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. Pregnancy can also lead to stretching of the abdominal skin, leading to a belly pooch. An abdominoplasty can help to correct this for a flatter abdomen.
Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a procedure performed to tighten the abdominal skin, as well as tighten weakened or separated abdominal muscles for a tighter, slimmer, flatter stomach appearance.
There are three main types of abdominoplasty procedures, including:
Involves an incision around the navel, as well as a separate incision across the lower abdomen. Excess skin is removed, and muscles are tightened. This procedure is often done following pregnancy or weight loss.
Involves a single incision that is made in the pubic area. Excess skin will be removed, and muscles will be tightened in the area below the belly button. This procedure is usually done in patients who have a belly pouch but are otherwise thin.
Similar to a full abdominoplasty, incisions will be made across the lower abdomen, but may extend to the back to address larger volumes of excess skin. This procedure is often done after massive weight loss.
Individuals who are tired of living with flab, stretch marks, or excess skin on their abdomen that do not improve with diet or exercise can often benefit from an abdominoplasty. Many patients report an improvement in self-esteem as well as a result of this procedure. Ideal patients will be nonsmokers in good health with realistic expectations for the results of their procedure.
The best way to determine if this procedure is right for you is through a consultation appointment with Dr. Newman.
Abdominoplasty, or a tummy tuck, is done under general anesthesia. This procedure involves three parts. First, excess abdominal tissue is removed and discarded. Second, tightening of the separated rectus abdominus muscle (diastasis recti) is accomplished with sutures. 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. The surgery typically takes about 3 hours to complete.
Following abdominoplasty surgery, gauze and an abdominal binder or compression garment are placed. It is important that you follow Dr. Newman’s instructions on how long to wear the compression garment to help reduce swelling and support your new body contours. 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, any drains are removed during the 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.