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Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Category(s): Cosmetic Surgery

Abdominoplasty also known as a tummy tuck, is a procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal area. In most cases, the structural integrity of the muscles can be strengthened which lends to a firmer and smoother abdominal profile.

Individuals can choose to have this procedure even if they have a normal body type but have developed a loose/sagging or extended abdomen profile commonly caused by aging, pregnancy, heredity, prior surgeries, or weight fluctuation.

Abdominoplasty is a good option if you are at a maintainable healthy weight, your expectations are realistic, and you are not planning on significantly altering your body type such as becoming pregnant or having weight fluctuations. You may not be a candidate if you smoke or have recently quit smoking as this restricts blood flow to the body's tissue and can result in additional scarring, infection, skin loss, an extended healing process, and other complications.

This procedure is generally not recommended just to remove stretch marks but can help improve their appearance if they are located in the area of excess skin that will be removed such as under the belly button.

The most common form of the surgery starts with general anesthesia. The surgeon makes two incisions in the abdomen, the first longer incision is made from hipbone to hipbone just above the pubic area and the second shorter incision is made to free the navel from the surrounding tissue. After the incisions are made, the physician separates the skin from the abdominal wall all the way up to the ribs and the vertical stomach muscles underneath are tightened by pulling them together and stitching them in place. Excess skin and fat is removed and may be combined with liposuction to achieve an aesthetic contour in the abdomen.

A mini-abdominoplasty is another option which requires shorter incisions and may not result in the navel being moved.

The average length of surgery varies from 2-5 hours during a full abdominoplasty surgery and 1-2 hours in a mini- abdominoplasty surgery. Recovery time varies greatly from person to person and is dependent on the extent of the surgery completed. The average length of recovery before resuming non-strenuous activity varies between 1-3 weeks. Moderate periodic discomfort and swelling is normal during this time but if severe pain is experienced, contact your doctor. During recovery, it is important to follow all of your physician's instructions.


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