Abdominoplasty St. Petersburg
Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a procedure performed to tighten the abdominal skin. As we age, skin collagen diminishes, and elastin is damaged allowing gravity to take its toll on the abdomen. When we lose weight and fat decreases beneath our abdominal skin, the fat is no longer holding the skin up and, like a person who needs a facelift after volume loss, gravity causes the skin on the abdomen to sag. Weight loss at any age can cause this because the inciting weight gain stretches the elastin in our skin causing damage to it. Without healthy, intact elastin, skin cannot recoil and tighten. This is also why liposuction of the abdomen in older patients will likely require an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). The damaged skin simply cannot recoil.
Abdominoplasty involves three parts. First, excess abdominal tissue is removed and discarded. Second, tightening of the separated rectus abdominus muscle (diastasis recti) is accomplished with suture. Lastly, umbilicoplasty is done allowing the umbilicus (belly button) to remain in place by creating a hole in the tightened skin as it is pulled down. All of this is done through an incision that is located below the panty line extending from hip to hip.
Panniculectomy is sometimes confused with abdominoplasty because they are both procedures on the abdomen. Unlike abdominoplasty, panniculectomy involves only the removal of tissue that hangs below the panty line. Why would someone want a panniculectomy and not an abdominoplasty? The answer to this lies in whether or not a person is a candidate for abdominoplasty. Patients sometimes have tissue hanging below the panty line that interferes with activity and leads to rashes and skin breakdown due to the inability to control moisture. Howevery, they may still have too much fatty tissue in the upper abdomen. In this case, the patient is not a candidate for tummy tuck but is a candidate for abdominoplasty. If the panniculectomy patient continues to lose weight, they may become a candidate for abdominoplasty.
What to Expect
Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) is done under general anesthesia which requires the patient not to eat or drink (NPO) after midnight the night before the surgery. An IV is placed and antibiotics are given preoperatively. After the patient is under anesthesia, the surgery is performed and at least one drain is placed. Gauze and an abdominal binder or compression garment are placed and the patient is brought to recovery. The surgery typically takes about 3 hours. There will be mild discomfort in the abdomen after surgery and patients will feel more comfortable sleeping in a recliner for the first couple of days. Ideally, the drain is removed during he first post operative visit one week later.
Activity should be decreased after surgery to decrease fluid production and facilitate removal of the drain. Once the drain is out, exercise should be avoided for at least 8 weeks. Dr. Newman recommends silicone sheeting to optimize scar healing which is applied to the incision for 8 weeks.
If you have abdominal laxity or have had liposuction and need your abdomen tightened, call and schedule an appointment to see Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Christopher Newman today!