A “tummy tuck” (or abdominoplasty) reduces excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and tightens the abdominal wall. This procedure can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen or unsightly navel, and can provide waistline definition.
A tummy tuck surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through pregnancy, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal. Loss of skin elasticity in older patients, which frequently occurs with slight obesity, can also be improved.
In general, you may be a good tummy tuck candidate if:
- You are physically healthy and at a stable weight
- You have realistic expectations
- You are a nonsmoker
- You are bothered by the appearance of your abdomen
Liposuction will only remove some of the fat underneath the skin; a tummy tuck will tighten a lax abdominal muscle wall, reshape a belly button, and fully remove excess tissue. Liposuction can be added to lessen the thickness of the flanks, waist and hips for maximum contouring.
Patients who have minimal excess skin or an issue only with lower abdominal wall tone may be good candidates for a mini-tuck. Benefits of a mini-tummy tuck include a shorter, less involved procedure, and quicker recovery. Most patients are able to return to work with limited activities within two weeks after surgery.
During your consultation, Dr. Doolabh will make an assessment whether a full tummy tuck or mini-tuck is warranted. A mini-tuck can create imbalance if your tummy protrudes both above and below the belly button because it only corrects the central lower tummy with a short incision. The scar should be long enough to remove all excess side tissue as well. A mini-tuck may not include reshaping of the belly button, and any stretchmarks above the belly button will remain unchanged.
Traditional tummy tucks would have drains (small, thin tubes temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect) to ensure the flattest contouring of the abdomen and avoid collections/pockets of fluid from forming. The drainless tummy tuck technique involves closing this space under the skin flap with sutures (some surgeons use adhesives) which provides less shearing of tissues and more comfort.
The best candidate for a drainless tuck is a patient who will not require a long incision and requires less surgical manipulation of tissues for reshaping the tummy. Dr. Doolabh would make this determination during your physical examination consultation.
In addition, drainless tummy tuck patients are more mobile and released to shower sooner, as soon as 48 hours after the procedure. In general, drainless tuck patients express having less discomfort and an overall better quality postoperative recovery.
During your tummy tuck recovery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and you may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimize swelling and support your abdomen as it heals following surgery.
Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
You will be given specific instructions that may include:
- How to care for the surgical site and drains
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
- When to follow up with Dr. Doolabh
Stretchmarks themselves represent a tear, with fewer collagen & elastin fibers and thinning of the skin. Stretchmarks that are above the belly button may be less noticeable when the skin is stretched, and those in the lower abdomen will get cut away during a full tuck. Partial improvements in stretchmark color may be obtained with laser treatments, and re–texturizing may be accomplished with microneedling. Check out the Medical Spa menu!