Everyone has their problem areas, but most would point to their stomachs if asked which part of the their body they would like to change. Diet and exercise is always the number-one way to target weight loss and firmer, slimmer figures. But, for some, no amount of dieting or working out is going to give them a flat stomach. Massive weight loss and multiple pregnancies are two of the biggest culprits when it comes to the stubborn protruding belly, while genetics or age-related obesity can contribute as well.
A tummy tuck, which is medically known as an abdominoplasty, is a surgery that removes excess fat deposits and sagging skin. It also tightens the abdominal muscles to support a stronger, leaner, trimmer torso.
Am I a candidate for a tummy tuck?
An abdominoplasty is not a solution for someone who is looking to lose an extensive amount of weight. Truth be told, the best solution is always diet and exercise.
What about those that lost weight through diet and exercise and now find their bodies thinner but their skin misshapen? They may suffer from skin that sags, droops, or hangs around their midsection. It can be quite disheartening because for some, no matter how much they diet or exercise, they may never get that tight abdominal look even though they are at a healthy weight.
For others it could be that they have had one or more pregnancies that stretched out their abdominal wall and their shape did not return after they returned to their pre-pregnancy weight. Again, for some, no amount of diet and exercise is going to cure that.
For these individuals, along with those with genetics that leave their stomachs with extra flab while the rest of their body is fit and trim, an abdominoplasty can be the answer they have been seeking.
What is an abdominoplasty procedure?
Abdominoplasty comes in a few different variations, depending on the patient’s needs. A full abdominoplasty is the most common procedure and includes a horizontal incision just above the pubic region that runs from hip bone to hip bone. Another incision circles the navel. From these incisions doctors can remove excess fat deposits and surgically tighten the abdominal wall and muscles. Afterward, the skin is pulled downward and excess skin is trimmed away. Finally, the navel is recreated and repositioned in the appropriate place. In the mini abdominoplasty, a smaller incision is required above the pubic bone and the navel stays in its original place. The mini abdominoplasty is more appropriate for those whose stomach troubles lie all below the belly button.
All procedures begin with a consultation with Dr. Volshteyn. At this visit, he will review your current health status (often a physical exam is required), your health history, and any medications that you may be taking. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your goals and expectations for an abdominoplasty and ask any questions that you may have.
Generally, a full abdominoplasty may not require an overnight hospital stay. You will be under general or epideral anesthesia during the surgery. A mini abdominoplasty can take place on an out-patient basis, however, you will need someone to be with you the first 24 hours after the surgery.
You will be asked to rest the first two to three days with short walks beginning the first day after surgery. Full recovery can take six to ten weeks, but most patients are able to return to work in two or three weeks. This depends on the individual and their line of work. If your job is strenuous you may need to take some extra time off before you return. You can typically resume strenuous activity in about two to three months. Dr. Volshteyn may give you more detailed and specific instructions.
Full abdominoplasties require a drainage tube that will be removed by the doctor in three to five days after the surgery. Sutures typically dissolve on their own. If non-absorbing sutures are used, they will be removed 10 to 14 days after the surgery.
What are the potential risks and complications of an abdominoplasty?
All elective surgery comes with some level of risk or complications, though they rarely happen. You can help to minimize complications by carefully following your physician’s pre- and post-operative instructions. Excessive bleeding, bruising, infections, and hematomas can occur.
Initially, the scars on your stomach may appear to become worse, however, this is just part of the healing process. As time passes the scars will continue to lighten and become smaller. Not smoking helps to promote healing and healthy scars as does limiting sun exposure.
To find out more about the abdominoplasty procedures, please call our office today 732-641-3350