A Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty) is a plastic surgery procedure designed to flatten the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat, and to tighten the abdominal wall.
After a tummy tuck, the result is often a smoother and flatter abdomen with lasting results as long as you maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.
This is an operation designed to improve the appearance of the abdomen, which may be overly protruding, or may have excess loose skin and fat. There are variations of the standard operation, including "mini-tucks," which may be of benefit to patients who require removal of a small amount of skin and/or tightening of the abdominal muscles below the umbilicus (belly button). This can be done in conjunction with an umbilicoplasty, improving the size/shape of the belly button. Most patients with massive weight loss require a more extensive operation. Frequently, additional enhancing surgeries such as liposuction to improve the waist line or other regions, pubis lift or breast surgery can be performed at the same time without delaying your recovery period. Please discuss with your doctor if this applies to you.
Under general anesthesia, an incision is made across the lower part of the abdomen at the pubic hair line extending to your hips. A circular incision is made around the navel which stays attached to the muscle. The skin is then separated from the muscle up toward the ribs, so that it can be pulled down like a window shade. The tummy is then "tightened," (narrowing and flattening the abdomen) by stitching the muscles together to a position of youth and pre-pregnancy. "Mini" tummy tucks can benefit patients who have a small amount of excess skin and fat or protruding of the lower abdomen. Liposuction may be used alone or in conjunction with a tummy tuck to benefit selected patients. A pubis lift can reduce the redundant pubis skin or excess amount of hair bearing tissue.
Abdominoplasty involves a recovery period of 10 to 14 days longer than most plastic surgical procedures. Recovery will vary depending on the type of tummy tuck performed and from patient to patient.
New innovations in Tummy Tuck recovery at Pacific Center for Plastic Surgery. Read Dr. Horowiz’s articles:
Discomfort: To decrease discomfort, we offer a long acting local anesthetic. This numbing injection solution (Exparel) which lasts for 3-4 days allows for an easier recovery and is preferable to older pain pump technology.
Support: 3-5 days or more of assistance by a family member, friend or nurse is recommended. We can arrange for a nurse to stay with you if desired.
Walking: Be prepared to walk in a bent-over position to keep tension off the newly tightened skin incision site. You are encouraged to walk around the house starting the day of surgery. This is very helpful during your recovery. Do not just stay in bed.
Compression Stockings: Wear your TED stockings at all times, except while washing, to prevent clots (deep vein thrombosis). This is mandatory.
Activity: Light activity should be comfortable in 10-20 days.
Strenuous Activity/Exercise: Strenuous activity, and lifting more than ten pounds, must be avoided for 6 weeks.
Work: Some individuals with jobs not requiring strenuous activity may be able to return to work as soon as 2 weeks after surgery. Please discuss with your surgeon.
Scaring/Numbness: Softening and fading of the surgical scars, return of sensation may take several months up to a year or longer.
Tightness: Your abdomen will feel tight for a month or longer. If you have had a muscle repair as well (the usual case), you will feel the most tightness down the center of your tummy where your surgeon repaired the muscles.