Abdominoplasty or "tummy tuck," is a surgical procedure carried out to remove the excess wrinkled skin and fatty tissue from the abdomen and to tighten abdominal muscles. The overall effect is to produce a smoother, flatter tummy.
The best candidate for this surgery has relatively normal weight, weak muscles and excess skin. Patients who are considerably overweight are less ideal candidates for the operation and may be advised to lose weight prior to surgery. Age and skin tone have a lot to do with the level of improvement you may expect. During the consultation, your cosmetic surgeon will evaluate your particular condition and advise you as to whether you are a good candidate for this procedure.
How is it Done?
The operation is carried out under general anesthesia and may be performed in a hospital or outpatient facility.
An incision is usually made across the lower abdomen and the skin is lifted upward toward the rib cage, saving the belly button by freeing it from the skin. The abdominal muscles are then tightened. The excess skin, which has been pulled down by the surgeon, is removed. The surgeon makes a small opening, creating a new navel where the old one had been. The incision is then sutured closed. Firm elastic dressings are applied. In certain cases, a less extensive operation may be possible.
Keeping You Comfortable
Although there will be some soreness and discomfort, your surgeon can prescribe medications to make you more comfortable. You should avoid strenuous activity for three to four weeks. Resumption of activities will be discussed with you by your cosmetic surgeon on an individual basis. Before your doctor discharges you, you will be advised to wear an appropriate abdominal support for several weeks.
What Are the Risks?
Abdominoplasty, though a major operation, is generally very satisfying. The scar across the lower abdomen is placed so that it is easily camouflaged. There are risks in any surgical procedure. You should discuss all the benefits and risks with your cosmetic surgeon, as the degree of improvement varies from patient to patient.
Fees vary from one geographic area to another. Your doctor and staff will discuss all financial arrangements with you prior to your surgery. In some cases, insurance may cover the cost of abdominoplasty when the problem is considered functional.
Provided by the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS)