A taut, toned midsection gives the body more pleasing, youthful proportions and a look of health and vitality. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the areas most vulnerable to the effects of weight-gain, aging, and pregnancy.
When diet and exercise just aren’t enough, an abdominoplasty can remove sagging excess skin and tighten the underlying muscles to create a firmer, slimmer midriff, especially in the region between the belly button and pubic area. A popular procedure among women, it is also performed on men.
An abdominoplasty will tighten your abdominal muscles to give you a slimmer, firmer, more youthful midriff. If you have loose, sagging, excess skin, the tummy tuck will remove it so that your skin lies smoothly over your tummy. If you wish to have fat removed from the area, you may choose to have liposuction performed at the same time.
Although a tummy tuck does not correct stretch marks, some marks may be removed along with the excess skin on which they were visible.
The results of your tummy tuck are permanent, although post-surgical weight fluctuations can reduce the slimming and tightening effect.
Depending on your overall health and the complexity of the procedure required to achieve the desired results, your abdominoplasty may be performed as an outpatient surgery, or you may be required to stay at a hospital overnight. In either case, you will receive general anesthetic.
If you choose a full tummy tuck, your entire midriff—including the area above your navel—will be tightened and smoothed. If you choose a mini tummy tuck, the surgeon will treat the area starting just below the navel and extending to your pubic region.
For a full tummy tuck, the surgeon makes a horizontal incision close to the pubic area. The abdominal muscles are accessed through this incision and tightened. At the same time, excess tissue and skin are removed. A second incision at the navel may also be required to remove excess skin from the upper abdomen.
Make sure someone is available to bring you home after surgery and looks after you for a day or two: you’ll feel sleepy and your abdomen will be painful and swollen. For the first week, drink lots of fluids and try to walk a little each day to prevent blood clots and ease swelling.
One month after surgery, you may be able to return to work and light exercise: however, you should limit strenuous exercise for at least six weeks after the procedure. The swelling will have subsided to the point where you’ll be able to see the results of your surgery.
Over the next few months, the swelling will continue to subside, and if you experienced any nerve damage during the procedure, sensation will also gradually return during this period. During the first year, use sun block of at least SPF 30 on the surgical area. Your scars will fade over time, but they will never completely disappear.
As with any surgery, there are risks associated with a tummy tuck. Infection and blood clots can occur rarely. If you have a pre-existing condition, such as poor circulation, diabetes, or heart, lung, or liver disease, your risk of complications will increase. It’s important to discuss your health candidly with your surgeon during the consultation process.