TUMMY TUCK (ABDOMINOPLASTY)
What is a Tummy Tuck?
Also known as Abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat tissue from the middle and lower abdomen; also is used to tighten muscles of the abdominal wall. Abdominoplasty is not a surgical treatment for being overweight. Obese individuals who intend to lose weight should postpone all forms of body contouring surgery until they have reached a stable weight. There are different techniques used by plastic surgeons for Abdominoplasty (Tummy tuck), and it can be combined with other forms of body-contouring surgery, including suction-assisted body contouring.
Abdominoplasty is recommended to improve the appearance of the abdomen that has been altered by pregnancy, changes in weight, previous surgery or C-sections where the main defects are muscle weakness of the abdominal wall, and separation of the muscles. Due to pregnancies, usually the abdominal muscles are separated and they do not return to their original position without a surgical correction. Also different types of hernias are caused by weakness in the muscular wall which can be diagnosed, treated and corrected with Abdominoplasty (Tummy tuck).
The incision of Abdominoplasty (Tummy tuck) is done at the pubic bone level, and allows the reconstruction of the abdominal wall, the removal of excessive skin, stretch marks, fat, and also moves or modifies the navel. After surgery, it is recommended to place drainage tubes for approximately five to seven days, to eliminate fluids; therefore, the patient who has to travel out of state must remain at least 15 days after their procedure to keep track of the recovery.
Tummy Tuck and Liposculpture
In our practice, liposculpture will be performed the same day of your Abdominoplasty (Tummy tuck) to reshape the whole body. We use a technique called “tumescent liposculpture”, which uses a large amount of liquid to facilitate the extraction of body fat minimizing the loss of blood, as well as the risk for the patient. This technique also allows the doctor to re-inject the patient’s fat to reshape and/or rejuvenate other areas such as the face, buttocks, breasts, hands, vagina, etc. Our technique gives the patient the opportunity to recover quickly and satisfactorily at home.
Afterwards, a garment or elastic dress will be placed to control swelling, and to help the skin to readapt to the new body contour. Recovery is a process, and the final result will show after three months on average; however, the patient may resume normal activities during this time. Liposculpture (liposuction) accompanied with Tummy tuck will enhance appearance and self-confidence in all areas of the patient’s life.
Liposculpture (liposuction) may be a alternative to Abdominoplasty if there is good skin tone and localized abdominal fat deposits in an individual of normal weight.
Where is the Fat stored in the body?
There are two ways the fat is stored in the body. One is the volume of fat mainly deposited under the skin on top of the muscle, and the other (also called Visceral fat), which is deposited in the abdominal cavity, under the muscles, and is surrounding the abdominal organs. In women, the deposits are mainly under the skin, while in men the deposits are located within the abdominal cavity.
The fat that is located under the skin can be reduced with diet, exercise, or liposculpture; but the fat that lies within the abdomen (visceral fat) can only be treated with diet and exercise. All these details make treatments and answers different for men and women.
Risks of Abdominoplasty And Tummy Tuck Surgery
Every surgical procedure involves a certain amount of risk and it is important that the patient understands these risks and the possible complications associated with them. In addition, every procedure has limitations. An individual’s choice to undergo a surgical procedure is based on the comparison of the risk to potential benefit. Although the majority of patients do not experience these complications, these should be discussed with the doctor to make sure all possible consequences of an Abdominoplasty (Tummy tuck) are completely understood.
- Bleeding: It is possible, though unusual, to experience a bleeding episode during or after surgery.
- Hematoma: It can occur at any time following injury.
- Infection: It is unusual after surgery. Should an infection occur, treatment including antibiotics may be necessary.
- Change in Skin Sensation: It is common to experience diminished (or loss) of skin sensation in areas that have had surgery.
- Skin Contour Irregularities: Contour and shape irregularities and depressions may occur after Abdominoplasty. Residual skin irregularities at the ends of the incisions or “dog ears” are always a possibility as is skin pleating when there is excessive redundant skin.
- Major Incision Separation: Incisions may separate after surgery. Should this occur, additional treatment including surgery may be necessary.
- Skin Discoloration / Swelling: Bruising and swelling normally occurs following Abdominoplasty.
- Skin Sensitivity: Itching, tenderness, or exaggerated responses to hot or cold temperatures may occur after surgery.
- Sutures: Most surgical techniques use deep sutures. You may notice these sutures after your surgery. Sutures may spontaneously poke through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that requires removal.
- Umbilicus: Malposition, scarring, unacceptable appearance or loss of the umbilicus (navel) may occur.
- Pubic Distortion: It is possible, though unusual, for women to develop distortion of their labia and pubic area. Should this occur, additional treatment including surgery may be necessary.
- Scarring: All surgery leaves scars, some more visible than others, depending on the type of skin. Although good wound healing after a surgical procedure is expected, abnormal scars may appear within the skin and deeper tissues. Scars may be unattractive and of different color than surrounding skin. Scar appearance may also vary within the same scar, exhibit contour variations or “bunching” due to the amount of excess skin. Scars may be asymmetrical (appear different between right and left side of the body). There is the possibility of visible marks in the skin from sutures. In some cases scars may require surgical revision or treatment.
- Asymmetry: Factors such as skin tone, fatty deposits, skeletal prominence, and muscle tone may contribute to normal asymmetry in body features. Additional surgery may be necessary to attempt to improve this asymmetry.
- Allergic Reactions: In rare cases, local allergies to tape, suture material and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents have been reported.
- Body-Piercing: Individuals who currently wear body-piercing jewelry, or are seeking to undergo body-piercing procedures must consider the possibility that an infection could develop anytime following Abdominoplasty. Treatment including antibiotics, hospitalization or additional surgery may be necessary.
- Female Patient Information: It is important to inform your doctor if you use birth control pills, hormone replacement, or if you suspect you may be pregnant. Many medications including antibiotics may neutralize the preventive effect of birth control pills, allowing for conception and pregnancy.
- Intimate Relations after Surgery: Surgery involves coagulating of blood vessels and increased activity of any kind may open these vessels leading to a bleed, or hematoma. Increased activity that increased your pulse or heart rate may cause additional bruising, swelling, and the need for return to surgery and control bleeding. It is wise to refrain from sexual activity until your physician states it is safe.
- Medications: There are many adverse reactions that occur as the result of taking over-the-counter, herbal, and/or prescription medications. Make sure to check with your physician about any drug interactions that may exist with medications that you are already taking. If you have an adverse reaction, stop the drugs immediately and call your doctor for further instructions. If the reaction is severe, go immediately to the nearest emergency room. When taking the prescribed pain medications after surgery, realize that they can affect your thought process and coordination. Do not drive, do not operate complex equipment, do not make any important decisions and do not drink any alcohol while taking these medications. Make sure to take your prescribed medication only as directed.
- Mental Health Disorders and Elective Surgery: It is important that all patients seeking to undergo elective surgery have realistic expectations that focus on improvement rather than perfection. Complications or less than satisfactory results are sometimes unavoidable, may require additional surgery and often are stressful. Please openly discuss with your surgeon, prior to surgery, any history that you may have of significant emotional depression or mental health disorders. Although many individuals may benefit psychologically from the results of elective surgery, effects on mental health cannot be accurately predicted.
- Smoking, Second-Hand Smoke Exposure, Nicotine Products (Patch, Gum, and Nasal Spray): Patients, who are currently smoking, use tobacco products, or nicotine products (patch, gum, or nasal spray) are at a greater risk for significant surgical complications of skin dying, delayed healing, and additional scarring. Individuals exposed to second-hand smoke are also at potential risk for similar complications attributable to nicotine exposure. Additionally, smokers may have a significant negative effect on anesthesia and recovery from anesthesia, with coughing and possibly increased bleeding. Individuals who are not exposed to tobacco smoke or nicotine-containing products have a significantly lower risk of this type of complication.
Additional Surgery Necessary (Re-Operations)
There are many variable conditions that may influence the long-term result of surgery. A second surgery may be necessary to obtain optimal results. Even though risks and complications occur infrequently, the risks cited are particularly associated with Abdominoplasty. Other complications and risks can occur but are even more uncommon. The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee or warranty expressed or implied, on the results that may be obtained. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure.