The Main Stream

Sep 27, 2012 8:12 PM by Faye DeHoff

Make Me Over: The abdominoplasty, or 'tummy tuck'

TUCSON - In today's Make Me Over segment, we talked about the Abdominoplasty, or 'Tummy Tuck'.

When the skin becomes loose and distended, liposuction alone cannot achieve a good result. Body contouring, which is the removal of excess skin, is then needed. At the same time, the deep muscles of the abdomen need to be repaired. We often see laxity of the lower abdomen after childbirth or excessive weight loss.

There are several techniques to accomplish this, but basically the muscles are laced up like an internal corset, tightening the girth of the abdomen from the breastbone down to the pubic bone. The belly button can be left in place or slid down, depending on the amount of skin removed.

The shape and position of the scar are determined by the existing creases in the groin, as well as the patient's swim wear and underwear fashion requirements. These issues are discussed during the individual consultation.

Abdominoplasty is an extensive procedure. After surgery, the abdomen is extremely tight. Liposuction is usually added for contouring and smoothing of the skin. The pain and discomfort associated with the abdominoplasty can last one to three weeks, requiring at least one to two weeks off work to get adequate recovery and control of the discomfort.

There is a permanent scar as a result of the abdominoplasty procedure, but most patients find that the benefits of the procedure far outweigh the drawbacks.

The abdominoplasty produces a flat abdomen, and the additional liposuction often performed enhances the results by contouring around the flanks, upper abdomen and hips. Once the fatty tissue is removed from the lower abdomen, it is impossible to put the weight back on there. More than with any other procedure, we find that patients go on to lose more weight after the abdominoplasty. Seeing a flattened physique and fitting into smaller size clothing can be very motivating. The success rate for the abdominoplasty is extremely high and patient satisfaction is almost universal.

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