Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Surgery
Dr. Hootan Daneshmand
An abdominoplasty or tummy tuck, is one of the most frequently performed Orange County cosmetic surgery procedures on both women and men. This operation gives you a new tummy at the expense of a fine-line scar that is hidden beneath your underwear or bikini. During an Orange County abdominoplasty or tummy tuck, excess skin and fat are removed in order to create a tighter, thinner abdomen. Stretch marks resulting from pregnancy or prior obesity are also removed while the weakened muscles underneath are tightened to help flatten the abdomen and taper the waistline. If you have loose or extra skin on your abdomen, an Orange County abdominoplasty or tummy tuck may be the procedure for you.
Am I good candidate for a tummy tuck?
The best candidates for an abdominoplasty are those that have stretched out, loose abdominal skin and localized excess abdominal fat resistant to diet and exercise. Most commonly, women after pregnancy find themselves unable to retighten their abdominal skin and muscle despite aggressive exercise. The abdominal muscles have often been stretched out and separated at the midline (diastasis recti). Like the skin, this muscle laxity is difficult or impossible to correct by exercise. An abdominoplasty directly addresses these problems by tightening the muscles and removing excess skin and fat to tighten and thin your abdominal contour. People who have lost significant weight are also excellent candidates for a tummy tuck. Similar to women after child-bearing, weight loss patients have extra, loose skin and lax muscles which are treatable with an abdominoplasty. Some people are good candidates for a tummy tuck despite not falling into the above categories of either significant weight loss or post-pregnancy. Excess fat and skin on the abdomen may be managed successfully with a tummy-tuck in many selective cases. The best way to determine if the procedure will work for you is to have A consultation with Dr. Daneshmand.
What kinds of tummy tucks are there?
The traditional or full abdominoplasty is the best procedure for most patients undergoing a tummy tuck. This entails removing all or most of the skin and fat between the pubic hair and belly button. The muscles are tightened on the inside and skin is sewn together to tighten and contour the abdominal profile. The full tummy tuck addresses the entire abdomen, tightening the upper and lower abdomen as well as tapering the waistline. The scar extends from hip to hip, concealed beneath your underwear or bikini line. The length of the scar varies from patient to patient depending upon the degree of excess skin and fat on the sides of your waist (the flanks).
A mini-tummy tuck is a smaller abdominoplasty. A small percentage of patients are good candidates for this procedure, as it does not address the abdomen above the belly button, but reduces localized skin and fatty excess in the lower abdomen only.
What is a mini-tummy tuck? Am I a candidate for one?
A mini-tummy tuck is a smaller abdominoplasty where the incision and resulting scar is generally shorter and the lower abdomen is addressed alone. In a mini-tummy tuck, a low incision is made between the hips and extra skin and fat are removed from the lower abdomen below the belly button. The upper abdominal skin and muscles are left alone. The ideal candidate for this procedure is someone who has localized skin laxity and fatty excess below the belly button with a tight upper abdomen and musculature.
What happens to my stretch marks?
Generally, most stretch marks are removed by a tummy tuck if they are located in the area below the belly button. Some upper abdominal scars may still remain after the procedure, but they are moved lower down on the abdomen.
Are other abdominal scars improved with a tummy tuck?
Any low, transverse scar from another procedure such as a C-section or hysterectomy will be removed during a tummy tuck. Occasionally low appendectomy scars can also be removed.
Can I have other procedures at the same time as a tummy tuck?
With healthy patient selection, a properly qualified plastic surgeon, and an appropriately credentialed operating room facility, multiple procedures can be performed safely. Most commonly, liposuction is done in conjunction with a tummy tuck in the flanks (love handles), hips, outer thighs (saddlebags), inner thighs, and back. Often, liposuction assists in contouring the waists and hips during an abdominoplasty, giving you the best possible result from your tummy tuck.
Breast surgery, including breast augmentation surgery, mastopexy, or breast reduction can be performed in conjunction with a tummy tuck in carefully selected situation. Similarly, facial surgery may be considered at the same setting in the appropriate patients.
Will smoking affect my recovery?
Smoking adversely affects wound healing. The small vessels that supply blood to the tissues shrink up and prevent the necessary nutrients for healing to get to the wound. The incidence of having a wound complication such as an open wound or skin death is much higher in smokers. Furthermore, the rate of wound infection is also significantly increased in smokers for the same reason of limited blood flow. Because of this, a patient must stop smoking for a minimum of four weeks prior to surgery to decrease the risk of these complications. In addition, smoking is prohibited for one month after surgery as poor wound healing may result during this time.
What is the scarring involved?
The scar can be tailored to your desire based upon the type of clothing you prefer. Generally, the scar is kept low in the midline within the pubic hair. It gently courses up towards the hips, staying within the skin usually hidden beneath a bikini or underwear. The length of the scar will ultimately depend upon you specific needs and anatomy. The more excess skin and fat on your sides, the longer the necessary scar in order to achieve a smooth, tapered contour to your waist. However, the position of the scar is always planned so as to remain hidden. Most patients find the scar a very acceptable trade-off for getting rid of many unattractive stretch marks and excess, loose skin. The scar is initially firm and red, but over several months will fade and smoothen to become a fine white line.
Will I need drains?
Yes, you will have two drainage tubes that will exit the skin below the incision. These drains are essential in allowing for an unimpeded healing process. They remove fluid that the body continuously makes, preventing it from collecting between the skin and the muscle where healing must occur. The drains are generally removed after one week, but sometimes need to stay in longer depending on the amount of fluid being evacuated.
Where is the surgery performed?
Abdominoplasty surgery is performed at accredited outpatient surgery centers, which provide the safest surgical environment with very low infection rates. Board-certified anesthesiologists with hospital privileges provide anesthetic care.
What kind of anesthesia is used?
General anesthesia is used to achieve sedation and pain control during an abdominoplasty. You will be asleep during the surgery and awaken comfortably in the recovery room. General anesthesia and IV sedation are extremely safe in healthy patients undergoing cosmetic surgery.
What is the recovery period for a tummy tuck?
Usually, you will be able to go home the day of surgery and recover in your own bed. You will have some discomfort and tightness in your abdomen for which you will receive pain medication. The first few days, it is important to stay in a somewhat flexed position at the hips in order to take pressure off your incision. Gradually, you will be able to loosen up and become more comfortable. An abdominal binder is worn around the clock for four to six weeks. You will be walking the day of surgery and getting around well enough within one to two weeks to return to non-strenuous work activities. After 4 to 6 weeks, low-impact exercise is permissible followed by unrestricted activity at 3 to 4 months.
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