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Abdominoplasty, also called tummy tuck, is a plastic surgery procedure, performed to flatten your abdomen by removing extra fat and skin resulting from weight loss or pregnancy. The extent of the surgery depends upon the amount of loose skin and fat to be removed, and the condition of your stomach muscles. An abdominoplasty when combined with liposuction of the waist and the lower back can produce excellent results, giving you an attractive appearance that adds to your confidence.
There are different types of approaches to abdominoplasty, tailored for different people. The surgical steps involved in each procedure are different.
“Liposuction-only abdominoplasty” is a virtually painless procedure and considered the simplest type of tummy tuck. This is highly effective for those people with tight abdominal skin and muscles. The procedure involves making small incisions placed inside the navel and within the pubic hair area. Recovery is relatively simple; complete recovery would take only about a week.
“Limited abdominoplasty,” also known as “mini-abdominoplasty,” is recommended for people with less degree of skin laxity and mild lower abdominal skin excess. For removal of excess skin and fat, a horizontal incision is made just above the pubic area within the upper pubic hairline. The scar is slightly longer than a caesarean section scar. For enhanced results, this procedure can be done in conjunction with liposuction.
Another option is “complete abdominoplasty”, highly suitable for patients who need maximum correction. While offering maximum removal of excess skin, the procedure tightens the muscles of the abdominal wall and removes dominant stretch marks. However, the stretch marks that are located above the navel cannot be removed completely. The abdominal musculature is tightened with stitches. Plastic drains are also placed under the skin while performing mini-abdominoplasty and complete abdominoplasty. The drains are kept in for a week and then removed.
Your choices regarding tummy tuck procedures should be determined only after careful research and open discussions with the plastic surgeon. The abdominoplasty is performed at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital as an outpatient procedure. Abdominoplasty performed here by Dr Spero J Theodorou would take one to three hours to complete, depending upon the procedure.
Before starting the procedure, general anesthesia would be administered. Based on the problem to be treated, surgical technique(s), and other factors, the recovery time might vary. The complete recovery time required after undergoing the liposuction-only abdominoplasty is about one week. Walking is encouraged from the day after the surgery.
As mini-abdominoplasty and complete abdominoplasty helps in skin tightening, these are generally regarded as being uncomfortable for the patient. Patients are able to resume normal ambulation standing straight, faster within one week itself. A maximum of seven days off work is often recommended. Strenuous exercise must generally be avoided for six weeks. It may take three to six weeks to recover completely.
As with any type of plastic surgery procedure, there is a risk of hematoma following abdominoplasty. Infection, delayed healing due to skin loss at the incision site, and formation of leg vein clots are other complications that are likely to occur. Another short procedure will be required on the same day if the person experiences hematoma. Smoking is prohibited or restricted, as it increases chances of further complications.
Patients undergoing an abdominoplasty might in rare cases experience leg vein clots, which can lead to serious complications such as pulmonary embolism. Compared to those having other procedures, this appears more likely to occur in overweight patients. There are specialized boots available that pump blood through the legs. These boots are used during surgery to reduce the risk of leg vein clots. It is recommended that women who plan to become pregnant should postpone the surgery because the vertical muscles in the abdomen that are tightened during the procedure can be separated again - this is less likely to provide real benefits.
You can improve your overall appearance, if the procedure is combined with other procedures such as limited liposuction of the lower extremities, face lift, and aesthetic breast procedures of all types. The final outcome of abdominoplasty can be amazing, giving patients a great deal of confidence and satisfaction with their physical appearance.