Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Many women, as well as men, get a tummy tuck to rid of themselves of the abdominal bulge, better known as the “pot-belly” or muffin top.  Some of the benefits of the tummy tuck is that it repairs weakened and separated abdominal muscles, stretched skin and excess fat in the abdomen.  These benefits make the tummy tuck a popular choice for people who have experienced changes to their abdominal physique as a result of pregnancy, weight loss, aging, or post bariatric surgery.  The goal is to achieve a flat, firm, more desirable waistline.  However, it’s a good idea to be at your ideal body weight when considering this surgery.  Fluctuations in body weight after this surgery can adversely affect your results. 

The abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia.  The surgeon will make a horizontal incision within the pubic area and possibly around your navel to remove loose skin in your upper abdominal area.  The surgeon will suture separated abdominal muscles together, remove excess fat deposits, excess tissue, and excess skin.  The skin is then gently pulled down over your newly contoured shape and the incision closed with sutures. 

After surgery the abdominal area is wrapped with gauze, dressings, and an elastic binder or compression garment is applied to provide gentle support, and stability to your newly contoured shape.  Because abdominoplasty involves removal of extra abdominal skin and usually tightening of the abdominal muscles, you will experience difficulty standing up straight for a week or two.  The tightness in your abdominal area will slowly disappear as you heal and progressively use your abdominal muscles to perform activities of daily living.  It is not recommended that you attempt to stretch or pull your abdomen straight during the first 2-3 weeks of healing.  

The surgeon may place drains to evacuate the fluid that accumulates after surgery and enable you to heal faster.  When drains are put in place, the bulb at the end of each tube will be compressed to create a gentle suction. Fluid from the abdomen will collect in the bulb  and the bulb will expand.  The surgeon or nurse will instruct you to empty your drains when they are about 50% full and measure the amount collected prior to pouring out the contents.  You will also be asked to record how often the drains fill to monitor your recovery progression.  The surgeon or a nurse will remove the drains in approximately 5-10 days after surgery.

Tummy Tucks are usually uncomfortable and you should expect to experience some pain for 10-20 days.  Take your prescribed pain medications as directed to assist with healing.  Plan for it to be at least six weeks before your able to resume strenuous exercise, sex or sports.  Resume driving when your surgeon recommends it and you feel comfortable.  Remember, to drive you need FULL use of your reflex muscles!  Listen to your body.  Too much activity too soon can prolong swelling and healing and adversely affect your results.  Expect to see full results in about a year.  Don’t forget to protect your scars from the sun even under your bathing suit.  Use a sunscreen with a skin-protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 when out in sunny weather. 

Full recovery from this surgery is usually around 8 weeks.  

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