Physical appearance is one measure of our health and vitality. A flat stomach is one of the most desired attributes. Unfortunately for some, no diet or exercise can reduce sagging or excess skin and bulge of the abdomen. Sometimes events such as pregnancy or weigh gain combined with weight loss cause the skin and sometimes the underlying muscles to stretch to an extent that they never return to their original shape. Abdominoplasty, also called tummy tuck, can restructure the stomach area by decreasing the excess skin and fat tightening the abdominal muscles.
How is the tummy tuck procedure performed?
An incision is made horizontally along the lower abdomen. The length of the scar depends on how much excess skin needs to be removed. Through this incision, excess fat is removed and over- stretched tissue holding the muscles in place are tightened. Excess skin is the removed. In some cases with a larger amount of excess skin an incision around the navel will be made to allow the maximum amount of skin to be removed. In other cases, a “mini” tummy tuck can be performed with a smaller incision and a shorter recovery period. The lower abdominal incisions will be designed so that bathing suit bottoms cover the scar. Dr. Anthony P. Lockwood or Dr. Avi Islur may also be able to incorporate previous scars, like those from a Caesarean, into this new incision. Your personal consultation with Dr. Lockwood/ Dr. Islur will provide you with all the details of the tummy tuck procedure and its options.
What will I look and feel like after Abdominoplasty?
Because every individual patient varies in degree of bruising and healing, there is no exact answer. However, we can offer a general outline of expectations:
In the first day or two, you may be encouraged to get up and move around to initiate the healing process. Standing up straight is not recommended but you will be able to walk. Any quick movements or heavy lifting must be avoided for 4-6 weeks. Dr. Lockwood / Dr. Islur will prescribe medication to control any discomfort. Your will notice some swelling and bruising. During the first 5-10 days, bruising and swelling will reach its highest point and begin to subside. Within 7-10 days stitches and drainage tubes may be removed.
After a couple of weeks, you will increase your activity. However, strenuous activities are prohibited for at least 6 weeks. You will experience a significant reduction in bruising and swelling, and your results will begin to take shape.
After several months, you will resume more vigorous activities and exercise. The incision will begin to lighten and fade.
Are there other alternatives?
The only other alternative is Liposuction, which can only remove excess fat. You may be a good candidate for a Liposuction procedure if your skin still has good elasticity and your abdominal muscles have satisfactory tone, or if you are planning a future pregnancy. Dr. Lockwood/ Dr. Islur will evaluate this option during your consultation.
What kind of follow up care will I need?
You will return to our office office for a postoperative visit within the first week after surgery and then periodically to monitor your progress over the next month or so. It is very important to attend these visits to be certain you are caring for the incision area properly and avoiding sun exposure and other harmful activities.