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Abdominoplasty - Tummy Tuck

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Abdominoplasty, known more commonly as a "tummy tuck," is a major surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from abdomen and to tighten the muscles of the abdomen wall. The procedure can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen. This procedure can also help patients with moderate to severe stretch marks. This procedure does produce a permanent scar, which, depending on the extent of the original problem and the surgery required to correct it, can extend from hip to hip.

Candidates

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.

Patients who intend to lose a lot of weight should postpone the surgery. Also, women who plan future pregnancies should wait, as vertical muscles in the abdomen that are tightened during surgery can separate again during pregnancy. If you have scarring from previous abdominal surgery, Dr. Fisher may recommend against abdominoplasty or may caution you that scars could be unusually prominent.


Preparing for your surgery

Dr. Fisher will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins, and medications.

If you smoke, plan to quit at least two weeks before your surgery and not to resume for at least four weeks after your surgery. Avoid overexposure to the sun before surgery, especially to your abdomen, and do not go on a stringent diet, as both can inhibit your ability to heal.


The surgery

Complete abdominoplasty usually takes three to five hours, depending on the extent of work required.  Dr. Fisher will make a long incision from hipbone to hipbone, just above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue.  After the incision is made, Dr. Fisher will separate the skin from the abdominal wall all the way up to your ribs to reveal the vertical muscles in your abdomen. These muscles are tightened by pulling them close together and stitching them into place. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline. The skin flap is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then stitched in place. The incisions will then be stitched, dressings will be applied, and a temporary tube will be inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site.

Partial abdominoplasty or mini abdominoplasty is not as extensive or complicated as a complete abdominoplasty and usually takes about an hour or two. With partial abdominoplasty, the incision is much shorter usually the length of the public area (6-8 inches) and is beneficial to patients with only lower abdominal problems. Dr. Fisher usually tightens the lower abdominal muscles, typically from the naval to the pubis. The skin is then stretched down and the extra is removed. The incisions will then be stitched, dressing applied and a temporary tube will be inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site.

After your surgery

After you have recovered from the anesthesia, you will be ready to go home. You can expect your abdomen to swell for the first few days after surgery and you will probable have some pain and discomfort which can be controlled with medications. You may not be able to stand straight at first, but this will improve within a day or two. A compression garment is used for 4-6 weeks to provide support and help give you a better result. Your sutures with be removed from 10-14 days after surgery. Depending on how you heal and the type of work you do, you may be able to return to moderate activities within 5-7 days after surgery.


Getting back to normal

It may take you several weeks to feel like your old self again. If you start out in top physical condition with strong abdominal muscles, recovery from abdominoplasty will be much faster. Exercise will help you heal better. Even people who have never exercised before should begin an exercise program to reduce swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and tone muscles. Vigorous exercise, however, should be avoided until you can do it comfortably. Your scars may actually appear to worsen during the first three to six months as they heal, but this is normal. Expect it to take nine months to a year before your scars flatten out and lighten in color. While they'll never disappear completely, abdominal scars will not show under most clothing, even under bathing suits.

Your new look

Abdominoplasty, whether partial or complete, 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. If you're realistic in your expectations and prepared for the consequences of a permanent scar, abdominoplasty may be just the answer for you.


Patient Testimonials

My tummy tuck procedure made a significant difference. I’ve been able to enjoy a much flatter stomach now. There are no words to describe how thrilled and happy I am with my results. It gave me back the opportunity to look and feel better in my clothes and be more confident about my body! It’s been a wonderful experience for me. Heather F.

During my first consultation with the surgeon, I discussed where my tummy tuck incision would be. Since my surgery, I no loner feel self-conscious about my tummy.  I’m now proud to wear a bikini and I’m having a lot of fun. I can’t believe I waited so long. Tina P.

I had my tummy tuck in December and wanted to let you know how happy I am with the results.  It has been so much fun buying clothing that fits correctly (I enjoy shopping again).  Also, your staff is always so professional, friendly, and understanding which is always appreciated, as well as you. You have no idea how pleased I am with my new flat tummy. Nancy Y.