What is Abdominoplasty / Tummy tuck?
Abdominoplasty surgery, commonly known as a tummy tuck, is a process of reshaping the abdomen by removing excess skin, fat from the tummy. This process helps to restore weakened muscles to create a smoother, firmer abdominal profile and the result is a flat stomach with tighten muscles
This kind of surgery is not performed as a means of losing weight. It is operated on patients who have experienced a heavy weight loss prior to the operation, often due to a bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) such as gastric sleeve surgery , or to pregnancy.
Types of Tummy tuck Surgery
The standard tummy tuck
This is the most common type of tummy tuck. A cut is made across the body from one hip to the other and around the belly button (umbilicus). The extra skin and fat are removed from just above the pubic hair up to the belly button. The muscles above and below the belly button are tightened. The skin is then sewn together to give a circular scar around the belly button and a long scar across the lower tummy.
The mini tummy tuck
Here, a smaller amount of skin and fat is removed from the lower tummy, though there will still be a long horizontal scar above the pubic hair. Sometimes the muscles will also be tightened. No scar is left around the tummy button, which may be stretched to become a different shape.
A mini tummy tuck will give less of an effect than a full tummy tuck.
The fleur-de-lis tummy tuck
For patients with lots of extra skin on the lower and upper tummy, a fleur-de-lis tummy tuck might be appropriate. Here, as well as the long horizontal cut of the standard tummy tuck, there is a vertical cut too, so the scar looks like an anchor.
What to expect after the operation
Tummy tucks are usually carried out under a general anaesthetic (so you would be asleep). The operation usually takes about three hours, and you would usually spend up to three days in hospital.
When you wake up from your operation you may have a drip to give you fluid while you are not drinking. You might be given antibiotics to keep the wound clean. Also, you may have drainage tubes in your lower tummy to drain away any fluid or blood. These tubes will be taken out when the fluid or blood has stopped draining, usually before you go home.Your tummy will feel tight and sore. Simple painkillers should be enough to keep you comfortable.
After your procedure
You will have to wear a corset after the operation for at least 6 weeks .
You will be asked to keep your knees and hips bent whenever possible to take the strain off your stitches.
You will be out of bed on the same day as your surgery, and doing light activities after two weeks. You should be back to normal exercise in six weeks.While you are in hospital, you will be given blood-thinning injections, and support stockings, to reduce the risk of a clot in the leg (DVT) or the lung (PE).Avoid strenuous activity for 10 to 12 weeks. Most patients take up to four weeks off work after the operation, depending on their job. Your tummy will be sore and swollen for weeks to months after the operation. Do not lift heavy things for several weeks, and avoid sex for at least three weeks. With all activities, start gently.Do not drive until you feel safe and are comfortable wearing a seatbelt. Check your insurance documents if you are not sure.
Seeing the results
At first your tummy skin may seem too tight. This usually settles down within six weeks of the surgery. Most patients are pleased with the final result, but some find their new shape difficult to get used to. This may happen to you.You may have more or less sensation in the skin on your tummy, and this can change over time.
- To protect your body, and get the best result, look after yourself.
- Avoid vigorous activities after your operation.
- Protect your wounds as you are told to.
- Putting on weight or being pregnant will affect the results.
- Maintain a healthy weight and level of exercise.