the risks associated with your surgery in detail, and you have to decide if the risks and potential complications are acceptable to you. The possible complications of abdominoplasty include:

  • Anesthesia risks
  • Asymmetry
  • Bleeding (Hematoma)
  • Deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary and cardiac complications
  • Fat necrosis
  • Seroma (the accumulation of blood or fluid)
  • Infection
  • Numbness
  • Persistent pain
  • Poor wound healing
  • Possibility of revisional surgery
  • Recurrent looseness of skin
  • Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
  • Skin loss
  • Suboptimal aesthetic result
  • Unfavorable scarring

What is the abdominoplasty procedure?

Abdominoplasty surgery takes around two to five hours, and it involves the following steps:

  1. Anesthesia: During the surgical procedure, medications are administered for your comfort. Your doctor will recommend general anesthesia or intravenous sedation based on your condition.
  2. The Incision: A full tummy tuck requires a horizontal incision from hip to hip just above the pubic area. The amount of excess skin will determine the shape and length of the incision.

After lifting abdominal skin, the underlying weakened abdominal muscles are repaired. A second incision around the belly button may be needed for removing excess skin in the upper abdomen.

The upper abdominal skin is pulled down, and the excess fat and skin are trimmed. Then, a new hole is cut for the belly button before being stitched permanently into place. The remaining skin is then pulled together tightly and stitched.

  1. Stitches: Sutures, skin adhesives, tapes, or clips close the skin incisions, and your tummy tuck will appear in a flatter, firmer abdominal contour that is more proportionate with your body type and weight.
  • In most cases, there will be a scar around the umbilicus and on the lower abdomen after the abdominoplasty.

What Are Different Abdominoplasty Procedures Available?

Full Abdominoplasty

A full abdominoplasty is recommended to people who have excess skin or fat around their lower abdomen. Since this is a complex operation, a general anesthetic is usually administered for the patient’s comfort.

Then, a horizontal incision in the area between the navel and the pubic hairline will be made. The length and shape of this incision depend on the nature of the problem. Later, the abdominal skin is lifted, and work begins on strengthening the weakened abdominal muscles.

If the surgeon considers it necessary, he will make the second incision to remove excess skin in the upper abdomen and re-site the belly button.

Excess skin is taken away, and a new opening is created for the navel before being sutured into place.

Miniature Abdominoplasty

Whenever a patient requires only a tiny amount of fat and skin to be removed, the surgeon probably recommends a miniature abdominoplasty.

This procedure involves removing a part of skin and fat from the lower abdomen as well as tightening the abdominal muscles. Moreover, this procedure does not leave as much scarring.

Extended Abdominoplasty

Extended abdominoplasty involves a more comprehensive removal of skin and fat. In this procedure, the surgeon removes fat and skin from the sides of the patient’s body besides working on the abdomen area.

The procedure often involves tightening the muscles and skin just above the hips, usually by removing “love handles” and fats on the back of the hips.

In some cases, liposuction is also required to enhance the contours of the abdomen and hips.

Belt lipectomy (circumferential abdominoplasty)

A belt lipectomy (also known as truncal body lift) includes a lower body lift and a tummy tuck in one procedure. It involves removing excess fat and skin around the patient’s entire “belt line” and works on the abdomen, hips, thighs, and buttocks.

Depending on the patient’s goals, the fat taken from these areas is used to augment the buttocks — lifting them and adding shape.

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