tummy-tuckA well-shaped body is desired by all. When you start a weight loss program your aim is not only to lose excessive weight but also to get a healthy and fit-looking body. At times, even the most rigorous dieting and exercising plan cannot get rid of certain stubborn deposits of fat in particular areas of the body, especially the abdominal region (tummy).

A ‘tummy tuck’, also known as ‘Abdominoplasty’, is a convenient option for those seeking to get a flat tummy after weight loss. This surgical procedure is considered a cosmetic procedure as it involves removing the stubborn fat deposits and excessive tissues from the abdominal region while at the same time tightening the abdominal muscles from inside to give a flat and fit tummy. This is mostly sought after a weight-loss program/surgery or post-pregnancy.

Why is Tummy Tuck needed?

Tummy tuck is required to remove the stubborn fat deposits and excessive tissues from the abdominal region. This surgery also tightens the abdominal muscles.

The surgeon will consider several factors, such as your age, overall health status, medical history and others to determine whether you are physically fit to undergo the surgery. Apart from this, the surgeon will also consider whether the expectations you have with the results of the surgery are realistic or not.

How is Abdominoplasty surgery performed?

Abdominoplasty is a major type of surgery and is classified into two main types:

Partial tummy tuck

In a partial tummy tuck surgery, the surgeon begins by administering general anesthesia to you in order to avoid pain or discomfort to you during the procedure.

The surgeon begins the partial tummy tuck surgery by making a large incision along the lower tummy. This helps the surgeon to separate the skin from the underlying abdominal wall from below the navel.

Once this incision gives a clear access, the surgeon will begin by removing excessive fat using liposuction (small but powerful surgical vacuum method). Once the stubborn fat is removed completely the surgeon will remove the excessive skin from the abdomen. The remaining skin is then stretched over the abdomen and stitched in place using strong sutures.

Complete tummy tuck

In a complete tummy tuck procedure, the surgeon will administer general anesthesia to prevent pain or discomfort to you during the surgical procedure.

The surgeon begins by making a large incision across the lower abdomen. This incision starts at one hip and continues below the navel to the other hip. A second incision is made around the navel to carefully detach the belly button from the surrounding tissue.

Once the surgeon separates the skin from the abdominal wall liposuction will be used to remove the underlying excess fatty tissue. The surgeon will also remove the excessive skin from the abdomen. The abdominal muscles are realigned and tightened internally. The last step involves draping the remaining skin over the incision and stitching it in place using strong sutures.

Both these methods of Abdominoplasty surgery can take anywhere between 3 to 5 hours with a hospital stay of at least a couple of days advised post-surgery.

What is recovery like after Abdominoplasty surgery?

The surgeon/doctor will usually advise rest at home for at least 4 to 6 weeks following your discharge from the hospital. Work and exercise need to be avoided during this time.

It takes about 6 weeks to recover completely from the surgery and another couple of weeks before you see noticeable results, as the swelling goes down. A special pressure garment may be advised to be worn around the abdomen to enhance the natural healing process of the skin as well as to minimize the swelling.

There might be slight scarring visible just below the navel from the incision as well as around the belly button in case of a complete Abdominoplasty surgery. Following a tummy tuck surgery, it is common to find difficulty in standing straight as well as experience pain with slight bruising around the incision. A slight numb feeling is also seen for a few months after the surgery. Reddish colored raised scars are also seen for around 6 weeks after which these also begin to fade.

Are there any risks associated with Tummy Tuck surgery?

As is seen in major surgeries, the tummy tuck surgical procedure also has certain risks, including:

  • Thick and visible scarring
  • Subcutaneous (under the skin) swelling
  • Extra skin at the edge of the incision scar
  • Non-healing wound
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Internal bleeding (hematoma)
  • Pain/numbness in tummy or leg
  • Cramps in tummy or stomach ache
  • Breathing problems
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clot
  • Anesthetic allergy

The surgeon will take every possible precaution to avoid these risks and complications from arising.

It is highly advisable to seek Abdominoplasty surgery from an experienced and reputed cosmetic surgeon to ensure better and longer-lasting results.