A “Tummy Tuck," or abdominoplasty, flattens protruding abdomens, tightens the muscles in the abdominal wall and removes excess fatty tissue and skin. This surgical procedure is a common one and can benefit men and women who are bothered by a protruding abdomen. A protuberant abdomen can be a cause of distress for men and women alike. It can be the result of excess fat, weak abdominal muscles, pregnancy, or loose skin that has been over-stretched and no longer responds to diet and exercise. For those who have experienced a massive weight loss, their only alternative to loose overhanging skin is surgery.
Could You Benefit From A Tummy Tuck?
During your consultation, you should explain your goals and expectations of the surgery. An assessment the nature of your abdomen, your expectations, and explain the probable outcome of your procedure will be discussed. You may be shown several before and after treatment photographs of patients having similar abdomens, and our surgeon will explain the treatment and the results you can expect to receive. Before and after photographs may be taken of your abdomen to document your improvement.
Your Tummy Tuck Procedure
There are three basic techniques used to flatten a protuberant abdomen. The best technique for you will depend largely on your goals and your specific problem. Liposuction alone can produce a thin abdominal wall for some. If your laxity and excess skin is below your navel, a mini tummy tuck may be right for you. For those with severe laxity of their abdominal muscle or excessive skin, a full tummy tuck may be the solution.
A tummy tuck is usually performed on an out-patient basis under general anesthesia with the patient asleep, or with spinal anesthesia.
A full tummy tuck involves an incision around the belly button and another incision that runs from hip to hip. Your entire abdominal wall is tightened with permanent sutures, and the excess skin and fat is removed.
A mini tummy tuck is usually performed in conjunction with liposuction of the upper abdomen and the flank areas. With a mini tummy tuck, a smaller incision is made in your bikini area and no incision is made around your belly button. Dr. Potter will remove your excess skin and fat through this incision. Permanent sutures will also be placed through this incision to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall.
Regardless of which procedure you have, your incisions are closed with small sutures. Small drains may also be inserted to eliminate fluid buildup. Snug elastic bandages are then applied to the area.
What Will My Recovery Be Like?
After Dr. Potter performs your tummy tuck, most patients experience some numbness in the area of their abdomen, which may last as long as a year. Most pain or discomfort that follows surgery can be controlled with oral medication. If drains are used, they may remain in place for 1-3 weeks or until discharge fluids decrease. Sutures are usually removed in 1 – 2 weeks, however, your bandages will remain longer. A special abdominal support garment is often necessary for several weeks. There will be some scarring that will fade significantly over time. During your recovery, you must refrain from any strenuous activity or lifting. Most patients are back to work within 1 – 3 weeks, depending on the degree of surgery. Dr. Potter will decide when you can resume normal activities.