Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
“Abdominoplasty,” commonly referred to as Tummy Tuck is a surgical procedure designed to flatten the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat, tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall to achieve a smoother, flatter appearance. Tummy tucks can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen. The resulting scar is permanent but can be hidden below the bikini line.
A tummy tuck may dramatically tighten the abdominal muscles as well as remove sagging, excess skin and accumulated fatty tissue. as an added benefit of tummy tuck, not only will the abdominal region be firmer and flatter, but the waist will be smaller as well. Tummy tuck is usually long lasting if the patient follows a balanced diet and regularly exercises.
Most tummy tuck procedures are performed under general anesthesia. Lately, ummy tucks are combined with Liposuction and can be performed under local ansthesia. In what many surgeons refer to as a full tummy tuck procedure, a surgical incision is made across the lower abdomen right above the pubic area. Following the creation of this initial incision, a second incision is made around the patient’s belly button as a means of loosening the surrounding skin. Next, the patient’s skin is separated from the wall of abdomen. Following this surgical maneuver, the surgeon pulls the loose abdominal muscles from the left and right flanks and sutures them together This action results in tighter abdominal muscles, creating a stronger, firmer abdominal wall as well as a smaller waist. Directly after the tightening and suturing of the abdominal muscles, excess skin is removed and a new opening is made in the correct position for the belly button.
It takes 2 to 5 hours. A partial tummy tuck may take 1 to 2 hours. Patients may go back to work 2 to 4 weeks. However fading and flattening of scars is between 3 months and 2 years.
You must be mentally and emotionally stable to undergo an cosmetic procedure. This is an operation which requires patience and stability in dealing with the healing period. There is sometimes a lull or depression after surgery and if there is already a pre-existing emotional problem, this low period can develop into a more serious issue. Please consider this before committing to a procedure. If the above describes you and you have the desire to rid yourself of loose sagging skin of the abdominal area, you may be a good candidate for Abdominoplasty. An ideal patient would have incredibly elastic skin. But, of course, we human beings are never ideal. But good elasticity certainly helps!
Normally women seek this procedure after pregnancy – although it is advised to wait until you are finished having children to have this procedure as the skin and muscles can get stretched out again as well as the dangers of your newly taut skin being unable to accommodate another pregnancy.
Also, if you are considering losing weight you should wait until after your desired weight is met. You may need additional surgery to remove the excess skin after you have lost the desired weight which would mean that the money spent on the previous abdominoplasty would be wasted and your skin can only be stretched so much.
The drains that have been placed will generally be removed 4 to 14 days after surgery. At the end of 4 days the patient may begin to straighten up and by six days post-op may or may not be fully straight. You should take it easy for at least two weeks after surgery. While the drains are in, you will be on bed rest with a very small amount of walking as outline above. However if your drains are in for an extended amount of time, you will of course not be expected to sit in bed all day. An abdominal pressure garment may be placed around you during one of your post-operative appointments and you may be instructed to wear this for 3 to 6 weeks.
Some swelling and discoloration are normal but generally this is minimal. Of course this is dependent upon the individual.
here are more risks with Abdominoplasty due to the fat and its surrounding tissues becoming necrotic (dead tissue). If the fat becomes necrotic from lack of blood supply, the fat tends to turn orange-ish clear and a little may drain from the incision. Although this is very normal to have fluid this color drain from the incision. There will be fat damage, there will be fluid retention, and there will be blood-tinted drainage.
If the tissue becomes necrotic, or you have a massive die off of fat cells that’s a completely different story. You must have the tissue removed before a major infection develops, possibly causing gangrene. This is extremely rare and taking precautions can certainly make a difference. Such as not smoking, proper wound care and proper surgeon selection with a sterile, accredited surgical suite or accredited hospital.
Sometimes Liposuction is part of the Abdominoplasty procedure. Even with the ultrasonic technique, patients have been known to receive actual burns from the ultrasonic technique. The fat is actually melted within the body by ‘exciting’ the fat molecules with high frequency radio waves and is suctioned out. There may be asymmetry, hyperpigmentation (permanent dark spots) from the bruising. Major blood loss is a factor is some cases. As is hematoma and infection. Just remember, Abdominoplasty or Liposuction is NOT the way to lose weight.
Another risk of Abdominoplasty is pulmonary Thromboemboli. A thromboebolus is a blood clot and this blood clot can break free and travel to the lungs resulting in pulmonary Thromboemboli. This can put a patient into adult breathing distress and subsequently into cardiac arrest or coma — leading to the patient becoming ‘brain dead’ shortly thereafter or in a vegetative state from loss of oxygen to the brain. Pulmonary Thromboemboli can happen within three (3) weeks of the surgery but will most likely show symptoms of shortness of breath and fatigue within the first 72 hours. However, pulmonary Thromboemboli can occur suddenly, without warning. Most patients with P.E. collapse and begin rapid deterioration after attempting to climb a flight of stairs. Please see our Abdominoplasty Risks Section for more information.
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