An abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a procedure that removes excess lower abdominal skin and fat and at the same time repositions the belly button. In addition an abdominoplasty allows the tightening or reinforcement of weak tummy wall muscles. A mini-tummy tuck is similar but only excises lower abdominal skin and fat where there is no excess or loose skin above the belly button. At the same time patients often choose to have contouring liposuction as well as liposuction to the flanks (’love handles!’).
Tummy tuck surgery or abdominoplasty involves the removal of excess fat and skin from the abdomen and a repositioning of the belly button or navel. The wall of the tummy is also reinforced and tucked in, which gives the name tummy tuck. This procedure is generally performed in combination with other procedures.
There are different types of tummy tucks. For a mini-tummy tuck a large incision is made across the lower abdomen. The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall and excess fat and skin is cut away. The remaining skin is then pulled together and stitched.
For a full tummy tuck two incisions are made. The first is across the lower abdomen, just above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the belly button from the tissue that surrounds it, and separate the skin from the abdominal wall. The abdominal muscles are then pulled down and stitched into their new position. Fat deposits are removed and excess skin is cut away. A new hole is cut for the belly button and it is stitched back into place. The remaining skin is then pulled down and stitched together.
If dissolvable stitches are not used then the stitches will be removed after seven to fourteen days. You may need to walk with a stooped posture for about a week and it will take an average of two weeks for the wounds to heal. A supporting corset needs to be worn for a few weeks. You will be encouraged to walk as soon as possible after the surgery and should be able to resume physical activity after six to eight weeks.
There is a need to adopt a stooping posture, while walking, until the tight feeling subsides within a week or two after the procedure. You need to wear a pressure support garment or corset during the period of recovery for at least three to six weeks.