The abdomen can developed significant loss of skin and muscle elasticity following multiple pregnancies or weight loss. Despite diet and exercise many patients still experience excess skin, stretch marks, loss of muscle tone, and fat. Pregnancies can cause stretching of muscle and skin that will not return to pre-pregnancy state. An abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a surgical procedure which will tighten the abdominal muscles/fascia and remove excess skin and fat to create tighter, flatter and firmer contour. Liposuction alone will not correct the above problems because of the excess skin and stretch marks. Dr Vu might use liposuction in conjunction with and abdominoplasty to further enhance contour. Not only will an abdominoplasty corrects the abdomen contour, it also enhances your self image in and out of clothing. If you feel that abdominoplasty is right for you, please call Dr Vu for a complimentary personal consultation.
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Choosing to have abdominoplasty
If you are planning substantial weight loss or if you are a woman considering future pregnancies, you may be advised to postpone your abdominoplasty. If you have abdominal bulge along with sagging skin, excess fat, stretch marks, and lost of abdominal muscle tone then you are an ideal candidate for a tummy tuck. Good diet and exercise will help maintain the surgical result. During your personal consultation, Dr Vu will listen to your concerns and examine your abdomen to determine which type of tummy tuck (full or mini) is needed to correct the deformity. He will explain the procedure and risks involved so that you can make an informed decision.
Abdominoplasty is generally done under general anesthesia in our AAAASF certified facility. Our board-certified anesthesiologists will expertly perform your anesthesia so that you are comfortable and safe during and after the surgical procedure. The incision for abdominoplasty varies in length and shape depending on the degree of deformity. Dr Vu will make the incision below the bikini line so it will not be visible. After the incision is made, a skin flap is elevated toward your navel or higher depending on type of abdominoplasty. During a full tummy tuck an incision is made around the navel which is preserved on its stalk. Loose underlying tissue and muscle is brought together with sutures to tighten the abdominal wall. The abdominal skin is then pulled downward and excess skin and fat are removed. The navel is spared and brought through an opening created in the new abdomen at the same location preoperatively. Liposuction of the anterior flanks is used routinely with abdominoplasty to further improve anterior abdominal contour. If desired, liposuction of other areas including posterior flanks, back and thighs can also be performed at same setting to create a complete contour of the truncal region.
There are two main types of abdominoplasty:
- Full abdominoplasty – the incision extends horizontally from hipbone to hipbone, and remains low. Individuals requiring the most correction in the abdomen are typically candidates for this procedure. The navel will be circumferentially cut and preserved, and the muscle will be tightened with sutures and excess skin and fat will be remove to contour the new abdomen.
- Mini -abdominoplasty: the incisions are short and low for patients with deformity mainly below the navel. The navel is left intact while the muscle is tightened and excess skin and fat removed to create a flatter contour.
An abdominoplasty is done on an outpatient basis and you will be discharged home the same day. Following your surgery, you will be taken to our recovery room for approximately 45 min-1 hour. Bandages and a compression garment are wrapped around your abdomen for support postoperatively . Drains are placed to remove excess blood and fluid and will be remove 2-4 days post surgery depending on amount. Dr. Vu will provide you postoperative instructions including your activity levels, pain expectations, activity and driving restrictions, and need for follow-up visits. Typically patients can return to work light duty about 7-10 days. Full exercise can be started 4-6 weeks after surgery. Scars can be more prominent initially; however, they will flatten and lighten over time but do not completely disappear. Scars can be hidden with undergarments. Swelling especially above the incision can last months until adequate vessel reconnection occurs.