Abdominoplasty commonly known as tummy tuck is designed to remove the excess sagging skin of the abdomen. Skin tone if lost during pregnancy is restored at the same time by tightening the abdominal wall muscles. So, this operation is helpful for women who have relaxed and loose abdominal skin due to pregnancy or as a result of loosing excessive amounts of weight while dieting.
The Best Candidates for Abdominoplasty :
The best candidates for Abdominoplasty are men and women who are in good health but are bothered by loose abdominal skin or a protruding abdomen which does not respond to dieting and exercise.
The procedure is especially helpful for women who through multiple pregnancies have stretched the skin and muscles to such a degree that it cannot return to normal.
Surgical Procedure :
Abdominoplasty takes approximately 2 to 4 hours and requires general anaesthesia (total unconsciousness). Depending upon the individual's response to the surgery, hospital stay of 2 to 5 days is usually required.
A variety of incisions can be used for this operation. The right incision is decided on after careful examination and after considering the requirements of the patient. In most instances, a long horizontal incision just above the pubic bone from one hip to the other hip is used. The umbilicus is repositioned so that there is no loose fold of skin above the umbilicus. The skin is separated and lifted from the abdominal muscles all the way upto just below the lower part of the breasts. The skin is pulled down, the excess resected and then sutured. Many a times, during abdominoplasty fat suctioning or liposuction is done from the upper abdomen and the sides of the abdomen to recontour these areas.
Before suturing, drains are placed under the skin, brought out on the sides and left under the dressings. These drains are removed in 24 to 48 hours. After surgery, the patient when on bed is required to keep the head elevated and the hips folded to some extent. This is done for 2 to 3 weeks. Patients are requested to get out of the bed and take frequent short walks from the evening of the same day of the surgery. Sutures are removed in 2 to 3 stages starting from the 7 th day of the surgery
Getting Back to Normal :
It may take you weeks or months to feel absolutely normal again.
Patients should begin an exercise program to reduce swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and tone musclesas early as possible. Vigorous exercise, however, should be avoided until you can do it comfortably.
Scars may actually appear to worsen during the first three to six months as they heal, but this is normal. Expect it to take nine months to a year before scars flatten out and lighten in colour. While they'll never disappear completely, abdominal scars will not show under most clothing, even under bathing suits.
Uncertainty and Risk :
Infection and blood clot formation are two complications related to the surgery.
Infection is prevented by meticulous technique and use of antibiotics.
Blood clot formation is reduced by insertion of drainage tubes and early mobilisation.
Some people are poor scar formers, and they could form thicker, wider prominent scars than the usual patients. Poor healing can lead to conspicuous scars and may require second surgery.
Your New Look :
Abdominoplasty, whether partial or complete, produces excellent results for patients with weakened abdominal muscles or excess skin. And in most cases, the results are long lasting if you follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
If you're realistic in your expectations and prepared for the consequences of a permanent scar and a lengthy recovery period, abdominoplasty may be just the answer for you.