A tummy tuck, technically known as abdominoplasty, is surgery to remove excess fat and skin on the abdomen. This accumulation is due to such factors as pregnancy, age and/or obesity or weight loss. A full abdominoplasty can also tighten muscles that have been separated and weakened over time or by pregnancy. It can also improve stretch marks.
According to the latest statistics, in 2011 almost 150,000 tummy tucks were performed, making it the third most popular surgical procedure. The best candidates for a tummy tuck are those who have sagging or excess skin; excess fatty tissue in the abdominal area; a significantly protruding abdomen; and/or weakened or separated abdominal muscles. The patient should also be in general good health, physically and psychologically.
The best candidates for a tummy tuck are at, or near, their target weight, but have not been able to restore a firm, well-contoured abdomen. A tummy tuck is not intended as a weight loss procedure, but rather, as a way to restore a natural, youthful appearance to the mid-section. Doctors recommend losing as much weight as possible before a tummy tuck to get the best results. For women, it is best to wait until you are done with pregnancy.
A full tummy tuck is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes an incision across the lower abdomen just above the pubic bone. This incision may go from hip to hip, but it is usually placed so that it will be hidden from the bikini line. Then, skin and fat is separated from the abdominal muscles up to right under the rib cage. Most frequently, excess skin and fat below the belly button is removed. In a full abdominoplasty, the muscles and abdominal wall are tightened.
Usually, for a few days following the surgery, one or two drains are placed under the skin under the incision to allow fluids to drain from the site. You will be instructed by our staff how to properly maintain this drainage.
A surgeon may perform liposuction in conjunction with a tummy tuck (most often that would be to remove the excess fat surrounding the waist, commonly known as “love handles”).
A "mini tummy tuck" is for a limited number of patients who have stretched abdominal wall muscles but who have minimal excess skin. These patients can be treated with a more limited surgery that does not necessarily require a procedure around the umbilicus (or belly button) and often entails a much shorter incision at the bikini line.
Recovery time varies from person to person, but it generally takes anywhere between one to three weeks to get back on your feet. As we recommend for all procedures, arrange for a family member or friend to look after you during the days following surgery. The patient satisfaction rate for this procedure is extremely high. Patients appreciate a firmer, flatter abdomen.