Abdominoplasty , also known as a “ tummy tuck “, is a major surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the abdominal area, to shape and tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall, as well as bring in the hips and waist area. The operation can dramatically improve the appearance of the abdomen, especially if there is excess skin and fat or an abdominal protrusion, such as after one or more pregnancies.
The Best Candidates for Abdominoplasty
The best candidates for abdominoplasty are men and women who are in relatively good physical shape, but bothered by excess fat and loose skin in the waist area that will not improve with diet and exercise.
The best candidates for an abdominoplasty are those that have the following:
- Excess or overhanging abdominal skin
- Have a protruding belly following one or more pregnancies
- Have any inelastic skin or unsightly stretch marks in the abdomen
- Maintain a relatively stable weight and are not significantly overweight
Abdominoplasty is not a procedure intended for weight loss. It is rather a procedure that improves the contouring and shaping in the belly area after an individual has stabilized her weight and body shape with as much as diet and exercise will allow for them.
A full abdominoplasty typically takes two to four hours, but may take longer, depending upon the shape and size of the patient. A “mini” abdominoplasty may be performed in even less time.
Surgery always is performed using general anesthesia with the patient completely comfortable and asleep during the entire procedure. Typically, an incision is made around the level of the bikini line. The incision may be relatively narrow, but usually extends wide, to allow the excess skin to be properly tailored and re-draped for a flatter and shapelier abdomen.
The skin and fat is lifted up and the bellybutton is released with an additional small circular incision. At this point the fascia, or covering over the abdominal muscles, is tightened with strong suture material so that the abdominal muscles are brought back into their natural anatomic position near the midline. It is important to note that muscle is not cut or divided in a standard abdominoplasty.
Additional laxity or looseness in the waist or other portions of the abdominal fascia, or covering, is also carefully tightened down with strong sutures to allow the waist to assume an improved shape. The overlying skin and fat and is then carefully drawn down over the previous incision and the excess is trimmed. The incision is closed in multiple layers using strong, self-absorbing sutures. The bellybutton is retained, but brought out through a small new opening that is created by Dr. Shannon.
In a “mini” abdominoplasty, the tightening of the abdominal wall with strong sutures is usually not required. A much smaller incision around the bikini line then is used to tighten abdominal excess skin and fat.
Risks of the Procedure
Abdominoplasty is a commonly performed operation and is typically quite safe. However, standard risks do exist which are common to all physicians performing the procedure. These include bleeding, infection, pain, wide or unsightly scars, irregularity and need for revision surgery. Please feel free to ask the doctor about any questions or concerns that you may have.
After the Surgery
After surgery, there will be some soreness and swelling of the abdominal area. You will be given plenty of pain medication to take home with you. Patients are typically able to resume light duty, such as a desk job, about a week after surgery. Additional activity begins two weeks following surgery, and progressively increases over the next several weeks, until full activity is attained around five or six weeks after surgery. All sutures will be removed in 10-14 days. The color of the incision will normally become redder in the first few weeks after surgery and then change and fade continuously afterward.
Here at Keystone we would like you to take this opportunity to learn more about these cosmetic surgery procedures and see before and after pictures. You may want to read some of the numerous testimonials received by Dr. Shannon and his staff; you also will have the opportunity to view Dr. Shannon’s before and after photos.