Is abdominal workout just not giving you the flat and taut tummy you desire? If you’ve too much flab or loose pendulous skin in your abdomen that doesn’t respond to diet or exercise, you may consider for abdominoplasty, popularly known as a tummy tuck. This surgical procedure flattens your abdomen by removing extra fat and skin from the lower abdomen, and tightening muscles in your abdominal wall. A tummy tuck is different from liposuction; however your surgeon may perform liposuction as part of a tummy tuck. This is a major surgery, so if you're considering it, you should know the facts before you decide whether to go forward.
Are You a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is suitable for men and women who are in good health.
You may be a good candidate for abdominoplasty if you have one or more of the following conditions:
- If you are a male or female with excess fat in the abdominal area, in combination with loose skin and/or weakened muscles (bulging abdomen) and hanging fold of skin.
- If you have stretch marks and hanging skin fold following child birth.
- If you were once obese and still have excess fat deposits or loose skin around the belly (post bariatric Surgery).
Who Should Not Consider a Tummy Tuck?
If you’re a woman who is still planning to have children and who has not completed her family, then you should not consider a tummy tuck until you’re through bearing children. Because during surgery, your abdominal muscles will be tightened and future pregnancies can separate these muscles and cause a hernia.
Are you planning to lose a lot of weight? Then a tummy tuck also is not for you. A tummy tuck should be a last resort after you've tried everything else. It should not be used as an alternative to weight loss.
It’s important to note that a tummy tuck gives you scar in lower abdomen.
A tummy tuck 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.
This scar is usually long and might be prominent. Your doctor will discuss all these options with you when you go for the consultation.
In a traditional tummy tuck, an incision is made above the pubic area in the “bikini line,” extending outwards on each side towards the flanks (the incision can use a pre-existing transverse caesarean-section scar). The length of this lower abdominal incision is determined by the amount of excess skin. Another small incision is made around the belly button (umbilicus), allowing improved tightening of the upper abdomen. The skin is then dissected up toward the rib cage, the muscle is tightened, the belly button is repositioned and excess skin is removed. The abdominal muscles are exposed and tightened, flattening the abdomen. If present, hernias or ‘rectus diastases’ (often present following pregnancy) can be repaired. Abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia, for the patient’s comfort and safety. The procedure itself requires anywhere from two to four hours to perform. Drains are most often used and are removed several days following the procedure. An abdominal binder is used for comfort and wound care for two weeks after surgery.Your cosmetic surgeon may also recommend combining liposuction with your tummy tuck procedure for the best results.
What are the different types of tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) procedures?
There are three different types of tummy tuck procedures. The degree of loose skin, excess fat or laxity of the abdominal muscle, in addition to a full consultation with your plastic surgeon, will determine whether a traditional or complete abdominoplasty, a partial mini abdominoplasty or circumferential abdominoplasty is right for you.
A complete abdominoplasty requires an incision above the pubic hairline, an incision around the umbilicus, or belly button, and a tightening of the rectus abdominis muscles (the pair of muscles that run vertically on each side of the abdomen’s front wall). Muscle tightening, as well as skin removal, is the most important step in improving the abdomen’s contour. Liposuction may also be performed at the same time of a complete tummy tuck.
Partial or Mini Abdominoplasty
The mini abdominoplasty is performed on those patients with mild to moderate tummy contour changes, relatively little skin excess and little weakness of the abdominal wall. A mini tummy-tuck is a tailored procedure that includes the tightening of the lower abdomen area only. In the mini abdominoplasty, the navel incision is avoided. Liposuction may also be performed at the time of mini abdominoplasty surgery. The procedure may include tightening of the underlying abdominal muscles using sutures.
A belt lipectomy or circumferential abdominoplasty is more extensive than a tummy tuck. The incision for a belt lipectomy encircles the entire circumference of the patient’s torso. This operation is most appropriate for patients who have undergone massive weight loss or having loose & hanging skin all around the waist line. Liposuction may work well for patients with localized fat deposits, but if you have stretch marks, cellulite, flabby skin and muscles, you'll benefit more from circumferential abdominoplasty which gives a complete lower body lift, taking care of flabby buttocks and thighs, belly fat, and love handles all in the same operation, improving your body contour three dimensionally.
The hanging skin of the abdomen, called the pannus or "apron" can cause a variety of problems, including the inability to fit comfortably into clothing, difficulty in daily hygiene, fungal infections or cysts in skin folds, and lower back pain. Different from a tummy tuck, which tightens the underlying stomach muscles, a panniculectomy only removes excess skin and fat. A panniculectomy can offer relief of these symptoms to enhance your health and appearance.
You will need some assistance initially. Many women and men start light work within 1-2 weeks. Recovery time is shorter if muscle tightening is not done and it is often possible to return to light work after a week or two, depending on your job. In many instances, you can resume most of your normal activities, including some form of mild exercise, after several weeks. You may continue to experience some mild, periodic discomfort during this time, but such feelings are normal. Severe pain should be reported to your doctor. You have to wear some kind of elastic garments to support repaired muscles & tummy for 2-3 months.
Usually by the end of one and a half months you will be feeling quite normal and ready to resume all normal activities. As the surgical swelling goes down results are visible in a month’s time. The abdomen will not look very flat initially because of the swelling but in 6-8 weeks the results will appear.
After a tummy tuck procedure (abdominoplasty):
Whether you’re having a partial or complete tummy tuck, the overall result will be a flatter, firmer abdominal contour that is more proportionate with your body type and weight. Your final results may be initially hidden by swelling. Your new slimmer profile will begin to be apparent within 3-4 weeks following surgery. It might take several weeks or even months to appreciate the final result. The scar will be hidden even in a bikini, except the scar around the belly button.
After a panniculectomy:
Most patients are very pleased with the results of the panniculectomy. You will notice that your clothing fits more comfortably. Some patients also find personal hygiene and physical activity easier.
While it will take a few months after surgery to realize final results, your body’s new contour will be permanent, providing your weight remains stable. Follow-up with your plastic surgeon at Lavanya Laser and Plastic Surgery Center is the best way to ensure long-lasting results from your panniculectomy.