Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck). A flat and well-toned abdomen is something many of us strive for through exercise and diet. Sometimes these methods cannot achieve our desired goals. Even individuals of otherwise normal body weight and proportion can develop an abdomen that protrudes or is loose, sagging with the presence of stretch marks (striae). The most common causes include:
- Significant weight fluctuations
- Prior surgeries
Abdominoplasty or as it is more commonly known as a “tummy tuck” surgery, and the less extensive apronectomy (mini-tuck) are surgical procedures that flatten and trim the abdomen by removing excess fat and skin from the lower abdomen and waist which cannot be eliminated by exercise and diet alone. These procedures are an effective way to tighten the abdominal area. The procedures also remove baggy or wrinkled skin and lessen the appearance of stretch marks between the belly button and pubic hair. The abdominal wall muscles are tightened so that even when sitting down or bending over the abdomen doesn’t stick out.
Tummy tuck has several surgical techniques namely:
- Traditional Abdominoplasty
- Partial or ‘mini’ Abdominoplasty
- Extended Abdominoplasty
The Abdominoplasty Consultation
The consultation with your plastic surgeon is the first step to communicate your feelings about what you want to achieve. It is imperative to highlight to your surgeon exactly what you find most objectionable about the appearance and to try to define what you would like to see as a result. The purpose is to bring focus and clarity to the concerns that you have regarding your appearance, but also to establish realistic expectations and a clear sense of direction for your change. During the consultation, you will be asked some questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.
Be prepared to discuss:
- Why you want the surgery, your expectations and desired outcomes
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
- Use of current medications, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
- Previous surgeries such as abdominal operation or caesarian section.
Your surgeon will also:
- Evaluate your general health status; ask about any previous surgery, and any pre-existing health conditions or risks factors
- Take photographs for your medical records
- Discuss your goals and explain what results you can reasonably expect.
- Discuss any risks or potential complications and what to expect during your recovery.
- Discuss the use of anaesthesia during your surgery
- Show you how your scar will follow the “bikini line” from hip to hip in a way that will be discretely covered by regular pants. It may be possible to make a slight variation in the placement of scars depending on the type of clothing you favour.
What happens during the tummy tuck procedure?
During the tummy tuck procedure, your surgeon will make one or more incisions, and an ellipse of skin and underlying fat are removed from hip to hip above the pubic hair and below the umbilicus (navel). A mini-tummy tuck has smaller incisions then other abdominoplasty procedures. Your incisions will most likely extend from hip to hip and around the navel. Your surgeon will remove excess skin and tighten the abdominal muscles. Sometimes a small amount of liposuction is used to remove small pockets of fat. The incisions are closed using surgical stitches and, if necessary, the navel is reattached.
Type Of Tummy Tucks
Traditional Tummy Tuck
The traditional abdominoplasty is the most commonly performed type of tummy tuck surgery. It is ideal for men and women who are in good physical health and who have a considerable portion of loose skin to remove from their midsection. Since it addresses the patient’s entire abdominal area, this procedure often involves moving the belly button to ensure that it will give natural looking results.
Partial or “Mini” tummy tuck
Partial or Mini Tummy tuck surgery, also known as partial abdominoplasty, is less invasive than traditional full abdominoplasty, and the scarring is less than that of the traditional tummy tuck. The procedure is ideal for people with small amounts of excess abdominal skin, within 10% of their ideal body weight and are concerned with changing only to the part of the abdomen that is below the navel.
The apronectomy is a modification of the mini-abdominoplasty for patients who have a large excess of skin and fat hanging down over the pubic area. In this procedure, only the surplus skin and fat is removed. The scar is long and transverse extending from one side of the apron to the other.
The Extended Abdominoplasty procedures are designed to remove even more excess skin and fat than a traditional tummy tuck while tightening the abdominal muscles. The techniques of an extended abdominoplasty are ideal for patients who have a significant amount of excess fat and skin in the flank, upper hip, and lower back regions. There are several techniques which are often an effective treatment for patients who wish to refine their figures following substantial weight loss.