What is Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, removes excess skin and fat, as well as restore weakened or separated abdominal muscles. Factors that often contribute to these issues include aging, pregnancy, genetics, prior surgeries, and significant weight fluctuations. A tummy tuck results in a flatter abdomen that is proportionate with your body type.
Am I a good candidate for abdominoplasty?
Candidates for abdominoplasty surgery in Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts are healthy men or women who are unhappy with the appearance of their abdomen. It is important that patients are at a stable weight, are non-smokers, and have realistic expectations for the outcome of their surgery. Furthermore, patients should be aware that a tummy tuck should not be used as a primary weight loss solution. A consultation with Dr. Hall can help you decide if a tummy tuck is right for you or if you might benefit from a different procedure.
Abdominoplasty/Massive Weight Loss – Patient 163
An early follow-up on a Fleur de Lis abdominoplasty in a man in his early 40’s who has lost 80 lbs with a keto diet. He has a large hernia of his umbilicus which was corrected at the same time by his general surgeon. A new umbilicus ( neoumbilicus) was created at the time of his surgery. “Fleur de Lis” refers to the pattern of skin excision which includes a vertical component. Many patients with significant weight loss have a horizontal excess of the upper abdomen which requires a vertical excision to tighten it. A vertical scar is the tradeoff. Our patient is shown before and again, just 2 months after his surgery. Scars are typically the thickest and reddest at 6 weeks after surgery and then will fade and improve over the next 2 years. Swelling of the abdomen also takes 6 months to fully resolve after an abdominoplasty. A dramatic early improvement is seen.
Abdominoplasty – Patient 178
A mother of twins in her early 40’s who is bothered by the rolls of skin, bulging of the abdomen in fitted clothing and looseness of the skin. Sh is 5’4” and 140 lbs and is shown before and again, 6 months after an extended abdominoplasty. An extended abdominoplasty extends the incision along the sides when needed and gives better tightening of the anterior flanks. The scar is hidden in a “thong” position where it can be covered by most clothing styles. A hollow has been sculpted around the umbilicus and a “champagne groove” above the umbilicus to give the abdomen a more attractive shape. Tattoos have been blurred for her privacy.
Abdominoplasty – Patient 177
A mother of 4 in her later 40’s who is bothered by bulging and laxity of her stomach in clothing and in a two-piece bathing suit. She is shown before and again, nearly 6 months after an abdominoplasty. EXPAREL was used to limit her pain and need for narcotics after surgery.
Her case illustrates the importance of proper scar placement, putting the scar in a “thong” position even if it means a vertical slit scar is needed in the lower abdomen from the opening that is made around the umbilicus as the skin is pulled down. The alternative would be to put the entire scar higher where it would be visible on the abdomen. Scars typically become redder and thicker for 6 weeks and then begin to fade and improve over the next 2 years or longer. At nearly 6 months the scar still has some redness but is improving with topical silicone.
Abdominoplasty – Patient 176
An RN mother of 4 in her later 50’S who was bothered by a roll of her abdomen in clothes as well as in a one-piece bathing suit. She was 5’2 and 166 lbs, In addition to bulging of the muscle wall from pregnancy she fatty layer was thicker as well with a caliper pinch of 5 cm ( 3 cm or less is ideal). She elected for a lipo-abdominoplasty which combined liposuction with and a abdominoplasty. She is shown before and again, 6 ½ years after the removal of 1850 cc of fat with liposuction and the excision of skin and fat weighing 1488 grams ( 3 1/3 lbs). She actually feels comfortable wearing a 2-piece bathing suit now! Scars typically get redder and thicker for 6 weeks and then fade and improve over the next 2-3 years. A close-up of her scar is shown at 6 ½ years.
Abdominoplasty – Patient 175
A mother of 2 in her mid 50’s who is bothered by rolls of skin in her abdomen which are difficult to hide in fitted clothing. She is 5’4 ½ and 147 lbs and is shown before and again, 4 months after an extended abdominoplasty. Her scar is low, in a thong position, and a periumbilical hollow and “champagne groove” above the umbilicus were sculpted at the time of her surgery. Exparel was used to decrease her need for narcotics after surgery.
Although swelling will continue to improve for 6 months after abdominoplasty she is already thrilled with her improvement.
Update: Our patient is seen again 16 months after her surgery. The sculpting of the abdominal flaps is seen with a beautiful “champagne groove” and hollow around the umbilicus giving the abdomen and even more beautiful appearance after surgery.
How is an abdominoplasty performed?
How your abdominoplasty procedure is performed will depend on your specific needs and body concerns. Patients choosing to undergo abdominoplasty surgery have the choice of intravenous sedation and general anesthesia, and Dr. Hall will recommend which choice is best for you. During the surgery, Dr. Hall creates a horizontal incision between the belly button and the public hairline, where a bikini can easily cover. The skin is then lifted, and the weakened abdominal muscles will be tightened. Depending on how much excess skin is being removed, a second incision around the naval may be necessary. Skin on the upper abdomen is pulled down, and a new opening for the belly button is created. Incisions will be closed with sutures, tapes, or skin adhesives.
What should I expect during recovery?
During abdominoplasty recovery, dressings are applied to incision sites and a compression garment may be worn to minimize swelling and provide support. Small tubes may also be inserted to drain any excess blood or fluids. You can expect to be assisted with walking as soon as the next day to prevent the formation of blood clots, however, you should be resting for the first week or two after surgery. After your procedure, you will likely experience some swelling and discomfort. Dr. Hall can provide you with prescription medication to manage your pain and make your recovery more comfortable. You will also have some activity restrictions in the first few months. You should avoid strenuous activity or movement such as bending at the waist, that might strain the incision site. Dr. Hall will provide you with specific instructions about your recovery and activity restrictions.
The result of your abdominoplasty can be distorted due to swelling in the first few weeks, however as swelling diminishes you will begin to notice your results and can enjoy a toned abdominal area. Abdominoplasty results are permanent, although substantial fluctuations in weight can greatly diminish these results. Patients who are planning on losing a substantial amount of weight or future pregnancies are advised to delay tummy tuck surgery.
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