After pregnancy or weight loss, stretched out skin on the abdomen doesn’t always contract and bounce back into place, and no amount of exercise will get rid of the sagging extra skin that remains on your belly. Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery, is only one effective procedure to correct this problem. A tummy tuck is often combined with liposuction, or performed in conjunction with a mommy makeover.
If you are done having kids and want to get rid of your post-baby belly, or if you’ve recently undergone massive weight loss and need your skin to get in line with your new form, a tummy tuck may be recommended.
After reviewing your medical history and assessing your overall health, Dr. Weston will discuss your cosmetic concerns and goals with you. If you’re determined to be a good tummy tuck candidate, Dr. Weston will explain the details of the procedure and give you pre-operative instructions, including smoking cessation requirements if you are a smoker.
Before your tummy tuck procedure, you will be placed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with IV sedation. A horizontal incision is made below the bikini line on the lower abdomen. The degree of correction necessary will determine the length of the incision, however a full tummy tuck typically requires a hip-to-hip incision.
Muscle plication, or tightening, is performed on the abdominal wall and excess tissue, fat and skin are removed from both the lower abdomen incision, and excess skin on the upper abdomen is removed from a second incision around the belly button.
Incisions are closed with sutures or surgical tape, and unless you are having your abdominoplasty procedure performed in conjunction with a hernia repair or hysterectomy, most patients will not need to stay in the hospital overnight.
Tummy tuck surgery is often performed in combination with body contouring procedures, such as laser liposuction and VASER liposuction, as well as breast enhancement procedures, as part of a mommy makeover.
Immediately after your tummy tuck surgery, your abdomen will feel tight and swollen and you will not be able to stand upright. You will need a ride home and some help around the house for the first few days after surgery. Pain medication will also be prescribed to help with pain management.
Surgical drains are removed about one week post-operatively, and stitches may be removed over a period of one to two weeks. By the third week, most patients are able to return to work, normal daily activities and sexual activity, as well as resume light exercise. Heavy lifting and strenuous activity should be avoided for four to six weeks.
It will take several weeks for swelling and bruising to completely resolve and several months for scars to fade. Avoiding sun exposure will help ensure scars lighten, and using silicone sheets or other scar reduction treatments may be recommended to further minimize tummy tuck scars. You should be completely healed within one year after tummy tuck surgery.
It is important to keep all post-operative appointments and follow care instructions. Dr. Weston will work closely with you to monitor your recovery, treat any complications that may arise and ensure the best results are achieved.