Tummy Tuck Surgery:
Tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, removes excess fat and skin and, in most cases, restores weakened or separated muscles creating an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer. A flat and well-toned abdomen is something many of us strive for through exercise and weight control. Sometimes these methods cannot achieve our goals. Even individuals of otherwise normal body weight and proportion can develop an abdomen that protrudes or is loose and sagging.
The most common causes of this include:
- Prior surgery.
- Significant fluctuations in weight.
A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program.
Although the results of a tummy tuck are technically permanent, the positive outcome can be greatly diminished by significant fluctuations in your weight. For this reason, individuals who are planning substantial weight loss or women who may be considering future pregnancies would be advised to postpone a tummy tuck.
A tummy tuck cannot correct stretch marks, although these may be removed or somewhat improved if they are located on the areas of excess skin that will be excised.
Tummy Tuck Cost:
A surgeon’s fee will be based on his or her experience, the type of procedure used, and the geographic office location.
Most health insurance does not cover tummy tuck surgery or its complications, but many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.
Tummy tuck surgery cost may include:
- Anesthesia fees.
- Hospital or surgical facility costs.
- Medical tests.
- Post-surgery garments.
- Prescriptions for medication.
- Surgeon’s fee.
When choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area for a tummy tuck, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.
Tummy Tuck Preparation:
In preparing for tummy tuck surgery, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation.
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding.
A tummy tuck may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, licensed ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital.
If your tummy tuck is performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
Tummy Tuck Procedure Steps:
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Step 2 – The Incision
A full tummy tuck requires a horizontally-oriented incision in the area between the pubic hairline and belly button.
The shape and length of the incision will be determined by the amount of excess skin. Once the abdominal skin is lifted, the underlying weakened abdominal muscles are repaired.
A second incision around the navel may be necessary to remove excess skin in the upper abdomen.
The upper abdominal skin is pulled down like a window shade. The excess skin is trimmed and the remaining skin is sutured together. A new opening for the belly button is created. The belly button is popped through to the surface and sutured into position.
Step 3 – Closing Incisions
Sutures, skin adhesives, tapes or clips close the skin incisions.
Step 4 – Results
Your tummy tuck will result in a flatter, firmer abdominal contour that is more proportionate with your body type and weight. Get more information about tummy tuck results.
Tummy Tuck Recovery:
During your tummy tuck recovery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and you may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimize swelling and support your abdomen as it heals following surgery.
Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
You will be given specific instructions that may include:
- How to care for the surgical site and drains.
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection.
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health.
- When to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
Tummy Tuck Risks and Safety Information:
Tummy tuck risks include:
- Anesthesia risks.
- Fluid accumulation (seroma).
- Poor wound healing.
- Skin loss.
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation.
- Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling.
- Unfavorable scarring.
- Recurrent looseness of skin.
- Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis).
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications.
- Suboptimal aesthetic result.
- Possibility of revisional surgery.
- Persistent pain.
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It’s important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.