Ghada Y. Afifi, MD, FACS
Board Certified Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
You. Just Better.

Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty

Sometimes simply dieting and exercising are not enough to take care of waistline problems.  Some patients present with:

      Abdominal wall laxity (their stomach seems to protrude out) in which the tissue has stretched

      Abdominal skin excess or pannus in which there is excess skin and / or fat that may even hang down

      Stretch marks or straie of their abdominal skin

In such cases, a patient may wish to consider a tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty).  A tummy tuck is the surgical removal of excess skin or fatty deposits from the abdomen, along with the repositioning of abdomen muscles into a tighter formation.  This bodily enhancement procedure is designed for those who wish to have a flatter and tighter stomach.  It is also helpful in remedying the vertical separation of abdomen muscles known as diastasis, which can occur following pregnancy.

Reasons for Considering an Abdominoplasty:

  • Inability of dieting and exercise to improve the abdomen area.
  • Excessive accumulation of skin following weight loss.
  • Loss of skin elasticity or diastases (loose abdomen muscles) due to pregnancy.
  • The removal of unsightly skin and fat deposits as well as the proper alignment of the abdomen muscles to produce a more flattering look.

General Procedure

Abdominoplasty surgery lasts anywhere from one to five hours, depending on the desired look and the patient’s unique physiology.  To begin the procedure, an incision is made just above the pubic bone area.  This incision goes horizontally across the lower abdomen and sometimes around to the back.  The skin is then stretched away from the muscle tissue, and excess skin is removed.  The abdomen muscle tissue is tightened to provide a firmly contoured stomach and well-defined waistline.  Finally, the incision is closed; and the skin is stitched back into place.  Sometimes the procedure requires an additional incision around the navel in order to provide the best results.

Recovery Process

Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time.  As the body recuperates, the patient can expect some swelling, pain, and discomfort.  Medication can be prescribed to relieve any pain caused by the procedure.  The stitches are absorbable (do not require removal).  Patients are usually advised to take one week of work, and can usually resume gym activity in 4 weeks.  Their new figure is noticeable only few weeks after surgery, though some swelling can take up to few months to completely go down, depending on the specific case.  It may take up to a year for the body to completely adapt to the new abdominal configuration.  With proper diet and exercise the striking results of the surgery will be long lasting.


NEW DEVELOPMENTS:  PROGRESSIVE TENSION SUTURES

For more complicated abdominoplasty procedures, a frequently used option is placement of Quill sutures or "locking" sutures that are placed under the tummy tuck tissue (hidden sutures) that gradually close the tissue down so that there is much less risk for postoperative fluid collections, which are called seromas.

These are very successful and decrease swelling of the tummy tuck area, accelerating ahdesion of tissue and decreasing the tension from the final scar, so that the scar is thin and aesthetically pleasing.

 


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