What is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a procedure to address changes in the abdomen related to pregnancies or massive weight gain and loss. This procedure, through an incision low on the abdomen, allows tightening of the abdominal wall muscles and correction of rectus diastasis, a finding related to distention of the abdominal wall with pregnancy. The skin is redraped and in many cases, significantly trimmed, allowing for definitive removal of stretch marks that may be present around or below the belly button.
How Long Will Surgery Be?
If not combined with other breast or body procedures, a tummy tuck takes about 2 hours under anesthesia.
What Kind of Anesthesia Will I Have?
General anesthesia is used for abdominoplasties because it is safe and very well controlled. West Magnolia Surgery Center, on site at West Magnolia Plastic Surgery, is fully accredited by the AAAHC. Local anesthesia in injected into the incisions once the patient is under anesthesia for enhanced postoperative comfort.
What is Tummy Tuck Recovery Like?
Surgery is performed as an outpatient. If a patient needs additional care at home because of drains or other concerns, nurses are available for hire to stay with you in your home. Most patients report a general soreness of the upper abdomen, likened to the feeling after doing a lot of sit-ups. This feeling eases over the first week and is easily controlled with pain meds. Drains, if present, are removed when the volume is sufficiently low, generally about 7 to 10 days. Patients are in a compression garment for a total of 8 weeks but most are walking normally and released to drive in about 2 weeks. No return to full activity without restrictions for a total of 8 weeks, longer in some circumstances.
What are the risks?
The risks of abdominoplasty include bleeding, infection, failure to heal and loss of blood supply to the skin flap. The most significant risk of an abdominoplasty is a pulmonary embolism which is a blood clot from the deep veins of the legs that can release to the lungs. There are several precautions before, during and after surgery to prevent just this. Some patients who may be at a higher risk of blood clot formation are given a series of injections after surgery as an added precaution.
How do I prepare for surgery?
A preoperative appointment is scheduled approximately 2 weeks prior to surgery. At this time, all consents and recommendations, instructions for before and after surgery are reviewed. A long list of medications to avoid is reviewed and prescriptions are given for postoperative management. The day before surgery, all patients are called to review final questions, confirm nothing has occurred since the patient was seen at preop that might require rescheduling of the procedure and to finalize arrival time at the facility. All patients are given ample information at the preoperative appointment regarding a time line of what to expect in the recovery process and when.