Best Candidates for Tummy Tucks
The best candidates for abdominoplasty are men or women who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by a large fat deposit or loose abdominal skin that won’t respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through multiple pregnancies, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal. Loss of skin elasticity in older patients, which frequently occurs with slight obesity, can also be improved.
Partial Tummy Tucks
If, for example, your fat deposits are limited to the area below the navel, you may require a less complex procedure called a partial abdominoplasty, also know as a mini-tummy tuck, which can often be performed on an outpatient basis. More commonly, you may, on the other hand, benefit more from a complete abdominoplasty done in conjunction with liposuction to remove fat deposits from the hips, for a better body contour. Or maybe liposuction alone would create the best result.
The abdominal muscles are tightened and excess skin is removed thereby providing a firmer, stronger abdominal wall and narrowing the waistline. Great care is taken to place the abdominal incision low on the hip line to hide within your bikini.
Abdominoplasty and Liposuction
It is not uncommon to include liposuction at the time of tummy tuck to help create your new, rejuvenated shape. Areas such as the inner or outer thighs can be treated and it is particularly helpful to treat the love handles to complete trimming of the mid-section.
The Benefits of Abdominoplasty
The benefits of a good abdominoplasty are multiple. The stretched skin and muscle are tightened creating a smoother, trimmer waistline. Athletic patients find their abdominal muscle strength improves as the stretched and bowed out muscles become tighter and closer to the trunk. Also, patients will find the mons pubis and upper thigh regions more uplifted and youthful in appearance.
So overall, a full tummy tuck serves as a “home run”of procedures for rejuvenation the abdomen, particularly in women after pregnancy or massive weight loss. Older patents should not be discouraged from considering this procedure. If your health is good and you are in good physical shape, the benefits will be dramatic. Most wish they had done it years before!
What to Expect with Abdominoplasty Surgery
Anesthesia is usually general, but an abdominoplasty can sometimes be performed under heavy sedation with spinal anesthesia. Length of surgery is approximately 3 hours. You may stay overnight in a care unit for pain control and overall assistance for the first night. Most of your discomfort is from the tightening of the abdominal muscles due to the sutures we use to plicate the muscles. Anticipate at least 3-10 days of prescription pain medication; realize that pain threshold differs greatly amongst patients. The skin of the abdomen will have numbness to varying degrees and will last for 6 months or longer. You will notice paper tape covering the incision line which will be changed in 10 days. Most of the sutures are internal and dissolve in 3 months; there are a few small sutures that Dr. Maier will remove 5 days after the procedure. Drains will be placed at the time of surgery to prevent postoperative fluid collections, called seromas. They will be removed between 10 days and 2 weeks following abdominoplasty surgery. You may return to work in about 7-10 days, as long as your job requires no lifting or manual labor. If so, wait 4-6 weeks or get an excuse from your plastic surgeon so that you can be given a non-lifting job during that time. Driving may be resumed in 7-14 days, provided you have stopped taking prescription pain medication. Light exercise may be resumed in 3 weeks and by six weeks you should feel full strength. Your final result will be evident after your scar has matured, approximately one year.
Abdominoplasty produces excellent results for patients with weakened abdominal muscles or excess skin. And in most cases, the results are long lasting, if you follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
Please note that the information provided in this discussion is an expression of Dr. Maier’s philosophy and practice.