San Francisco - East Bay
Many women are turning to abdominoplasty, otherwise known as a “tummy tuck“, to get rid of their protruding bellies or excess abdominal skin. Whether you’ve had multiple pregnancies, or just cannot get rid of that stubborn bulge that does not respond to strict dieting or exercise, a tummy tuck may be just what the doctor ordered.
Depending on the extent of reconstruction one of two different techniques may be used, complete or partial:
In abdominoplasty, the surgeon starts by making an incision so that the skin can be separated from the wall of the abdomen. The most common incision starts from one hip, dips down to just above the pubic area, and returns up to the other hip. This is a large incision, but one that is usually completely covered by undergarments or bikini bottoms so it is very inconspicuous.
Next an incision is made around the navel, or belly button, to free it from the surrounding tissue, so that it may be properly replaced symmetrically on the abdomen later on in the surgery. The surgeon lifts the skin from the abdomen wall up to the bottom of the rib cage to expose the rectus abdominis muscles. These are the muscles of your belly that run up and down just below the skin and fat, and keep your abdomen looking sleek, unless they have become stretched out by childbirth or weight gain. These muscles are pulled closer together and stitched into place, providing a firm, smooth abdominal wall and slim waistline.
A tube may be placed to drain excess fluid, but this tube does not remain in the surgical site for very long. Complete abdominoplasty may take from 3-5 hours, and leaves a larger scar than partial abdominoplasty.
The doctor separates the skin only between the incision line and the belly button. Then the flap of skin is stretched down and the excess skin removed. Finally the flap of skin is stitched back into place. The navel does not need to be removed, and like complete abdominoplasty the procedure will lead to a flatter, trimmer tummy. A partial tummy tuck may take 1-2 hours.
Both surgeries will leave visible scars easily covered by normal undergarments; they may seem to get worse before they get better, but this is normal. Patients do experience discomfort and swelling of the abdomen for the first couple of days following the procedure, but are generally released home anytime from a few hours to a couple of days, depending on the outcome of the surgery and the surgeons wishes. Starting out in good physical shape before the surgery, and as always, not smoking will help minimize recovery time, and have you on your way to the new and beautiful you!