A flat and well-toned abdomen is something many of us strive for your exercise and weight control, but regardless of effort, sometimes these methods cannot achieve our goals. Even individuals of otherwise normal body weight, and proportion, can develop an abdomen that protrudes or is loose and sagging. The most common causes of this include heredity, multiple pregnancies, prior surgery, and significant fluctuations in weight, or congenital spine abnormalities that affect posture.
If you desire a tighter, flatter abdomen, then a tummy tuck may be appropriate to help achieve your goals. In general, a tummy tuck removes excess fat and skin, and in some cases restored weakened or separated muscles. This creates an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer, often enhancing your body image and confidence.
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a common term for the surgical procedure to correct a protruding or loose, sagging abdomen. Areas to be treated may include the center of the abdomen or may extend to the entire area between the lower rib cage and pubic bone, as well as to the sides and back.
Abdominal contouring can be performed using a variety of techniques. When localized fat is the cause, abdominal contour surgery may be performed using only Liposuction techniques. When excess fat is combined with loose, sagging skin and tissue, a tummy tuck removes unwanted fat, tissue and skin by excision. Abdominal muscles that have weakened or separated, a condition called diastases, can also be corrected with a South Florida Tummy Tuck.
Good candidates for a South Florida Tummy Tuck are:
- Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that would impair healing
- Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for body contouring
In addition, previous abdominal surgery may limit the potential results of a tummy tuck. In women who have undergone cesarean section, the existing scars may often be incorporated or revised for new incisions.
Your tummy tuck will be individualized to your specific condition that may include:
- Excess localized fat in the abdominal area
- Loose and sagging skin in the abdominal region
- Weakened or separated abdominal muscles due to pregnancy, weight loss or aging
One or all of these conditions, may be present and can be surgically improved by a tummy tuck. A tummy tuck cannot correct stretch marks, although, these may be removed or somewhat improved if they are primarily located on the areas of excess skin that will be excised, generally those treated areas below the belly button.
Surgical removal of excess fat and skin may be combined with Liposuction during a tummy tuck. There are variations to tummy tuck surgery; the technique selected, is dependent on the degree of correction necessary to achieve a flatter profile and firmer abdomen. Incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as personal preference and surgical judgment.
Liposuction may be used in conjunction with a tummy tuck, or to contour other areas of the body by removing localized excess fat deposits. Other body contouring procedures may be performed separately or in the same surgical session as a tummy tuck. However, not all patients are good candidates for combined procedures. Your case will be evaluated on an individual basis.
A full tummy tuck requires a horizontal incision in the area between the pubic hairline and naval. The shape and length of the incision will be determined by the degree of correction necessary. Through this incision, weakened abdominal muscles are repaired and excess fat, tissue and skin are removed. A second incision around the navel may be necessary to remove excess skin in the upper abdomen.
Incision size is largely dependent on the amount of excess skin to be removed. When correction is isolated to the area below the navel, a limited or mini tummy tuck with a shorter incision at the pubic bone may be recommended. Liposuction may be performed with a mini tummy tuck; where excess fat is the only factor, Liposuction alone may achieve the desired result.
A tummy tuck result is almost immediately in a flatter, firmer abdomen. The final results may be initially obscured by swelling and your inability to stand fully upright until internal healing is complete. Within a week or two, you should be standing tall and confident about your new slimmer profile.
Once your procedure is complete, a dressing or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimize swelling and to support your abdomen as it heals. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood that may collect. Before you are released following surgery, you and an accompanying family member, friend or caregiver will be given specific instructions that may include:
- How to care for the surgical site and drains
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
- When to follow up with Dr. Yalamanchi
Progress and healing
Your Initial healing will include swelling and discomfort at the incision site. Discomfort is common and can be controlled with medication. You will be instructed to return to light walking as soon as possible to minimize the potential for blood clots and other complication. You must avoid bending, straining or lifting anything for several days. Dr. Yalamanchi may also instruct you not to stand fully upright, to avoid stressing any internal sutures. Also, to sleep with pillows with your knees elevated. To ensure a successful outcome, it is important that you follow all the instructions carefully. A return to light, normal activity is possible, as soon as you feel ready, usually within a few days of surgery.
Initial wound healing may take from 5 to 10 days. Any sutures will be removed some time after that, if necessary. You will be ready to return to work and resume normal activity in a few weeks, so long as you do not engage in any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise.
Healing will continue for several weeks, as swelling dissipates and incisions lines continue to improve. You must practice diligent sun protection until the healing process is fully complete. Continue to follow Dr. Yalamanchi’s instructions and attend all follow-up visits as scheduled.
The results of a tummy tuck are visible almost immediately; however it may take several months for your final results to fully develop. Numbness and a firm feeling over the skin’s surface will resolve over the following months. It may take a year or so, for incision lines to refine to some degree. Although they are permanent, these scars are hidden by most clothing and your swimsuit.
Your new profile with a firm and flat abdomen is relatively permanent, so long as you maintain your weight and general fitness. As your body ages, you may find that some firmness is lost in the abdomen. However, this is minimal compared to the initial conditions that were corrected to achieve your now toned abdomen.