Everyone's got their trouble spots, 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 people, 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 protruded belly, while genetics or age-related obesity can contribute as well.
A Tummy Tuck, which is medically known as 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 Good Candidate?
Abdominoplasty is not a solution for someone who is looking to lose a lot of weight - especially if they are looking to lose a massive amount of weight. Truth be told, the best solution for that is always diet and exercise.
But what about the people that did lose weight through diet and exercise and now find their bodies thinner but their skin misshapen? They may suffer from skin that sags, droops, or outright 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 so that their shape did not return after they got back to their pre-pregnancy weight. Again, for some people, no amount of diet and exercise is going to cure that.
For these people, along with those with genetics that leave their stomachs pooching out while the rest of their body is fit and trim, abdominoplasty can be the answer they've been looking for.
Abdominoplasty comes in a couple 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 rings the navel. From these incisions doctors can remove excess fat deposits and surgically tighten the abdominal wall and muscles. Afterward, skin is pulled downward and excess skin is trimmed away. Finally, the navel is recreated and repositioned in the appropriate place. In Mini Abdominoplasty, a smaller incision is required above the pubic bone and the navel stays in its original place. Mini Abdominoplasty is more appropriate for people whose stomach troubles lie all below the belly button.
About the Procedure
All procedures begin with a consultation with Dr. Volshteyn. He will want to learn everything about your current health (often a physical exam is required), your health history and about any medications that you may be on. You should also discuss your goals and expectations for the Abdominoplasty and ask any questions that you may have.
Generally, Full Abdominoplasty may or may not require an overnight hospital stay. You will be under general or epideral anesthesia during the surgery. Mini Abdominoplasty can take place on an out-patient basis, but you will need someone to be with you the first 24 hours after the surgery.
You will be asked to rest in bed for the first two or three days with short walks beginning the first day after surgery. Full recovery can take up to six to eight or ten weeks, but most people can return to work in two or three weeks. This can depend on the person and their line of work, so 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, but Dr. Volshteyn may give you more detailed and specific instructions.
Abdominoplasties require a drainage tube that will be removed by the doctor in three to five days after the surgery. Sutures typically go away on their own. If non-absorbing sutures are used, they will be removed 10 to 14 days after the surgery.
Risks and Complications
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 closely. Excessive bleeding, bruising, infections and hematomas can happen.
The scars on your stomach may appear initially to get worse, but this is just part of the healing process. As time goes by the scars will continue to lighten and get smaller. Not smoking helps to promote healing and healthy scars as does limiting sun exposure.