Generally referred to as a “tummy tuck”, abdominoplasty removes excess fat and skin from the abdomen. The procedure also helps to flatten the abdomen by tightening the surrounding muscles. Women with stretched abdominal areas due to previous pregnancies can benefit considerably from abdominoplasty, although they should have completed their childbearing. Older individuals whose skin has lost some of its elasticity and are slightly obese can experience an improvement in their abdominal area.
If you are in generally good physical shape but are concerned about abdominal fat deposits or loose skin that does not respond to diet and exercise, the procedure can potentially reduce or even eliminate a protruding abdomen. Abdominoplasty can produce a permanent scar which can possibly extend to both sides of your hips, although the scar will likely be located below the bikini or bathing suit line.
After pregnancy or weight loss, excess skin and fat can distort the appearance of the abdomen. In particular, many women find that after their second child or after bearing twins, their muscles and skin do not return to their original appearance secondary to repeated stretch of the abdomen. The abdominoplasty, or “tummy tuck” procedure, creates a flatter, firmer abdomen by removing excess fat and skin, and tightening the abdominal muscles. You are a good candidate for a tummy tuck if you are at a stable weight and are physically healthy, you have realistic expectations, and you do not smoke.
Anatomy of the Abdomen
The abdominal wall consists of skin, fat, and muscle. The rectus abdominis muscles, whichform the “six pack” of muscles on the abdomen, are covered by a firm sheath called the rectus fascia. This fascial layer frequently weakens and stretches out with pregnancy and weight gain. As a result, once a patient loses weight or has her children, she may be left with laxity of the abdominal wall. During surgery, the fascial layer over the rectus abdominis muscles is tightened, and the excess skin and fat are removed.
Tummy Tuck steps
The abdominoplasty procedure is performed with a horizontal incision in the lower abdomen within the bikini line. In patients who have undergone a prior C-section, the incision can be made in the same location and extended to the sides. The rectus abdominis muscles of the abdomen are tightened, and the excess skin and fat are trimmed and redraped. Most abdominoplasty surgeries require repositioning of the umbilicus, or navel through a second incision. In the “mini” abdominoplasty procedure, lower abdominal muscle tightening with fat and skin removal are performed through a limited horizontal bikini incision only, without repositioning of the navel. The resulting scar is usually low on the abdomen, and therefore can be concealed within most bathing suits and clothing. Small drain tubes are placed with both techniques.