Also called a tummy tuck, abdominoplasty is a procedure that is used to remove excess skin, fat and other tissue from the abdominal area, eliminating “flab” and restoring underlying muscle tissue for a firmer, more toned, sleeker appearance.
The abdomen can become loose and “flabby” for many reasons, including significant weight loss, a cycle of repeated weight gains and losses, multiple pregnancies, and the natural effects of aging. That flabby appearance is caused not only by excess fat and skin but also by a weakness and separation in the wall of muscle that supports the belly area. These muscles frequently weaken and separate as a result of “holding in” a large belly, either as a result of pregnancy or significant weight gain. Also, skin becomes less elastic with age, contributing to laxity and sagging. In addition to pregnancy and weight gain, trauma and even prior surgery in the abdominal area can also cause muscles to become damaged and weak.
Before surgery, the belly area will be carefully evaluated to determine the best approach to use to achieve an optimal outcome. Two types of tummy tucks are available: a complete abdominoplasty, which uses a larger horizontal incision hidden by the panty line, or a partial or “mini” abdominoplasty which uses a smaller incision to address issues that are located primarily below the bellybutton. During both procedures, the underlying tissue will be remodeled and repositioned for a firmer, sleeker appearance.
Following the procedure, there will be some discomfort and swelling. Pain medication can be used to control discomfort, and a special compression garment will be worn for several weeks to help minimize swelling and to support the tissues during the initial stages of healing. If a drain is used during surgery, it will be removed in about a week to 10 days. Normal activities can be resumed in about six to eight weeks.
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