A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a special procedure for restoring optimal body proportions by strengthening the muscle frame in the peritoneum region. During it, the deformity of the rectus muscles is eliminated, their tone is normalized, the negative changes in the skin are corrected, and the aesthetic scars are corrected.
When should you think about a tummy tuck?
- If you have an apron, stretch marks, or flab muscles that you cannot get rid of with diet or exercise.
- After the shape of the abdomen has changed due to pregnancy or strong weight loss.
- In cases where the protruding abdomen seems unattractive.
- If self-esteem suffers because of a stomach condition. Related procedures many patients, together with abdominoplasty, perform liposuction, buttocks, and hips tightening.
- Abdominoplasty will restore a flat stomach.
- You will look better in both clothing and swimsuit.
- The body will appear younger.
- There will be a scar (in the bikini area).
- Weight gain after abdominoplasty may adversely affect its outcome.
These are the main arguments for and against the tummy tuck. If anything else is important to you, consult a plastic surgeon.
Do you need to do a tummy tuck?
Sometimes there comes a time when you understand that diet and exercise only lead to the fact that the scales show lower figures, but the stomach is still convex or sagging. If the following conditions are met, abdominoplasty may be your salvation:
- Excessive abdominal skin and / or weakness of the abdominal muscles are caused by age-related changes, pregnancy, surgery, or weight fluctuations.
- You do not smoke. Smoking slows the healing process and increases the risk of serious complications during and after surgery. You must stop smoking at least six weeks before the surgery.
- Your weight is stable. The best candidates for abdominoplasty are generally slender people with excess fat or loose skin in the lower abdomen. For those who are obese, this procedure is not suitable.
- If there is a significant amount of intra-abdominal fat surrounding the internal organs, you may need to lose weight before surgery.
- You are physically healthy: you will need a relatively good physical shape to undergo this procedure.
- You do not plan to get pregnant anymore. Muscles repaired during abdominoplasty may disperse again.
- The possibility of a tummy tuck can also be affected by internal or external scars from any previous abdominal surgery.
If you have a good state of health, an optimistic attitude and sober expectations, you, most likely, are a suitable candidate for abdominoplasty.
How does abdominoplasty occur?
During the operation, the surgeon removes loose skin on the abdomen and abdominal muscles with sutures.
- At first, the surgeon marks on the abdomen the incisions, the center of the body and the place where the navel will be located.
- Then a solution of lidocaine (local anesthetic) and adrenaline (a vasoconstrictor drug to control bleeding) is injected.
- In primary abdominoplasty, an incision in the abdomen is located above the pubic line, from one pelvic bone to another. At full – the second incision is made around the navel. A shorter incision is used during mini-abdominoplasty.
- The surgeon pulls the skin from the abdominal wall to the chest. Then stitches the fascia abdominal muscles so that they are tightly connected. This is part of a muscle recovery operation.
- After the abdominal muscles are stitched, the surgeon removes excess fat by liposuction or other methods.
- The skin from the abdomen is then pulled down to the incision line, and its excess is removed.
- The surgeon marks a place for the navel. Although the skin around it has moved, the navel itself almost always remains in the same place. The doctor cuts a hole in the newly stretched skin and fixes it with stitches around the navel.
- Surgical tissue glue, suture material, staples or special Steri-Strips strips are used to tighten the skin at the incision site.
- With full abdominoplasty, one or more drainage tubes are often left to prevent fluid build-up, which can lead to pressure on the seam. Drainage is a sterile plastic tube that fits through a very short incision below the main seam. Outside the body, it connects with a small oval vessel. This vessel will periodically need to be cleaned and, before being connected to the drainage again, it will be necessary to compress it in order to facilitate the outflow of fluid from the wound.
The plastic surgeon and the entire clinic staff will ensure that the results are as good as possible, the surgery and the recovery period are easy and comfortable.
What options do abdominoplasty exist?
During a personal consultation, a plastic surgeon will recommend the best option for you. There are several different approaches:
In addition to a transverse incision in the lower abdomen, the traditional tummy tuck includes an incision around the navel. Excess skin is removed, muscles are tightened, liposuction can also be used to form the contour of the abdomen. This operation is prescribed when you need to remove the skin, starting from the area above the navel and to the pubic bone, stretched as a result of pregnancy, genetic predisposition or obesity.
With this type of intervention, only one incision is made in the pubic region, extending as low as possible. It may be only a few centimeters in length or pass through the entire abdomen. Through this incision, the surgeon removes excess skin, tightens loose muscles and, if necessary, makes liposuction. The ideal candidate for mini-abdominoplasty has only lethargy and a protrusion of the abdomen below the navel. This type of braces is usually recommended for those who have always been in good shape, but cannot achieve their goals through diet and exercise.
Extended or tense lateral abdominoplasty
If excess skin forms a “lifeline” at the waist or hips, a larger incision may be required. Tension-side abdominoplasty was one of the first procedures designed to remove excess skin after significant weight loss or pregnancy. This technique involves deeper tissue layers. This operation involves a tummy tuck in the front, a tightening of the skin from the hips and sides. It improves the contour of the body, including the hips and lateral parts of the body. You can imagine the effect of this procedure, capturing the skin on the sides of the waist and pulling it up like a pair of falling pants.
What will the cuts and scars look like after a tummy tuck?
With complete abdominoplasty, an incision is usually made from one pelvic bone to another. It can be V-or U-shaped, and the scar can be hidden under a bikini. The shape and length of the incision is determined by the surgeon, depending on the preferences of the patient and the degree of correction that is necessary. An incision can also be made around the navel.
In mini abdominoplasty, the incision is as low as possible; it may be hidden in the pubic region. All removed skin is below the navel, therefore, around it, there will be no incisions. The length of the cut with a mini-lift will vary depending on how much skin you have to remove.
With the intense-lateral abdominoplasty, the scars are longer and often are higher than with other operations. Usually, the navel is not excised, as the skin is removed slightly.
Recovery time after a tummy tuck
Recovery from abdominoplasty occurs in six months or more. In the first couple of days, dealing with pain and preventing complications will be your top priority. The first week will be worse, but you still feel that you are recovering in two or three weeks. In a few weeks, a moving lifestyle and fitness will become important. After several months, you can already appreciate the aesthetic effect of the operation. It is important to remember that the time required for recovery varies greatly for different people.
- The first few days after surgery you need to rest easy. Remember, you should not take aspirin and some anti-inflammatory drugs. To prevent coughing and bleeding, do not smoke after surgery. Do not drink alcohol for five days after surgery, and while you are taking painkillers.
- Attract someone to help you around the house and take medications for at least the first two days after surgery.
- Make sure you can still count on help at home — it cannot be too much. You will be tempted to do household chores, but you will not come to your senses, at least earlier than in 7-10 days. During this period, you do not have to do any hard work (for example, raising children or a laundry basket) for 4-6 weeks. If you have small children, someone else should take care of them for at least two weeks.
- Follow the surgeon’s instructions. The first two days are the most difficult, so if you are prescribed medications, take them on a schedule. The discomfort usually subsides to the “aching” pain in 5-7 days.
- After 5 days, you will most likely have to visit the doctor again to monitor the result. During this visit, he can remove drains. Edema should subside within 5 weeks.
- Call the surgeon immediately if you notice an increase in swelling, pain, redness, fluid or bleeding in the area of the operation if you experience fever, dizziness, nausea or vomiting. Other dangerous symptoms are shortness of breath, chest pain, and an unusual heartbeat.
- Be sure to get up and walk the day after surgery, albeit slowly. This is important for preventing edema and for preventing blood clots in the legs. However, physical exertion should be avoided for 4-6 weeks, as they can cause fluid retention at the site of surgery.
- Plan a break for about 2 weeks, depending on the physical effort you need.
- Return to ordinary life not immediately, but gradually.
- The recovery period is usually longer for patients who have undergone traditional abdominoplasty or have combined a tummy tuck with other surgical procedures. With mini abdominoplasty, it is shorter.
- Wearing compression garments as instructed by the physician reduces the likelihood of flaccidity or sagging of the skin after abdominoplasty. Tight clothing also helps control swelling, resulting in a shorter recovery period.