Top New York plastic surgeon Dr. Darrick Antell is board certified in plastic surgery, emphasizing aesthetic / cosmetic surgery. One of the cosmetic surgery procedures he performs is the abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck.
Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure in which excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen is removed and the muscles of the abdominal wall are tightened. If you are considering a tummy tuck, this section will give you a basic understanding of the procedure.
Abdominoplasty, known more commonly as a "tummy tuck," is a surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdominal and to tighten the muscles of the abdomen wall. The procedure can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen. But bear in mind, it may cause scarring, which, depending on the extent of the original problem and the surgery required to correct it, can extend from hip to hip.
If you're considering abdominoplasty, this will give you a basic understanding of the procedure - when it can help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect. It can't answer all of your questions because a lot depends on the individual patient and the surgeon. Please ask Dr. Antell about anything you don't understand.
The best candidates for abdominoplasty are men or women who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by a large fat deposit or loose abdominal skin that won't respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through multiple pregnancies, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal. Loss of skin elasticity in older patients, which frequently occurs with slight obesity or extensive weight loss, can also be improved. Abdominoplasty can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence.
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Thousands of abdominoplasties are performed successfully each year. When done by a qualified plastic surgeon who is trained in body contouring, the results are generally quite positive. Nevertheless, there are always risks associated with surgery and specific complications associated with this procedure.
Post-operative complications such as infection and blood clots are rare, but can occur. Infection can be treated with drainage and antibiotics. You can minimize the risk of blood clots by moving around as soon after the surgery as possible.
Poor healing, which results in conspicuous scars, may necessitate a second operation. Smokers are advised to stop, as smoking may increase the risk of complications and delay healing.
You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following Dr. Antell's instructions before and after the surgery, especially with regard to when and how you should resume physical activity.
In your initial consultation, Dr. Antell will evaluate your health, determine the extent of fat deposits in your abdominal region, and carefully assess your skin tone. Be sure to tell Dr. Antell if you smoke, and if you're taking any medications, vitamins, or other drugs.
Be frank in discussing your expectations with Dr. Antell. He should be equally frank with you, describing your alternatives and the risks and limitations of each.
If, for example, your fat deposits are limited to the area below the navel, you may require a less complex procedure called a partial abdominoplasty, also know as a mini-tummy tuck. You may, on the other hand, benefit more from partial or complete abdominoplasty done in conjunction with liposuction to remove fat deposits from the hips, for a better body contour. Or maybe liposuction alone would create the best result.
In any case, Dr. Antell will work with you to recommend the procedure that is right for you and will come closest to producing the desired body contour.
During the consultation, Dr. Antell will also explain the anesthesia he will use, the type of facility where the surgery will be performed, and the costs involved. In most cases, health insurance policies do not cover the cost of abdominoplasty.
Dr. Antell will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins, and medications.
Whether your surgery is done on an outpatient or inpatient basis, you should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, and to help you out for a day or two.
Many surgeons perform both partial and complete abdominoplasties in an outpatient surgical center or an ambulatory surgery facility.
Dr. Antell will recommend the type of anesthesia. Other surgeons use local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy.
Complete abdominoplasty usually takes two to five hours, depending on the extent of work required. Partial abdominoplasty may take an hour or two.
Most commonly, the surgeon will make a long incision from hipbone to hipbone, just above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue. With partial abdominoplasty, the incision is much shorter and the navel may not be moved, although it may be pulled as the skin is tightened and stitched.
Next, the surgeon separates the skin from the abdominal wall and the muscles are tightened by pulling them close together and stitching them into their new position. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline.
The skin flap is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then stitched in place. Finally, the incisions will be stitched, dressings will be applied, and a temporary tube may be inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site.
In partial abdominoplasty, the skin is separated only between the incision line and the navel. This skin flap is stretched down, the excess is removed, and the flap is stitched back into place.
For the first few days, your abdomen will probably be swollen and you're likely to feel discomfort which can be controlled by medication. Your doctor will give you instructions for showering and changing your dressings. Surface stitches will be removed in ten days. The dressing on your incision may be replaced by a support garment.
If you start out in top physical condition with strong abdominal muscles, recovery from abdominoplasty will be much faster. Most people return to work after five to seven days.
Exercise will help you heal better. Even people who have never exercised before should begin an exercise program to reduce swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and tone muscles.
Your scars may actually appear to worsen during the first three to six months as they heal, but this is normal. Expect it to take nine months to a year before your scars flatten out and lighten in color. While they'll never disappear completely, abdominal scars will not show under most clothing, even under bathing suits.*
Abdominoplasty, whether partial or complete, produces excellent results for patients with weakened abdominal muscles or excess skin. The results are long lasting if you follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
If you’re realistic in your expectations, abdominoplasty may be just the answer for you.
Dr. Darrick E. Antell and his staff will be happy to discuss Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) with you. Please call for a private consultation or schedule an appointment online at our office.