Tummy Tucks – Abdominoplasty

Abdominoplasties, colloquially known as ‘tummy tucks’, are cosmetic surgeries done to take a ‘tuck’ in the skin in the abdominal area, thereby tightening loose skin and tightening abdominal muscles that have become stretched due to pregnancy or weight issues.  Tummy tucks have become popular in recent times because of the wide segment of the population who can benefit from them, especially since they are in an affordable price range.  Sometimes when people lose weight very suddenly, they lose mass and fatty deposits because of intensive exercise and diet control but their bodies do not get the time to adjust the skin as well.  This is especially true with progressing age, because the older we get, the less elastic our skin is, and more prone to sagging.

A lot of pregnant women also get tummy tucks because of the massive change in skin elasticity post pregnancy, along with loss of tone of the abdominal muscles as well. The problem is that despite a lot of working out, this loose skin cannot be fixed or exercised off.  Tummy tucks help all these women to be more comfortable in public with sculpted, shaped and ‘tucked’ abdomens.

Tummy tucks are great options for women who no longer plan on getting pregnant, and women who do not mind the scar that will remain in the bikini area after the surgery.  If there has been a C-Section, the same scar can be uses, and sometimes improved upon.  It is advised that weight be controlled within reasonable fluctuations after the surgery, since the effects of the surgery will be negatively affected with a substantial weight gain.  Also, people with old abdominal surgical scars such as hernia repairs, or chronic diseases, should get an opinion from their regular healthcare provider before opting for the surgery.

The procedure itself is quite simple.  Different types of incisions are used, based upon the approach being used.  The surgeon makes incisions after anesthetizing the patient, from around the umbilicus, to below the pubic mound. The navel incision is generally only done in full abdominoplasties.  The excess skin is removed and the incision closed with stitches.

Some women get an ‘extended’ High Lateral Tension Abdominoplasty, in which the ‘love handles’ and area overlying the waist and hip are also reshaped. After these changes, the underlying fascia is sutured to the underlying abdominal muscles layers, thus tightening them. Some of the surrounding fat deposits are then removed, usually by liposuction. The navel is then restructured and placed in its appropriate setting. After the entire abdomen has been closed in layers, the surgeon may place a drain to help any remaining fluids to drain out quickly, thus accelerating healing and preventing infection.

Recovery

Patients can be discharged from the hospital within 5-8 days of the surgery, but complete recovery may take up to 6 -8 weeks. This process may take longer if the doctor’s orders are not followed, and the patient strains their abdominal muscles too much. Patients are advised not to lift heavy weights or exert themselves, although moderate exercise is advised. Bed rest is necessary for the first half of this recovery period, too. Abdominal muscles must not be strained during this time. Any unusual pain, discharge or itching or tenderness in the surgical site should be shown to a doctor as soon as possible.