An abdominoplasty (or “tummy tuck”) is a surgical procedure designed to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen and to tighten the underlying abdominal muscles. It also allows for the possible elimination of stretch marks, especially if they are located in the lower part of the abdomen. If required, liposuction of the waist may be performed at the same time for a more contoured waistline. The result is a flatter, firmer abdominal shape.
Who is a candidate for abdominoplasty?
The best candidates for surgery are women and men in good health, close to their ideal body weight and with reasonable expectations as to what surgery can provide. An abdominoplasty may address one or more of the following conditions:
Excess or sagging abdominal skin
A protruding abdomen
Abdominal muscles weakened by pregnancy or weight loss
Loss of definition or shape of the belly button
Excess fat that is concentrated in the abdomen
What results can I expect from abdominoplasty?
Following an abdominoplasty, you can expect to have a tighter and firmer abdomen with an improved overall contour. Maximum results can be achieved when surgery is combined with exercise, toning , weight control and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.
What is involved in abdominoplasty surgery?
Depending upon the amount of excess skin and fat as well as its location on the abdominal wall, there are several approaches to restoring a pleasing shape to the abdomen.
The standard abdominoplasty is performed through an incision that is placed along the bikini line and extends towards the area of the hips The length of the scar depends upon the amount of excess skin that requires removal. A second incision may be made around the navel, allowing the excess skin to be pulled downward. Although the navel maintains its position, its appearance will be improved by removal of the excess skin around it. In cases where there is minimal skin excess and a protuberant lower abdomen, the incision can be kept within the pubic area only (mini abdominoplasty). Every effort is taken to try to keep the scar within your bathing suit lines.
The decision of which technique is best for you depends upon your expectations and physical examination. The surgeons will discuss these issues with you in detail at the time of your consultation.
Abdominoplasty surgery is performed under general anaesthesia and often on an outpatient basis, though many patients choose to spend one night in hospital or at the surgical clinic. Most patients are back to normal daily activities within two weeks, but are asked to avoid heavy physical activity and heavy lifting for 6 weeks.
Risks and Complications
Although most patients undergo abdominoplasty with very few complications, it is important for you to be well informed of the risks and potential benefits. These issues will be discussed with you in detail at your initial consultation. Patients can maximize their chances of a successful result by following their pre- and post-operative instructions, eating well and refraining from smoking.