What is a tummy tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, removes excess fat and skin. Often times the abdominal muscles underlying the skin are also tightened and any gap between them that may have formed with pregnancy or other forms of weight gain is closed. This results in an abdominal profile that is tighter and often more narrow.
Flat and tight abdomen is a commonly sought after goal.
Even people with normal body weight and proportion can develop a protruding abdomen loose or saggy skin. The most common causes of this include:
• Prior surgery
• Significant fluctuations in weight
Tummy Tuck Variations/Options
There are 3 different types of tummy tucks (Abdominoplasty):
1. Complete Abdominoplasty: Requires an incision above the pubic hairline followed by an incision at or around the umbilicus (belly button) with tightening of the underlying muscles and any gap between them. In some cases, liposuction may be added at the same time.
2. Partial or Mini-Abdominoplasty: The mini-abdominoplasty is performed on patients with minimal amounts of excess skin and without weakness or separation of the underlying msucles. During a mini-abdominoplasty, there is an incision above the pubic hairline and one higher for resection of the extra skin, but usually not all the way to the level of the umbilicus (belly button). Liposuction may be in some cases.
3. Circumferential Abdominoplasty: Used in cases where skin laxity and excess involves the abdominal and back regions. In such cases, abdominoplasty can be performed with subsequent liposuction of the back region, or a circumferential abdominoplasty can be performed, where the excision of skin and fat is carried all the way around the patient. The benefit of the circumferential abdominoplasty is that both skin and fat are removed from the abdomen, hip, and back in a 360 degree fashion – greatly effecting body contour.
Each surgery has different outcomes and goals and therefore is best discussed with a surgeon after examining you.
The Tummy Tuck Evaluation
During your initial consultation with Dr. Som, we will perform a thorough evaluation of your health and medical history, review all options in general first followed by specific discussion after performing a full physical examination to assess the laxity of your skin and excess fatty tissues. Our team will take and then Dr. Som will review your photos with you to demonstrate the various options and discuss with you what plan will best fit your goals and desires.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
These procedures usually will require general anesthesia in an appropriately credentialed surgical center where a team of highly trained staff will assist in your surgery. Once general anesthesia is established, Dr. Som will make a V-shaped incision just above your pubic hairline and the length of the incision will be determined by the amount of excess fat and skin being removed. As he does in every surgery he performs, Dr. Som will make every effort to make the incision as discreet as possible so that any residual scarring can be easily camouflaged with clothing. Excess skin and fat is removed from the lower abdomen and the weakened underlying muscles are also tightened, narrowing the waistline while tightening the midsection. The remaining skin is pulled down and the incision is then closed with sutures. This procedure can sometimes be performed in combination with liposuction. (See below for more details)
Immediately after your abdominoplasty, your final results may be initially hidden by swelling which will last between 8 and 12 weeks. During this time you will be provided with garments to help shape your new figure and prevent accumulations of fluid, while helping with the final incision healing.
If you think a tummy tuck may be right for you, please call today and schedule an appointment with Dr. Som.
What a tummy tuck won’t do
A tummy tuck is not a substitute for diet or exercise. It is rather a useful tool to be used in conjuction.
Thus, although the surgery is very effective, it can easily be undone by weight gain.
Therefore, people planning to have shifts in their weight should postpone surgery to a later time. For example, if someone is planning to have further pregnancies, they should wait until they have finished having children to undergo the tummy tuck.
Stretch marks are not corrected, unless they are included in the excess skin that is cut out as part of the surgery. Therefore, there can be some improvement as some will be cut out, but not all is usually removed.
Tummy tuck procedure steps
A tummy tuck procedure includes the following steps:
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications through the IV or inhaled are administered during the surgical procedures to help keep patients comfortable and pain free during the surgery. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Discuss with the doctor what is the best choice for you. If muscle work is being performed then general anesthesia is usually required.
Step 2 – The incision
A full tummy tuck requires a U or V-shaped incision just above the pubic hairline.
The exact shape and length of the incision is dependent upon the amount of excess skin and body habitus of the patient.
The abdominal skin is lifted and pulled down over the incision to determine at what level to remove the excess skin. In a full tummy tuck or abdominoplasty the underlying weakened abdominal muscles and any gap between them are repaired.
A second incision usually at the level of the umbilicus (belly button) is made to remove the excess skin.
Once the excess skin is trimmed at this 2nd (upper) incision, then a new umbilicus is created – a new whole is made and the old belly button is pulled through the skin.
Step 3 – Suture line: Closing the incisions
Sutures, skin adhesives, tapes and/or clips are used to close the skin incisions.
Step 4 – Dressings/Postoperative care
The tummy tuck will create a flatter, firmer and often narrower abdominal shape. Patients are required to wear supportive clothing for 8-12 weeks depending on the amount of work performed.
Tummy tuck risks and safety information
It is important to understand not only the procedure itself, but also all the risks that come with any procedure, whether cosmetic, reconstructive or other. Once these are known then an appropriate decision can be made.
To learn more about abdominoplasty, what procedure may be right for you, please contact Dr. Som.