Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

This procedure, also referred to as a tummy-tuck, is performed to remove excess skin, fat, and stretch marks, and to tighten up loose abdominal muscles. Therefore, this procedure is most popular among women who have had one or several previous pregnancies, and people which have had massive weight loss. There are two types of abdominoplasty procedures: mini abdominoplasty and full abdominoplasty. Mini abdominoplasty is performed on patients whose problem is confined to the lower abdomen, below the umbilicus (belly button to the pubic region). Full abdominoplasty is performed on patients whose problem areas include the upper and lower abdominal region (below the breasts to the pubic region). In both instances a transverse or horizontal incision is made in the ‘bikini’ area. However, the mini abdominoplasty incision is shorter than the full version. In case of a full abdominoplasty, an incision is made around the belly button as well. In both instances, the skin and fat are separated from the underlying abdominal muscles. In case of the mini abdominoplasty, the separation is performed up to the belly button, and in case of a full abdominoplasty, the separation is performed up to the area just below the breasts. The abdominal muscles meet in the middle in a vertical manner just like a zipper of a jacket. The muscles which have loosened up in the midline are then tightened up, similar to having an unzipped jacket, be zipped back up. In case of the mini abdominoplasty, this is performed up to the belly button and in case of the full abdominoplasty this is performed up to just below the breasts. Next, the loose excess skin and fat are removed, and the edges of the skin are brought together and closed. In case of the full abdominoplasty the belly button is also sown to its new location. There are also two drains placed under the skin when a full tummy tuck is performed, and they are left in place for one week. If necessary, both procedures can also be performed with liposuction as well. The procedures are performed in an outpatient surgery center, under full anesthesia. The length of a full tummy tuck is 3-4 hours. The length of a mini tummy tuck is 2-3 hours. Short term recovery for a full tummy tuck is 10 days, and for a mini tummy tuck is 7 days. The sutures on the abdomen melt, and the sutures around the belly button are removed after two weeks. An abdominal binder or garment is worn for 2-6 weeks. On average, a mini tummy tuck patient goes down 1-3 sizes, and a full tummy tuck by 3-6 sizes. Risks and complications are very low, but are similar to other procedures and include bleeding and infection. If a patient is a smoker, or a diabetic, these risks are higher and there is also a small chance of gangrene. Therefore, these procedures are not performed on diabetics with uncontrolled sugar levels, or on smokers who can not quit smoking for 3 weeks before and after these surgeries.


Tummy Tuck

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