Abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” is a cosmetic surgery procedure used to make the abdomen more firm. The surgery involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen in order to tighten the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall. This type of surgery is usually sought by patients with loose or sagging tissues after pregnancy or major weight loss.
Depending on the extent of the surgery, a complete abdominoplasty can take from 1 to 5 hours.
In general an abdominoplasty follows these steps:
- An incision is made from hip to hip just above the pubic area.
- Another incision is made to free the navel from the surrounding skin.
- The skin is detached from the abdominal wall to reveal the muscles and fascia to be tightened.
- The muscle fascia wall is tightened with sutures.
- A dressing and sometimes a compression garment are applied and any excess body fluid from the site is drained.
Depends on the problem to be treated, surgical technique(s), and other factors. Can take one to four weeks and patients are advised to take at least a portion of this recovery time off from work.
Heavy activity especially is best avoided during this time.
Initially there may be bruising and discomfort.
A supportive abdominal binder or compression garment can minimize swelling / bruising, and support the repaired tissues. This compression garment is also effective in helping the skin in the treated area conform to its new shape. Patients are advised to avoid all forms of nicotine for a month or longer prior to surgery and also during the recovery period.
Full recovery takes 3–6 months, with further fading of scars thereafter. Scars may appear red and prominent at first, but with proper care, they heal into a thin, silvery line.