Tummy Tuck – a popular cosmetic surgery procedure performed under general anaesthetic to remove excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen.
Full Tummy Tuck Introduction
An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is one of the most common cosmetic surgery procedures. Factors such as multiple pregnancies and genetics can lead to the development of loose skin, fat deposits, and stretch marks on the abdomen. Substantial weight loss can also contribute to the development of loose skin in the area. These areas can be hard to shift despite proper diet and exercise, and can make the abdomen appear disproportionate with the rest of the body.
How a Full Tummy Tuck Works
Loose skin, fat deposits, and stretch marks are removed from the abdominal region in a full tummy tuck. Vertical abdominal muscles that have been stretched and weakened over time are tightened, restoring the appearance of a firmer, flatter stomach. Tummy tuck procedures can be performed alone, but are sometimes performed with liposuction to improve body contours. A tummy tuck should not be used as a treatment for obesity, or a replacement for the proper diet and exercise. You should be healthy and relatively fit before considering a tummy tuck. Future pregnancies and drastic changes in weight following a tummy tuck, and scars from prior surgeries may decrease the effectiveness and long lasting results of the procedure.
The duration of a tummy tuck varies depending on the extent of tissue removal, or the necessity for an additional procedure such as liposuction. Most full tummy tuck procedures take between two to five hours. The treatment area will be cleansed and incision guidelines will be drawn before your procedure. For complex procedures, involving the removal of a large amount of tissue, or if performed with another procedure, a general anaesthetic will likely be used. A local anesthetic and sedative may be administered for less complex procedures.
Two incisions are usually required for a full tummy tuck procedure. Typically, Mr Nduka will make an incision just above the pubic area that stretches from one hip bone to the other. The length and shape of the incision will depend on the extent of treatment and the contours of your body. He will attempt to place the incision so that a bathing suit or undergarments can hide it, but you will be left with a permanent scar. A second incision is usually made around the navel.
Exposure of Abdominal Wall
The skin and fat layers above the abdominal wall are separated from the wall using a cautery device. The abdominal muscles are exposed by lifting the tissue up toward the rib cage.
Tightening of Abdominal Muscles
If necessary, Mr Nduka will suture the abdominal muscles, pulling them closer together, creating a flatter, firmer abdominal wall and a slimmer waist.
Replacing Skin and Navel Position
The layer of skin and fat that had been lifted away will be stretched back tightly over the abdominal wall. Your navel remains intact and attached to the abdominal wall during the procedure, but it will become covered by a layer of skin when it is pulled back into place. Mt Nduka will make an incision through the layers of skin and fat to create a new hole for your navel. The skin and fat that hangs beyond the original incision line will be removed.
One or two fine drainage tubes may be placed under the skin of the abdomen to prevent fluid build up, and will remain in place for typically one night whilst you are in hospital. The incisions will be sutured with dissolving invisible stitches and dressings will be applied. You will be able to shower normally, from 48 hours after surgery because by which time the incisions will be waterproof.
Full Tummy Tuck Recovery
You will most likely have to wear a type of compression garment, which is similar to a girdle following your procedure. This tight-fitting garment will help to reduce swelling by preventing fluid build up, as well as provide support as you heal. Depending on the extent of surgery, you may have to wear the compression garment for around four weeks. You will experience discomfort, bruising, and swelling, as with any surgery, but this will mostly subside in a few weeks. You may not be able to stand fully upright immediately, but it is important that you begin to walk for short periods soon after your procedure to facilitate blood flow. Your stitches may dissolve with time. However non-dissolving stitches will be removed in approximately one week. Sutures on the other hand may remain in place for up to two weeks.
Full Tummy Tuck Results
Most patients are able to return to work after one to three weeks. However, it may take up to eight weeks before you feel able to return to full normal activity including heavy lifting and strenuous exercise. You will have a permanent scar, but it will slowly fade over time. It is important to realize that if you become pregnant or experience substantial weight change, the results from your procedure may be compromised. However, with proper diet and exercise, the results from a tummy tuck can be maintained for several years.