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Body: Tummy Tuck
(Abdominoplasty)

The indications

The main goal of a tummy tuck is to improve the contour and appearance of the anterior abdominal wall. Therefore, men and women desiring a narrower waist and tighter abdomen can benefit from an Abdominoplasty. Excess or loose skin can be the result of pregnancy, weight fluctuations, and/or genetic predisposition. Moreover, these same factors can cause a split in the abdominal wall muscles, thereby exacerbating the deformity. The tummy tuck thus corrects the excess skin, lax muscles, and to some degree the excess fat of the abdomen. Ideally, patients should be within 10 pounds of their goal weight before surgery. Massive weight loss patients, on the other hand, are often left with a considerable overhang of skin. This can be corrected through a procedure called a panniculectomy, which is more reconstructive than cosmetic.

Patients who are smokers or who have poor circulation are not good candidates for this procedure. Also, if you plan to have more children, it is better to do the tummy tuck afterwards.

The procedure

An incision near the pubic hairline is made and extends from hip to hip. It is placed low enough to be undetectable in most underwear or bikini bottoms. The skin and fat of the abdomen is elevated from the pubic area up to the rib cage. If necessary, the sagging vertical muscles are tightened with permanent sutures. The excess skin and fat of the lower abdomen is removed, and the tissue of the upper abdomen is pulled down. Individual conditions of the abdomen may vary so a variety of techniques may be used to get the best result. There is a possibility that the umbilicus may be relocated. Portions of the abdominal wall fat may also be treated with liposuction at the same time. A modified version of the tummy tuck called a mini tummy tuck may be indicated when the amount of sagging skin is limited to the lower abdomen. These mini tummy tuck scars are very similar in length to cesarean scars. Abdominoplasty is considered a major aesthetic surgery and takes up to 3 to 4 hours under general anesthesia.

You can expect

Abdominoplasty can be performed as an outpatient. The patient can go home to their care giver, but the caregiver must be an adult willing to stay with the patient for one week. The patient should ambulate around the bedroom that first night after surgery and every night thereafter. There will be drainage tubes which aid in the swelling, bruising and healing. There will also be a pain pump which drips local anesthetic over the muscles for 5 to 7 days. This greatly increases patient comfort. Sutures are removed in 7 to 10 days. The patient may return to a sedentary job after 2 weeks. No exercising for 4-6 weeks and you must wear a girdle (compression garment) for 3 months. Scar maturation can take 6 to 12 months.

A word about financing

Abdominoplasty can be made very affordable through our partners at CareCredit. Visit them at www.carecredit.com. Patty will be happy to answer any of your questions or assist you with the necessary paperwork.

Insurance Notes

Abdominoplasty is considered a purely aesthetic procedure and as such is not covered by insurance.

 

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