WHAT IS A TUMMY TUCK?

Also known as abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck removes excess fat and skin, and in most cases restores weakened or separated muscles creating an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer.
A flat and well-toned abdomen is something many of us strive for through exercise and weight control. Sometimes these methods cannot achieve our goals.
Even individuals of otherwise normal body weight and proportion can develop an abdomen that protrudes or is loose and sagging. The most common causes of this include:
Pregnancy
Aging
Significant fluctuations in weight
Heredity
Prior surgery
Tummy tuck surgery is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else's desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.
Abdominoplasty is a good option for you if:
You are physically healthy and at a stable weight
You have realistic expectations
You do not smoke
Although the results of an abdominoplasty procedure are technically permanent, the positive outcome can be greatly diminished by significant fluctuations in your weight. For this reason, individuals who are planning substantial weight loss or women who may be considering future pregnancies may be advised to postpone abdominoplasty surgery.
What a tummy tuck won't do:
Tummy tucks are not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program. Also, tummy tuck operations cannot correct stretch marks, although these may be removed or somewhat improved if they are located on the areas of excess skin that will be excised, generally the treated areas below the belly button.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR TUMMY TUCK CONSULTATION

The success and safety of your tummy tuck procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.
Be prepared to discuss:
Why you want the surgery, your expectations and desired outcome
Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
Previous surgeries
Your surgeon may also:
Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
Take photographs for your medical record
Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
Discuss likely outcomes of the tummy tuck and any risks or potential complications

PREPARING FOR TUMMY TUCK SURGERY

Prior to surgery, you may be asked to:
Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
Stop smoking well in advance of surgery
Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Special instructions you receive will cover:
What to do on the day of surgery
The use of anesthesia during your tummy tuck
Post-operative care and follow-up

TUMMY TUCK RISKS AND SAFETY INFORMATION

The decision to have tummy tuck surgery is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential abdominoplasty complications are acceptable.
Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail potential tummy tuck complications. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks or potential complications.
Possible abdominoplasty risks include:
Unfavorable scarring
Bleeding (hematoma)
Infection
Fluid accumulation
Poor wound healing
Skin loss
Blood clots
Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
Anesthesia risks
Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
Major wound separation
Asymmetry
Recurrent looseness of skin
Pain, which may persist
Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
Persistent swelling in the legs
Nerve damage
Possibility of revisional surgery
Suboptimal aesthetic result
You’ll need help
If your abdominoplasty is performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.

TUMMY TUCK PROCEDURE STEPS AND RESULTS

What happens during tummy tuck surgery?
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during abdominoplasty surgery. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Step 2 – The incision
A full tummy tuck procedure requires a horizontally-oriented incision in the area between the pubic hairline and navel. The shape and length of the incision will be determined by the degree of correction necessary.
Through this incision, weakened abdominal muscles are repaired and sutured while excess fat, tissue and skin is removed.
A second incision around the navel may be necessary to remove excess skin in the upper abdomen.

Step 3 – Closing the incisions
Sutures, skin adhesives, tapes or clips close the skin incisions.
Step 4 – See the results
Your abdominoplasty procedure will result in a flatter, firmer abdominal contour that is more proportionate with your body type and weight.
The final results may be initially obscured by swelling and your inability to stand fully upright until internal healing is complete.
Within a week or two, you should be standing tall and confident about your new slimmer profile.

TUMMY TUCK RECOVERY

Following your surgery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and you may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimize swelling and to support your abdomen as it heals.
A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect to minimize swelling after tummy tuck surgery.
You will be given specific instructions to aid your recovery from tummy tuck surgery: how to care for the surgical site and drains, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow-up with your plastic surgeon.

Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual abdominoplasty recovery period.
Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery? When will they be removed?
Are stitches removed? When?
When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
When do I return for follow-up care?
Previous abdominal surgery may limit the potential results of a tummy tuck. In women who have undergone cesarean section, the existing scars may often be incorporated into the new scar.