Abdominoplasty, also known as a Tummy Tuck, is a procedure that removes excess fat and skin in the abdominal region and tightens the muscles. The muscles are the rectus muscles (the six pack muscles). Sometimes dieting and exercise are unable to remove the excess skin and fat, and the patient seeks surgical correction. The results of a Tummy Tuck are geared to creating an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer.
Similar to other cosmetic surgeries, patients researching Tummy Tucks may be looking for such a procedure because they have lost a lot of weight or have lost their figures because of childbirth(s). During a consult for a Tummy Tuck, Dr. Reynolds takes a history of how the current condition developed and preforms a physical examination of the abdominal area. This is to better understand what needs to be done to correct the concerns of the patient and to determine if other conditions exist that may preclude a Tummy Tuck procedure.
Common questions and concerns related to this procedure include:
Can Liposuction be done in place of a Tummy Tuck?
Yes, under certain conditions. For example, if there is no folding over of excessive skin in the lower abdomen and the fat is isolated to the abdomen, then Liposuction is a better choice. This and other situations can be determined at the time of the consultation.
What are some conditions that may preclude a Tummy Tuck?
For example, if a patient had a Kocher Incision in the right upper abdomen, the incision may preclude a Tummy Tuck. A Kocher Incision is an oblique incision used in the past for open cholecystectomy (gall bladder surgery), liver, or biliary tract surgery. It often cuts a major artery supplying the skin flap used in a Tummy Tuck on the right side. Fortunately, the wide use of laparoscopic surgery for gall bladder surgery, does not use Kocher Incisions.
Will I be able to lift my kids or other heavy objects following the surgery?
Probably not. The procedure is hours long under a general anesthetic. The rectus muscles are tightened and the incision line is long. There are also JP drains (Jackson Pratt Drains) to help remove fluid from under the flap of skin. All these together make it unlikely a patient will be able to lift up kids or heavy objects immediately following surgery. It is expected; however, the patient will progress as tolerated to the usual level of activity as the days and weeks go by.
What all is involved in the recovery care?
The JP drains will have to be emptied and the amount of fluid in the JP drains will need to be recorded. This is important because the JP drains will be removed when the 24 hour output of fluid is between 20 and 30 cc of fluid. Patients who have had Tummy Tucks report they have spouses or family members available to help with children and daily activities around the house or office.
Will there be any scars?
Yes. The scar is located in the lower abdomen and is difficult to see after the scar is mature. Many patients have reported there is a fair tradeoff between the pre-operative excessive skin, fat, and loose muscles vs the length of the scar.
You may be exploring Tummy Tucks as a quick fix to creating a more refined middle section. If you haven’t reached a consistent weight diet and exercising, or have future plans for pregnancy, it is important to consider the timing at which you have this surgery performed.
In general, a good candidate for this procedure would fit the following criteria:
- Physically healthy and at a consistent weight
- Dedicated to healthy lifestyle
- Recent weight loss has left excess skin
If you are ready to take your research to the next phase, Dr. Reynolds can be scheduled for a consultation to discuss the personalized implications of this surgery to your situation.