There are a variety of abdominoplasty procedures available, and operations can be tailored to suit a patient’s wishes and needs. Generally speaking, however, tummy tucks are most commonly carried out to remove excess skin, unwanted scars, stretch marks and fat, and to tighten the stomach muscles.
The ideal patient is someone whose weight is normal, particularly those who have been overweight and have lost the excess weight. Abdominoplasty is not an operation for people who are overweight, or as an attempt at losing weight. In appropriate patients, abdominoplasty can have a very marked effect and is associated with high patient satisfaction.
WHAT SURGERY IS AVAILABLE, AND WHAT TECHNIQUES ARE INVOLVED?
For patients who have significant skin laxity, excess fat and separation of the muscles, a classic tummy tuck is the most common procedure. During the operation, an incision is made from hip to hip and around the umbilicus. The excess skin and fat is excised from the umbilicus to just above the pubic hair. The muscles above and below the umbilicus are tightened. The skin is then sewn up to give a circular scar around the umbilicus and a long scar across the lower abdomen. Although this operation leaves a large scar, it does provide the greatest improvement in abdominal shape. Patients who are thinking about becoming pregnant should not undergo this procedure, and should wait until they are sure they are not having any more children.
For patients with only a small amount of excess skin a lesser abdominoplasty might be appropriate. A general anaesthetic is still needed.
During the operation, skin and fat is excised from the lower tummy leaving a horizontal scar above the pubic hair. Sometimes the muscles will also be tightened. No scar is left around the umbilicus, which may be stretched slightly to become a different shape. A mini abdominoplasty will give a smaller effect than a full abdominoplasty.
Liposuction can sometimes be done at the same time as the abdominoplasty. However, liposuction can be recommended instead of an abdominoplasty for younger patients who have good quality, elastic skin and whose main problem is a localised excess of fat.
Cummerbund Lipo Abdominoplasty
Dr. Shahram often combines abdominoplasty with liposuction, addresses the muscles and also lifts up and tightens the fascia of the lower abdomen like a cummerbund for more natural results, shorter down time and best scars. He calls it cummerbund lipo-abdominoplasty
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT IN TERMS OF TREATMENT, PROCEDURES AND OUTCOMES?
The surgical procedures described in this brief guide are all best performed when a patient is fit and healthy. No special diet or exercise programme is required prior to an abdominoplasty, but you should be close to your ideal weight.
With a full abdominoplasty you will have some dressings on your tummy and usually some drains (plastic tubes attached to suction bottles). The drains will usually be removed before you go home.
Post-operative pain in these procedures is easily controlled. Patients will be mobile from day one and should be back to full exercise within six weeks.
Patients are recommended to take at least four weeks off work immediately after the operation in order to ensure they recuperate fully. These timings are approximate and depend on what exactly is done; also some people recover quicker than others.
All abdominoplasties result in some scarring although the nature of the scars will depend on the technique that has been used. Scars tend to be quite red and raised in the first six weeks, changing over next six months or so and then fading to white. Most patients will form good quality scars over time, but occasionally and unpredictably some patients will get red lumpy scars that do not improve.
Preparing For Tummy Tuck Surgery
Tummy tuck surgery or abdominoplasty is a major surgical procedure requiring some preparation to help ensure a safe and smooth surgery and recovery:
Create a Strong Support System around Yourself
When you undergo tummy tuck surgery, chances are that you may experience severe emotional ups and downs or mood swings. These emotions can range from a feeling of depression to elation. You should enlist the support of close family and friends who can devote some time and effort to take care of you.
Stay Committed to the Healing Process
Tummy tuck procedure will involve at least one to two weeks of downtime, depending on the surgical technique. It will take another several weeks for the swelling to subside completely and for the patient to feel completely “normal” again. Patience, focus, and follow-ups are essential through this journey for a sound and sustainable recovery.
Get Involved in Healthy Relaxation Activities
Read books and magazines, surf the Internet, watch movies at home and perform mild household activities in the first two weeks after tummy tuck surgery. Do not return to work too early, and maintain a relaxed schedule for a few days.
Maintain Close Communication with the Surgeon
Prior to the tummy tuck surgery, you should share all relevant health information, habits and other concerns frankly with me. After the procedure, if you experience any abnormal pain or other signs, or have any doubts, do not hesitate to speak with Dr. Shahram.