An abdominoplasty, otherwise known as a tummy tuck, is an operation to remove excess skin from the abdomen and tighten the abdominal muscles. With time, weight gain or pregnancy, the abdominal skin can become loose. Often irreversible damage is done. Even when baby weight is lost, sometimes the skin is still loose. An abdominoplasty is designed to remove loose skin and cinch the muscles together in the midline, improving overall contour and hour-glass shape.
The resulting incision from a tummy-tuck lies low on the abdomen extending from hip to hip. Most or all of the skin between the belly button and the pubic hairline is removed. The skin above the belly button is pulled down over the belly button to the pubic hair area. A new hole is cut out for the belly button. Liposuction is used under the ends of the incision and on the upper abdomen to ensure the abdomen is flat. The amount of fat, loose skin and spreading of the abdominal muscles varies from person to person, which means an abdominoplasty varies as well.
The operation usually takes about two hours. Patients are completely asleep. An abdominoplasty is a major surgery and painful. A number of techniques are used to help with post-operative pain. A pain pump drips a numbing medication along the rib line. Nerve blocks are performed by injecting numbing medication just under the ribs from the back After a short stay in recovery, patients are able to go home.
It is important to begin walking the same day. A drain is placed to prevent any fluid from collecting between the muscle and the skin. All patients are seen the day after surgery and one week after surgery. The drain and any non-dissolvable stitches are usually removed at the one week post-operative visit. A tummy tuck is the most powerful procedure for contouring the abdomen available to a plastic surgeon. The results are thrilling.