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Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Abdominoplasty, known more commonly as a "tummy tuck," is a surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdominal and to tighten the muscles of the abdomen wall. The procedure can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen. The surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through multiple pregnancies, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal.

Abdominoplasty is the only method at the present time to get rid of unsightly striae, or stretch marks, on the abdomen. Some women have very unattractive stretch marks. They are usually the result of carrying a large baby during pregnancy, resulting in rapid and great distention of the abdominal skin. Other causes are stretching of the skin due to obesity and rapid growth of breasts and hips during puberty. The abdominoplasty removes the skin from the umbilicus to the pubes, as this is the area of greatest concentration of stretch marks.

Some women have stretch marks that extend above the umbilicus on the upper abdomen. This area cannot be removed, but it is still improved by the abdominoplasty because at the end of the operation the tissue is located beneath the umbilicus and can more easily be covered or hidden by bathing attire.

Besides the removal of excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen, a muscle-tightening procedure is also part of the well-performed abdominoplasty. We find that, besides the loose skin and fat, the abdominal muscles (the rectus abdominus muscles) have also been stretched; and by tightening these muscles, the long-term improvement of the abdomen is greatly increased.

Photos below courtesy Dr. Gonzalez of Olathe, Kansas
before tummy tuck photo
after tummy tuck photo
Before Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
After Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Procedure:
Flatten abdomen by removing excess fat and skin and tightening muscles of abdominal wall.

Length of Surgery:
3 to 4 hours

Anesthesia:
General

In/Outpatient:
Either depending on individual circumstances and extent of surgery.

Side Effects:
Swelling, soreness, numbness of abdominal skin, bruising.

Risks:
Poor healing resulting in conspicuous scarring or skin loss. Need for a second operation.

Recovery:
Back to work: 2 to 4 weeks. More strenuous activity: 4 to 6 weeks or more. Fading and flattening of scars: 3 months to 2 years.

 

Page Update: July 31, 2009

 

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