An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, removes excess fat and skin from the abdominal wall and, in the majority of cases, restores weakened and separated muscles in order to create an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer.
Many people suffer from an abdomen that protrudes or is loose and sagging, even those that have an otherwise normal body weight and proportion. Common causes of this are pregnancy, aging and significant fluctuations in weight. The goal of abdominoplasty, or a tummy tuck, is to remove loose skin and flatten the abdomen. The scope of the procedure depends on how much excess skin and fat is present in the abdomen area and whether significant muscle laxity has occurred. Abdominoplasty procedures range from liposuction alone, to a mini or full abdominoplasty. In some situations an abdominoplasty can be combined with a breast augmentation or breast lift in what is often termed a “mommy makeover.”
Abdominoplasty does not involve a one-size-fits-all procedure. Dr. Haddock’s treatment starts with a pre-operative consultation at his office in Dallas. During the initial meeting he will take time to learn what each individual person wants to achieve from a tummy tuck and will discuss your specific goals with you to determine which treatment plan will best meet your needs.
Limited Abdominoplasty / Mini Abdominoplasty
A limited or mini abdominoplasty is a smaller procedure that is best suited to individuals that exhibit muscle laxity and mild lower abdominal skin excess.
The mini tummy tuck procedure involves a shorter incision than the full abdominoplasty and in many cases there is no need for the naval to be moved. The low horizontal incision provides the surgeon with the access needed to tighten the muscles and remove excess skin. The resulting scar is similar to that resulting from cesarean section, although it is longer. Liposuction is frequently an integral part of this procedure.
A standard abdominoplasty allows maximum removal of excess skin and stretch marks, although stretch marks that extend above the navel cannot be completely eliminated. The abdominal muscles are tightened using internal sutures. The main scar is longer than that used for a mini-abdominoplasty, is low in the center and curves up on both sides. Dr. Haddock takes great care to position the abdominoplasty scar in the bikini line, where it is covered by underwear or bathing suits and is not prominently visible. There is also a second small scar that encircles the navel. Both scars usually fade after one year but they are permanent and will always retain some degree of visibility. Their final width, texture, and color vary considerably from person to person.
Abdominoplasty should be deferred if future pregnancies are planned.
An abdominoplasty is not a weight-loss procedure. The best candidates for tummy tucks are already at their ideal weight. In addition, the results will be better maintained if there is no major weight fluctuation after the procedure.
An abdominoplasty can be uncomfortable as a result of the muscle tightening required.
Risks / Potential Complications Associated With Abdominoplasty
Complications following abdominoplasty procedures are uncommon. However, a small amount of patients do suffer from blood collection under the skin (hematoma), infections, and delayed healing due to skin loss at the incision site. A more significant potential problem is the development of leg vein clots that can lead to serious problems such as pulmonary embolism. Specialized boots that pump blood through the legs are always used during surgery to reduce the risk of leg vein clots.
Smoking can increase the risk of complications and delay healing. It is therefore imperative that individuals who wish to undergo a tummy tuck completely stop smoking at least one month prior to surgery. “Cutting down” is not enough to eliminate the increased risk.
Post-Operative Care and Recovery
Depending on the client’s occupation, return to work is typically possible within ten to fourteen days.
Clients are advised to commence ambulation while guarding the abdomen the day after surgery. Normal ambulation in a completely upright position may resume after one week. Complete recovery takes three to six weeks. Strenuous exercise must be avoided for six weeks, although light exercise may begin sooner, depending on the individual’s progress.
If you would like to learn more about abdominoplasty and tummy tucks, contact us now to book a consultation at our Dallas Fort Worth office.