The tummy tuck is also known as an abdominoplasty. It is a procedure for people who have loose skin and fat folds of the abdomen from pregnancy or weight loss, stretch marks, or laxity in abdominal wall who want a flatter and firmer abdomen with an improved contour. Liposuction may be used in combination for added contouring benefits. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and often requires an overnight hospital stay. The scar will vary based on body shape and extends from the lower abdomen to as far as the lower back. Mini abdominoplasties are reserved for a select group of patients.
Mini-Abdominoplasty, sometimes called a mini-tummy tuck, may be performed on patients who only have a limited amount of loose skin or stretch marks in the lower abdomen and who would not need the tightening of abdominal muscles that is part of a standard abdominoplasty, although sometimes, the mini-tummy tuck may include it. However, if the patient has excessive fat but minimal or limited looseness of the abdomen, the procedure may be performed in tandem with liposuction.
In most cases, women considering abdominoplasty should not be considering additional pregnancies, or they may have the need for a second procedure to re-tighten the belly. In many cases, a tummy tuck does help rid of stretch marks because it removes most of the “stretched out” skin below the navel.
The procedure begins with the surgeon making an incision that goes from hip to hip along the lower pubic area, made in an area that will allow the resulting scar from the procedure to be hidden under a bathing suit or underwear. The surgeon will then lift the loose skin from the abdominal wall, at which point the loosened “rectus” muscles that normally give the abdomen its strength are tightened and repaired. This provides essentially the same effect of an old-fashioned girdle.
The belly button, or “umbilicus,” will be disconnected from the abdomen. The loose skin will be removed, the abdominal wall will be tightened and the belly button will be reattached. Drains will be used on each side of the abdominal incision in order to remove excess fluid and prevent buildup after the procedure.
A mini-abdominoplasty is similar, although the incision will be smaller, generally only spanning the width of the pubic area; the incision will be similar to that of a cesarean section. In both a standard abdominoplasty and a mini-abdominoplasty, liposuction may be used with patients whose hips and flanks have excessive amounts of fat in order to help contour them. However, areas of the abdomen that have been stretched will not be liposuctioned, as such a procedure could prevent or damage blood circulation, resulting in scarring or skin necrosis.
The result of a tummy tuck is an abdomen that is tight and flat and a waist that is narrow and curvy.
You will be encouraged to walk and move regularly almost immediately. However, physical activity should be limited during the first 10 days. Strenuous activity will be avoided for about 6 weeks.
For a tummy tuck in Honolulu,thi Hawaii contact board certified plastic surgeon Carl de los Reyes.