Abdominoplasty or also known as (tummy tuck operation) is a surgical procedure to correct abdominal sagging, it includes removal of extra skin and fat, and stretching weak or separated muscles.
Many people seek abdominoplasty operation for cosmetic reasons, to get a firmer, more consistent, and more graceful belly. Other people may need abdominoplasty operation to remove extra skin after losing significant weight.
Abdominoplasty is a major surgical procedure with possible risks and complications, and you may have other non-surgical treatment options with different results, so you should consider taking a second opinion about all treatment options before having an abdominoplasty operation.
What are the types of abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) operations?
Abdominoplasty operations include:
1-Standard abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
It’s a complete abdominoplasty procedure which includes the whole abdominal wall circumference from one thigh to the other one and around the umbilicus, this procedure helps you to shape your abdomen by removing extra skin and fat from your middle and lower abdomen. It also includes strengthening your abdominal wall muscles.
2-Mini abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
Mini abdominoplasty which is also known as partial abdominoplasty in which the incision is much smaller. It is even smaller than that incision needed for a cesarean section.
Mini abdominoplasty is ideal when dealing with bad scars from previous cesarean sections and muscles or skin sagging below the belly button.
The mini-abdominoplasty recovery is much faster. However, there is a more limited and narrower workspace than the standard abdominoplasty.
3- Liposuction abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
This procedure depends on standard abdominoplasty bedsides liposuction, as liposuction is a common and safe procedure combined with abdominoplasty to improve the regions above the umbilicus and waist.
4-Extended abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
In this procedure, extra skin is removed from both sides and the back in addition to the standard abdominoplasty operation. This procedure is recommended for patients complaining of loose skin on both sides and back.
Extended abdominoplasty can also improve the look of the skin around both thighs and buttocks, so you have to know that the incision will be longer.
Also, this surgery may require a longer recovery period, and it may be the best treatment option for some patients to achieve the best results, such as the case of people suffering after notable weight loss and also after slimming operations.
5- Reverse abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
In this technique, the incision is done on the undersurface of the breasts. Extra skin is removed from the upper abdomen. Reverse abdominoplasty is ideal for those having extra loose skin just above the umbilicus.
Getting a detailed medical consultation from your doctor is always advisable before having an abdominoplasty operation. Patients should always discuss and learn about the advantages and side effects of all possible treatment options before having any of them.
Why is abdominoplasty performed?
Your doctor may recommend a tummy tuck operation to remove loose and sagging skin or extra belly fat, this usually occurs as a result of significant weight loss, pregnancy, genetics, aging, or previous surgery.
Your doctor may also recommend tummy tuck for you if other treatment options, like diet and exercise, are ineffective for you, and if you are not very satisfied with how your abdomen looks.
So you should first consult your doctor about all available treatment options and think about getting a second opinion before making your decision.
How is an abdominoplasty performed?
You will be under general anesthesia before the abdominoplasty operation. The surgery itself can take 2-4 hours. In case of a standard abdominoplasty, the doctor will then do two incisions:
- An incision in the lower abdominal wall from the hip bone to the other hip bone.
- An incision around the umbilicus.
Then the abdominal skin and fat are raised, which will reveal the abdominal muscles and tissues that were covered by them. The layer covering the muscles is formed of a connective tissue found directly below the skin.
The surgeon separates the muscles from the internal organs, then the abdominal muscles are pulled towards the center and sutured together.
The surgeon uses strong stitches enough to restore the strength of the abdomen, and they are also naturally absorbable by the body so you don’t feel any discomfort after they are absorbed.
This will help patients get a narrower waist, stretched abdomen, and improve the core strength of it, after that the skin is folded over the lower incision to remove extra skin and fat and close the incisions without tension.
Then, your navel belly position will be adjusted to look like normal. And finally, the skin will be closed with multiple sutures to decrease the chance of fluid accumulation. This technique allows the skin to be closed without bleeding and also faster recovery in general.
After abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
Most patients need to stay in hospital all over the night. This time may differ from one patient to another, but in general, patients are discharged after 1-3 days.
Depending on your case, doctors may prescribe pain killers, antibiotics, or blood anticoagulants for a few days after a tummy tuck operation.
Doctors can also use a temporary drain tube or inserted under the skin to remove excess fluids. This may extend for a few days, depending on your condition.
However, some patients can have their incisions closed without drains. During your recovery period, your bed should be inclined to reduce tension on the stitches. At home, you can use a pillow to lift your upper body because this will lead to:
- Give the skin enough time to be stable.
- Prevent stretching of the scar.
- Reduce swelling.
- Prevent excessive pain.
Most patients can resume their normal activities after one or two weeks. However, it is better to avoid heavy exercises until it recovers completely.
In general, doctors also recommend patients to use a compression garment (an abdominal belt) for up to 3 months after surgery.
This supportive belt helps to stretch the abdomen during recovery, especially in the first few days after surgery, it helps to reduce movement and pain. Also, it prevents the accumulation of fluids to guarantee a good recovery.
This will also help you get the best possible results. Anyway, always follow your recovery protocol and program from your doctor to prevent possible complications that can happen if you do not follow the instructions appropriately.