What Is A Tummy Tuck?
Almost everyone would like to have a flatter, firmer stomach. A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that tightens the skin of the lower abdomen. A laxity of the abdomen can result from pregnancy, weight loss, or weakened muscles. Diet and exercise alone may not correct these problems. By having an abdominoplasty, not only is the skin pulled tight, but the muscles of the abdominal wall are reinforced and strengthened. Abdominoplasty is generally tailored to the individual patient depending on their body and the desired end result. One thing that you can expect following surgery is a tighter, flatter, and more contoured abdomen.
Dr. Sargent offers 30+ years of experience in Plastic Surgery to Chattanooga, TN., and has his own in-office operative suite.
Am I A Candidate For A Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is designed to improve the contour of the tummy by tightening the skin and muscles of the abdominal wall. This is a good option if:
You have excess, sagging skin.
You have a bulging or protruding stomach pouch.
You are bothered by the appearance of your abdomen.
Abdominoplasty is a good contouring procedure but is not a weight loss method. Ideally, patients should be healthy and at a stable weight.
How Is A Tummy Tuck Performed?
Depending upon the extent of skin laxity, a tummy tuck can be designed to fit the patient’s needs. The shape and length of the lower abdominal incision can vary depending on the amount of excess tissue to be removed. Once the lower incision is made and the abdominal skin lifted, the underlying weakened muscles are tightened. A second incision is made around the navel. The upper abdominal skin is then pulled down like a window shade. The excess skin is trimmed and the skin is sutured together. A new opening is made for the belly button and the belly button passed through and sutured in place.
All Procedures Shown were done by Larry A. Sargent, M.D. FACS
Tummy Tuck Recovery
Following the operation, you may have an abdominal binder in place with bandages on your suture line. Small drain tubes may be in place to drain any blood or fluid that collects. Swelling and soreness may be present for several weeks. You may need to take off work for 2-4 weeks and avoid any strenuous activity for 6 weeks. Detailed written instructions are given to help you in your recovery.
Length Of Operation
2 1/2 – 3 1/2 hours
Typically general anesthesia is used. Intravenous anesthesia may be used in some cases.
Length Of Stay
Patients usually go home the same day. If multiple procedures are performed you may want to stay overnight in the hospital.
Moderate discomfort. Similar to recovery from a C-section or Hysterectomy.
Pain medication prescribed for 10-14 days postoperatively.
Most patients have minimal activity for the first few days and return to work in 2-4 weeks.
Avoid strenuous exercise for 6 weeks.
Drains in place for 5-7 days.
Abdominal binder worn to provide support to abdominal muscle repair.
Visible but usually undetectable when wearing clothing. Scars tend to fade with time and are located around the navel and transversely in the pubic area extending toward the hips.
Risks / Possible Complications
Serious complications, while possible, are unlikely. In addition to risks of aesthesia, possible complications include:
Tissue loss: Rarely occurs, but is more of a risk in smokers, diabetics, and overweight patients
Hematoma: collection of blood beneath skin that may require removal
Seroma: Fluid collection under skin that can usually be removed in physicians office.