Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is a procedure to remove excess fat and skin in the from the abdomen and also to tighten the abdominal muscles which may have weakened or spread as a result of pregnancy. It is often done in conjunction with other procedures such as Liposuction of the flanks and thighs, and Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammoplasty) or Breast Lift (Mastopexy).
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Abdominoplasty is done under general anesthesia, and takes about 2.5 hours. It is day surgery and you will usually be discharged within 2 hours after surgery. The area is injected with long acting local anesthetic to minimize discomfort after surgery. The incision is made along the lower abdomen within the bikini line. It is extended to the sides towards the hips to a variable extent depending on the amount of skin that needs to be removed.
The skin and fat are lifted off of the underlying muscle wall. The muscles are then tightened together and held with stitches. The skin and fat layer are reduced and excess skin is removed. The remaining skin is stretched downward and stitched closed, giving a tighter abdomen. The belly button needs to be removed and replaced, since the skin is shifted downwards so far in order to tighten it. The belly button is contoured and sculpted to have a sexy and appealing appearance. More local anesthetic is injected into the muscles, and a small tube is inserted that will slowly inject more anesthetic from a mini-pump over the next 5 days in order to minimize discomfort after surgery. Often small drainage tubes are inserted at surgery which need to be removed about 5 days later. A tight binder garment is placed over the surgical site.