Despite aggressive diet and exercise, many patients are left without the flat and firm abdomen they desire. Large weight gains or pregnancy can stretch your abdominal skin and separate muscles and this may be difficult, if not impossible, on some women, to correct. No matter the amount of time you spend at the gym or how disciplined your diet is, your figure may refuse to go back to its pre-pregnancy or pre-weight gain appearance. If this describes you, Dr. Hustak can help.
Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a procedure that surgically removes the lower abdominal redundant skin, stretch marks, and fat as well as corrects the separated central abdominal rectus muscles. This is designed to improve the overall shape of your abdomen resulting in a tightened, flatter midsection.
The results are dramatic and permanent.
If you are seeking to reduce your midsection, you may not know if you are a better candidate for liposuction or a tummy tuck. If you have excess skin, a mini or full tummy tuck is for you as liposuction does very little to tighten skin. Conversely, if you simply have small fat rolls that you can pinch away from your abdominal muscles, then you may be a candidate for liposuction alone. If your muscles are separated resulting in bulges, then liposuction will do nothing to correct this and a tummy tuck is needed to place stitches in the abdominal wall muscles.
A tummy tuck is often combined with liposuction for related areas, particularly to the flanks, to improve the overall final contour. The full or classic tummy tuck involves an incision that sits low, but runs from hip to hip and involves repositioning of the belly button. Mini-tummy tucks result in a shorter scar (slightly longer than a standard cesarean scar), but remove a smaller amount of skin and can only address the lower abdomen. If you have skin excess or laxity above your belly button or have any muscle separation above your belly button, then a mini-tummy tuck is likely not the procedure for you. Unfortunately, very few patients are candidates for the mini-tummy tuck.
Dr. Hustak can help advise you on the best procedure for your body at your consultation.
What to Expect: Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
The procedure takes between 90 minutes and three hours, depending on your size and other factors. You will be given general anesthesia for the procedure. Two drains will be placed to your lower abdomen and will remain in place until the output is low enough to remove (usually 1-3 weeks). You will be placed in a compression garment or abdominal binder after surgery and this will stay in place in some fashion over the next few weeks. Long acting pain medication (liposomal bupivacaine) is injected at the time of surgery to help control post-operative pain. This results in less post-operative narcotic use and quicker return to normal activities. You will also be given prescriptions for pain medication, muscle relaxants, and in some cases, antibiotics. Based on your risk factors, you may also be prescribed a blood thinner to take after surgery.
You will be uncomfortable and slightly hunched over for the first week. This will slowly improve. No lifting (greater than 5 pounds) or strenuous activity is allowed for six weeks. Most people can return to work with restrictions around 2-3 weeks or once drains have been removed. Aggressive scar management will begin as soon as healing is adequate. Some swelling after surgery is normal and will improve with time and compression with garments. The results are dramatic and satisfying.