Tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgery performed on the abdomen, in order to remove excess fat and skin in that area. This HealthHearty article provides some more information on, when one should go for this kind of abdominal surgery, what is the surgical procedure, and its recovery time.
Tummy tuck, also referred to as Abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure, which is done in order to firm up the abdomen. During the procedure, the surgeon removes the excessive skin as well as fat in the abdominal region, thereby tightening fascia and muscles of the abdominal wall. In most cases, abdominoplasty is opted for by women after a pregnancy, who otherwise end up with loose tissues on their abdomen, or those who undergo substantial weight loss and end up with sagging skin.
When to Opt for Abdominoplasty
Those who have any of the following conditions, could opt for a tummy tuck:
- Sagging or excessive skin on the abdomen.
- If the abdomen is protruding and is not in proportion with rest of the body.
- Weakened or separated muscles in the abdomen.
- Excessive fatty tissue concentrated in the abdomen.
However, before actually undergoing the procedure, the doctor has to be told whether there are any future plans of pregnancy or whether there is any plan of losing a considerable amount of weight. Also, the results of the surgery may be limited, if there is any scarring left over from a previous surgery in the abdomen. Plus, the surgeon will conduct a thorough examination to take into consideration the condition of the abdominal muscles and the extent of the excessive skin.
These factors will determine exactly which procedure will be required for individual cases.
What Exactly is Abdominoplasty/Tummy Tuck
A full or complete surgical procedure involves the following:
- The surgeon makes an incision just above the pubic region, stretching from one hip to the other.
- A second incision is made to detach the navel from the skin surrounding it.
- Then, the skin is separated from the abdominal wall, so that the fascia and muscles that need to be tightened are revealed.
- Sutures are used in order to tighten the fascia and muscles.
- The excess fat and skin is removed, thereby tightening the area, and then it is closed.
- A new hole is made, through which, the belly button stalk is brought out and then sutured in the new place on the abdomen.
- Usually, liposuction is also used in order to smoothen the abdominal area.
- Then, a dressing is applied on the wound, and sometimes also a compression garment. Plus, there is a drainage provided for excess fluid to drain out from the site.
As is apparent, considerable amounts of skin and fat in the abdomen, below the navel, are removed via the procedure, which results in contouring both, the abdomen as well as the thoracic region. In contrast to the effects of liposuction alone, since this surgery involves the excision of a large amount of fat and skin, it helps greatly in smoothening and tightening the abdomen after a pregnancy, weight gain, or even rapid growth. This results in improving the structural shape of the body considerably.
Apart from a full tummy tuck, there are also other procedures like partial abdominoplasty, extended abdominoplasty, and a combination of these procedures.
Recovering from Abdominoplasty
- Recovery is largely dependent on factors like the surgical technique used and the extent of the problem that has been treated. Usually, it takes about 1-4 weeks for initial phase of recovery.
- Patients are normally advised to refrain from heavy activity during the recovery time.
- There may be discomfort and bruising initially.
- An abdominal garment used for binding or compressing can help to minimize bruising and swelling, as well as support the tissues that have been repaired.
- Complete recovery takes about 3 to 6 months, with the scars continuing to fade thereafter.