Abdominoplasty or 'Tummy Tuck' is the surgical procedure performed to improve the shape and contour of your tummy. The operation is undertaken to remove excess skin, unwanted scars, stretch marks, fat and can tighten the stomach muscles.
What is Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty or "tummy tuck" is a surgical procedure used to make the abdomen thinner and fat-free. The surgery involves the removal of fat from the middle and lower abdomen in order to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. Abdominoplasty is one of the most commonly performed aesthetic procedures and undergone a significant evolution over the past several years.
How is abdominoplasty performed?
During abdominoplasty, the doctor will give the patient general anesthesia and make an incision in the patient’s abdomen, usually from hip bone to hip bone. He will then remove any excess fat or skin from patient’s abdomen.
Depending on patient’s requirement you can go for a full abdominoplasty which involves relocating of patient’s belly button and having drainage tubes placed beneath the patient’s skin for some days or mini abdominoplasty, if the fat accumulation is beneath patient’s navel and requires a shorter incision. The surgery may last anywhere between 2hours to 4 hours.
How to Prepare for Tummy Tuck Surgery?
The first step is to choose a surgeon and see him and consult him.
- Complete abdominoplasty: The surgeon will cut the patient’s abdomen from hipbone to hipbone and then contour the skin, tissue, and muscle as needed. The surgery will involve moving the patient’s belly button.
- Partial or mini abdominoplasty: Partial-abdominoplasties are usually done on people whose fat deposits are located below the navel. During this procedure, the surgeon most likely will not move the patient’s belly button, and the procedure may only take up to two hours, depending on the patient’s case.
- Extended abdominoplasty: An extended abdominoplasty is a complete abdominoplasty plus a lateral lift in the thigh. The operation does all of the abdominal contouring of a complete abdominoplasty and allows further improvement of the waist, as well as smoothing the contour of the upper thigh.
Are there any side effects of abdominoplasty?
Possible risks of abdominoplasty include:
- Fluid accumulation
- Poor wound healing
- Skin loss
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Anesthesia complications
- Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
- Fat Necrosis
- Major wound separation
- The recurrent looseness of skin
- Pain, which may persist
- Persistent swelling in the legs
- Nerve damage
- The possibility of revisional surgery
- Hematoma (Occurs in 3 to 4% of cases)
- Keloid (heavy scar)
- Suture rupture
- Visible scar
Are there any post-treatment guidelines for abdominoplasty?
Here are some guidelines to be followed by an abdominoplasty procedure:
- The patient may have drainage tubes placed under the skin for a two to three of days, which would require being cleaned frequently.
- The patient should avoid all forms of activity which cause strain in the body, including stretching exercises for the first month.
- The patient should avoid taking a shower till the time they have the drainage tubes attached to them.
- A compression garment will be provided to the patient which they must wear at all times for the first couple of weeks following the surgery.
Recovery from an abdominoplasty procedure
The recovery period varies from person to person. On the whole, it takes a couple of months for full recovery. Depends on the disease/problem to be treated, surgical techniques and equipment and other factors. Can take almost a month and patients are advised to take at least a portion of this recovery time off from their work.
- Heavy lifting must be avoided during the recovery time.
- A supportive abdominal binder or compression garment can minimize swelling or bruising and support the repaired tissues. This compression garment can also be effective in helping the skin in the treated area to get into its new shape.
- Patients are advised to avoid all forms of nicotine for few weeks prior to surgery and also after the surgery for the same period.
- Full recovery takes about half of a year, with further fading of scars thereafter. Scars may appear red and prominent at first, but with proper care, they heal into a thin and silvery line.
Am I an ideal candidate for abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty will especially provide visible results if:
- You are a woman who still has an extended belly, long after delivering their baby
- If you are someone who has just lost a lot of weight and now have an excess of hanging the skin
To be an ideal candidate for abdominoplasty:
- The patient needs to be of ideal weight before the surgery, and so the patient may be advised by the doctor to either lose weight or gain weight to achieve ideal weight before the surgery.
- The patient should not be pregnant
- The patient should not suffer from serious medical conditions
- The patient should not be on blood thinners
- The patient should not have any active implants such as a pacemaker, cochlear implant, defibrillator, or diabetic pump
If the patient is a smoker then he/she will be advised by the doctor to stop smoking at least two weeks prior to the surgery.
Taking Care of Yourself After Surgery
Whether the patient is having a partial or complete tummy tuck, the area that's operated on will be stitched and bandaged. It's very important to follow all your surgeon's instructions on how to care for the bandage in the recovery time. The bandage used will be a firm and elastic band that promotes healing. Your surgeon will also suggest the best position for you while sitting or lying down to help reduce pain.
You will have to severely limit heavy and strenuous activity for at least two months. You may need to take up to two months off work after the surgery to ensure proper recovery.
What is the cost of abdominoplasty in India?
The price of abdominoplasty in India is about INR 200000. In the United States, this procedure can cost from $4,000 to as much as $15,000
Are the results of abdominoplasty permanent?
Results are permanent in the areas that have been treated. However, if you do not maintain your weight, chances are the fat will start accumulating again at the operated areas and in other areas, which might not be very appealing. A reasonable diet prescribed by your doctor coupled with a consistent level of physical activity which includes exercising will guarantee permanent optimal results.
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