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After childbirth or weight loss, the excess skin over your abdomen will not revert to its original tightness. The result is drooping or sagging skin. Your abdominal muscles can also become stretched out and may not retract to their normal position. This can leave a stubborn protruding belly that won’t respond to even the most sophisticated sit ups.
An abdominoplasty, also called tummy tuck surgery, can correct both of these problems. The tummy tuck will flatten your abdomen and remove the excess, loose skin so your muscles will retain its flat, toned appearance.
There are three techniques to an abdominoplasty:
Full tummy tuck or abdominoplasty
This procedure addresses the three components of abdominal deformity (skin, fat, muscle) so it benefits most women who want as flat a stomach as possible and skin as tight as possible. An abdominoplasty is completed under general anesthesia and usually takes between three and four hours. A full tummy tuck removes excess skin between the belly button and the pubis. The remaining upper abdominal skin is then stretched to replace the lower abdominal skin. A new opening is created for the belly button. The muscle is tightened to flatten the abdomen and shape and narrow the waistline. Liposuction is typically also done in combination with a tummy tuck to further sculpt the abdomen. The incision is kept low in the panty line from hip to hip. Drains are placed and are removed in the office in several days.
Circumferential tummy tuck or body lift
This procedure is more commonly performed on patients who have had massive weight loss from either gastric bypass, Lap band procedures or through diet and exercise. During this procedure excess skin is removed between the belly button and pubis extending around the waist and including skin from the back. The muscles are also tightened. This type of procedure will produce some lifting of the outer thigh and buttock.
Modified Tummy Tuck
For patients who do not have a lot of excess skin to be removed, but do have very weak or separated abdominal muscles causing the abdomen to pouch out may require more muscle tightening than skin excision. During a modified tummy tuck, the skin and belly button are elevated off of the muscles. The muscles are then tightened. Then a portion of skin is removed between the belly button and pubis. The belly button is moved down only a short distance during this procedure.
Mini tummy tuck
During a mini tummy tuck (mini tuck) the excess skin located between the belly button and the pubis is removed. The remaining skin is stretched to close the incision. The muscles are tightened and the belly button is kept attached and is not moved. Liposuction is commonly added during a mini tummy tuck. Typically, the scar is shorter, lying just over the pubis area like a C-section scar.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
Two drains will be placed under the incision to remove normal healing fluid for the next week to ten days. You will also need to wear a compression garment for the next six weeks following surgery. Most patients return to work in two weeks following a tummy tuck.
Am I a good candidate?
Your initial consultation will determine whether you are an appropriate candidate for an abdominoplasty. In some circumstances, tummy tuck and lipo (liposuction or lipoplasty) may be performed together. In what is often referred to as a "Mommy Makeover." If you are in good physical and mental health with reasonable expectations you should be a good candidate.
Risks of Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty
- Seroma – Fluid collection underneath the skin requiring simple drainage in the office by needle
- Hematoma – Collection of blood underneath the skin. Can be drained in the office or may require a second surgery
- Poor wound healing – More common in smokers and diabetics
- Clot formation in the legs
- Pulmonary embolus – A clot dislodging from the legs and going to the lung
- Infection – Patients are started on antibiotics before surgery and kept on antibiotics for a week after surgery to reduce this risk
These are a few of the potential complications associated with a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty. During your preoperative visits and consent process, a more extensive list of risks and the precautions one can take to minimize these risks will be reviewed.
For more information, see Tummy Tuck Questions and Tummy Tuck Risks vs. Benefits. In addition, before and after tummy tuck photographs are available to view.
If you are interested in enhancing your appearance with a tummy tuck and you live in the Orlando or Winter Park areas, please contact our cosmetic surgery office today. An experienced and successful Winter Park tummy tuck surgeon, Dr. Joseph and his friendly, well-trained staff can help you achieve the look you’ve always wanted. You may learn more regarding tummy tuck prices as well.