Aging, pregnancy, and weight loss can alter the abdominal skin irreversibly. Despite what the makers of some “magic” creams and ointments may tell you, NOTHING can get rid of stretch marks; the skin is permanently damaged. Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, offers a surgical solution.
Abdominoplasty offers a dramatic opportunity to change the appearance of your abdomen. Stretch marks, scars, and excess skin of the lower abdomen are all eliminated and the muscles of the abdominal wall are tightened with stitches to create the type of firm, flat belly that is usually impossible to obtain with diet and exercise alone.
If you are in relatively good physical shape, but have excess skin or fat in the abdomen that is resistant to diet and exercise, you may be a candidate for abdominoplasty.
Abdominoplasty is generally performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure and takes approximately two hours. A side-to-side incision, similar to that of a caesarean section or hysterectomy, is made across the lower portion of the abdomen so that the final scar will almost always be hidden by bathing suits and underwear. Most of the loose, wrinkled skin of the lower abdomen is then cut away. The “six pack” muscles of the abdomen are tightened with permanent stitches to remove the roundness and create a flatter, more youthful contour. A new, more youthful belly button is created and the incisions are closed with dissolvable sutures. A pain pump and at least two drainage tubes are inserted and the dressings are applied. Following the procedure, you will be awakened and taken to the recovery room until you are ready to go home.
Abdominoplasty has traditionally been one of the more uncomfortable cosmetic procedures to recover from. However, with the liberal use of local anesthetics (numbing medicine) and pain pumps, it doesn’t have to be! You can return home on the day of surgery and will likely be out of bed and walking on the first day. Dressings are removed the day after surgery and you may shower and wash the incisions with soap and water. Light activity is encouraged to keep the circulation in the legs going. Staying well hydrated is imperative. Activity is gradually increased over the next few days. Prescription pain medication is used at first and is gradually replaced with ibuprofen as tolerated. The pain pumps are removed after three days and the drainage tubes after one week or so. You should be able to begin walking for exercise and return to work within two weeks. Heavy lifting should be avoided for several weeks, and resuming a full workout routine with sit-ups and other core exercises may take two months or more.
Complications are infrequent with abdominoplasty, but like all operations, it carries some associated risks, such as bleeding, infection, scarring, and delayed wound healing. During your complimentary consultation with Dr. Sewell, you will have extensive opportunity to discuss the benefits, risks, and alternatives of abdominoplasty.
If you want a tighter, flatter abdomen, then a tummy tuck may be appropriate to help achieve your goals. Dr. Sewell will speak with you to find out what your desired results are and if you are a candidate.