Abdominoplasty

(Tummy Tuck)

Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic surgery procedure that aims to improve the shape and tone of the abdominal region by removing excess loose skin and fat, and tightening the lower abdominal muscles. This procedure is often sought after by individuals with sagging skin and excess fat in the lower abdomen, which may occur following massive weight loss, pregnancy, or previous abdominal surgery.  

Dr. Bobby A. Kumar will discuss and describe the appropriate abdominoplasty technique and plan required for you during a consultation, which includes a detailed medical history, an examination of the abdominal region, and an assessment of abdominal muscle weakness or hernias. It is important for patients to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime and be close to their goal weight before contemplating abdominoplasty surgery. 

Types of Abdominoplasty Surgery 

There are different types of abdominoplasty surgery, including mini tummy tuck, full tummy tuck, and extended tummy tuck, each with varying degrees of skin and fat removal, and muscle tightening. The type of tummy tuck procedure recommended will depend on the extent of excess skin, fat, and muscle weakness in the abdominal region. 

Procedure and Recovery

The tummy tuck procedure involves marking the estimated skin and fat excision on the abdominal wall and circumscribing areas for safe liposuction. An initial incision is made on the lower abdomen, potentially incorporating an old caesarean scar. The abdominal skin and fat flap is undermined, and excess tissue is excised. Occasionally, the umbilicus (belly button) may need to be resited onto the remaining abdominal wall, and any hernias present may need to be repaired. If there is evidence of muscular weakness, this is tightened with a series of sutures. The lower abdominal incision is closed with dissolving sutures, and any “dog ears” or residual fat deposits may be addressed with liposculpture at a later date. 

Recovery from abdominoplasty surgery is often slow, taking 6-8 weeks for swelling to improve and dissipate. Patients may experience discomfort and tightness initially and may need to walk and sleep with a bend at the hips. A garment should be worn for 2-3 months or as advised by Dr. Kumar to help prevent serum collection, bleeding, and to allow the abdominal flap to adhere to the underlying muscle and fascia. If the umbilicus requires resiting, the incision will need to be cared for with antibiotic ointment and dressing. 

Complications and Risks 

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks and potential complications associated with abdominoplasty, including bleeding, infection, change in skin sensation, skin contour irregularities, major wound separation, skin discoloration/swelling, skin sensitivity, fat necrosis, pubic distortion, scarring, asymmetry, delayed healing, allergic reactions, and seroma. While the majority of patients do not experience these complications, it is essential to discuss them with Dr. Kumar to understand all possible consequences of a tummy tuck. 

It is important to note that liposuction, also referred to as liposculpture, is an option for patients with pockets of fat and good quality skin that will retract following the procedure. Diet and exercise complement liposuction, unlike tummy tucks, where excess skin and sagging skin cannot be addressed solely with diet and exercise. 

In conclusion, abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery, is a cosmetic procedure designed to improve the shape and tone of the abdomen by removing excess loose skin and fat and tightening the lower abdominal muscles. Various types of tummy tucks address different degrees of excess tissue and muscle weakness. Dr. Bobby A. Kumar will recommend the most appropriate tummy tuck procedure based on an individual’s specific needs and goals. Recovery from abdominoplasty surgery requires careful attention to post-operative instructions, wearing a garment, and managing potential complications. As with any surgical procedure, it is essential to understand the risks and potential complications associated with abdominoplasty surgery. 

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