Plastic Surgery Clinic Warsaw, Warszawa
The idea of tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)
Tummy tuck is designed to minimise the problem of a flabby tummy. During the procedure excess skin and fat is removed from mid and lower parts of the abdomen. Quite often weakened abdominal muscles are also tightened at the same time. Abdominoplasty can be performed in conjunction with liposuction in order to improve the contour and create a slimmer waistline, however these procedures are different. Tummy tuck involves removal of both fatty tissue and excess skin, while liposuction mainly deals with localised fat deposits. Mini abdominoplasty can be performed if fat deposits are localised in lower abdomen only. It usually leaves smaller scars, the procedure itself takes less time and the recovery period is shorter.
The best candidate is a person with large amounts of fatty tissue or loose skin in the abdominal area, who is not able to improve their looks despite diet and exercise. It is important that the patient is in good general health, emotionally stable and realistic in their expectations. Abdominoplasty is very effective after pregnancy or substantial weight loss, as well as in the case of weakened abdominal muscles and in elderly patients whose skin has lost its elasticity. If you are planning to become pregnant or lose weight, you should postpone the operation.
Tummy tuck will improve the look of your abdomen and – like other cosmetic procedures – can boost your self-esteem. It should effectively remove most of the stretch marks from your lower abdomen, however some problematic ones might remain. Sometimes there will be some loose skin or some fat deposits around your lower back left. There might also be a long scar stretching between your pelvic bones, just above your pubic area, which is quite typical for this type of surgery.
Duration of the procedure depends on surgical techniques applied, type of surgery and on the patient herself. Tummy tuck usually takes two to five hours. Mini abdominoplasty or partial abdominoplasty requires less time – just two hours. It is commonly performed under a general anaesthetic, and very rarely under a local anaesthetic.
In traditional abdominoplasty an incision is made between pelvic bones just above the pubic bone. A second incision is usually made around the navel and may be connected with the first one, forming a letter “T” upside-down. Then the surgeon separates the skin from the abdominal wall. Vertical muscles are stretched and excess skin and fatty tissue is removed. A new opening is made for the navel and then the incisions are closed with sutures. Usually the stitches are dressed and sometimes small drainage tubes are placed in the incisions in order to outflow excess fluid, which is quite common in this type of surgery. Partial abdominoplasty or mini abdominoplasty is performed by the same technique, but the incisions are usually shorter and often the incision around the navel is not required.
Some of tummy tuck procedures are performed in an outpatient clinic and the patient can go home after a few hours, but in some cases the patient needs to spend a few days in hospital. After the surgery your tummy will be swollen and you may experience some discomfort. For a few days after your return home you will need help and assistance. For several days there will be bruising and discomfort which is normal after this type of surgery. You will be given medicine to help you get in shape.
Drainage tubes, if applicable, are usually removed within four to seven days and stitches within seven to ten days after the surgery. Steri-strips may be needed for the first two weeks in order to keep the edges of the wound together and compression clothing needs to be worm for up to eight weeks.
After the surgery you should become mobile as soon as possible or in accordance with doctor’s advice. It is important, as it enhances quicker recovery and reduces the risk of blood clots forming in your legs. Initially, standing upright or sitting down can be difficult. You can take a shower after a few days, but you should avoid baths for at least two weeks.
Recovery times are different depending on the patient, but most people return to work within two to four weeks after the surgery. You should refrain from intensive physical activities for eight weeks. After a few months the feeling of discomfort should subside and within time the scars will turn white.
Risks and complications
Every surgery carries some risk. Before the surgery you should talk to the surgeon about potential risk and complications associated with abdominoplasty. In order to minimise any possible risk of complications, you must provide the surgeon with all details relating to your health, especially if you suffer from hypertension or heart diseases, if you smoke, are on medication or have undergone a surgery in or around the area which is to be operated upon. You can minimise the risk significantly by choosing a well-qualified and experienced plastic surgeon and by strictly following their advice before and after the surgery.
- adverse reaction to anaesthetics,
- bleeding, thrombosis, bruising,
- slow healing of the wound,
- fluid congestion,
- numbness or abnormal touch sensation,
- phlebitis, swelling,
- adverse reaction to medicines,
- need for additional surgical procedures.