Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) The Woodlands
What Is A Tummy Tuck?
An abdominoplasty is also known as a “tummy tuck”.
Who Benefits From A Tummy Tuck
The ideal client for an tummy tuck procedure is one that has loose, excess abdominal skin and fat along with loose muscles in the abdominal wall resulting in an abdomen that bulges out. These issues are typically not treatable with diet and exercise alone. Others that may benefit from tummy tuck surgery are those with significant stretch marks below the belly button, as these will be removed with the Tummy Tuck. Clients that will benefit are those that want a flatter tummy and want to look better in clothing, bikinis, or swimwear.
Tummy Tuck Surgery
It is important that clients undergoing the tummy tuck operation not be active smokers. If you are a smoker you should stop at least two months prior to your tummy tuck operation. Even then, you are still at an increased risk of complications. A test may be done on the day of surgery to ensure that you have not been smoking. This is only to benefit the client. All blood thinning and anti-platelet medications should be stopped at least two weeks prior to the operation if approved by the prescribing physician.
During the tummy tuck operation, an incision is made from hipbone to hipbone (transversely), across the lower abdomen beneath the panty/underwear line. An incision is also made around the belly button. Excess skin and fat below the belly button are removed and typically some is also removed from above the belly button. On rare occasion, if the skin is to tight to close and the portion of the skin that had the belly button coming through it can’t be removed, a small vertical scar will remain where the belly button skin has to be closed (this will give a scar with an inverted “T” look where that small vertical scar will join the transverse lower abdominal scar). It is rare that this occurs. Also, the abdominal muscles will be tightened up to flatten the stomach. Liposuction is also added on occasion. If you have excess skin and fat in the love handle/hip area, an extended incision can sometimes be made to help correct this (high lateral tension abdominoplasty).
The Tummy Tuck operation usually takes place in an outpatient surgery center. The operation normally takes about two to three hours. Clients usually go home the same day. However, overnight accommodations can be made.
Tummy Tuck Post-Operative Care
Typically, two surgical drains will be left in place. The purpose of the drain is to drain any post-operative bleeding or fluid accumulation that may occur. A prescription for narcotic pain medication is also given. It will be extremely important that the client begins walking the night of surgery to decrease the risk of blood clots in the legs. The first few days are the worse and you will need assistance getting around the house. As the days go by (usually by day seven to ten), things will start to loosen up and you will start to feel better and will be able to ambulate easier. Your first follow-up appointment will typically be within five to seven days. The surgical drains may or may not be removed at that time, depending on how much fluid they are putting out. All sutures are buried and do not need to be removed. Clients can typically return to light duty/work in one to two weeks. You should not lift anything over the weight of a full milk jug (including picking up small children) for six weeks. You should be able to return to full activity and exercise in six weeks.
Tummy Tuck Potential Complications
Potential complications include infection, bleeding, and wound problems. Other potential complications are possible and these will be discussed with you during your consultation.
It is important for female patients to understand that if they should have another pregnancy after the abdominoplasty, this can diminish the results so it is usually best to wait until after you are finished having children to undergo this operation. Also, gaining significant amounts of weight post-operatively can effect the aesthetic outcome.
Jeffrey G. Lind II, MD and The Lind Institute of Plastic Surgery offers individualized, personal, and safe care for abdominoplasty clients in The Woodlands and Houston, Texas area.