Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fatty tissue from the middle and lower abdomen and to tighten muscles of the abdominal wall. Abdominoplasty is not a surgical treatment for being overweight. Obese individuals who intend to lose weight should postpone all forms of body contouring surgery until they have reached a stable weight.
There are a variety of different techniques used by plastic surgeons for abdominoplasty. Abdominoplasty can be combined with other forms of body-contouring surgery, including liposuction, or performed at the same time with other elective surgeries.
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a procedure in which excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen is removed to help create an abdominal profile that is smoother, firmer and smaller. It is not a weight loss technique; although the tissue removed may weigh several pounds or more. Instead, it is a contouring procedure that is performed to give you a smoother, flatter, better shaped tummy.
This procedure is performed in Kaiser Permanente’s operating suite with either intravenous sedation or more commonly general anesthesia. The incisions that are used require the creation of a fairly long scar in the same place as a C-section scar either right on top of the pubic hairline or just inside the hairline. Unlike a C-section scar, the incision may go all the way out to the hips depending on the degree of correction necessary. This incision is typically placed low enough to be hidden within most clothes and bathing suits.
A small incision around your belly button is also needed to allow your belly button to stay in its normal position while the upper abdominal skin and fat is moved to a lower position on your abdomen. A new window is made in the abdominal skin to place your belly button in its normal position. This scar is nearly imperceptible.
Through these two incisions, excess skin and fat is removed. If necessary, we can also repair weakened abdominal muscles. These muscles may be separated during pregnancy and sutures are used to bring the muscles back together and give your waistline more definition. While you will not see the muscle repair or sutures because it is underneath, you will feel a tightening from the top of your abdomen all the way down to the bottom of your abdomen.
Kaiser Permanente’s plastic surgeon will be glad to work closely with you. Be prepared to discuss your expectations and desired outcome. Make sure to address all of your questions and concerns. Aspirin, Motrin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and some over-the-counter herbal medications must be discontinued at least 2 weeks prior to surgery. These and other drugs and substances may cause excess bleeding and bruising. You can usually begin taking them again after a week or so. If you are a smoker, it is important to quit at least four weeks prior to surgery and keep from smoking until four weeks after surgery to ensure your wounds heal properly. Your plastic surgeon will discuss this in detail with you and you will also be given a sheet with a list of common medicines to avoid for a short period. Your plastic surgeon will detail the risks associated with surgery.
Following your surgery, bandages will be applied to your incisions. In addition, you may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or required to purchase a compression garment to minimize swelling and to support your abdomen as it heals. Two small drains may be placed temporarily to drain any excess fluid or blood that may collect.
You will be given specific instructions on how to care of your incisions and drains, including any medications that you may need to take. We will arrange for your follow-up visit at our Kaiser Permanente office.