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, heredity factors, 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.
Abdominoplasty/Massive Weight Loss – Patient 159
A woman in her mid 50’s who has lost 148 lbs after a gastric bypass more than 15 years before through an open upper abdominal midline incision. She had had Coolsculpting treatment of the abdomen 3 months before coming to see me, but didn’t report any improvement. Of course cryolipolysis is s treatment for fat, and her problem is excess skin, so the lack of improvement is not a surprise. It is always important to make the diagnosis before selecting a treatment.
She is shown just before and again, 1 year after a Fleur de Lis abdominoplasty (she is 6 weeks after a mastopexy and brachioplasty). The Fleur de Lis involves a midline scar and does give additional tightening of the midline skin at the expense of a vertical scar. It is usually most appropriate in patients that already have a midline scar, as is the case here.
Abdominoplasty – Patient 158
A mother of 2 in her mid 40’s who is bothered by bulging and rolls of her stomach after pregnancies. She feels like she is 3 months pregnant. She had polyhydramnios with her second pregnancy and was more severely stretched than typical. She has had some problems with hypertrophic scarring with her c sections. She is 5’4” and 136 lbs and is shown before and again, 5 months after abdominoplasty. An umbilical hernia was corrected by her general surgeon at the same time. Her case illustrates some typical challenges and how I like to address them. Her skin laxity is not at severe as her muscle stretching but is still present. But not enough to fully remove the vertical slit of the skin that was previously around her umbilicus. One option would be to put her entire horizontal scar much higher, where we see the vertical slit scar. This is rarely satisfactory, in my experience, because she now would have a visible scar across her entire abdomen. Instead, as I have done in her case, it is better to place the main scar low, in the “thong” position where is can be covered by most clothing styles and accept a small vertical scar in the lower abdomen as a necessary tradeoff to allow us to tighten the abdominal skin. I have formed a periumbilical hollow by sculpting the fat around her umbilicus as well as a “champagne groove” by shaping the fat in the midline above the umbilicus to give the abdomen an even more beautiful appearance after her surgery, not just tighter. She was surprised to find that she has dropped 4 dress sizes after her surgery, and loves being able to reach in her closet an grab some clothes without worrying what she might need to wear to hide the buldge. Scars will typically continue to improve for 2 years after abdominoplasty- her main scar is hidden under the thong line. The vertical scar will continue to fade and improve over the next 18 months. Because of her history of unfavorable scarring, I have started her on taping for the first 6 weeks and then topical silicone.
Abdominoplasty – Patient 157
A mother of 2 in her late 40’s who is bothered by a” bump” in her lower abdomen and stretch marks. She is 5’4” and 122 lbs and is seen before and again, 7 ½ months after an extended abdominplasty. An umbilical hernia was repaired by general surgery at the same time.
Abdominoplasty – Patient 156
A 2 ½ year followup on a mother of two who was bothered by hanging skin and fullness in the mons area. She is shown before and again, 2 ½ years after an abdominoplasty with translocation of the umbilicus. Her scar is nicely hidden in the “thong line”
Abdominoplasty – Patient 155
A woman in her early 40’s who is bothered by the appearance of her abdomen, despite having liposuction of the abdomen elsewhere 13 years before. She has also had liposuction reduction of her breasts 15 years before, also elsewhere, and feels that her breasts have regrown. She is especially bothered by “rolls” of the abdomen that show through her clothing. She has not had children. She is 5’6” and 170 lbs and is shown before and again, 7 months aften extended abdominoplasty. She had the excision of more than 4 lbs of skin. We can expect scars to continue to fade over the next 18 months. She is thrilled to be able to wear fitted clothes now, without seeing “rolls” of skin in her abdominal area.
How is an abdominoplasty performed?
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. Dr. Hall will provide you with specific instructions about your recovery. 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.
“I saw 3 surgeons before meeting with Dr. Hall and by far
he and his staff was the most compassionate, thorough,
professional and helpful. Can’t say how pleased and
comfortable he and his staff made me feel.”
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