A Tummy Tuck, technically referred to as abdominoplasty, is a procedure that will remove excess fat and skin from around the waist and removes excess skin to leave a flatter, lower body profile and younger-looking abdomen. It can also remove or reduce the appearance of stretch marks on your lower abdomen. The operation can remove folds of skin left behind after losing a lot of weight, and tighten stretched skin and muscles after pregnancy.
Tummy tuck surgery, depending on the amount of fat due to be removed, and whether the surgery is combined with another, generally last between 1 and 2 hours. As it is a rather extensive procedure that requires a certain amount of invasive surgery, patients are required to spend between 1 and 2 nights at the hospital following the operation.
As the procedure is rather complex and extensive, it is carried out under general anaesthetic, which means that patients should avoid eating and drinking for up to six hours before a tummy tuck surgery. Before the operation begins patients must either be given compression stockings or an injection of an anti-clotting medicine called heparin to help prevent blood clots forming in the veins in your legs.
Nowadays there is wealth of variations to the surgery. For example, patients can choose to have a mini tummy tuck, an extended tummy tuck or a standard tummy tuck. The standard tummy tuck surgery will be explained here.
The procedure will begin with the surgeon drawing an outline of the areas which are to be operated on. Following this, he or she will the make a long incision from hipbone to hipbone, which should run just above the pubic bone. A second is then subsequently made in order to free the navel from the surrounding tissue. The skin will then be separated from the abdominal wall by the surgeon, who will then lift a large skin flap to reveal the vertical muscles found in the abdomen.
Once this flap has been made, the muscles are then pulled together and stitched into a new, tighter position. The section of skin that was cut as the flap is then stretched downwards in the direction of the first incision, while any extra or excess tissue is removed. The belly button is, if necessary, repositioned to ensure symmetry. Once the belly button has been repositioned, the incisions are then sutures closed to leave patients with a flatter and younger looking abdomen.
During a mini tummy tuck procedure, only the skin and excess far from below the belly button are removed, while an extended tummy tuck surgery involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the back as well as the abdomen.
After the surgery, your surgeon will provide you with some painkillers as well as a protective garment which needs to be worn for between 1 and 6 weeks. Some mild pain and discomfort is highly likely, but this should start to dissipate after a few weeks. Swelling and bruising is also likely, but these should start to disappear after a few days. Scarring is of course a side effect, but due to the positions of the incisions, they should not be overtly visible and will continue fading for up to a year until they are hardly noticeable.