It’s generally difficult to achieve and maintain an ideal figure, but if you’ve experienced dramatic weight loss or pregnancy, it can be even harder. For those who are interested in toning, tightening, and reshaping the abdomen, a tummy tuck is an effective solution. The tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic surgery that can remove excess skin from the abdomen as well as tighten the appearance of the stomach. However, it should not be considered an alternative to weight loss.
Common causes of sagging of skin and muscle in the stomach area are pregnancy, weight changes, aging, heredity, and even prior surgery. Many times after dramatic body changes, the skin and muscles cannot recover and become permanently loose. There are some types of tummy tucks that are covered by insurance, the most common being a tummy tuck performed to repair a hernia.
There are a few different kinds of tummy tucks available. Depending on your specific goals as well as your body type, the procedure can vary in terms of incision size, amount of tissue removed, and suturing technique. An abdominoplasty may also be combined with other lifts like the thigh lift, body lift, and arm lift. It’s common that many mothers include a tummy tuck in their mommy makeover in order to recover from body changes that occurred during pregnancy.
In all cases, you should be certain that your weight is stable and that you aren’t planning any future pregnancies. It’s also been shown that many women who undergo an abdominoplasty maintain a high rate of long-term weight loss. Researchers have suggested that removing fat cells from the abdomen may contribute to satiety—in layman’s terms, it is easier to feel full when eating.
The complete, or classic, abdominoplasty typically requires an incision along the pubic hairline. The incision runs horizontally from thigh to thigh but is tailored to the patient’s body. Another incision is made around the belly button so that it will be anatomically correct when the skin is tightened in a new position. The incision is sutured in a place where scarring will be hidden by clothing or a bathing suit.
There are variations on the complete abdominoplasty, such as partial and extended abdominoplasties. The partial, or “mini” tummy tuck, is generally the same as the complete tummy tuck, but incision sizes are smaller and skin is removed in smaller amounts. The extended abdominoplasty is the classic tuck, but with an added lateral thigh lift. A thigh-to-thigh incision is extended, which allows further tightening of the upper thighs. There are specialized tummy tucks such as the high lateral tension tummy tuck. This technique involves muscle tightening vertically and horizontally with sutures.
The procedure requires the application of general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. At the end of the procedure, which can range from one to five hours, stitches are used to close the incisions, and bandages are applied. The surgeon will provide specific instructions to you about proper recovery, when you can resume normal activities, and when to return for follow-up care.
The more information you know, the better your results can be, so feel free to consult with an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Berhane if you have any questions or concerns. Contact us today for a consultation.