Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a surgery which is used to remove excess fat and skin and restore weakened muscles to create a smoother and firmer profile for the abdomen. A well toned and flat stomach is aspired by most of us but many of us are unable to achieve it by exercise and dieting. Even persons of normal weight can have abdominal fat or sagging abdomen cause of pregnancy, heredity, aging, fluctuating weight and previous surgeries.
What a tummy tuck will not do
A tummy tuck does not act as a substitute of weight loss or exercising. The results obtained from a tummy tuck are in general permanent but can be greatly affected by fluctuations in weight. This is the reason why women who are planning a pregnancy or people who are planning on losing weight are advised against a tummy tuck. A tummy tuck won’t heal stretch marks.
A good tummy tuck candidates are physically healthy, having a stable weight, non-smoker, realistic expectations and are bothered by appearance of their tummy and want it corrected.
Preparation and procedure
While preparing for a tummy tuck operation, a person may be asked to get a medical evaluation, stop smoking, take certain medicines or adjust some and avoid taking anti inflammatory medicines. A tummy tuck is performed by trained surgeons in accredited clinics. If one gets a tummy tuck performed as an out patient, they should ask someone to drive them and stay with them for the first night.
First step in a tummy tuck is anesthesia. It is administered for comfort of the patients and is determined by the doctor. It can be intravenous or general. Second step involves making an incision. A horizontal incision is made in a full tummy tuck between belly button and pubic hairline. The shape and length is determined by excess fat. After lifting the abdominal skin, doctors repair the weakened abdominal muscles. They then pull the upper abdominal skin like window shade. Then the excessive skin is trimmed and remaining skin is sutured together. Belly button is created by making a new opening and is sutured in the skin by popping through the surface.
In third step, the incisions are closed by sutures, adhesives, tapes and clips. After the tummy tuck, a flatter and firmer abdomen is achieved.
Dressings and bandages are applied on incisions and a person may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to support the abdomen and minimize swelling. Small, thin tubes are temporarily placed under the skin to collect blood or fluid. Specific instructions are gives as to how to care for the site and drain, oral and topical medications, specific things to look for at the surgery site or general health and a follow up time.
A patient should ask his/her surgeon about the procedure, medication, dressing, bandages, recovery time, removal of stitches, after care, bathing, resumption of normal activity, follow up care and how long to wear pressure garments.
Tummy tuck results
Full and final results of tummy tuck cannot be seen till the time of full recovery and the ability of the person to stand erect. There can also be swelling. It may take around a week or two for full recovery and for the person to see final results. A tummy tuck will result in flatter, firmer stomach which leads to a better profile and a higher self confidence.
Risks and safety
The decision to have a tummy tuck or any plastic surgery is very personal and a person has to decide if they want to undergo a tummy tuck looking into risks and benefits. Tummy tuck risk include infection, anesthesia risk, bleeding, skin loss, fluid accumulation, poor wound healing, numbness, unfavourable scarring, skin discoloration, swelling, persistent pain, chances of revisional surgery, suboptimal results, recurrent looseness and deep vein thrombosis.
Most of the health insurances do not cover tummy tuck procedure as it an aesthetic surgery. A tummy tuck procedure includes medical tests, anesthesia fees, hospital fees, surgeon’s fees, prescription medicines and post operative garments. Always choose a certified surgeon for tummy tuck and make sure you are comfortable with him/her.