Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

What is tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck, commonly known as abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic surgical procedure of the abdomen to improve its shape and appearance by removing excess skin and fat around the bellybutton (umbilicus) or lower abdominal wall. The underlying fascia is usually tightened and remaining skin is repositioned to give a more toned look that helps to boost body image.
There are two types of tummy tuck procedures. A partial abdominoplasty, with an incision in the lower abdomen, and a full abdominoplasty, with longer incision from one end of the hip to another and second incision to free the belly button.

Who are the candidates?
The excess fat, poor elasticity of the skin, or weakened connective tissue in the abdomen can be caused by various reasons and usually is due to:
1. Significant changes in weight
2. Pregnancy
3. Abdominal surgery, such as a C-section
4. Aging
5. Naturally saggy body type

A tummy tuck removes the loose, excess skin and fat, and tightens weak fascia. If the C-section scar and stretch marks are present within the excess skin in the lower abdomen, then these may also be removed during the procedure. As a tummy make-over procedure, this can be combined with breast surgery. After removing the excess fat with liposuction, the excess skin is to be removed with tummy tuck.

Who should not undergo tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck should not be considered in the following conditions:
1. Considering pregnancy in the future
2. Have had a previous abdominal surgery that caused significant scar tissue
3. Have a severe chronic condition, such as heart disease or diabetes
4. Can’t quit smoking or drinking
5. Have a body mass index that’s greater than 30
6. Plan to lose a significant amount of weight

What are the risks that the procedure carry?
A tummy tuck poses various risks, including:
1. Fluid accumulation beneath the skin (seroma)
2. Poor wound healing
3. Unexpected scarring
4. Changes in skin sensation
5. Bleeding, infection, and an adverse reaction to anesthesia

What are the things that need to be done before undergoing the procedure?
The following things are needed to be done:
1. Detailed medical and physical check-up
2. Tally the expectation and reality
3. Stop smoking
4. Avoid certain medications like aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements that can increase bleeding
5. Maintain a stable weight for at least a year

What one can expect in a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck is done under general anesthesia, thus needs admission. Depending on the goal and the extent of changes that one seeks, there are a number of different procedures for a tummy tuck. But, basically, incisions are made to remove the excess skin and fat between the bellybutton and pubic hair in a horizontal, ova,l or elliptical shape. Connective tissue (fascia) that lies over the abdominal muscles is then tightened with permanent sutures. The amount of excess skin is then removed. The type of procedure that one carries out will determine the shape and length of the incision. The incision above the pubic hair will be stitched together and will leave a scar that falls along the natural crease within the bikini line. The skin around the bellybutton is also repositioned. The procedure can take between two and five hours in the expert’s hand.
After the procedure, on gaining consciousness, one will find surgical dressing over the abdominal incision and bellybutton and small tubes along the incision site to drain any excess blood or fluid, which will be removed in couple of days, depending upon the amount and nature of the drain. The earlier the mobilization starts, the better and faster will be the recovery time.
A supportive abdominal garment (abdominal binder) should be worn for about six weeks after the procedure, as this helps to prevent collection of fluid and provides abdominal support. For the first six weeks, one needs to avoid strain at the incision line and avoid any pressure over the abdomen.

What is the final result of the procedure?
With the removal of the excess skin and fat, and strengthening of the abdominal wall, a tummy tuck results in an abdomen with a more toned and slimmer appearance. And, the results are usually long-lasting, if one maintains a stable weight.

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