Women and men who have loose abdominal skin and fat that is concentrated in the abdomen can benefit from abdominoplasty.
This may be caused by weight loss, pregnancy or genetics. Abdominoplasty also can tighten muscles that have been separated and weakened by pregnancy. The procedure may somewhat improve the appearance of stretch marks, especially those located below the navel.
Am I a good candidate for abdominoplasty?
You may be a good candidate for abdominoplasty if you have one or more of the following conditions:
- excess or sagging abdominal skin
- an abdomen that protrudes and is out of proportion to the rest of your body
- abdominal muscles that have been separated and weakened
- excess fatty tissue that is concentrated in your abdomen
It is best to wait until after you are finished having children to have a Tummy Tuck, however it is does not pose a problem for future pregnancies it is a significant surgery and future pregnancies can cause the skin to re-stretch.
The scar is usually from the top of the hip bone down in an arc to the the other hip bone. This scar can seem significant for the first few months but it usually fades by 12months.
The scarring often seems more significant in ‘after’ photos of this procedure than other plastic surgeries. It is a long incision, which is necessary for a full tummy tuck but can be smaller for ‘mini tummy tucks’. The skin is stretched and pulled down from a much bigger distance than other procedures and so there is more tension on the skin and scar. The belly button is also cut away and re-attached to a new position on the skin. Sometimes liposuction is combined with abdominaplasty to achieve a more sculpted look. It is important that a patient has lost any excess weight and is able to maintain a stable weight prior to having the surgery. Weight loss after a tummy tuck can cause the skin to re-sag and an ‘apron’ of skin to form again. The best aesthetic results occur in patients that have excess skin and are not over weight, diabetic and smokers. These can cause complications in the healing process and there are possibilities of skin necrosis occurring.
It is also a good idea to stay in ‘bent over’ posture for the first week or two to avoid putting pressure on the scar.
Future pregnancies may cause these stitches to come apart and ‘tear’ through the muscles. This is not generally dangerous or a problem, however it can be uncomfortable or painful as the baby causes the muscles to stretch open again.
For this reason it is advised that a woman who plans to have future pregnancies wait to have the surgery.
In some cases a ‘mini’ tummy tuck is an option, where the excess skin and fat is in the lower part of the tummy. This leaves a smaller scar but does not achieve as drastic a change as a normal tummy tuck.
An extended abdominoplasty is a complete abdominoplasty plus a lateral thigh lift. The resulting scar runs from the posterior axillary line (when placing you open hands on your hips, the thumbs lie along the posterior axillary line.) The operation does all of the abdominal contouring of a complete abdominoplasty plus allows further improvement of the flank (waist), as well as smoothing the contour of the upper lateral thigh.
An circumferential abdominoplasty is an extended abdominoplasty plus a buttock lift. The resulting scar runs all the way around the body, and the operation is also called a Belt Lipectomy or Body Lift. This operation is most appropriate for patients who have undergone massive weight loss.
- Depends on the problem to be treated, surgical technique(s), and other factors. Can take one to four weeks and patients are advised to take at least a portion of this recovery time off from work.
- Heavy activity especially is best avoided during this time.
- Initially there may be bruising and discomfort.
- A supportive abdominal binder or compression garment can minimize swelling / bruising, and support the repaired tissues.
- Patients are advised to avoid all forms of nicotine for a month or longer prior to surgery and also during the recovery period.
- Full recovery takes 3 – 6 months, with further fading of scars thereafter.