The Abdominoplasty Surgery
Generally we perform a mini tummy tuck in our office-based surgical suite using local anesthesia and intravenous sedation (twilight sleep). An abdominoplasty is performed in an ambulatory surgical center or hospital using general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure.
An abdominoplasty usually takes two hours. A mini tummy tuck is somewhat shorter in duration. After surgery you are cared for in a recovery area for a minimum of 1 hour prior to being discharged home. You will need a driver and someone to stay with you for at least the first 24 hours after surgery.
Most commonly, an incision is made from hipbone to hipbone, just above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue. With a mini abdominoplasty the incision is much shorter and the navel may not be moved.
Next, the skin is separated from the abdominal wall all the way up to your ribs and a large skin flap is lifted to reveal the vertical muscles in your abdomen. Pulling them together with suture material tightens the muscles. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline. The skin flap is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then stitched in place. Finally, the incisions will be stitched and a temporary drainage tube will be inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site. Dressings and a girdle will be applied.
In a mini abdominoplasty, the skin is separated only between the incision line and the navel. This skin flap is stretched down, the excess is removed, and the incision is stitched together.
Be sure to ask about a lower body lift…an exciting new method of rejuvenating the hips, thighs, buttocks and abdomen.
After Your Abdominoplasty Surgery
For the first few days, your abdomen will be tight and swollen. You’re likely to feel moderate pain and discomfort that can be controlled by medication. We will give you instructions for post-operative care. Though it may be difficult to stand up straight at first, you should start walking as soon as possible.
Getting Back to Normal
It may take you weeks or a month or two to feel like your old self again. Some people return to work after two weeks, while others take three or four weeks to rest and recuperate.
Gentle exercises will help you feel better. Even people who have never exercised before should begin an exercise program to reduce swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and tone muscles. Vigorous exercise, however, should be avoided until at least 6 weeks after surgery.
Your scars may appear to worsen during the first three to six months as they heal, but this is normal. Massaging Vitamin E into the healed incision line may improve the quality of the scar. Expect it to take nine months to a year before your scars flatten out and lighten in color. While they’ll never disappear completely, abdominal scars will not show under most clothing, even under bathing suits.
Abdominoplasty produces excellent results for patients with weakened abdominal muscles or excess skin. And in most cases, the results are long lasting, if you follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly.