A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure to improve the appearance of the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat. Connective tissue in the abdomen (fascia) usually is tightened with sutures as well. The remaining skin is then repositioned to create a more toned look.
A tummy tuck can also remove stretch marks and excess skin in the lower abdomen below the bellybutton. However, a tummy tuck won’t correct stretch marks outside of this area.
A tummy tuck can also be done in combination with other body contouring cosmetic procedures, such as breast surgery. If you’ve had fat removed from your abdomen (liposuction), you may decide to have a tummy tuck because liposuction removes tissue just under the skin and fat but not any excess skin.
Before a tummy tuck you might need to:
– Avoid certain medications.
– Maintain a stable weight.
– Take medication to prevent complications.
– Arrange for help during recovery.
A tummy tuck is done in a hospital or an outpatient surgical facility. During a tummy tuck, you’ll be under general anesthesia. There are a number of different procedures for a tummy tuck, depending on the extent of change you would like to see.
During the typical tummy tuck, your plastic surgeon makes incisions to remove most of the skin and fat between your bellybutton and pubic hair in a horizontal oval or elliptical shape. Connective tissue (fascia) that lies over the abdominal muscles is then tightened with permanent sutures.
After a tummy tuck, your abdominal incision and bellybutton will likely be covered with surgical dressing. Small tubes might be placed along the incision site to drain any excess blood or fluid.
You’ll likely feel moderate pain, which will be controlled by pain medication.
Drains might be left in place for several days after surgery. You might need to continue taking an antibiotic as long as the drains are in place.
You’ll wear a supportive abdominal garment (abdominal binder) for about six weeks after your tummy tuck.
For the first six weeks after a tummy tuck, you’ll need to be careful when moving around. You’ll also need to avoid positions that strain your incision line
The final results of tummy tuck surgery may be initially obscured by swelling and your inability to stand fully upright until internal healing is complete. Tummy tuck results are usually long-lasting if you maintain a stable weight. A healthy diet and active lifestyle can help maintain the results.
Possible side effects include:
Fluid accumulation beneath the skin (seroma).
Poor wound healing.
Tissue damage or death.
Changes in skin sensation.